Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Social Networking Features That Online Bookstores Must Have

This is a feasible and advantageous proposition. Most of the Internet-based bookshops are yet to integrate social networking into their Websites. But for sure, they are mostly aware of the benefits they can reap from doing it.

If bookstores will offer social networking capabilities through their sites, their businesses will surely flourish more. It may not be an ambitious, tedious, or complex endeavor. To become useful social portals for students, online bookshops can focus just on these two social networking features.

Personal information

Online bookstores should start enabling students and customers to create online accounts with them. This way, students will just have to log in when finding and buying textbooks for more secured transactions. The feature will enable students to share personal information not just to friends but also to other students and book buyers in the network.

The information will be useful when students want to find others that share the same interests with them. It will automatically reveal purchase history and exclude transactions that users do not want to share to the public. The purchase history will be important for students finding other students who have bought the same textbooks or other books of particular interest.

This way, they can meet other students and get pointers, recommendations, and precautions. The interaction can start online and end up meeting in person. It may be hard to establish instant friendships but sharing same interests and background can set a good start.

Instant messaging

Of course, after checking out profiles of other students who have bought the same textbooks, a user can get in touch with them through instant messaging. He can send an email or engage other users into chat sessions. Thus, they can share insights, pointers, facts, opinions, and knowledge with each other instantly. Online bookstores can get more interactive.

Many students will also prefer Internet-based bookstores to install virtual clerks, who will be available for chat sessions or instant inquiries. Those in-store online clerks should be able to answer questions or make recommendations. However, this can be an added expense to those businesses because it means hiring additional staff, who should also be knowledgeable about the subject matter and about the books for sale to be able to be useful to customers.

Lastly, online bookstores are up 24/7. Students can log in anytime they can, anywhere are. They should be able to use the site as portal for connecting with other students who might help them through giving tips and information about the use and topics of their textbooks.

Jules Mariano is a full-time freelance search engine and social media marketing specialist and a web developer specializing in web content development. He is the co-founder of VPRO Digital Marketing. He currently writes for BookGator.

BookGator is a social platform where students, instructors, and student interest groups can work together to reduce cost of textbooks and education in general. Visit their site to learn tips in buying textbooks in an online bookstore.

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