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Tips for Successfully Pivoting Your Record-Selling Business, According to Other Sellers

So far, 2020 has delivered the most unexpected of circumstances for the industry to hurdle, from artists to music lovers and everyone in between. With baby steps now being made (certainly in the EU) in the right direction to some form of new normal post-COVID 19, we wanted to shine the light on a handful of sellers from our community, all from slightly different situations, who have used this time to refine operations, strengthen their processes, and positively pivot their business

Record shop owners, record fair organizers, DJs, and record labels — we hear from a cross-section of European figures who champion successful adaptation that could be interpreted into others’ practices.

Alphabetize, Categorize, and Organize!

“Without record fairs during the weekends, I have some time off, which I’m using to organize my stock. I’m categorizing and alphabetizing as much stuff as possible in order to be able to start listing the rest of my 50,000 items. Fortunately, a lot of people worldwide keep on ordering the goods from my shop, so that makes up for the loss of the fairs. So, it has been my goal to professionalize and prepare myself for big growth during these times.”

Frank Van Den Bold (Space Junkie)
Record Fair Organizer and Seller

List All of Your Stock for Sale Online

“We have always had a strong mail-order presence, but with the removal of selling in our physical shop and at record fairs, we have made even more of a concerted effort to put our stock onto Discogs. It has been very successful for us with lots of sales during this time, and going forward we will continue to do this alongside our other sales channels.”

John-Paul Craven (Five Rise Records)
Record Store Owner

Get on Top of Your Organization and Adapt

“Usually, we (my partner-in-crime, Franklin, and I) organize three events/record fairs during the year: two in Amsterdam and one in Rotterdam. When one is finished, we are already busy with the next one. Now, with more time on my hands, I have listed far more on Discogs. Re-organizing my record-fair stock, finding records in boxes in storage, buying some stock, etc. — and finding some time to make new Facebook and Instagram profiles. Also, I connected with a wholesaler here in Holland, putting up some new, mint stock on our Discogs page.

In the past few months, I have seen sales spike in my Discogs shop. To thank all Discogs users, I have decided to give something back to the community by giving discounts and lowering the shipping costs or offering free shipping for the last weekend of June. (Click here for full details!)”

Andre Liefting (Count Vinyl)
Record Fair Organizer and Seller

Explore the Database

“What really changed in the last months are the online conversations with new young DJs who have started to play with vinyl. Tech Records mainly consists of electronic music at affordable prices and a great starting point for your collection. The new generation of vinyl DJs who started this year really like digging online for finding cheap records which are often forgotten. True gems can be found from your favorite sellers which don’t have to be the classics everyone is looking for.

On Discogs, you can look at the producers behind the records, follow the trail, and find new labels or co-producers, which leads to new discoveries. The selection of records changes from buying one specific style to a well-connected range of different styles with the same feeling in your DJ set. Take the time to select your records and build up that collection in your crates, which gives you as a DJ that unique identity.”

Jef Helmink (Tech Records)
Record Collector and Seller

Plan for Future Projects

“In the last few months, not having record fairs and in-person customers, we focused more on our online Discogs business, adding many new arrivals  to our catalog. In this period, we definitely saw an increase of sales that helped us to survive the crisis. We also had more time to spend in the preparation of our new record shop in Amsterdam, which will open in July. Seeing the project developing and taking shape was an amazing experience for us and we can’t wait to start with this new adventure! “

Romagnoli Alfredo (Seawolf)
Record Label and Seller

Embrace Your Inner Admin Assistant

“My business model has been brought up to what it should have been pre-lockdown. As an artist/deejay, there always seems like there’s background admin (i.e. opportunities) that is are ‘making music’- or ‘playing music’-focused. I’ve never been great in these areas. Tasks such as marketing, advertising, creating merch, and streamlining the supporter experience are simply things that I’ve never really enjoyed doing and I somehow equate these as taking time away from creative music time. That’s changed. Keeping your brand up with smart and visible content online, I think, will pay off post-lockdown.

The truth is, all of those ‘admin’ activities will help to get your product or music to more supporters and will further inspire you on an artistic level to provide more quality content. When the traditional revenue streams weren’t providing, finding new ones, such as merchandise, digital, and vinyl releases, have helped keep the ship afloat. Not to mention going through my record collection and having honest conversations with myself about the last time I played a certain record and then putting it up on Discogs to share the record love.”

Jim Sharp (J-Dawg)
DJ and Producer

Double-Down on Your Online Presence and Offering

“Not being able to trade from our store has affected us massively as understandably most of our sales are done in-store. Utilizing online routes has been a great help in generating sales and keeping our customers informed as to new arrivals/stock, live DJ streams, and when we’re going to be back open.

We have always used Discogs as our primary online selling platform. During lockdown, we added more stock every few days to keep the listings fresh and to generate sales. Posting images, flick-thru videos, and links on Instagram and Facebook have been helpful, too; if we make a sale on these platforms we always send our Discogs selling pages link so that customers can see more stock and hopefully make further purchases.

I think that the key to keeping customers interested is online presence: posting regularly every few days is a must, keep adding to your Discogs listings, making posts on Instagram and Facebook. People love seeing pictures of records, especially rare ones! Also, offer discounts on postage and explain that it may take longer to arrive due to the circumstances.”

Jake Holloway and The Mighty Zaf (Love Vinyl)
Record Store Owners

A huge thank you to each of those who took the time in talking to us. We hope this can offer some positive ideas and guidance to you through this time.

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