Over the years museums have profoundly transformed their appearance, moving from places exclusively dedicated to the enjoyment of the most beautiful art collections to real cultural aggregators where visitors expect to live a wider experience, able to involve them in many ways.
From this point of view, the role of museum bookshops has become strategic to offer visitors something that can gratify them also in terms of accessory services, or the goods they expect to find in a modern museum in step with the times we live in.
It can be seen, therefore, that the management of a museum bookshop has also changed profoundly compared to the past, since the managers are called upon to correctly interpret the needs of visitors, harmonizing them with the peculiarities of the museum, in order to offer additional services able to meet their demand, while expanding the museum experience.
Expanding the museum experience is a concept that can be interpreted in many ways, in the operational management of a modern bookshop: the merchandising offer, for example, needs to be up to the quality and variety of the museum, not only to the exhibition calibre of the museum, but also of its public, which requires not only traditional personalized gadgets but also higher quality merchandising. Then you have to be careful that the offer is renewed over time, because it is very penalizing for the image of a bookshop to remain anchored to a commercial proposal always the same despite the passage of years. No less important is the offer of services that go beyond the simple sale of merchandising. So much more we could add.
A synergy of experience and professionalism: choosing the right supplier
Being able to satisfy each of the observations made above is not only a capacity of the individual, such as the museum bookshop managers, but also and above all the result of a synergy involving the manager, the museum managers and the supplier. The latter is called upon to give a concrete and specific form to the sales strategies of the bookshop and the museum. Let us not forget that often the museum bookshop manager, in most cases, does not choose the museum where he or she wants to enter, but is the result of other logics that can be economic, social and relational. In contrast, the supplier is a choice made by the manager of the bookshop.
This means that this choice plays a far from secondary role: innovation, quality and personalisation are apparently simple concepts that require experience, a capacity for comparison and a deep knowledge of one’s craft. Choosing suppliers who have concepts such as innovation, change and, we might say, experimentation as their know-how is fundamental to the final offer of goods and services that really enrich the museum experience.
Being able to distinguish oneself by impressing on the visitor’s mind an image of one’s own bookshop that is different from that of all the others, becomes a collective effort, the benefits of which will also be evident, in a more or less short time, on the final turnover of the bookshop, as well as of the entire museum structure.
Expanding the museum experience: choosing the best additional services
The choice of supplier, based on fairly objective criteria, is simpler than the choice of services to integrate into your bookshop. What do visitors expect? What are the services that today guarantee a different and more engaging experience? These are some questions that every manager asks himself, questions that must be harmonized with the management needs of the space. The choice of additional services, objectively speaking, is not easy. It requires a certain ability to read society, people’s needs, visitors. What works in a museum may not work elsewhere. Even in this case, confronting your supplier who, working with other museums, has a wider vision, can be the key to get the right advice, able to transform your space, who knows, into one of the most beautiful museum bookshops.