The current pandemic has forced all businesses to reconsider their business models. Traditional ways will not work and the current situation will stay longer than expected in the future. Business processes which were guaranteed success in March 2020 are no longer relevant now. Businesses which are able to understand the change and are able to adapt to new processes will survive. The ones who don’t – will not survive. This is the challenge current business scenario will face for a long time in near future. I have been a part of many business consulting meetings recently but none of the speakers seemed to have gotten a hold of what the current market looks like and where it will move. In this discussion, the main approach is to win back the confidence of the consumer and also making your products available easily. The communication from businesses to consumer too needs to change accordingly where it assures consumer of the best product or service.
Unlock is in process but when we spoke to the business owners – the business hasn’t picked up. The scenario is like an “unlocked lockdown”. Shops are open but there are no customers, even if customers come to the shop; purchases are limited and customers are still looking for essential items mostly (fallout of the lockdown).
This has impacted the print and publication industry negatively as well. Surveys have shown that there will be less number of print editions of Diwali magazines this year due to the high costs related to it. Various modes of publication such as book fairs, book launch events will be impossible to conduct till the next few months. These limitations reach the consumers and create a gap in marketing communication. The economic activity in this publication industry is considerably high. There are around 19000 publication houses in India and this industry is worth USD 2bn (2015 data) with 15% YoY growth predicted. But, COVID has disturbed the equation has pushed the demand and sales back to unprecedented levels. It will take special efforts to get businesses on track and also win the confidence of customers in sale of books & magazines.
Books and magazines are important to many buyers as its a medium which opens the window to the world in a focused way. Not like digital medium where there are a lot of distractions. But, we all know the current restrictions where buyers cannot go to the book stores and purchase their favourite books/magazines. So where are the buyers?
They are online!
We have an option of reading books online but we get to hear from every reader that they miss the “feeling” of reading a book when they read online. The smell of a new book, the form factor, pages all add up to an experience like no other. It cannot be replaced by online reading. There is a demand where the buyers want books and publishers need more business. How does the demand and supply connect? There is definitely a need to do business in a new way.
To cate to this demand & supply ratio, online publication platforms such as www.e2p.in are helping authors to showcase their offerings
This portal is different than online book stores because it generates demand, provides an accurate number for books to be printed and ensures that that reader gets the book copy. It greatly improves business visibility for publishers. For the buyers – it provides them their favourite book reading experience while staying at home and staying safe!
A book is displayed on e2p, buyer previews the details about it (not the actual book content even in limited form), places order to get a printed copy, makes payment, publisher then ships the paperback version to buyer’s address. So simple!
Considering the current business scenario, where customers prefer to shop online, the limitation current online book stores have is the way options are presented. It needs a novel way of presenting the books online. Books need to be sold as books and not as any household product. That is where the current online book selling moved slowly. The way forward will be to connect publishers and buyers directly where the demand generated is shared with publishers so that they can plan printing accordingly. This business model suits better than the earlier model where the prints were ready and businesses waited for consumers. As mentioned earlier, this is the re-engineering of process which is important.
The pandemic and reduced business doesn’t mean that it’s the end of the road but it should be considered as a new opportunity. As always, the human mind will overcome the challenges and be successful.
Take care, stay safe!
The views and opinions expressed in the article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The Tilak Chronicle and TTC Media Pvt Ltd.