George R.R. Martin wrote “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads only lives once.” Readers are coming out in droves, and revenue for American publishers increased almost 7% in the first half of 2019, compared to last year’s numbers. Sales data shows that Millennials are just as likely to go for print, bucking that generation’s trend of digital-only.

To compete with online sales channels, brick and mortar stores must offer customers the titles they want to read. In order to meet demand, publishers need to crunch the data, gain a better understanding of customer behavior and put the entire supply chain, particularly replenishment and demand planning, under the microscope.

Know Your Trends

Publishers have vast catalogs to manage, from the latest bestsellers and new releases, to classics and numerous backlist titles. While it may be tempting to stock it all, we know that’s not the best approach. Every dollar must be carefully spent to maximize revenue.

Spreadsheets and homegrown systems will only go so far. A purpose-built software solution, such as Vision Inventory Management, can provide sophisticated reporting to identify slow-moving items and suggest more targeted inventory. After incorporating Vision into their supply chain, one customer created a significantly more efficient model space, resulting in 19% sales increase.

Sales for certain titles may ebb and flow seasonally, such as back-to-school required reading, summer “beach reads” and the holiday shopping season. These trends are common and easily tracked year over year. There are also spikes in demand based on events, for example book signings for bestselling authors and adaptations like HBO’s Game of Thrones based on Martin’s series A Song of Ice and Fire. With Vision Inventory Management, you can act proactively on such anomalies so that future stock runs can be adjusted accordingly.

Know Your Customers

Good inventory control is a mix of solid data analysis and good customer relationships. Once you’ve crunched the numbers, the next step is to take your customers’ pulses. For example, backlist is accounting for a higher percentage of sales than in prior years, making up 64% of book sales in the first quarter of 2019. Children’s book sales are more backlist-driven than the overall market, and close to one-third were licensed properties such as Dr. Seuss and Disney Princess.

But should you flood the stores with those books because the sales data points in that direction? Not necessarily. Just as titles be should be deliberately chosen, locations need to be taken into consideration. Research can help determine the right type of content for specific locations. Urban stores in areas with a high concentration of young professionals are not likely to purchase picture books featuring curious monkeys or cats in hats. Those stores would profit from tailoring their inventory towards a range of adult oriented non-fiction instead.

Reducing the sight of empty shelves, and ensuring shelves have the best mix of titles, will keep consumers in the store. When you consider that every store faces its own unique challenge to provide for their customers, you need a system that can track and react to this level of detail. One publisher using Vision Inventory Management reduced out of stocks by over 21% and saw a corresponding increase in sales volume.

Capitalize On That Knowledge

While the rest of 2019 is expected to see modest growth, the long-term forecast for the market is relatively flat. Vision Inventory Management excels in markets where an efficient supply chain and maximized sales are crucial. The solution is specifically designed to manage replenishment and demand planning for difficult to manage categories such as books and media.

A significant percentage of top publishers in the US have implemented Vision. The tailored solution combines sophisticated algorithms with teams of industry experts to help your organization increase sales by putting the right books in the right place at the right time.