Findings from the bookseller survey
Bookshops are increasingly using VLB-TIX: Since the beginning of 2020, almost 1,400 additional booksellers have opted to work with the system, meaning that 8,000 users from the sector are now registered on the platform.
The following are the findings from our survey of booksellers, which was carried out from October 21st to November 15th 2020. Comparative figures come from the survey conducted in October 2019.
The number of responses is represented by »n«. This figure can vary, since multiple answers were possible for some questions.
In four out of five cases, the respondent works in an independent bookshop.
One bookshop in two employs fewer than five people.
Use of VLB-TIX during the coronavirus pandemic
During the pandemic, 74 percent of the respondents have used VLB-TIX just as often as before – 18 percent even more frequently. The main reasons were as follows:
- Researching titles relating to Covid
- »For the first time, I had the opportunity to get to know the system.«
- Cancelled visits from sales reps or discontinued print previews
- More flexible access compared to other software systems
Rahel Trotta, the key account manager at MVB responsible for supporting booksellers as they use VLB-TIX, explains: »The findings show us that, thanks to our system, most of the respondents were already well prepared for the pandemic-driven surge in digitalisation that occurred during this difficult business year. Working with VLB-TIX has become an integral part of their daily routine. In terms of when the system is used, it is clear that, as expected, different bookshops organise their workflows in very different ways. VLB-TIX is basically used throughout the year, even if peak times vary, for example during visits from sales reps.«
Weekly to daily use increased by 40 percent compared to 2019.
In terms of where the system is used, »At my workstation in the bookshop« remains the response cited most often. At the same time, almost one user in two (47 percent, up from 39 percent in 2019) now also works with VLB-TIX at home.
VLB-TIX for daily work
In terms of features that can increase customer loyalty, there is still untapped potential in Germany’s bookshops, since only just over one respondent in eight says he/she uses the system to »create and send my own catalogues«.
The percentage of respondents who say that existing features must be improved is consistently in the single digits, with the most-cited features being additional search options.
In terms of purchasing, 30 percent use the function »order for sales reps«, 28 use »CSV files for reps«, 27 percent »order for merchandise management« and 14 percent »order for publishers«.
Use of the note function doubled compared to 2019, due to changes made to the function itself.
In terms of post-search processing, the primary filters used are the ones to screen by topic, at 56 percent, and by keyword or series, at 51 percent each.
When answering the question of which new features they would find useful or very useful, most respondents chose »filter previews by ‘my publishers’«, at 73 percent (already planned as part of the current in-house project), along with »subscribable information« at 56 percent and »merchandise management link with sales figures« at 55 percent.
The factors that would increase respondents’ willingness to use the system are »better overview« at 45 percent, »better response times« at 39 percent, and »better usability/navigation« at 35 percent. Improving performance is the reason behind the current in-house project, during which, as a first step, the title-details page will be the restructured. Moreover, almost one respondent in four says that the equipment he/she uses to access the system needs an upgrade.
Use of information and training
Of the booksellers participating in the survey, 41 percent say they do not need additional information or training to do their work. All the others rely on newsletters and customer information, at 36 percent, and on the help pages and webinars, at 29 percent each.