The New Rules of Retail For Now

Going through the news and online updates in California, New York and some states who just opened up retail business Phase 2 e.g. Curbside Pick-up and delivery, it’s kinda interesting to note what goes on.

In smaller cities like Martinez, Ca in the old Pre-Covid days their small shops are in a street strip of cafes, boutiques, gift shops, and the like are circled around having the community walking around stopping from one store to the other while car traffic runs back and forth. Most shops who open their doors had tables in front ready to accept orders or have people pick up their orders. The small business owners who are pillars and heroes trying to start of the economy in spite of the odds knowing they won’t even sell enough to pay for the overhead cost of the day. Worst case scenario some stores had no orders, traffic or visitors at all.

What this shows is that consumers are somehow spiritually divided. As a community, everyone wants to support their local city shops, wants them to stay in the business yet on the other side, people are afraid to really be outside that long thinking of this contagious disease called, Corona virus doesn’t have a vaccine yet. This is the mere reality except it’s been observed that some states or cities that did not really have a high incidence rate of infection in the past 2 months who may even be already on Phase 3 opening might have a different scenario.

It is fact then and now that even though a lot of these small business shops have some form of online presence or website which somehow helped bridge their existence the past 2 months, these small businesses insist it’s still not as profitable if their brick and mortar storefront were open as in the old days. As a old time bookseller, a lot of  booksellers have the sense of community having the physical store and the more these are the hardliners of the importance of having a physical store.

Twelve years ago while really selling the idea of getting our websites up instead of just being on third party book-selling sites while having our store, my own staff had resistance.  I cherish their reasons, acknowledge the fact but I sort of still started in my own ways. It took all these years far more expensive, more blood torn sweats and headaches and losses until we sort of at least established a branding presence.

Today there’s a new retail concept coming up by way of having all the procrastinators on online selling to accept online businesses is the new future of small business retail. I have to say those just starting now are very, very lucky as they do not need the 12 years of trial and error.  Just today, Facebook announced a new online platform created specific to this need for small businesses called Facebook shops. So what’s next is the question to the new norm of retail until we get the full confidence back.

There will be a lot of discussions, we can start of reading

The New Rules of Retail: Competing in the World’s Toughest Marketplace

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In The New Rules of Retail , industry gurus Robin Lewis and Michael Dart explained how unprecedented consumer power, enabled by technology and globalization, is revolutionizing retail. They warned that survival in these dynamic times called for a business model based on three distinct competencies: preemptive, perpetual distribution; a neurological customer connection; and total control of the value chain. In the years since that book published, many of their predictions have come true. Now, they revisit timeless case studies like Ralph Lauren and Sears, as well as new additions like Trader Joe’s, Lululemon, and Warby Parker, to assess how retailers must continue to evolve in the era of e-commerce, data mining, and tiered distribution. They also identify the five current trends that are currently driving consumer demand, including technology integration and channel consolidation, as exemplified by Jeff Bezos at Amazon. This is a fully revised and updated guide from two proven retail prognosticators.

So what’s your thoughts on this new norm?

 

The State of Independent Bookselling on Covid-19

4G9A2825 Sell Online Like A Creative Genius   

The American Booksellers Association has about 2,500 member stores mostly independent brick and mortar stores. Although a big chunk of the membership has not really spent much work on their online storefront, as booksellers adapt to online business models in a fraught global economic moment, the coming months of transition could determine whether independent bookstores survive. The Coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic has not just put a hold on bookstores storefronts but it will forever change the community events and operations of bookstores.

As of this writing 2 or 3 states in the 50 US States has started a phase re-opening on non-essential stores. A bookshop is always a place for community, belonging and refuge. I remember in 1998 when we started selling used and antiquarian books, customers who were die hard book lovers would be excited in flipping each book from the dust jacket to the different pages of a book in excitement. This pandemic experience will changed certainly some habits on how we browse or maybe how long we have to even decide going through all those pages meanwhile in the absence of a vaccine.

I also remember in very early 2000 when i was conversing with friends that we have started experimenting on the online book marketplaces while at the same opening up our own web store maintained by a former bookseller. At that time the mighty “A” was the talked of the book selling industry’s advocacy on how everyone can compete selling used books for a penny. We went through a lot in these marketplaces being made to adhere to exuberant marketplace selling fees and commissions not to forget the un-equal  and un-bias adhering to rules and regulations being implemented by the operators of these marketplaces.

Sometime 2007, I met with my small staff to announced we will spend a good time of our resources to slowly build our own website, brand and presence. I didn’t really have a very good response as then our online exposure was mostly bleeding us with expenses instead of profits. This also was a time that if you don’t have the financial means to heavily spend on CPC, SEO, Adwords and Social Advertising your not gonna even show up in the internet search. Sad to say even today this end expenditure game still persist.

For us, the one good thing we got  is maybe because we have been online for all these years, were kinda old in that manner that we actually have regular customers and visitors or our sites nowadays and we also show up on organic internet searches.

In the years since Amazon opened its online bookstore in 1995, the books market has evolved. Major chains, like Borders and Book World, have disappeared. Amazon now accounts for more than half of all book sales, and three quarters of all books or e-books bought online, according to Codex, a book audience research firm. Over the last five years, Amazon’s market share of all books has jumped 16%.

The Covid-19 pandemic with the shelter in place on major states the last 2 months had affected the entire US economy. Booksellers must take this as an online opportunity to start or strengthen their presence. Although we have some good ideas on curbside pick-up or delivery, the cost of doing business would be lesser if you could generate more online sales while establishing your brand. Amazon Prime, Fresh and Pantry has slowed down on their delivery as they focus on essential items for Covid-19.

Now is the best time for booksellers to use this to take orders online, pack, fulfill and ship as fast as one can using this as leverage. Although we know it also slows down even own fulfillment in our closed stores or houses due to safety precautions on social distancing and the like, the good news is that were also educating now the online book buyers that it’s about time they give their business and loyalty to the independent online booksellers.

Despite that grim statistic, Book Scan’s most recent weekly report shows the book industry managing relatively well. According to Book Scan, year-to-date sales are down 1.3 percent by unit and 3.2 percent by MSRP (manufacturer’s suggested retail price). Though unit sales fell 6.6 percent overall in the five weeks spanning the COVID-19 disruption (March 1–April 4), they recouped by 6.9 percent during the week of March 29–April 4. The New York metropolitan area, which plunged 15.7 percent overall March 1–April 4, surged ten percent March 29–April 4, and the Chicago/IN area had a 20.5 percent increase that week. Among Book Scan’s top 99 demographic areas, nearly a third reported flat or positive sales—not ideal but perhaps better than expected.

So if you haven’t really spent much time in your online storefront as bookstore owner, now is the time to do so. I’m optimistic as well that finally brick and mortar stores will  finally have a change on one’s gradual thinking that “”online bookstores are indeed essential to the survival of the independent book selling industry””.

Alex Esguerra

Founder

ADLE International

Ci6 Keynote Speaker Chelsea Clinton on Teaching Kids the Value of Persistence

Source: Ci6 Keynote Speaker Chelsea Clinton on Teaching Kids the Value of Persistence

The daughter of former President Bill Clinton and 2016 presidential contender Hillary Clinton, Chelsea Clinton is the author of the number-one New York Times bestselling picture book She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World, which received a starred review from Publishers Weekly, and She Persisted Around the World: 13 Women Who Changed History (both Philomel). Clinton is also the author of the New York Times bestselling It’s Your World: Get Informed, Get Inspired & Get Going! (Puffin Books) and, with Devi Sridhar, Governing Global Health: Who Runs the World and Why? (Oxford University Press).

On October 2, Clinton, who serves as the vice chair of the Clinton Foundation, where her initiatives include helping to empower the next generation of leaders, will publish Start Now! You Can Make a Difference (Philomel), a middle-grade title for young activists.

Muscatine is the owner of Politics and Prose with her husband, ABA Board member Bradley Graham. A former Washington Post reporter and White House speech writer during the Clinton administration, Muscatine is currently writing Hillaryland, her story about working with Hillary Clinton, to be published by Penguin Press.

At the Thursday, June 21, breakfast, following Muscatine’s introduction, Clinton thanked booksellers in the audience, some of whom she recognized from her previous book tours. “I’m so grateful to all of you because without your support and partnership, I wouldn’t be able to have the reach that I hope to have with the work that I feel called to do and the obligation that I feel to children in our country,” she said.

The first time the two met was when Muscatine worked for Hillary Clinton; Chelsea Clinton was just 13 years old and living in the White House. At the time, Muscatine received some impassioned advice from Hillary on raising her kids to be readers: “Your mother was fierce, relentless, incessantly reminding me to read to my children — constantly. She badgered us and others who had children along with me in the White House; she would constantly be sending us books and CDs…Not that I wouldn’t have [read to my kids], but it was so important for me to hear it from her. So I was wondering, when you had Charlotte, did she do the same thing to you?”

Chelsea Clinton’s daughter, Charlotte, is now three years old, and her son, Aidan, is two. She said her mother inculcated her with the same message about the importance of reading to kids and making sure they grow up in a language-rich environment.

“I do think that the stories we tell our children are profoundly important for how we help them either expand or limit their world and how they think about their own possibilities within our world and our shared future,” Clinton said.

Affordablebooksonline Goes Mobile

Contact: Carlos Rodiriguez

ADLE International

Phone 415-874-5637

Fax 415-252-7961

info@affordable-booksonline.com

818 SW 3rd Ave. Ste. 284

Portland, OR 97204

ADLE International

Press Release

Affordablebooksonline, our flagship website 15 years ago goes live as a Mobile Friendly Website

The wait is over to rewrite and convert our web scripts.

Portland, OR, February 11, 2018:  Two years took to rewrite html, java, csv scripts and themes to enable our flagship store, http://www.affordable-booksonline.com. It was the longest ever compared to our online portfolio of websites @adlegroup. We could have just defuncted the site but founder, Alex Esguerra patiently waited for its conversion to the mobile enabled e-commerce world today. At the height of it’s launched in the early 2000, web traffic was averaging 3000 visits a day. We then lost ranking as the internet online websites all were structured to be mobile enabled viewing them on smart devices like iPhone, iPad, tablets and android devices,

It will take some time for us to take the traction again, Sarah Walker, Director of Retail Operations writes in an inter-office memo to the team. Recapturing back the huge customer base will take time but we are ready to the challenge while we also slowly add new website content. For now at least our inventory and order management is real time daily.

Our avid followers and likers at: https://www.facebook.com/affordablebooksonline whom were the ones pushing for the change are the reason why we patiently waited two years to convert the website. Moving forward in 2018 and beyond, we will mix our books with new, used and vintage conditions in gearing towards the vision of “affordable books” even to limited earners. Know your contact’s name, telephone, fax, and email

Wishes the http://www.affordablebooksonline.com team big hugs and welcome to the mobile world.

What happens now with the Healthcare Act?

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An American Sickness a great recent bestseller written by Elisabeth Rosenthal who is physician verifying how dysfunctional the American Healthcare system is.  With recent changes from the Affordable Care Act to the new Healthcare Care, the question lies if the new law even made the American Healthcare to be more “Un-Affordable” paving the way for Americans to be more non-insured.

The easiest way of comparisons with the 2 laws referred to is the normal encounters on our daily living that touches on anything about our health. Such instances would be when going to the pharmacy if one has a regular prescription re-fill, was there a change in your copay, did you used to not pay anything or did your co-pay increase or decrease?

If you have to visit your providers like medical doctors, dentist or optometrist, is there a co-pay changed or are your providers still on the selected HMO or PPO network of your insurance? In such cases if your a the state funded Medicaid, are your providers willing to accept this type of insurance? Sometimes it’s not just a matter of not accepting medicaid, some providers don’t qualify or don’t want to go through the hassle of a long list of compliance and reporting requirements so they can participate in state funded insurance networks.

With the onset of the new Healthcare law, patients with pre-existing conditions will fall under a high risk pool? What it means and outcome we still don’t know at this point. However, what’s going to happen is that these individuals will again end up choosing not to any prescribed preventive care due to affordability or as seen the past racking up huge unpaid medicals bills with collection agencies running after them again. This book discusses on the best practice of negotiating with billing offices when they receive a huge medical bill. Thank god nowadays the credit reporting systems have now classifications and the credit bureaus may or may not allow collectors  inundating one’s personal credit file on unpaid medical bills. In spite of this in 2014 as quoted in the book, the Medical and Debt Responsibility Act requiring credit bureaus to delete reports of delinquent medical debt once settled or resolved never made it through the committee due to the credit agencies opposition. And as the book and we all know, Medical cost and billing is big huge business in the American Healthcare system.

It’s still to early to see the outcome of the new Healthcare law but each person must be vigilant on how it will affect each of us and to ensure were not eaten alive with the big business of the Healthcare system.

Alex Esguerra

ADLE International