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Waterstones Saving the Largest British High Street Bookstore Rachel Wheat N0249105 Research Project Stage One FASH30004 Tutor: Yvonne Richardson


1.0 Introduction

4

5.0 Consumers

Report Objectives

7

Rationale

7

2.0 Methodology

8

6.1 History

34

Primary Research

10

6.2 Brand Values

34

Secondary Research

10

6.3 Current Position

36

Limitations

10

6.3.1 SWOT and Finances

37

12

6.3.2 Retail Space Analysis

38

3.1 PESTLE Analysis

14

6.3.3 Online Platform Analysis

39

3.2 Book and E-Book Market

15

6.3.4 Previous Employee Comments

39

3.2.1 US Book and E-Book Market

16

3.3 Magazine Market

17

3.0 The Market

4.0 Trends

Consumer Trends by Generation

28

6.0 Waterstones

6.4 Consumer Segmentation 7.0 Competitors

30 32

40 44

19

7.1 Amazon

46

4.1 Social Networking and Engagement

20

7.2 Barnes and Noble

48

4.2 Interactive Customer Service

21

7.3 WHSmith

48

4.3 Decline of the High Street

23

7.4 Other Competitors

49

4.4 Concessions

23

7.5 Retail Spaces

50

4.5 Clanning

24

7.6 Online Platforms

51

4.6 Escapism

26

8.0 Summary

52

4.7 Citizen Brands

27

Appendix

56

Waterstones Introduction Methodology Market Trends Consumers Waterstones Competitors Summary

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Part One

Introduction


Fig 1.

Fig 2.

Waterstones Introduction Methodology Market Trends Consumers Waterstones Competitors Summary

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This report will outline the research necessary to produce a marketing and communications strategy that will help to protect the Waterstones brand. A decline in the British high street and the rise in online retailing has led to a social shift which brands must follow suit; consumers want the “service, brand or company they are dealing with to change with them” (Raymond, M, 2003, p15) and they are looking to purchase from those brands that they perceive to be meeting these needs. The report will progress into the analysis of consumer lifestyles, using both primary and secondary research, and in-depth research into the consumer market, including current and future market trends with case studies of competitors and other successful brands. This will culminate in a series of conclusions and recommendations for the next stage of the project and an indication as to whether further research is needed before the production of a finalised strategy from these recommendations.

Report Objectives • Examine the UK market and the trends and policies effecting it. • Analyse the book and e-book market and its future, both in the UK and USA. • Understand the current, and potential, consumer segmentation of Waterstones. • Establish consumer opinion on the Waterstones brand and their current platforms. • Look to competitor brands for successful and unsuccessful strategies. Rationale The project has arisen from the rise in popularity of e-books, particularly throughout summer 2012 with 50 Shades of Grey becoming the best selling e-book (Singh, A, 2012, Online). This, along with a trend suggesting a decline in the British high street (Channel 4, No Date, Online) has led me to look at how books, and specifically bookstores, can survive under these market conditions. As the largest chain of specialist bookstores in the UK (O’Connor, C, 2012, Online) a project on Waterstones allows for strategies that will find a competitive edge both online and on the high street.

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Part Two

Methodology


Primary research will be used to analyse current consumer opinion of Waterstones and the issues that it may face in the present or future climate. An initial questionnaire will canvas 200 consumers, investigating their lifestyles and buying habits in areas such as online retail and how reading currently fits into their lives; assessing whether Waterstones is still a relevant brand to consumers. To ensure a wide sample I have segmented the respondents into age categories via the generations outlined by William Schroer (Schroer, W, 2004, Online), questioning 40 consumers from each segment, 20 male and 20 female. This will be followed by more in-depth interviews with 4 respondents from each age segment, 2 male and 2 female, to gain more detailed knowledge of what they are looking for from brands. These respondents will also be asked to complete a store mapping analysis, asking them to fill in a blank store layout, to seek what are the most important areas within stores. Finally my primary research will also consist of a retail diary, analysing how different areas of Waterstones stores are used, and which are the most popular.

Secondary research will surround the current market situations and potential future trends that may impact upon Waterstones and their strategies. Books, journals and online sources will build a foundation of knowledge on the British high street, online retailing and Waterstones at present. These sources will also analyse the current situation of Waterstones’ competitors and find if there are any lessons to be learnt from them. Furthermore databases and reports such as Mintel and GMID will assess consumer lifestyles and future trends in retail. There are limitations to this methodology, namely the sample size of my questionnaire. Whilst 200 participants is a high number, they are spread over a wide range of ages and this number is therefore not proportionate to the number of consumers in the UK. Furthermore due to the timings of this project the questionnaire, subsequent interviews and the retail diary may see elements of bias due to the Christmas shopping season, however I have attempted to combat this through the questions asked, and the length of time spent compiling the diary.

Waterstones Introduction Methodology Market Trends Consumers Waterstones Competitors Summary

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Fig 3.

Waterstones Introduction Methodology Market Trends Consumers Waterstones Competitors Summary

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Part Three

The Market


3.1 Market Analysis Political • Child benefits have been reduced for a number of families and removed altogether for others (BBC News, 2013, Online) which may lead to a reduction in spending. Economical • 25% of consumers state that the economic downturn has had a major impact upon their lives (Mintel, 2011, Online). • VAT rose from 17.5% to 20% in January 2011, however it is predicted this may rise to 25% (Ross, T, 2012, Online). Social • In the UK and internationally society faces an aging population, with a forecast that the number of people over 60 will surpass one billion within a decade (Spillius, A and Ryall, J, 2012, Online).

Technological By 2014 only 40% of shopping will be done on the high street in Britain (Channel 4, No Date, Online). Legal All marketing and advertising must meet standards and laws set by the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA). Environmental A German agency has created a software scanning application that allows users to scan a product barcode and find out its ‘green’ information (Edmundson, D, 2010, Online). For Full Analysis see Appendix 1.

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3.2 Books and EBooks Market The consumer book market in 2012 is estimated to be worth around £1.7billion (Mintel, 2012, Online), with e-books expected to form approximately 15% of this total (Mintel, 2012, Online). The market is also expected to grow in the next 5 years with a predicted value of £1.8billion in 2017 (Mintel, 2012, Online) due to an increase in e-book sales, the convenience of purchasing books and an added attraction to male consumers with the increased use of technology in reading (Mintel, 2012, Online). However, the market is still at a 3.5% level of decline from 2007 (Mintel, 2012, Online) and the UK recession has led to a decrease in the amount of money consumers have to spend on discretionary items including books (Mintel, 2012, Online). Potential opportunities within this market include the possibility of allowing consumers to browse books in store and then purchase the e-book version using store WIFI, an idea that is currently popular with 12% of consumers (Mintel, 2012, Online).

12% would also be interested in the possibility of buying a bundle of an e-book and print book together for a discounted price (Mintel, 2012, Online) an opportunity that is yet to be acknowledged by retailers. An increase in the usage of public transport (Miller, R, 2012, Online) and a rise in the number of people attending higher education (Willits, D, 2013, Online) may also provide opportunities for the book and e-book market (Mintel, 2012, Online). Despite the rise in sales of e-books, 52% of consumers still prefer to own and read print books (Mintel, 2012, Online), with 41% stating that they “collect books and keep them on bookshelves” (Mintel, 2012, Online) and 49% enjoy browsing in a bookshop (Mintel, 2012, Online). This indicates that consumer interest is still high in print books, with consumers seeing this as a form of escapism from the ‘screen age’, (Mintel, 2012, Online) and e-books are not likely to threaten their existence, but may attract more consumers to reading.

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3.2.1 USA Books and EBooks Market In 2010 the book market size in the USA, formed of print and electronic sales at consumer prices, was $27.95billion (Wischenbart, R, 2011, Online), however the market is predicted to stay relatively flat between 2011 and 2016 with consumer spending remaining at this level (Owen, L, 2012, Online). Despite a decline in print book sales, this will be offset by a rise in e-book sales (Owen, L, 2012, Online) with consumers potentially switching the way that they read. For brands in the US it is therefore essential that they are providing consumers with both options; Barnes and Noble saw the sales of digital content grow by 140% between 2010 and 2011 (Wischenbart, R, 2011, Online).

E-Books in the US market are set to pose more of a threat to print book sales than is currently predicted in the UK; by 2016 it is estimated that 50% of the US book trade market will be formed of e-book sales (Owen, L, 2012, Online). At present they form around 23% of sales (Publishing Perspectives, 2012, Online) but 50% of ebook buyers have stated that they have cut back on their purchases of printed books (Wischenbart, R, 2011, Online). Recent articles however suggest that the rise in ebook sales may not be as steep as initially predicted, as “while e-book purchases continue to expand, US e-book growth has declined considerably� (Publishing Perspectives, 2012, Online), therefore it is essential that a choice in products is maintained by brands, with it being unclear the level at which e-books will rise over print.

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3.3 Magazine Market In terms of volume of distributed copies, the magazine market in the UK has declined by 28% between 2006 and 2011 (Mintel, 2012, Online), with digital revenues currently sitting at around 8.2% of total revenues (Mintel, 2012, Online). This total is predicted to rise to 15% of revenue within the next two years (Mintel, 2012, Online). At present, 65% of magazine readers state that they prefer print copy magazines to digital (Mintel, 2012, Online) but this is a drop from the previous year. Around 50% of consumers say that they read print magazines, a drop of 4% for men since 2011 and 11% for women (Mintel, 2012, Online), suggesting that there may be more strength in the male magazine market. However, it is women’s magazines, monthly and weekly combined, that form almost half of all print magazines distributed (Mintel, 2012, Online).

The most resilient magazine titles are news and current affairs (Mintel, 2012, Online); however monthlies for both men and women are surviving better than their weekly counterparts as consumers head online for free gossip (Mintel, 2012, Online). Opportunities within this market are centred on the creation of digital content and brand expansions with magazines such as Vogue and GQ launching their own restaurants and bars (Mintel, 2012, Online). An opportunity is present in the providing of subscription services for magazines, as at present only 24% of men’s magazine readers are subscribers and just 16% of women’s (Mintel, 2012, Online). Finally, there is opportunity surrounding tablets and men’s magazines, 60% of male tablet owners are already readers of either print or digital forms of men’s magazines or current affairs magazines (Mintel, 2012, Online), demonstrating that there is scope for a mass of digital content in this area.

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Part Four

Trends


4.1 Social Networking and Engagement Social Networking sites are now accessed by 76% of internet users (Mintel, 2012, Online) with visitors coming from sources including personal computers (97%), smartphones (44%) and tablets (17%) (Mintel, 2012, Online). The recent Philips report predicts that in the future technology will become embedded into our everyday lives; we will not consume it in the same way (Green, J, 2012) and so it is of increasing importance that brands understand how to successfully communicate in this way. Social technologies have also encouraged a community attitude (Green, J, 2012) and in terms of brands this can be manipulated to encourage their own communities. In 2012 Innocent were named the top social brand (Macmillen, G, 2012, Online) and stated that it was their desire to forge “actual relationships� with their consumers that led them to create successful social channels (McEwan, J, 2012, Online).

Fig 4. Amazon Recommendations

Fig 5. Innocent Facebook Page

Furthermore Richard Branson states the importance of social media in receiving real time consumer feedback, whilst also allowing customers to receive more immediate responses from the company (Branson, R, 2012, Online) further encouraging customers to feel a connection with the brand. Waterstones should consistently look to build relationships with their consumers, who are looking for brands to understand them and see them as individuals (Raymond, M, 2003). In order to do this, Amazon have created recommendation pages, based upon previous purchases with these products then being emailed to consumers (Amazon, No Date, Online). Similarly, John Lewis send targeted emails to their customers featuring a product that the consumer may have been recently viewing, a strategy that has led to the emails contributing a six figure turnover (Velo, No Date, Online). 20


4.2 Interactive Customer Service Technology is being implemented by brands in order to improve levels of customer service and experience in-stores. One method of this is using technology to advise consumers, this may be through services such as connecting consumer-toconsumer to provide reviews on products or services (PSFK, 2012, Online), or brand expert-to-consumer services such as Needle (Needle, No Date, Online). InStore processes can also be introduced whereby staff train or coach consumers how to use their new products either whilst in-store or post-purchase (PSFK, 2012, Online). Furthermore, methods such as contactless payment technologies (Brooks, D, 2012) are encouraging a more positive consumer journey as are stores providing staff with IPads or other devices that can find stock in other locations or online that may not be available in-store (Brooks, D, 2012).

Fig 6. IPad in Make-Up Store

The implementation of more interactive customer service has seen positive support from primary research, with one consumer citing an experience they had had at John Lewis, where a member of staff had an item in their size delivered to her home, through the use of an IPad in store (for full questionnaire findings see appendix 2). To further this, a number of stores are creating static “browse and order” (Brooks, D, 2012) points where consumers can search online for a wider range of products themselves. A number of stores have created e-boutiques within their stores, for example Republic, who recently refurbished their Leeds store adding touch screens offering access to online content and further product choice (Brooks, D, 2012). Brands should not limit stock to become ‘store only’ to attract consumers to stores, instead this is more likely to cause resentment and does not show the brand adopting the multi-channel approach that is desirable at present (Morrell, L, 2012, Online). 21


“Relationship marketing is too much about the relationship that the producer wants and very little about the relationship that the consumer requires� (Szmigin, I, 2003, P14)

22


4.3 Decline of the High Street By 2014 it is predicted that only 40% of total retail spending will be on the high street (Channel 4, No Date, Online). A number of factors have impacted its decline including the recession, a cut back on household spending and the impact of online shopping (Otvos, P, 2011, Online). Online companies are able to sell the same stock, at a lower cost, with less overhead costs such as rent. In response to this trend in the USA there has been an increase in large, warehouse style stores that have free Wi-Fi where consumers can order products online (Kollewe, J, 2012, Online). This idea is set to role out internationally and Tesco have already announced that they are to launch this within their stores in the UK (Kollewe, J, 2012, Online). It is predicted that within the next five years, 40% of stores on the high street will be forced to close (Kollewe, J, 2012, Online) and that to remain competitive, retailers will need to reduce their property portfolios by 30-40% (Kollewe, J, 2012, Online). There is some level of optimism for the high street in that both the government and consumers are aware that there is a problem and are exploring a number of different solutions (Otvos, P, 2011, Online). However it is predicted that “changing shopping habits mean many high streets will not return to their past glory once the economy recovers� (Cripps, P, 2012, Online), as consumers will not return to the high street if they now shop online.

A multi-channel approach is therefore essential for brands, with each channel ensuring the creation of loyal relationships between brands and consumers and an ease of service. 4.4 Concessions Concessions are becoming an increasingly popular way for businesses to maintain or establish a position on the high street. At present Waterstones stores manage concessions for stationary brands such as Paperchase (Berwin, L, 2010, Online), as well as cards and book related accessories such as bookmarks. In department stores, 40% of consumers stated that the different concession areas made the stores fun to look around, even if they were not planning a purchase (Mintel, 2012, Online) and 68% stated that they liked the level of choice available (Mintel, 2012, Online) within these stores. Personal consumer research found that there was an interest in concessions within stores, particularly Waterstones, as it gave them added reason to visit (for full results see appendix 2). A potential weakness of the Waterstones brand may be their limited product range, meaning that there is little footfall for the stores in comparison to other competitors at present. Additional concessions within stores may therefore attract more potential consumers, as well as providing relationships with other businesses. 23


4.5 Clanning Clanning is a trend predicted by Faith Popcorn that surrounds the idea of people grouping together and forming communities with the belief that “the more fragmented our identities and fractured our days, the more we need to ground ourselves” (Popcorn, F, 1996, P66). Communities can be defined and created by a number of different criteria including geographic location, similarity of interests or a common cause. These communities have already begun to emerge in our everyday lives, particularly the notion of “virtual clanning” as described by Popcorn (Popcorn, F, 1996, P67) through social networking and forum sites with 48% of social networking users describing that they use sites to “join groups of personal or professional interest” (Mintel, 2012, Online).

Brands such as Jack Wills encourage a community mentality by targeting a specific segment of society, however part of the formation of this community involves alienating other consumers; for some this encourages an aspiration element to the brand, for others, hatred (Knight, O, 2010, Online). Popcorn suggests that bookstores may become a centre for clanning whereby the “warm atmosphere makes people feel secure enough to talk to one another” (Popcorn, F, 1996, P67); consumers feel that other visitors will be there to browse similar titles and are reasonably literate, therefore making them feel safe in that environment (Popcorn, F, 1996, P67). Furthermore, competitor Amazon is “yet to combine individuals into communities” (Parkin, G, 2009, P61), providing Waterstones with an opportunity to forge innovative and strengthened relationships with their consumers that competitors do not have.

Fig 7. London Riots Clean Up

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“A warm atmosphere makes people feel secure enough to talk to one another, consumers feel that other visitors will be there to browse similar titles and are reasonably literate, therefore making them feel safe in that environment” Faith Popcorn on ‘Clanning’ Bookstores (Popcorn, F, 1996, P67 )

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4.6 Escapism Escapism is a key trend that is becoming important for consumers, for them, “quality of life is more important” (Popcorn, F, 1996, P223) than titles at work or other exterior pressures. Despite the recession there has been an increase in gaming and stability in the holiday and tourism industry (Tuttle, Z, 2012, Online) indicating that consumers are looking to escape from life’s negativity by providing a balance. Tuttle states that experiences are what appeal most to this consumer and 80% of consumers have stated that “brand experience is the single most important factor for repurchase” (Tuttle, Z, 2012, Online). However, only 26% suggest that they have had unique brand experiences previously (Tuttle, Z, 2012, Online), a potential opportunity for Waterstones. Martin Raymond describes a future of escapism in The Tomorrow People under the title ‘Slo-Gro – Life in the Quiet Lane’ whereby consumers are returning to a more local mentality and looking for quality moments (Raymond, M, 2003, P239).

Fig 8.

In brands they are looking for strong relationship management and the notion of being a good neighbour (Raymond, M, 2003, P240) and in-store, the addition of a “chill area” (Raymond, M, 2003, P241) will be a positive. It has also been suggested that consumers see print books as a way of escaping the screens that have come to take over in many aspects of life (Mintel, 2012, Online) and it is therefore likely that bookselling will not rely purely on e-books in the future (Mintel, 2012, Online).

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4.7 Citizen Brands An increasing distrust in large multinational corporations will lead to a trend for the creation and emergence of “citizen brands” (Raymond, M, 2003, P21); brands who are ethically responsible in all areas of their trading and who are open, honest and trusted. Consumers desire more social responsibility across all areas of their lives and this provides the central idea for the predicted “save our society” trend by Faith Popcorn that highlights how recycling has already become an important part of our lives and considers what is next (Popcorn, F, 1996, P312). In 2003 it was reported that 50% of consumers agreed with the statement “you can’t trust large multi-nationals nowadays” (Raymond, M, 2003, P7) and it is suggested that a key objective for marketers should be to make their company think, act and look smaller (Popcorn, F, 1996, P305). This may involve appealing to a consumer’s individual needs by personalising the service provided to them. It is also predicted that in the future, brands will be expected to offer solutions and services, not simply products (Green, J, 2012) and these ideals can be manipulated to focus around ethical values and causes.

The full extent of ‘citizen brands’ may be that ‘trustmarks’ are created and brands must hold one in order to be able to trade. These brands will be judged by consumers and a league table created to show the most successfully ethical brands (Raymond, M, 2003, P24). Whilst this prediction may not be realised within the near future, it is important for Waterstones to begin assessing the importance of their ethics and whether they should adjust their current values and methods of business. This will then ensure the brand is trusted by consumers if these changes are made and may also provide them with an advantage over competitors such as Amazon, whose consumer loyalty has been affected by recent scandals (see section 7.1). To ensure consumers are aware of these values, Raymond suggests the release of a “360 degree report” on an annual basis to reassure consumers that all business practices are ethical (Raymond, M, 2003, P236). 27


Part Five

Consumers


Generation Z The Generation Z consumer is under 18 and has therefore been brought up with the digital age; it is then likely that interactivity with digital media will be integrated within their lives. They crave constant and immediate feedback (Looper, L, No Date, Online) which may also lead to them wanting constant interaction with brands, leaving them feedback. It is their instinct to rely upon speed rather than accuracy (Looper, L, No Date, Online) and therefore brands may need to provide convenient options for these consumers. Generation Y Aged between 18 and 30 Generation Y have been brought up with the belief that everyone should be confident within themselves (Nagle, S, 2011, Online) and they are looking for products that allow the user flexibility and the option to slow down (Nagle, S, 2011, Online). However, they are also impatient, and want these products now (Fishman, A, 2012, Online). This generation trust word of mouth reviews of products and brands, particularly those of their best friends, who they are likely to shop with (Fishman, A, 2012, Online).

Finally, this age group are looking for experiences (Fishman, A, 2012, Online), whether this may be in-stores or general life experiences. Generation X Generation X are defined as those currently aged between 31 and 46, and are known to be cynical and self-reliant (Fishman, A, No Date, Online. They are looking for a simple life and look to products and services that work and are reliable. In order to market to Generation X an air of trust and reliability must be created, as they trust a brand more and more with each purchase. Brands must deliver on their promises in order to keep the Generation X consumer loyal (Fishman, A, No Date, Online). This consumer is looking for the lowest price option and is most likely to ask “what’s in it for me” (BBMG, 2011, Online) suggesting the need for loyalty schemes or points cards. Baby Boomers Aged between 47 and 66 the baby boomer generation is the first to see an increase in educational, social and financial opportunities (Value Options, No Date, Online).

They are interested in health and wellness, individual choice and community involvement (Value Options, No Date, Online); brands may reflect this through their values and ethics as well as their store environments. Brands should focus on creating good value to sell to this generation; they are willing to pay a higher price if they feel that they are receiving the best value (Williams, K and Page, R, No Date, Online). Post War The post war generation will be aged 67 or over and are consumers who are likely to trust tried and tested methods (Williams, K and Page, R, No Date, Online). This generation are often nervous of embracing the new and are distrusting of change (Williams, K and Page, R, No Date, Online). To communicate with this generation, brands should use formal language, both verbally and in written communications (Williams, K and Page, R, No Date, Online). They are also most likely to respond to marketing through traditional mediums (Williams, K and Page, R, No Date, Online).

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Fig 9. Fig 10.

Fig 12.

Fig 11.

Waterstones Introduction Methodology Market Trends Consumers Waterstones Competitors Summary

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Part Six

Waterstones


6.1 History Opening its doors for the first time in London in 1982, Waterstones has become Britain’s largest chain of high street bookstores with over 300 stores nationwide (Waterstones, No Date, Online). The flagship, Piccadilly store in London is the largest book shop in Europe; however each Waterstones store is unique. A stock-management system allows individual stores to promote products chosen by them, specifically for their customers, encouraging their strong relationship with them.

6.2 Brand Values Objectives: Become the lead retailer in the book industry both on the high street and online (Waterstones, No Date, Online); Provide a consistently high level of customer service; Drive more traffic to Waterstones.com (I Spy, No Date, Online). Mission: To be the leading bookseller on the high street and online providing customers the widest choice, great value and expert advice from a team passionate about bookselling. Waterstones aims to interest and excite its customers and continually inspire people to read and engage in books. (Waterstones, No Date, Online). Essence: A reliable and trusted bookstore who provide a wide range of products, for a wide range of consumers and have become a staple on the British high street. Tone of Voice: Trustworthy, Reliable, Passionate, Successful. Emotional Vales: Education, Passion, Intelligent, Local. Functional Values: Service, Responsible, Affordable.

Waterstones Fig 13.

Introduction Methodology Market Trends Consumers Waterstones Competitors Summary

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High Price Where Waterstones Aim to Be

Daunt Books Blackwells

Foyles

Middle Market – Currently Ruled by WHSmith

Independent Stores Waterstones

WHSmith

Narrow Range

Wide Range

HMV

The Book People Amazon

The Works Charity Shops

Low Price

6.3 Current Position In order to push the Waterstones brand forward it is key to assess their current position, both within the market and as a brand themselves. An understanding of their unique standing in the market and the strengths and weaknesses of the brand will help to create a strategy that plays to these strengths, but also assesses any weaknesses.

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Large Online Presence

Amazon

WHSmith

HMV The Book People

The Works

Narrow High Street Presence

Waterstones Blackwells

Large High Street Presence

Daunt Books Independent Stores

Where Waterstones Aim to Be Middle Market – Currently Towards Narrower Presence

Foyles

Charity Shops

Narrow Online Presence

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6.3.1 SWOT Analysis and Finance The Waterstones chain has seen multiple sales in its history, most recently to Alexander Mamut, a Russian billionaire, for £53million by the “cash-strapped HMV chain” (Wachman, R, Lea, R and Bowers, S, 2011, Online). In the 3 months prior to its sale, Waterstones had seen an 8% decline (Wachman, R, Lea, R and Bowers, S, 2011, Online) and had not seen a peak in growth since 2005 (Portas, M, 2012, Online). Under new ownership it is therefore essential for Waterstones to prosper. In the hiring of James Daunt it appears that the Waterstones chain is aiming to fit more of an independent model, potentially by reducing the number of stores or providing a more personal level of service for their customers.

Strengths • Waterstones is the largest specialist high street book chain in the UK with 300 physical stores (Waterstones, No Date, Online). • 63% of consumers prefer to shop in-store as opposed to online (for full questionnaire results see appendix 2). Weaknesses • Primary research has shown consumers think that Waterstones has become expensive and outdated (for full questionnaire results see appendix 2). • The brand is not seen as being a competitor in the online sector by consumers at present. Opportunities • Subscriptions for magazines in the UK are currently very low, with 24% of men’s magazines being subscribers and only 16% of women’s (Mintel, 2012, Online). • Only 40% of sales will be made on the high street in 2014 (Channel 4, No Date, Online), therefore there is opportunity for Waterstones to create a successful online business. Threats • E-book sales are continuing to show growth within the market (Mintel, 2012, Online). • Retailers are said to see a reduction of 30-40% of their property within the next 5 years (Kollewe, J, 2012, Online).

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6.3.2 Retail Space Analysis I have used primary research to analyse the ways in which Waterstones’ retail spaces are currently being used. My diary revealed that in the Nottingham store, it was the ground floor that was the most popular, consumers often looked at the charts and the books that were on 3 for 2 offers and either purchased or left, fewer visited other floors or areas to look for specific books. If customers did visit the other floors within the store it was often to visit the cafÊ upstairs, a popular feature within the store. In the Burton on Trent store, again it was the chart and offer books that were the most popular, as a smaller store this often meant that the downstairs till were busy. There may be some bias in that the diary was written during the Christmas shopping season and therefore people may be shopping for new titles specifically chosen by others. After Christmas there was a rise in customers visiting upstairs departments looking for titles alphabetically or of a specific genre; however the chart and offer books were still the most popular (full diary entries are outlined in appendix 4).

Waterstones must work on encouraging consumers to move throughout the store. Questionnaire results revealed that while consumers do prefer to shop in-store, they are put off by queuing and bad customer service. In addition the most important features for stores were competitive prices, customer service and extensive product choice (for full questionnaire results see appendix 2). To provide further evidence of consumer preferences in-store, I asked consumers from each generation to complete a store layout design, indicating if there are any additions that can be made to stores or highlighting the key existing areas. Younger consumers were interested in interactivity and were more focussed on new books, bestsellers and those books that were on offer. Others also showed a focus on magazines, or items that may provide footfall for Waterstones. Older consumers looked more to ideas of community and escapism, providing areas that would mean they were in store for longer. Waterstones must consider these elements to draw consumers away from online retail and in to their stores (for full store designs see appendix 5).

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6.3.3 Online Platform Analysis It is also essential to analyse the current online platforms of the Waterstones brand in order to assess whether they match consumer expectation and competitors’ reach. My consumer research has stated that social media connections with brands are not necessarily important to the Waterstones consumer (for full results see appendix 2) and therefore the brand should focus more on their website, without cutting the relationships formed on social media. Consumers described the current Waterstones website as “uninspiring”, “boring” and “nothing compared to Amazon”, however, the two sites are very similar in design and navigation. This therefore suggests that Waterstones are not necessarily considered by consumers to be a competitor in the online sector; rather than suggesting that they need a complete re-design. The promotion of their online capabilities must become a priority for the brand if they are to capture consumer interest and maintain a successful business in the decline of the high street. Does interacting with a brand via social media mean you’re more likely to purchase from them?

Yes

No

6.3.4 Waterstones Employee Analysis A number of leaders within the book industry have made comment in reference to how they feel Waterstones should progress into the future, many of them have worked at Waterstones previously, whilst others simply care about the future of Waterstones as a brand. Co-founder of Acaicia Avenue and former Waterstones marketing director Martin Lee feels that the chain should be cut to a maximum of only 50 stores, whilst others believe that at least half must close (Tagholme, R, 2011, Online). He also suggests a vision built around communities, fitting with the future clanning trend, and the creation of a buzz around the Waterstones website or a viral campaign (Tagholme, R, 2011, Online). Others see positivity in the hiring of James Daunt due to the success of his small chain of stores. David Roche the former Waterstones product director believes that the brand should attempt to replicate the “best of the independents’ model” by championing books, as they cannot compete on price (Tagholme, R, 2011, Online). Similarly, David McRedmond, former Waterstones operations director, suggests a return to core values but also a reduction in the offers provided in-store such as the 3 for 2, further promoting an independent store’s mind-set (Tagholme, R, 2011, Online).

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6.4 Consumer Segmentation Consumers are most often segmented by age, as those of the same generation are more likely to respond to similar messages and methods of communication. However, Waterstones are a cross generational company, with their products instead being segmented by genre. It is therefore of more value to assess Waterstones consumer segments by the products that are bought and their reading lifestyles, rather than the age of these consumers. Each segment may contain consumers from a number of generations who are interested in a variety of reading material or authors, however it is their habit, or how often they read, that leads them to become a member of this segment. The challenge for Waterstones is in attracting all age generations and all of their own consumer segments.

The Avid Reader It is the avid readers who form the base of Waterstones’ consumers; they read at any given opportunity including fiction, nonfiction and magazines. This consumer is the most likely to have an e-reader as they feel that it may offer them better value for money, however, they are also the group who feel the most loyal to print-books. Avid readers can be of any age group and read during their weekends and evenings. They purchase both in-store and online, looking for deals such as the 3 for 2 offers run by Waterstones. This consumer looks to competitions, similar authors and book clubs, such as the Richard and Judy book club, to find their future reading material; they may therefore be attracted by brands that can make these suggestions to them.

The Commuter The commuter is most commonly aged between 30 and 50 and may be male or female; they have busy and potentially stressful jobs that prevent them from being an avid reader. Instead they use their commute as a time for escapism or entertainment and therefore, reading. Commuters may buy books in-store or online, and are also likely to have an ereader or download e-books to other personal devices. This consumer bracket also forms the percentage of readers who choose to listen to audio books, that may also be purchased in-store or online. A commuter may be less concerned with a brand’s image or reputation than an avid reader - instead they look for an ease of purchase; it is this that attracts them to downloadable books.

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The Holiday Reader The holiday reader is one who is mostly likely to read during the summer or holiday times such as around Christmas. They may be of any age, and could also be formed of other consumer types such as the academic or the magazine reader, who feels that they have more time for reading during these periods. An offer such as the Waterstones 3 for 2 will attract this consumer who is not looking to purchase in large quantities, the select nature of these offers also provides them with a more guided or limited choice of products that may also be an attractive selling point. This consumer also buys online, but may be off-put by high shipping costs if purchasing more than one product at any given time.

The Academic Academic readers are mostly aged between 16 and 24 and read solely for the purpose of their academic work, meaning that their purchases are mostly restricted to term-time, the opposite of the holiday readers. They will not read a book, or journal, from beginning to end, instead choosing to skim information for its relevance to their particular needs. This group are the most likely to buy second hand products and may buy these at charity shops, or through online sellers such as Amazon. Their primary reasons for purchase are price and relevance; therefore consumer reviews may be an important factor in their buying decision. Some academic readers may also be holiday readers, restricting their reading for pleasure to times when they have fewer pressures.

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The Magazine Reader The magazine reader is likely not to describe themselves as a reader at all; aged between 14 and 30 they are also most likely to be female. Magazine purchases may appear spontaneous and sporadic; however they are often based around the same preferences and at regular intervals. Whilst the reader may not purchase at the beginning of the month or week they will purchase at a similar point within the magazine’s cycle and these purchases may seem random as magazines are often bought at supermarkets or newsagents alongside other purchases. Magazines are bought for a number of different reasons, varying on their content, including escapism, knowledge and community.

The Collector A collector may be of any age or gender, and the collecting element to their reading habit could refer to a number of different things. The collector group forms part of the 41% of internet users who agreed with the statement “I like to collect books and keep them on bookshelves� (Mintel, 2012, Online) and these collections could be built up of coffee table books, first editions, or those of a particular author. Books are most likely purchased from specialist book stores; however, if the consumer is looking for a particular title they may shop online if the product is unavailable in such stores.

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The Collector

The Avid

The Academic

Fig 14.

Fig 15.

Fig 16.

Fig 17.

Fig 18.

The Magazine

The Commuter

Fig 19.

The Holiday

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Part Seven

Competitors


7.1 Amazon Case Study Amazon has become the largest competitor for Waterstones and, as they are solely based online, are providing the same products at a lower price. Their aim is to stock the “Earth’s biggest selection” (Funding Universe, No Date, Online)! Consumers choose to purchase from Amazon as they were a cheaper alternative to high street stores, the site is easy to navigate, and they have a solid reputation in terms of reliability and service (for full questionnaire results see appendix 2). Around 10% of questionnaire respondents indicated that they owned an Amazon Kindle and that this was why they bought from the site. When questioned further the majority of them were unaware that ebooks could now be purchased from Waterstones. However, 18% of my respondents stated that they did not, or would not, purchase from Amazon; some did not have access to the internet, others preferred to purchase in-store, but some suggested that they did not like the company and trusted others more.

This lack of trust may come from the scandals that have faced Amazon recently including their tax avoidance in the UK (Myerson, J, 2012, Online) and the revelations that authors had been writing their own ‘customer reviews’ or paying others to write them (Vinjamuri, D, 2012, Online). A final competitive advantage Amazon has is that they sell second hand or used books and this provides consumers with an even cheaper option, particularly the ‘Academic’ consumer who is looking to purchase books at the lowest price possible. Looking into the future, Amazon have already stated that they are now selling more e-books than print books (Mintel, 2012, Online), and 70% of US ebook buyers purchase them from Amazon (Wischenbart, R, 2011, Online) suggesting a potential trend for the UK.

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Easy

Reliable Reviews Kindle Second Hand

Cheaper Saves my Details

Variety

Free Delivery

Amazon Word Map Based upon my Consumer Research For Full Questionnaire Results see Appendix 2

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7.2 Barnes and Noble Barnes and Noble are the largest bricks and mortar bookshop in the US (Garside, J, 2012, Online) and can therefore provide Waterstones with a successful brand to model themselves on. They also describe themselves as the “internet’s largest bookseller” (Barnes and Noble, No Date, Online) and are therefore placing themselves in direct competition with Amazon. The launch of the Nook e-device has contributed to a reduction in Amazon’s e-book sales from 90% of the market to 60% (Garside, J, 2012, Online). In the second quarter of 2011 Barnes and Noble saw growth of only 2% but their digital content grew by 140% and formed 19.5% of sales (Wischenbart, R, 2011, Online). Digital content may therefore be an important consideration for Waterstones in their future strategies. Furthermore Barnes and Noble have seen success in selling magazines, offering over 1000 titles (Barnes and Noble, No Date, Online), a further consideration for Waterstones.

7.3 WHSmith On the UK high street WHSmith form the largest competitor for Waterstones with 618 stores on “nearly every significant high street” (WHSmith, No Date, Online) and a further 619 travel outlets at locations such as airports and train stations (WHSmith, No Date, Online). They provide competition in both the book, ebook and magazine industries and are visited by 73% of the population each year (WHSmith, No Date, Online), stating “our goal is to be Britain’s most popular bookseller, stationer and newsagent” (WHSmith, No Date, Online). The company saw pre-tax profits for 2012 of around £100million (Neville, S, 2012, Online) and planned to open 35 stores in that time (Neville, S, 2012, Online). Furthermore within this growth they also saw a rise in book sales (Neville, S, 2012, Online) indicating that there are still possibilities within this market. WHSmith are also reacting to the future trends outlined in section 4.2 including the release of company reports on an annual basis and the launch of an exclusive Richard and Judy Book Club, encouraging a community feel and providing an example for Waterstones of how these trends can be implemented into strategies.

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7.4 Other In-Direct Competitors There are also a number of other, less direct, competitors to Waterstones such as specialist or independent stores like Blackwells, or charity shops selling second-hand books. John Lewis have recently also become a competitor by being the UK stockist for the Nook ereader device (Garside, J, 2012, Online) and, perhaps more surprisingly, McDonalds have become an indirect competitor by launching plans to give away books in their Happy Meals and other offers in association with WHSmith (Gye, H, 2013, Online).

Fig 20. WHSmith 20% off Everything – With Exceptions!

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Fig 21. All Saints Store Frontage

Fig 22. Marks and Spencer Store Frontage

7.5 Stand-Out Retail Spaces As part of my primary research I queried why it was that consumers choose to shop in particular stores and found that this was for a number of reasons (for full questionnaire results see appendix 2). For the younger male consumer interactivity and ingenuity are what attracts them to stores such as the Apple store. In comparison, the young female consumer is attracted to unique visual merchandising and impressive window displays at stores such as All Saints or Jack Wills who use their store environments to reflect the style and lifestyle of their consumers. Older consumers look to loyalty features such as points cards or schemes and cafes to attract them to stores. This consumer is also more attracted to customer service and knowledgeable staff; a positive for Waterstones who are said by consumers to already have great service in their stores. One store commonly mentioned by the older consumer is Marks and Spencer, who are described as a store that they would spend a lot of time in. As a crossgenerational company Waterstones must try and incorporate the elements preferred by old and young seamlessly within their stores without alienating either consumer group.

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7.6 Stand-Out Online Platforms As with the retail spaces it is also essential to understand what consumers look for online, including in e-commerce sites. When asked about their favourite sites online (for full questionnaire results see appendix 2), younger consumers were attracted by social interaction, listing sites such as YouTube and Pinterest as their favourites. Free shipping was described as a popular feature for e-commerce sites to hold and the personalisation of online service was also mentioned with the site Stylist Pick. Upon their first visit to the brand’s website, consumers are questioned about their product preferences and provided with a personalised show room indicating the products that may fit their style best, however, they can also access the full catalogue if they choose. A focus for Waterstones may therefore surround the creation of personal relationships with their consumers, particularly online. Older consumers were less specific about the sites that they preferred, instead listing attractive features as ease of use, navigation and good customer service. Already renowned for their customer service in-store, Waterstones should find a method of maintaining this standard online.

Fig 23. Pinterest Homepage

Fig 24. Stylist Pick Personal Showroom

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Part Eight Summary


The UK consumer book market is set to increase within the next five years and it is therefore essential for Waterstones to remain competitive within the market and understand the best direction for their brand. Consumers currently see Waterstones as a reliable, specialist brand that provides great service from knowledgeable staff. However, they feel it is one that is outdated and needs to provide more competitively priced options to compete with online rivals such as Amazon. A number of key areas for potential and opportunity can be taken from this research, such as the importance of e-books in the future of book retailing, the positives of creating communities, providing consumers with an escape and building loyal relationships between Waterstones and consumers. Online retail is also a key area of opportunity for the brand and may be vital to their future success. The difficulty for Waterstones remains the differences between the needs of the younger and older consumer, the brand must attempt to integrate both into their strategies due to the crossgenerational nature of their appeal.

Further Objectives • Establish how to create a digital platform for Waterstones that will compete with Amazon and others. • Ensure promotions that indicate the availability of e-books at Waterstones, as it is predicted that this is the future of the industry. • Question consumers on the likelihood for success of potential ideas and improvements for Waterstones. • Research more specific strategy ideas and provide case studies indicating their success. • Assess potential costing involved in the implementation of new strategies. • Outline a strong and cohesive marketing strategy for Waterstones that competes with other successful retailers and considers the implications that potential futures may hold. • Consider the key performance indicators that will assess the success of different strategies and outline how these can be used by the brand.

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Key Opportunities • The e-book market. • Expanding the Waterstones’ online platform. • Personalisation of service. • Creating communities. • Consumer engagement and relationships.

Key Challenges • Difference between the older and younger consumers. • Encouraging consumers to purchase Amazon’s product from Waterstones. • Decline of the high street and the rise in online sales.

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Appendix

1.Full Pestle 2. Questionnaire 3. Full SWOT 4. Retail Diary 5. Store Layout 6. Commentators Bibliography Tutorial Diary Ethics Forms


1.0 Full PESTLE Political • A recent policy has seen rail fares increase for 2013 (McGurran, D, 2013, Online), meaning a potential fall in the use of public transport, an important consumer set for Waterstones • Child benefits have been reduced for a number of families and removed altogether for others (BBC News, 2013, Online) which may lead to a reduction in spending Economical • The UK had the 6th largest global GDP ($2,248.1 billion) in 2010 (GMID, 2010, Online) • 25% of consumers state that the economic downturn has had a major impact upon their lives (Mintel, 2011, Online) • VAT rose from 17.5% to 20% in January 2011, however it is predicted this may rise to 25% (Ross, T, 2012, Online) • Fears are growing for a triple dip recession (Rickard Straus, R, 2013, Online) • Disposable household income is set to rise in 2013 (Glass, H, 2013, Online) Social • The UK unemployment level stood at 7.8% in 2010 (GMID, 2010, Online) • In the UK and internationally society faces an aging population, with a forecast that the number of people over 60 will surpass one billion within a decade (Spillius, A and Ryall, J, 2012, Online)

Technological • By 2014 only 40% of shopping will be done on the high street in Britain (Channel 4, No Date, Online) • 52.7% of consumers are using social networking sites (GMID, 2012, Online) • 62% of internet users also own a smart phone (Mintel, 2012, Online) • Tablets are the most wanted item for consumers within the next year (Mintel, 2011, Online) Legal • All marketing and advertising must meet standards and laws set by the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) Environmental • Waste production is in decline for commercial and non-commercial premises (Defra, 2011, Online) • In 2009 67% of all packaging was recycled (Defra, 2011, Online) • 39% of household waste was recycled in 2009-10 (Defra, No Date, Online) and is on the increase • A German agency have created a software scanning application that allows users to scan a product barcode and find out its ‘green’ information (Edmundson, D, 2010, Online)


2.0 Questionnaire Do you prefer to shop in-store or online? In-Store: 63% Online: 21% No Preference: 16% In-Store Stand Out Retail Space

Customer Service

Product Choice

Social Easy to Use Website

Stylish Website

Competitive Prices

Online

What do you look for in a retailer? Customer Service: 62% Competitive Prices: 86.1% Stylish Website: 12.7% Easy to Use Website: 41.8% Interactive Social Media: 6.3% Product Choice: 53.2% Stand Out Retail Space: 26.6% What do you dislike most about shopping in-store? Lack of Choice: 24.3% Queuing: 45.9% Bad Customer Service: 54.1% Just Easier Online: 16.2% Other: Too Busy, Easier to Navigate Online Easier Online Bad Customer Service

Lack of Choice

Queuing

What do you read? Non-Fiction Books: 47% Non-Fiction E-Books: 13% Fiction Books: 82% Fiction E-Books: 24% Newspapers: 54% Magazines: 73% Academic Books: 18% Academic Journals: 11%

Does interacting with a brand via social media mean you’re more likely to purchase from them? Yes: 24.8% No: 65.4% Don’t Know: 9.8% Yes

No


2.0 Questionnaire When do you read? Popular Responses: Holidays Term Time Evenings On my Commute (These responses helped to form my consumer segmentation for Waterstones)

What is your opinion of Amazon? Key Phrases: Easy, Cheaper, Second Hand, Reliable, Variety, Service, Kindle, Customer Reviews, Saves my Details, Free Delivery Approximately 18% Would Not Shop There Prefer to Shop In-Store Don’t Use a P.C. Don’t Like the Company Majority of responses to Amazon were positive, indicating that their range of products and free delivery were the main reasons for consumers to shop there. The recent scandals for the company do not appear to have had much effect on consumers, with only 3 mentioning them, however others simply stated that they did not like the brand. It is the consensus that Amazon provides consumers with a cheaper and easier option than many stores. Finally a number of consumers stated that they shopped there because they had bought, or been bought, a Kindle.

What is your opinion of Waterstones? Key Phrases: Expensive, Better Choice Needed, More Magazines, Like, Fine, Specialist, Knowledgeable Staff, Rarely, Variety, Reliable, Reputable, Café, Customer Service, Leading, Dated, Points Card “Sophisticated Version of WHSmith” “Old School, the Best” “Just Get Things Cheap From Other Places” “Like to Browse but Prefer to Get Books From Library or Friends – No Charge That Way” All consumers questioned had heard of Waterstones and a number respected them as a specialist, reputable bookstore. However, for many consumers they are considered an expensive option, whilst many choose to browse in Waterstones stores, they then purchase online or second hand from charity stores. This is particularly apparent in Academic readers and some Avid readers who cannot afford to always buy new. Many customers suggested that the brand should offer more promotions, whereas others believed that the brand needs more of a complete overhaul and rebrand. The strength for Waterstones lies in their customer service and knowledgeable staff, something noticed by a large proportion of those who shop there.


2.0 Questionnaire

Under 18 – Male 1. What is your opinion of Waterstones? It definitely needs to modernise a bit but I think people still like to shop there. 2. What improvements do you think should be made to Waterstones? They should try more to target a younger audience, maybe get a celebrity involved or something. 3. What is your favourite retail store and why? I like the gadget shop, just because you get to have a play with everything! 4. What is your favourite website and why? Apple’s website has a good design and good online assistance which I like. 5. What is your opinion of e-books? Do you own one? Would you? Erm, sometimes I read them on my IPad.

Under 18 – Male 1. What is your opinion of Waterstones? Just outdated really! 2. What improvements do you think should be made to Waterstones? Definitely need a more inspiring website and their stores should be redesigned to just be more interesting really. 3. What is your favourite retail store and why? I do most of my shopping online to be honest 3.1 How could brands attract you to stores? Maybe more interactivity, be a bit more hands on. 4. What is your favourite website and why? I use YouTube all the time to watch other people’s videos but I don’t really upload anything myself. I buy all my clothes from places like All Saints and Jack Wills. 5. What is your opinion of e-books? Do you own one? Would you? I think they’re good if you read a lot but I don’t so wouldn’t get an ereader or anything.

Under 18 – Female 1. What is your opinion of Waterstones? Wouldn’t really say it appeals to young people, like, I know my Nan shops there but I’d rather just go online. 2. What improvements do you think should be made to Waterstones? Eurgh, definitely the website, it’s really boring and nothing compared to Amazon! 3. What is your favourite retail store and why? Pandora, it’s so pretty and the staff are helpful and serve you personally. Also, when it’s busy they always organise the queue. 4. What is your favourite website and why? I love ASOS, I get all my clothes from there and they have free shipping – but I also like their blogs and marketplace. 5. What is your opinion of e-books? Do you own one? Would you? No, I don’t have one, they’re a bit expensive, but sometimes I download books onto my phone.

Under 18 – Female 1. What is your opinion of Waterstones? I really like the idea of a bookshop but I don’t shop at Waterstones because it is cheaper online, sometimes I go in to get ideas of things to buy though. 2. What improvements do you think should be made to Waterstones? They need more competitive prices, maybe they could offer second hand books or something? 3. What is your favourite retail store and why? I love All Saints! It’s really different and the stores always match the styles of the clothes – they stand out from other places. 4. What is your favourite website and why? Pinterest is my new addiction! I made my own wish list to send to my mum for Christmas! 5. What is your opinion of e-books? Do you own one? Would you? I normally buy fashion and style books so they wouldn’t really be the same on an e-reader.


2.0 Questionnaire 18-30 – Male 1. What is your opinion of Waterstones? Too expensive for titles that aren’t new 2. What improvements do you think should be made to Waterstones? They need second hand – that’s why I’d always use Amazon. 3. What is your favourite retail store and why? River Island – I just like the clothes, not bothered about staff or anything like that. 4. What is your favourite website and why? I go on YouTube every time I go online, I like that I can choose who I follow and can communicate with people who have similar interests. 5. What is your opinion of e-books? Do you own one? Would you? No, I don’t do a lot of reading but when I do it’s normally uni books from the library or second hand stuff off Amazon. An ereader isn’t really much use to

18-30 – Male 1. What is your opinion of Waterstones? Probably wouldn’t ever go there to be honest as don’t tend to buy hard copies of books. 2. What improvements do you think should be made to Waterstones? Downloadable books in store, or something like that would be pretty cool. 3. What is your favourite retail store and why? Has to be Apple stores, they have a cool design, helpful staff and you can have a go with everything without feeling that they want you to leave. 4. What is your favourite website and why? Not sure really, but I tend to like sites that are easy to use and you can get loads of different things at once. 5. What is your opinion of e-books? Do you own one? Would you? I’d read them on my IPad or phone or something, but I’m not sure how much they’ll catch on really.

18-30 – Female 1. What is your opinion of Waterstones? I like them as a brand and their 3 for 2 offers are good but online is taking over really and I think they’re getting left behind a bit. 2. What improvements do you think should be made to Waterstones? There’s nothing to attract you into going into their store over buying online. 3. What is your favourite retail store and why? Jack Wills is good in terms of decoration and style but sometimes I’m a bit of a granny and I like the café in M&S. 4. What is your favourite website and why? Stylist Pick is really interesting, you have your own showrooms based on questionnaire results – but then you can look at all the other products as well if you want. 5. What is your opinion of e-books? Do you own one? Would you? I do have a Kindle but I don’t use it very often. Prefer browsing in proper book shops and then you get offers like the 3 for 2. Ebooks aren’t really that much cheaper.

18-30 – Female 1. What is your opinion of Waterstones? It feels very traditional and heritage but they’re definitely expensive compared to online. 2. What improvements do you think should be made to Waterstones? Online book clubs or recommended reading so you have an idea of what to buy next. 3. What is your favourite retail store and why? I really like Ted Baker ‘cos their window displays are always amusing and they have a nice style in everything. 4. What is your favourite website and why? Has to be Twitter, I’m really nosey so it’s good to see what celebrities are up to, and brands I like too. 5. What is your opinion of e-books? Do you own one? Would you? I have a little book club with my friends so we normally get the books online as they tend to be cheaper. I would think about an e-reader but I’m not sure I’d use it enough.


2.0 Questionnaire 31-46 – Male 1. What is your opinion of Waterstones? Well established company who are reliable but they can be a more expensive choice. 2. What improvements do you think should be made to Waterstones? They need to maintain as wider selection as possible to compete with online retailers. 3. What is your favourite retail store and why? Argos – they do all of the work for you really, perfect man’s shop! 4. What is your favourite website and why? Play.com is free shipping which is a big appeal. 5. What is your opinion of e-books? Do you own one? Would you? Don’t have one and don’t think I’d get them either.

31-46 – Male 1. What is your opinion of Waterstones? They have a good selection of books but I don’t think they are very forward thinking so I don’t know how much longer they’ll last. 2. What improvements do you think should be made to Waterstones? Show progression into the future by focussing on e-readers and ebooks and online sales. 3. What is your favourite retail store and why? Wouldn’t really say that I have one! Not a huge fan of shopping at all, I usually try to get someone else to do it for me. 4. What is your favourite website and why? Ebay, good to get second hand items and they seem to have solid guidelines for if anything goes wrong, good customer service I guess really. 5. What is your opinion of e-books? Do you own one? Would you? I think that they’re just the inevitable future, I don’t have one at the moment though.

31-46 – Female 1. What is your opinion of Waterstones? I like the brand and how the large stores are welcoming with seating areas. 2. What improvements do you think should be made to Waterstones? They should enhance the seating areas by making little hidden corners. 3. What is your favourite retail store and why? The Waterstones in Nottingham is really good, lots of choice and areas to chill, but you also don’t feel pressured by the staff like in some stores but you know they’ll help if you need it. 4. What is your favourite website and why? John Lewis, it’s simple, easy to use and easy to find specific items using categories and refinements. 5. What is your opinion of e-books? Do you own one? Would you? I do have an e-reader, it makes my commute to work so much easier.

31-46 – Female 1. What is your opinion of Waterstones? They use great staff who are always helpful – I like that each store has its own selection of local books chosen by the staff. 2. What improvements do you think should be made to Waterstones? I would be interested in going to more book signings or workshops on writing or something of that nature. 3. What is your favourite retail store and why? I don’t really know, sorry. I tend to shop in places like Monsoon and Next. 4. What is your favourite website and why? I generally prefer to shop in-stores as I like the customer service you get there. 5. What is your opinion of e-books? Do you own one? Would you? I like the idea of reading a proper book at the moment too much to consider them.


2.0 Questionnaire 47-66 – Male 1. What is your opinion of Waterstones? I think it’s hard for them to compete now as stores are limited with stock and prices are seemingly higher. 2. What improvements do you think should be made to Waterstones? Better website to compete with Amazon. 3. What is your favourite retail store and why? Anywhere that’s easy to find what you want. 4. What is your favourite website and why? Amazon – everything is in one place, there’s free shipping and recommendations. 5. What is your opinion of e-books? Do you own one? Would you? I listen to audio books on my way to work but that’s about all the ‘reading’ I do.

47-66 – Male 1. What is your opinion of Waterstones? A solid high street store but they are sometimes expensive. 2. What improvements do you think should be made to Waterstones? They need cheaper options for people like second hand products. 3. What is your favourite retail store and why? I wouldn’t really say I have one, tend to just go wherever I need. 4. What is your favourite website and why? I use e-buyer because they have good customer service and have always been reliable. 5. What is your opinion of e-books? Do you own one? Would you? I think they’ll have to bring the prices down rather a lot before they become really popular or before I would consider getting them.

47-66 – Female 1. What is your opinion of Waterstones? They have good customer service and a wide selection, particularly in their bigger stores. 2. What improvements do you think should be made to Waterstones? They could do with ways of having a wider selection of products available. 3. What is your favourite retail store and why? I like Boots because they have lots of choice and the staff are always willing to help. I use the advantage card too, it’s the one most worthwhile having. 4. What is your favourite website and why? Littlewoods, the catalogue style is really easy to navigate. 5. What is your opinion of e-books? Do you own one? Would you? I’m getting an e-reader for Christmas – I think it’ll be good for going on holiday as it’ll save weight! But I also often get given paperbacks by friends.

47-66 – Female 1. What is your opinion of Waterstones? I always go there for holiday reading and I do have one of their loyalty cards but not sure I’ve ever used it. 2. What improvements do you think should be made to Waterstones? They could have a better loyalty scheme where you feel like you’re actually gaining something, maybe like the one at Boots. 3. What is your favourite retail store and why? John Lewis, last time I went the assistant was really helpful. They didn’t have a jumper I wanted in my size so she order me one from her IPad and it got delivered the next day! 4. What is your favourite website and why? I’ve used Monsoon before because you can collect in-store to save shipping costs and my daughter just downloaded the rewards tracker for me too. 5. What is your opinion of e-books? Do you own one? Would you? No, I only really read on holiday and usually just get 3 for 2 books from Waterstones and don’t know if they do that with ebooks.


2.0 Questionnaire 67+ – Male 1. What is your opinion of Waterstones? A nice store but for the amount we read it’s too expensive to always buy from there. 2. What improvements do you think should be made to Waterstones? A borrowing service would be great! 3. What is your favourite retail store and why? Marks and Spencer as we can get all we need from there, including food, and have a cup of tea! 4. What is your favourite website and why? I don’t go online at all but I think that a website that is easy to use is most important to people my age. 5. What is your opinion of e-books? Do you own one? Would you? I have no interest in e-books. Me and my wife are members of our local library and get most of our books from there.

67+ – Male 1. What is your opinion of Waterstones? One of my favourite places on the high street – there is never any pressure to speed up your visit or feel forced to purchase. 2. What improvements do you think should be made to Waterstones? If they had a café I would spend even more time there. 3. What is your favourite retail store and why? I like shops where you aren't pressured or bugged by staff. 4. What is your favourite website and why? I don’t really buy things online but I use Facebook to keep in touch with my Grandchildren. 5. What is your opinion of e-books? Do you own one? Would you? No, I think people will always prefer proper books.

67+ – Female 1. What is your opinion of Waterstones? I always buy my books from there, they have a good reputation and great staff. 2. What improvements do you think should be made to Waterstones? I think they’re great as they are now. 3. What is your favourite retail store and why? I actually like Waterstones as a store. 4. What is your favourite website and why? I don’t use the internet much but I think as long as it’s easy to use then I could use any website. 4.1 Does the design or style interest you? No not really, as long as it doesn’t effect the ease of use. 5. What is your opinion of e-books? Do you own one? Would you? I do a lot of reading but I don’t have one of those Kindles yet, I think I like holding a real book and folding the pages down.

67+ – Female 1. What is your opinion of Waterstones? They have great staff who are always knowledgeable. 2. What improvements do you think should be made to Waterstones? Definitely a café – maybe some kind of assistance for help with my Kindle. 3. What is your favourite retail store and why? I do like Marks and Spencer’s café, although it’s always busy, they do nice coffee and have lots of food. 4. What is your favourite website and why? I’ve used Amazon before and think it’s easy to find what you’re looking for. 5. What is your opinion of e-books? Do you own one? Would you? I do have an e-reader that my daughter bought me as a present but I find it a bit hard to use sometimes so I often still end up buying paperbacks. 5.1 Would you have preferred to buy the e-reader in a store so you could receive help, they are now available at Waterstones? Yes definitely, I didn’t even know Waterstones sold them!


3.0 Full SWOT Strengths • Primary research suggests that Waterstones are a well liked and respected brand, that were recognised by all consumers • Good customer service and knowledgeable staff were picked out by consumers as strengths of the brand and features that they remembered • Waterstones is the largest specialist high street book chain in the UK with 300 physical stores (Waterstones, No Date, Online) • Waterstones is “old school, the best” • 63% of consumers prefer to shop in-store as opposed to online (for full questionnaire results see appendix 2) Weaknesses • In the USA 70% of e-book buyers say that they purchase from Amazon (Wischenbart, R, 2011, Online) • Primary research has shown consumers to think that Waterstones has become expensive and outdated (for full questionnaire results see appendix 2) • The brand is not seen as being a competitor in the online sector by consumers at present • Waterstones are currently selling the Kindle device owned by Amazon therefore they are having to draw consumers away from buying the device with them

Opportunities • Subscriptions for magazines in the UK are currently very low, with 24% of men’s magazines being subscribers and only 16% of women’s (Mintel, 2012, Online) • Creating an enticing and successful store environment may draw more consumers away from e-commerce sites and into Waterstones’ stores • Amazon’s recent tax scandals may have lost them some consumer trust (Myerson, J, 2012, Online) which could be gained by Waterstones • Travel outlets have been extremely successful for WHSmiths, who have 619 outlets (WHSmiths, No Date, Online) • Only 40% of sales will be made on the high street in 2014 (Channel 4, No Date, Online), therefore there is opportunity for Waterstones to create a successful online business Threats • E-book sales are continuing to show growth within the market (Mintel, 2012, Online) • Digital content is likely to become the future for the magazine industry (Mintel, 2012, Online) • Retailers are said to see a reduction of 3040% of their property within the next 5 years (Kollewe, J, 2012, Online) • WHSmiths opened 35 stores in 2012 (Neville, S, 2012, Online) and have shown ambitions to be Britain’s most popular bookseller (WHSmith, No Date, Online) • John Lewis have been chosen to sell the Nook e-reader device (Garside, J, 2012, Online) meaning that Waterstones has another competitor on the high street


4.0 Retail Diary

9 November 2012 (Friday) Nottingham • Ground floor is the busiest, with most customers surrounding either the bestsellers or those books on offer. • One person waiting at the downstairs till • Proportionally the café is busy, however not to capacity • Majority of seating areas taken 16 November 2012 (Saturday) Burton on Trent • No staff available upstairs and till closed despite it being a Saturday • However not many customers upstairs • Downstairs tills busy and staff all busy • 3 for 2 books and bestsellers are the most popular

20 November 2012 (Wednesday) Nottingham • The downstairs bestsellers and 3 for 2 area is again, the busiest. However the whole downstairs is also busy with people browsing the genre areas • Children’s area is popular with lots of young children and their parents • Cookbooks section upstairs is fairly busy, but other areas are quieter • Paperchase concession is empty

29 November 2012 (Thursday) Nottingham • 3 for 2 area is crowded with shoppers, as are the chart and magazine sections • Till points are all manned, however the downstairs tills are the busiest – there are several members of staff on the shop floor available for consumers to speak to them • The upstairs areas are comparatively busy to how they have been previously, shoppers are browsing throughout the store 4 December 2012 (Tuesday) Burton on Trent • Store is comparatively busy, potentially due to Christmas shopping – I did observe that the cafes outside of the store are extremely busy • In store upstairs area is busy with older consumers, whilst downstairs is more popular with younger consumers, however there are fewer younger consumers • Busiest area is the general section downstairs, the chart is also popular 15 December 2012 (Saturday) Burton on Trent • Upstairs tills are open, both sets of tills are busy, leaving no staff on the shop floor • Whole store is busy with popular genres being the chart, cookbooks and celebrity books

19 December 2012 (Wednesday) Burton on Trent • Bestsellers are by far the busiest area – potentially with consumers buying presents • Upstairs till is closed but there is a member of staff there and several people browsing the different genres 28 December 2012 (Friday) Nottingham • Whilst the rest of town is busy, Waterstones is fairly quiet, they have no more promotions than they usually do – except in Paperchase concession which is comparatively busy • Café is busy with shoppers however upstairs floors have fewer browsers than downstairs 3 January 2013 (Thursday) Nottingham • Paperchase concession is busy with sales shoppers • More people browsing the general titles than before Christmas, rather than just the chart • Café is quieter than I have seen previously but some shoppers appear to come specifically for the café 12 January 2013 (Saturday) Burton on Trent • Long queue at the downstairs tills, however the upstairs is not in use • Small stationary area upstairs has several browsers, but there are few looking round the other areas upstairs • Lots of parents with their children in the children’s area


6.0 Commentators Source: Tagholme, R, 2011, Online

David Roche Consultant and former Waterstones' product director Congratulations to Dominic Myers for getting what I believe was a good price for Waterstone's and I wish James Daunt and everyone there well in their new guise; it would be a devastating blow not to have a national chain of dedicated bookstores. Waterstone's is still a highly regarded consumer brand that always scores highly in any high street surveys on service. The trend to try and replicate the best of the independents' model in chains has been in place for some time and was Borders' intention at one stage in its cycle. I still believe that it is the right one—if Waterstone's can't compete solely on price with its outriding competition of supermarkets and Amazon, then it has to compete on other grounds. Daunt's ability to champion and make a book is something that I think we will see transferred. How much radical change in the variables of cost, supply chain, support structure, online and property portfolio that will have to happen in parallel with the redevelopment in the excellence of bookselling, we shall have to wait and see. I expect James to take a little time to take stock of the numbers, the levers and the outlook, and then be decisive.

Philip Downer Consultant and former Borders UK c.e.o. Shopping as entertainment is not going to go away, but I do think it is going to polarise between around 80 large retail centres at one end of the scale, and genuinely local high streets on the other. There will be a group of locations in the middle that will be hollowed out—those town centres which are too big to get into easily for shopping, but not big enough to provide an appealing shopping "experience". They need to deliver a locally sensitive branch stockholding, which is more responsive to individual markets. Each shop should run as though it is "owned" by the staff and customers, while still maximising the financial benefits of a chain structure. It will be interesting to see to what extent Waterstone's explores a partnership/franchise model. The John Lewis model is frequently cited, but John Lewis' reputation is built on sales and service, whereas bookshops will have to be about "localness" in people and in title selection.

Joe Sinyor Private equity/emerging markets specialist and former Dillons m.d. I'm pretty pessimistic—the big book buyers have migrated to Amazon. Waterstone's has had that piece of the market cut off. Great service and great range don't necessarily play well in this new world: the whole market has moved on and there's no way of getting it back. It's a melting ice cube. If you close half the stores, your buying power and ability to advertise and market yourself are heavily compromised. It may be that the book trade goes back 20 years and you have a handful of big stores in places like Oxford, Cambridge, Glasgow, Edinburgh—but not in 300 locations. The margins will suffer—the problem with marginal locations is that when a piece of your business goes away, your costs don't go down. Where are the book buyers of tomorrow going to come from? This is the world of Kindles and iPads—they get their content by different means. Waterstone's begins to look a bit like a dinosaur. Anyone who buys it is doing it for love, not for profit.


6.0 Commentators Source: Tagholme, R, 2011, Online

Tim Coates Library campaigner and former Waterstone's m.d. It's very, very important that it survives in some form for the benefit of the reading public. You can't ignore what Tim Waterstone did in establishing the company, and you can't say that it has lost its value—the values that Tim Waterstone endeavoured to bring are eternal. You have to give the public what they want, and what they want is a vast range of titles cheaply and easily available. What you do is invest in range, range, range and stick it in front of people. If you fill the shops to the gunnels, people will love it. You have to put the books back in abundance—who-ever decided to have Monopoly and Cluedo at the front-of-store before Christmas is mentally deficient. The whole company isn't eccentric about stock in a way that it should be. You don't turn a bad bookshop into a bookshop by having a café. It's about stock, it always was and always will be. I did a check at Kensington when they re-launched. They only had one Jeanette Winterson title. They said nobody reads her anymore. Waterstone's should be saying, "of course we have it, and you'll love it". They've defended rather than attacked and not made as much as they could of the brand name. There was a generation of management which over-extended the chain. It needs to go back to around 100–150. I'd go back to the roots, the stores are too tidy and too modern.

Martin Lee Co-founder and strategist, Acacia Avenue and former Waterstone's marketing director The issue is in identifying communities of customer. I think you're talking about 30 shops, perhaps 50. The smallest of the original estate should now be the largest. From a branding and marketing point of view it needs to be around communities of like-mindedness and something viral. You have to have the online proposition as compelling as the branches, and that is not the case at the moment. No one says to me, have you seen Waterstone's website? If there were any buzz about it, you would know. I can imagine them surviving, but the audacity of decision-making will have to be unprecedented. It needs a new look. The new layout in Bath with the coloured signage is like an upmarket version of what Smiths was doing in the early Nineties. If it became smaller it would release it from trying to be something for everyone. The problem is that the business became bigger than the brand, and that isn't sustainable. Every consumer market has a small group who are obsessives —people who are immersive browsers and shoppers. Can you go back and serve that original market? It needs to become a business where the size of the brand and the size of the market are well matched.

David McRedmond TV3 (Eire) c.e.o. and former Waterstone's operations director With a brand like Waterstone's you have to get back to core values. Can Waterstone's provide value in an age where stock is ubiquitous on the web? The answer is that it's got to be around knowledge and recommendation. The beauty of retail is that you don't have to do the whole portfolio at once. You do it in one store, you get it right and then you roll it out. They need to go back to Tim Waterstone's original idea and make it feel personal. All the three for twos have to be ditched; it's extraordinary how long that has lasted. It's irrelevant to people. The value proposition of a bookshop is not about discount because you can get that elsewhere. Recommendation is ultimately the key to successful book retailing. But it has to be sincere and real. I think the stores became too large and to have stores like that isn't embracing the reality of the web and e-books. Customers are realistic, they know that if it's only 10,000 sq ft, it won't have everything. But it does have to be perfect and by that I mean they must want every book that's in that store. Get back to the core. Ban everything that isn't a book. Bring back the confidence. Waterstone's has to show a supreme confidence in books. It is one of the great brands, it's a great success story, whatever the current difficulties, and I think it deserves a well thought through and considered future.


List of Images

Figure One. A Good Bookshop. Available at: http://media-cache-lt0.pinterest.com/originals/e8/a6/e1/e8a6e19db20ee92423e4997c2618a008.jpg Figure Two. Books You Can’t Put Down. Available at: http://media-cache-lt0.pinterest.com/originals/a0/36/de/a036dee39ffc3c32371d8a8ea01f58ed.jpg Figure Three. Paradise as a Library. Available at: http://29.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lxqw3bycR81qj2u1wo1_400.jpg Figure Four. Amazon Recommendations Page. Available at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/yourstore/home?ie=UTF8&ref_=topnav_ys Figure Five. Innocent Drinks Facebook Page. Available at: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/innocent.drinks?fref=ts Figure Six. IPad in Make Up Store. Available at: http://www.suburbiaadvertising.com/getshoppers/ipad-just-getting-started-retail Figure Seven. London Riots Clean Up. Available at: http://www.zoekmachine-marketing-blog.com/10689/riotslondon-de-kracht-van-social-media-nogmaalsbewezen.html Figure Eight. Escape. Available at: http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lvl0daAoLt1qzgajlo1_500.jpg Figure Nine. Older Couple. Available at: http://imgfave.com/view/106163 Figure Ten. Jumping Friends. Available at: Pinterest Figure Eleven. Technological Desk. Available at: http://media-cache-ec2.pinterest.com/originals/1d/3b/2e/1d3b2e0b0bfa94310bde70ae18cc07d4.jpg Figure Twelve. “I’m on Facebook”. Available at: http://www.etsy.com/blog/en/2011/noted-the-entrepreneurial-generation/ Figure Thirteen. Words Cannot do Justice. Available at: http://lbbonline.com/news/waterstones-proclaims-the-pleasures/ Figure Fourteen. The Collector. Available at: http://www.shopthecaravan.tumblr.com/ Figure Fifteen. The Avid Reader. Available at: http://bookshelfporn.com/post/1984719995 Figure Sixteen. The Academic Reader. Available at: http://pinterest.com/pin/252412754085715357/ Figure Seventeen. The Magazine Reader. Available at: http://stilinspiration.se/ Figure Eighteen. The Commuter. Available at: http://www.lookatthesegems.com/2012/12/city-life.html Figure Nineteen. The Holiday Reader. Available at: Pinterest Figure Twenty. WHSMiths 20% Off Everything Voucher. Available at: http://media-cacheec1.pinterest.com/originals/60/f8/9f/60f89fc75cc897ba8a11c41baf079204.jpg Figure Twenty One. All Saints Store Frontage. Available at:http://browndresswithwhitedots.tumblr.com/page/39 Figure Twenty Two. Marks and Spencer Store Frontage. Available at: http://www.geraldeve.com/case-studies/marks-and-spencer.aspx Figure Twenty Three. Pinterest Homepage. Available at: http://www.pinterest.com Figure Twenty Four. StylistPick Showroom. Available at: http://www.stylistpick.com/showroom/


List of Citations

Section One Raymond, M, 2003, P15 Singh, A, 2012, Online Channel 4, No Date, Online O’Connor, C, 2012, Online Section Two Schroer, W, 2004, Online Section Three BBC News, 2013, Online Mintel, 2011, Online Ross, T, 2012, Online Spillius, A and Ryall, J, 2012, Online Channel 4, No Date, Online Edmundson, D, 2010, Online Mintel, 2012, Online Miller, R, 2012, Online Willits, D, 2013, Online Mintel, 2012, Online Wischenbart, R, 2011, Online Owen, L, 2012, Online Owen, L, 2012, Online Wischenbart, R, 2011, Online Owen, L, 2012, Online Publishing Perspectives, 2012, Online Wischenbart, R, 2011, Online Publishing Perspectives, 2012, Online Mintel, 2012, Online Section Four Mintel, 2012, Online Green, J, 2012 Macmillen, G, 2012, Online McEwan, J, 2012, Online Branson, R, 2012, Online Raymond, M, 2003 Amazon, No Date, Online

Velo, No Date, Online PSFK, 2012, Online Needle, No Date, Online PSFK, 2012, Online Brooks, D, 2012 Morrell, L, 2012, Online Szmigin, I, 2003, P14 Channel 4, No Date, Online Otvos, P, 2011, Online Kollewe, J, 2012, Online Otvos, P, 2011, Online Cripps, P, 2012, Online Berwin, L, 2010, Online Mintel, 2012, Online Popcorn, F, 1996, P66 Popcorn, F, 1996, P67 Mintel, 2012, Online Knight, O, 2010, Online Popcorn, F, 1996, P67 Parkin, G, 2009, P69 Popcorn, F, 1996, P67 Popcorn, F, 1996, P223 Tuttle, Z, 2012, Online Raymond, M, 2003, P239 Raymond, M, 2003, P240 Raymond, M, 2003, P241 Mintel, 2012, Online Raymond, M, 2003, P21 Popcorn, F, 1996, P312 Raymond, M, 2003, P7 Popcorn, F, 1996, P305 Green, J, 2012 Raymond, M, 2003, P24 Raymond, M, 2003, P236

Section Five Looper, L, No Date, Online Nagle, S, 2011, Online Fishman, A, 2012, Online BBMG, 2011, Online Value Options, No Date, Online Williams, K and Page, R, No Date, Online Section Six Waterstones, No Date, Online I Spy, No Date Online Waterstones, No Date, Online Wachman, R, Lea, R and Bowers, S, 2011, Online Portas, M, 2012, Online Waterstones, No Date, Online Mintel, 2012, Online Channel 4, No Date, Online Mintel, 2012, Online Kollewe, J, 2012, Online Tagholme, R, 2011, Online Section Seven Funding Universe, No Date, Online Myerson, J, 2012, Online Vinjamuri, D, 2012, Online Mintel, 2012, Online Wischenbart, R, 2011, Online Garside, J, 2012, Online Barnes and Noble, No Date, Online Garside, J, 2012, Online Wischenbart, R, 2011, Online Barnes and Noble, No Date, Online WHSmith, No Date, Online Neville, S, 2012, Online WHSmith, No Date, Online Garside, J, 2012, Online Gye, H, 2013, Online


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Waterstones: Research Project Stage One