Story: The first pan-African online book shop for children shows how it’s done
Booksie was born from Edem Torkornoo’s idea to make high-quality books written by African authors accessible to children, from newborns to young adults. Booksie is the first pan-African online children’s book shop in Ghana. It is also a book subscription service and a literacy canter.
Edem has always been a bookworm. Once her sister and friends started to have kids, she realized how important it is to educate children about their heritage. However, finding books written by African authors was not easy. To be able to find them, she decided to create her own website, on which she delivers a careful curation and offers sales of high-quality books.
While selling books worldwide, Booksie is not a mere e-commerce platform: it is also a space where children are celebrated and where Edem teaches children to read so that they “can fall in love with books”.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Booksie has experienced a continuous growth in sales. This is mostly because of its readiness to sell online and mastering social media as a tool to connect with customers and build brand awareness. WhatsApp has also been a key element in the owner’s survival: the company has used it to assist customers, clarify offers, answer questions and promote events.
Tips for digital entrepreneurs
Edem participated in the International Trade Centre’s Facebook Live series “E-commerce Tips from Peers” where she provided a series of tips. For Edem, social commerce has been key. She encourages other entrepreneurs to explore social platforms and implement innovative techniques.
“Some of my customers just prefer to have a direct contact. WhatsApp or Instagram messages are a good way to be more approachable and meet the need of your customers. Moreover, you have the chance to carry on the conversation instantly”, says Edem.
However, Edem has also experienced a series of obstacles in logistics. Distribution prices remain quite high, and delays can still happen. The key is to have a smooth customer service system, inform customers about delivery times and be as transparent as possible.
Edem also suggests that entrepreneurs build a quality network of people operating in their respective field. Thanks to being part of an author’s associations, she has partnered with other businesses in Africa to tackle the high prices in deliveries. Only when joining forces, they managed to obtain discounts from one of the biggest delivery companies operating worldwide.