Tips & Tutorial | Anurag Gupta | Last Updated: 2017-08-22
While scrolling through Google, trying to find ideas for a successful online business, one result that constantly popped up on my screen and grabbed my attention was setting up of an online books rental business.Undoubtedly, there has been a shift in the student behavior and they have turned their heads towards rental books in the past few decades. Initially, students rented books from the retailer, got them issued from libraries and some even borrowed them from their seniors or colleagues. However, times have changed now and students have become more tech-savvy. They desire to find everything online. So, starting an online book rental store would definitely be a great idea for a successful online business.
I decided to go for this business idea and began researching for a comprehensive guide for starting a textbook rental website. After days of constant research, I finally came up with the five step formula that would help anyone to set up an online book rental store. Given below is a cheat-sheet of the same. Have a look.
Understand Your Target Buyers
The first step towards creating an online book rental in India or anywhere abroad is to understand the target buyers. You need to know what category of audience you are targeting with your textbooks first. The buyer persona you've created would help you understand what type of books you require, when you require them the most and what type of marketing strategy you need for the promotion of your online books rental business. By knowing the type of buyer you want to target, you can easily comprehend the type of books you'll require and can move further in the process.
Identifying the buyers also helps you segment them further into the four broad categories, i.e., end-time exam students, competitive exam students, and the start of the year book renters. This would help you in the steps that follow like building and inventory and marketing your books on rent.
The next step in establishing an online books rental service is to perform a SWOT analysis. You need to understand the current market and analyze its Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats for your online book rental business before you start investing your time, energy and resources in it. The strength of your business could be that it saves efforts & time, and provides a variety of books under a single roof. Your weaknesses could range from poor website and ineffective marketing to low penetration of internet users or this service in your area.
The opportunities in textbook rental business could be the skyrocketing growth in online buyers while the threats could be high competition by established names or the shift towards e-books. You need to understand all these strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats before you take a step further with your business.
Get The Finances
Setting a strict budget and getting all the finances right is the next step of establishing an online book rental store. Although it is one of the most popular start-up ideas for small-sized businesses, it still requires a large inventory which, in turn, requires financing. The third step in building an online books rental store is to get the finances right. Although online book renting service does not cost a fortune like other online businesses, it still requires some financing for successful setting up of the business and collecting the required inventory of books.
There are a number of ways that entrepreneurs or small-sized businesses can get the necessary funding for starting their business and manage their finances perfectly. Crowdfunding, online lenders, bootstrap funding etc., are some of the most agreeable ways to get the finances for starting your online book rental business.
Build Inventory And Launch
By now, you've understood your target audience, segmented them, performed a SWOT analysis and have all the finances with you. It's time you take the fourth and the biggest step of your business, i.e., building an inventory of books. Many online book renting stores start with renting the books that they already own. However, in order to have a successful launch, it is important that you have as many books as possible to cater all the book needs of the readers. You can tie up with all the universities in India and connect with the suppliers of these books.
Once you've built your inventory to rent books online, its time for a successful launch. You need to understand the latest web design trends and follow them in your online book rental website. The theme should be bookish and if possible make it available in various regional languages if you are planning to rent regional language books as well. Choose the most payment gateway and offer a number of options to make the payment. You can approach a good website designing company and discuss with them about your business to get a website created with professional expertise.
Create A Marketing Strategy
Having an effective marketing strategy is a must to gather more traffic to your online book renting website. Digital marketing is the most result-oriented way to reach out to a large populace without investing much efforts and resources. Optimizing for search engines would be a great way to rank higher and gain more visibility on various search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing etc.
You can also hire content marketing professionals who understand the latest trends and would do it right to get a higher ranking. Social media marketing by promoting your rental books on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest would be another good way to get your online book rental store out to the public.
The last step is to keep measuring and analyzing the success of all your efforts time and again to ensure that none of your efforts are going in vain. Once you've established your business using the steps discussed above, keep on examining the user demand and expand your online business to cater all their needs.
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