3 Reasons Online Storefronts Boost Your Bottom Line

Published by Matt Larson | Topics: Online Publishing, Publications, Training

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Boost Your Bottom Line With Storefronts

It’s hard to think of an industry that hasn’t been affected by the internet. The idea of taking power from “The Few” and giving it to “The Many” has disrupted established trades across the globe. When it comes to the print industry, traditional publishers have a new competitor on the scene.

This evolution has given associations a new way to distribute—and monetize!—their valuable content.

In the traditional publisher model, most associations had little bargaining power when it came to outsourcing their distribution. In fact, they were often allowed a choice of just two payment plans: take it, or leave it.

But those times have changed.

If your association has not been a good fit for the traditional publisher system, you now have options. When it comes to distributing your manuals, training materials and standards, the internet doesn’t just give you the ability to distribute your content, it provides some real advantages, as well.

How exactly can your association promote, sell and ship your content, without the help of a 3rd party publisher?

Enter the online storefront

An online storefront is a portal that allows your members the option to browse and buy any of your available materials. Your member transforms into your customer as she selects a publication and places it in her cart. As soon as the purchase button is clicked, the order is sent to you (or a designated shipping specialist) so it can be filled and sent to the customer.

As you can imagine, there are major benefits to being able to sell directly to your built-in audience of members. The three benefits listed here are not just “nice to have” features, but all contribute to your bottom line.

  1. You receive sales revenue, not a percentage

Using a traditional publisher is going to cost you. There’s no way around it. The traditional publisher model involves selling your content and giving you a percentage of the revenue. For some associations, this arrangement makes financial sense. But for many others, they have been looking for a better option.

With an online storefront, the power is put back in the hands of the content creator (you!). If your association has the expertise to manage a website that handles SSL, PCI DSS, and can guarantee shopping cart and payment gateway compatibility, you will receive every penny of every sale you make. Hard to see how that won’t have an impact on the bottom line.

If your association is looking for an expert to help implement and manage this shopping system for you, it’s important to find out how revenue is handled by the vendor. Some may operate on the “traditional” publisher method of taking a percentage of sales.

Another option is a vendor that does not charge a percentage of sales. Instead, this business model relies on the income generated by building a site for you. As the content owner, you pay a fixed cost to build the site and then keep 100% of the revenue generated by your materials. Having a single, fixed cost can be an attractive—and lucrative—option for associations.

  1. You retain ownership, not the publisher

Traditional publishers don’t distribute your content…they distribute theirs. In return for a percentage of the overall sales revenue, the association transfers ownership rights of their own material over to the publisher.

The online storefront takes a different approach.

Along with retaining your revenue comes the ability to retain ownership of your materials. This really just makes sense. It also gives you options. If you want to use the material for promotions, go for it. Want to bundle it with other content in a kit? Sounds good. Want to have copies available to sell at your trade show? Smart idea!

Retaining ownership of your material gives you the option to use it in other revenue-generating ways.

  1. You control the process, not someone else

With an online storefront, the days of having your important materials lost in a sea of other titles are over. Part of having your own storefront is the decision-making authority to control it.

You have the ability to position items in your store as you see fit. If a new title is selling well, you can move it into a prominent position to make it easy to find.

Your store branding can also be consistent with your association’s branding. Upload your logo and choose customized colors. These seemingly small tweaks are important so that members are reminded that your association provides this value.

Having control of your storefront allows you to control the shopping experience. Featuring certain items provides immediate revenue potential, and strong branding can help solidify the revenue of the future.


Online storefronts provide your association with a viable alternative for generating revenue on your content. These online portals provide a new option to consider if you don’t want to live by the publishers’ rules. With the right vendor setting up your storefront, your association gets to keep 100% of sales and the rights to the content. All while maintaining the ability to provide a great user experience for your members.

Would you like to learn more about how an online storefront can contribute to your association’s bottom line? Talk to one of our storefront experts today! Drop us a line to start the conversation!


About Matt Larson

Matt is the Creative Strategy Manager at Omnipress. His role on the marketing team is to create educational (and hopefully interesting!) articles, graphics and videos for association professionals. Outside of the office, he is probably biking, running or skiing and definitely listening to music.

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