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How I Used Shopify to Save My Publishing Company Over the Pandemic

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by Crishna CD Murray, Author & CEO of Twin Attic Publishing House Inc. —

Crishna CD Murray

How Shopify has made placing books for sale, tracking inventory, and creating royalty reports so easy.

This past year-plus of the pandemic has been a struggle for my publishing company and me. I remember sitting at my desk, lost, not knowing if I should close the doors. Things were not looking hopeful, and I barely had any book sales. I felt like I had tried and failed at everything. I reached out to my son for help with my website and marketing strategies, and he suggested I use Shopify. There was instant hesitation on my end. I told him that I didn’t want their company name on my website address. He looked at me with frustration and hesitation for a few moments, then he began to explain the benefits. I am so glad I listened to him.

The first thing I noticed was how easy it was to build products and inventory. I didn’t think I would be able to do it by myself. For the first few weeks, I kept calling my son to upload new products. Eventually, I took a swing at it and began adding books to my website. There were so few steps to it!

The homepage overview has all the elements you need at a quick glance. There is a section that gives alerts like notification of a credit card on file that is about to expire or orders waiting to be fulfilled. The homepage shows me a visual of the total sales and total sessions for the current day, as well. I can see my company’s top-selling products, top sales by channel (Facebook, Instagram, etc.), and the payout schedule with specific dates and amounts. It is a great way to be able to see how much has been sold, minute by minute and hour by hour.

There is also a point of-sale system to take orders from anywhere and an option to assign sales staff a username. Tracking sales by not only the book or product but also by the salesperson and location of the sale is extremely helpful.

I then used the platform to run author royalty data reports. I was able to export the data into an Excel spreadsheet, which allowed me to keep my business information organized. I even kept up with my customers and my email list. Every time someone ordered a book and entered their email into the system, Shopify kept the data and added it to my email subscribers list. I built up enough courage to send out thank-you emails, discount codes, and even gift certificates. The response was great. I gained sales and new customers. There is also a section to check on abandoned checkouts. If there are any abandoned checkouts, you can set up the system to automatically send them an email, reminding them to place their order.

I also started using the marketing options the platform offered. I connected my Facebook and Instagram accounts to my Shopify account and, from there, the system built marketing posts for me. All I had to do was add a little bit of information and approve them. Creating marketing campaigns was definitely a turning point in my business. I was able to track data through these reports; they break down every bit of information you will need to sell books. Once you make your marketing campaign, you will be able to see your online sessions from your campaign, your orders that are directly from your campaign, and your marketing costs.

There are also great analytics. When I click the Analytics tab, it takes me to the dashboard where I can get a more in-depth overview of my store’s activity. The dashboard has snapshot visual reports on my store’s total sales for the year, total online store sessions, my returning customer rate, total orders, and more.

Shopify has made placing books for sale, tracking inventory, and creating royalty reports so easy for me. For my publishing company’s needs, it’s a one-stop shop. If you’re struggling with any of these aspects, it might work for you, too. I would not have made it through the pandemic without it.

Crishna CD Murray is the CEO of Twin Attic Publishing House Inc., a publishing company located in North Carolina.

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