Hachette UK to develop social selling campaigns

Hachette UK to develop social selling campaigns

Hachette UK is to run a series of "social selling" campaigns across all its divisions in the coming year.

The publisher, working with social commerce firm Buyapowa, will give “readers who really want to engage with an author, book or character the chance to engage with them on a deeper level and show and share their passion”, said Hachette UK brand development director Damian Horner.

Readers will be offered incentives if they refer people to buy books, and in the future will be able to influence the kinds of deals Hachette offers, as well as things like pricing and design and “the very kind of content we create in the first place”, said Horner.

The social commerce platform will also allow Hachette to track the behaviour of its customers and collect valuable consumer insight.

“Lots of publishers are trying to use social in different ways and it’s very difficult to trace,” said Horner. “Social is an important playground because it can be perceived to be more cost effective, but it’s very random. This allows us, across different genres and books and age groups, to build up profiles.”

The first campaign run using the Buyapowa technology has already been run, focused on a bundle of Leon cookbooks. Readers who referred others to buy the bundle could earn a voucher to spend at Leon, signed copies of the books, or get their own bundle of books free if they referred enough purchasers. The bundle sold out within 24 hours, which “represented an astonishing uplift in sales and 80% new customer acquisition”.

Horner said the Leon deal was “one of the more simple models”. Plans for the future include “empowering” readers to co-create fan editions of classics and new releases, offering them the chance to personally curate a deal or offer, giving them the chance to appear in one of their favourite author’s books and helping them to earn money-can’t-buy rewards.

Gideon Lask, c.e.o. of Buyapowa, said: “The future of retail is about empowering a customer. The days of putting something on a shelf and expecting it to sell are gone. Consumer empowerment is the future. The really exciting thing for me about working in a publishing space is the fan base and creativity – the opportunity to create and challenge formats based on what fans and readers want.”

The new partnership will not infringe on more traditional methods of selling books, including bricks and mortar stores, said Horner.

“From our point of view we will always support bookshops,” he said. “They’re the lifeblood of our business. This isn’t about replacing that, it’s about giving readers who really want to engage with an author, book or character the chance to engage with them on a deeper level and show and share their passion.

“It’s just adding another dimension to what we do.”