Gardners has reported a 250% increase in sales through its Hive site in the past 12 months, predicting similar growth across the next year.
Julie Howkins, e-commerce development manager for Gardners, said: “We are seeing a 50:50 split between books and entertainment products like DVDs and CDs within that.” E-books now account for approximately 15% of all Hive’s sales, she said.
Although precise sales figures weren't divulged, Howkins said that the retailer was “regularly” giving its 350 signed-up retailers £1,000 back [in total] in commission each week.
Customers can opt to collect a product they buy on Hive from their local bookshop or retailer, and that retailer will be given 6% commission back on books and 3% commission on e-books, with percentages increasing the more sales a shop generates.
Sheila O’Reilly, owner of Dulwich Books, said: “We think Hive is going really well for us We have seen a reasonable pick-up over the past six months and commission has trebled in that time. We are having a couple of regular customers’ orders delivered here and people are collecting DVDs, which is interesting. I wouldn’t say we get an order a day, but it wouldn’t be far off that at the moment.”
Sarah Clarke from the Torbay Bookshop in Paignton said: “We don’t get lots of orders from it but we feel that not to be on it would be a mistake. It has the potential to grow.”
However, David Ford from Saltaire Bookshop in West Yorkshire commented: “I have had a couple of people collect items, but it offers quite a low commission so we don’t notice it making a big difference to us.”