The Top 10 Things to Know About: Leveraging Customer and Sales Data

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On Thursday, October 1, the American Booksellers Association presented a new installment in “The Top 10 Things to Know About…” series. The session, “Top 10 Things to Know About: Leveraging Customer and Sales Data,” featured guest speakers Jordan Brannon and Cassandra Cross of Coalition Technologies, a Los Angeles-based digital marketing agency. ABA’s Ryan Quinn also presented tips and notes from indie bookstores.

Booksellers can view a recording of this webinar on the Education Resources Page on

Here are the top 10 tips provided by indie booksellers:

  1. Pay attention to data. Knowing who your customer is and what they want will allow you to be more effective in marketing to them, which leads to increased sales.
  2. Use multiple channels to track your data, such as Google Analytics, social media analytics, and Edelweiss360.
  3. Connect your Google Analytics account to your website, check to see if Edelweiss360 connects to your POS, and add a newsletter signup link to your website and social media.
  4. Track pre-orders and engagement with social media posts to see what customers are interested in.
  5. Target your marketing to ensure it reaches the right customers. Create tags on Edelweiss360, make lists of school contacts, and don’t forget, Hummingbird, and Kobo customers.
  6. Consider collecting unique information about your customers, such as their birthday and favorite authors, to form a more personal relationship.
  7. Use sales of specific authors and genres to drive events.
  8. Use your customer database to reach customers outside of the internet, such as by doing a mass postcard or holiday catalog mailing.
  9. Use traffic analytics to identify unique and new sources.
  10. Build a community by asking customers to leave testimonials.

Here’s a more in-depth recap of the session:

  • Make sure you get consent before collecting information from customers. Under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), any organization collecting personal information from residents in any European Union country must respect the individual right to privacy by handling data in regulated ways. While this is currently EU legislation, it’s expected that most countries will adopt some form of the GDPR in the future.

    • Consent and trust are important, and that will allow booksellers to not only gain new customers, but keep them.
  • Most data analysis tools will obscure Personally Identifiable Information (PII), so using these services will not breach any prohibition on sending PII.
  • Connection between data sources is important, as it offers a complete picture of your advertising as a whole. Services like Google Analytics and Facebook usually only provide information about its own performance. They also don’t take into account all the data in your customer relationship managing system. To connect them, integrate user actions across channels using email addresses or user IDs. If users visit your website without signing in, you’ll only see unrelated data points.
  • If you’re looking to more accurately analyze your marketing campaigns, encourage customers to log in to your website. This will help you gain insight into their buying journeys.
  • Data gathering can be automated using services like Salesforce or HubSpot.
  • More data sources include Google Analytics, social media analytics, Edelweiss360, newsletter platforms, website analytics, POS systems,, Hummingbird, and Eventbrite.
  • There are many different ways to target marketing at customers. Consider the following:

    • Pull a report from your website to identify customers with similar interests, then create targeted mailing lists.
    • Target frequent buyers and send them thank you notes encouraging them to continue supporting your store with a special offer.
    • Create a VIP List and invite them to an exclusive shopping event.
    • Create a list of every customer who purchased during your holiday season this year and send them a special Shop Early email.
    • Target those who have purchased in various amounts at various times and send them exclusive coupons.
    • Target first-time buyers with a thank you email for their first purchase and a special offer for their second.
    • Check with your regional association about a holiday catalog and ways to email or physically mail it.
    • IndieCommerce and IndieLite users can create a specific mailing list for the Reading Group Indie Next List and the Indie Gift Guide.
    • Create a specific mailing list for Shelf Awareness e-newsletters
  • When using traffic analytics to identify unique sources, look for the following: Is there a specific geographic location that is growing? Which keywords are driving large numbers of viewers? Which specific product pages have the highest click rates? Is a local blogger driving a lot of traffic to your site?
  • Seek new community partnership opportunities, create new book clubs, and consider offering exclusive membership programs for customers.