Then I went inside.. about 8:00 there were at least double the normal number of people. Scattered throughout the store, reading books, kids saying "Mom will you buy me this?" and a few in costumes.
We see costumes in bookstores... and Friday night crowds.. so what was the big deal.
Once I figured out there wasn't going to be a place to sit, I retreat to the parking lot and noticed the other stores were doing well... I sat on a bench for sometime, taking in the sights, and "people watching"
After a while, I went and found some late dinner, and came back around 11:00 PM.
What a difference!
The other stores were closed.. but the parking lot was full.
Here's a lesson for us all. The managers of the other stores in the area must have known that the book was coming out. Some of them even have it for sale. I would seem to be an easy promotion to alter hours for the evening.. maybe put a few items out of the sidewalk, or even rent a tent and create some related specials.
The sales possibilities were there.. more important, this was a perfect opportunity to BOND with the community. Families there spending the evening, not wanting to take the kids home and risk falling asleep. And likely more would have been there, turned away by the crowd in the store (after all, most of us can survive 12 more hours and pick up the book the next day
A few minutes before Midnight, a truck pulled up and unloaded a lot more books.
Inside a manager stood on the counter with a bullhorn and made announcements. Most everyone there had already signed up some time before. (lesson, you can make a much large promotion if you organize it to build up over time).
Purchaser got a wrist band and a number. Those who signed up months ago got a lower number. (an added value with no real cost). They were buying into the experience. Barnes & Noble did discount the book, but not as much as Wal*Mart, and no doubt the book was easier to order at Amazon.com.
These people were there for the "big launch experience" (so was I)
With just a minute to go.. people arrived out of nowhere and the store must have had several times its' capacity. I snapped a shot as I ducked out the front door, and got mauled by the crowd passing me, pushing inside.
Finally got a comfortable seat at Starbucks and started listing my notes.. lessons one can learn from observing the event unfold.
I'll share them in short form below.. and elaborate in an article I'm working on for later today.
Things to learn from Harry Potter