Overcoming obscurity

We are getting to the end of the beginning of this bookstore journey. The big physical changes are mostly made. The books are less numerous, better quality, and more orderly. We have run a few events and hired out the space a few times. The space is ready for people. The question is how to get them along.

Our initial revenue target is $230 a day on the way to $300 a day. At at average value per sale of $20, we need to make 12-15 sales a day.

Here is a chart of sales per day by month, with the orange line showing the breakeven 15 sales.

In 2017 you can see sales have run in a pretty tight range around 10 a day, which gets us to about 60 per cent of the target. We have had an uplift compared with last year, but we haven't made much of a dent apart from that.

July and August were good months. July was when we held our first quarterly sale. August was because of a very successful poetry book launch (get yourself a copy here). Year on year, August revenue was 70 per cent ahead of the year before.

September was much less busy, with sales back at 9 per day and revenue only 25 per cent ahead of the year before.

Given all this, our strategy could be to rely on special events, like the quarterly sales, to get us over the line, while continually working to lift awareness and "baseline" sales (the level of sales we get in ordinary time).

Interestingly, although it is not shown here, the months with higher sales counts also seem to have higher revenue per sale. And revenue per sale also seems to be growing over time, even if foot traffic is not. This makes things easier.

We get a chance to test out this strategy this week, with our second quarterly sale on Saturday. The July event was our biggest single day of revenue ever. Come along if you are about and see how we are going.