The tale of the Dutch bookstore, the pivot and the Golden Pin

How did Bookstore Dominicanen pivot?

For the owner, Ton Harmes, the key was perseverance. With the store having to close during the busiest weeks of the year – right in the middle of the holiday season – they had to adapt to survive. Their staff and volunteers immediately started delivering books by foot, bicycle and car. They also set up a takeout counter (offering click and collect online) and when numbers of visitors were limited, they decided to launch a pop-up store: Do(mini)canen.

Online, they invested heavily in their visibility on Google and in their social channels to keep in touch with their customers. Prioritising keeping their Business Profile on Google Maps and Search up to date, they were always able to indicate the changes in shopping times and services. Every change was immediately visible for their customers. They also started streaming book presentations and interviews with writers live on YouTube and communicated a lot more through all social media to keep customers informed.

Ton is convinced that the internet will continue to play a role in their business operations now they have reopened. Speaking to The Keyword he said, ‘We realized that with a million visitors a year, it seems like you don’t really need these ‘modern developments’. But when we closed it was suddenly dead quiet in the store. Then we realized how vulnerable we are if we rely solely on in-person customers and that we have to develop our digital channels faster. We now see online, even after corona, playing an increasingly important role in our contacts with customers – for both engagement and actually finding us. Our YouTube channel has received a boost and we keep reaching out to customers through our social channels. The crisis has really caused a change in our mindset.’

The Golden Pin Award has been given a special place in the store and serves as a reminder for the perseverance and pivoting that had to be done. Their ability to continue to conduct business through the worst of it is down to what Ton refers to as ‘Haw Pin’: Hold on.