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Online Bookseller Uses Surveys to Create Virtual Bookshop Assistant

Online Bookseller Uses Surveys to Create Virtual Bookshop Assistant

At Inpress, it’s our mission to build the United Kingdom’s largest online store of artisan, literary books and magazines, and make them all available to anyone, anywhere in the world.

We stock over 4,000 books, pamphlets and magazines – from poetry to fiction, history and biography to art and photography – from 40 of the leading independent publishers in the UK and Ireland.

When we were planning our new website (launched in March 2012), one of the features we were most excited about was our Virtual Bookshop Assistant.

You know the score: you find something you’d like to buy online, but the related products the store comes up with are based on some robotic algorithm that throws out lemon drizzle cake when you want an umbrella.

To us, and our customers, books are such a personal thing, so we wanted to recreate that personal feel online – by providing tailor-made recommendations for their next great read, chosen by a living breathing human who loves books as much as they do.

We’d used SurveyMonkey before for more traditional customer research, so we adapted a new survey into a pop-up window on our homepage. The premise couldn’t be simpler: answer five quick questions on your reading habits and interests. And that’s it.

Our promise is then to e-mail a handful of book suggestions out within 24 hours, with the added bonus of 10 extra Inpress Reward Points (worth £1 off future orders) for buying any of the recommendations.

We regularly advertise the Assistant through our Facebook and Twitter feeds, and also through our fortnightly customer newsletter, and it’s worked a treat so far. It’s a great way of helping our customers find exactly what they want from the huge selection on offer, and it’s given our site something that sets us out from the big fish in the bookselling pond. And it’s a bit of fun, too!

To receive a recommendation from Inpress, just fill out the survey below:


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  • I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own weblog and was wondering what all is required to get setup? I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a
    pretty penny? I’m not very web smart so I’m not 100% sure. Any tips or advice would be greatly appreciated. Appreciate it

  • It is amazing how a simple survey can be used to differentiate your business from your competitors without spending a lot.

    • Sheila G

      Hi Soniya! We completely agree! Thanks for sharing.

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