Today, local bookstores are becoming harder to find as many fold to intense competition from Amazon and other online vendors. This article from Forbes shines a light on one business, the Harvard Book Store, who has managed not only to survive, but flourish in the digital information age.
The secret to Harvard Book Store’s success is a reconfiguration of the store’s business model. To remain competitive, Jeff Mayersohn, the store’s owner, needed a new production, distribution, and fulfillment model.
To close the inventory gap between a physical bookstore and Amazon, Jeff installed an Espresso book machine, an in-store printing press that can reproduce close to 5 million titles, in addition to allowing customers an outlet for self publishing their own work. To one up Amazon on distribution, customers who don’t want to come to the store can have their order fulfilled the same day it is placed and delivered by a local bike courier.
The store also strives to beat Amazon in terms of customer experience by prioritizing customer service and the personalization of the shopping experience. Jeff believes Harvard Book Store exists to serve the local community and has spent years crafting and intimate, locally -recognizable brand, which includes excellent customer service and personalized recommendations by store employees.