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Cracking the distribution problem by deleting functioning code

I’ve got a lot of growth to hack in my startup, but luckily, there’s some low-hanging fruit in my e-book store that I can harvest. The profit margin is highest on digital products — and I don’t have to do any extra work when one is purchased — so it only makes sense to scale up these numbers first.

If you're working with software, maybe you've encountered this problem: some developer got all ambitious with your webstore back in 2016 and now it's a fragile, complicated spiderweb of code. Sure, it supports Gift Packs, Discounts, Price Combos, and Paperbacks, but it's a nightmare to modify and it can't be turned off.

A digital quail

This next part involves the computer.

While revenue can only increase by ripping out the code that gives away free books, the real problem is the paperbacks. People are buying them one at a time, for themselves. Talk about a 1x multiplier!

And the fleeting joy of making a sale is quickly replaced by drudgery – I'll sigh, make a label, do an envelope, pack it up with some freebies, and walk to the post office in sad solitude. It’s nearby, but the process is painful for a single sale, especially if it's raining that day.

There are ways to make the fulfillment process less terrible: a dedicated label printer, a loyal assistant, or even an umbrella. But it’s still work, which is annoying, considering I already did work by writing the books.

The obvious solution is to sell in bulk. If we're shipping ten books at once, it's effectively ten times less work, per book. Libraries and bookstores need multiple copies, and if you convince an investment bank of your worth, they'll be ordering by the thousands.

But bulk selling is a significant effort. It'll require:

  • a new retailer portal to accommodate large purchases

  • logistics for pickup and delivery of books

  • connections at libraries, bookstore chains, and investment banks

  • a warehouse of some kind

This is way too much work, and with warehouses, there's the additional problem of rats. Plus, it’s too focused on physical distribution, where the returns are far higher on the digital side. Therefore, the ScaleQuail solution is to stop selling physical books entirely. And all that awful code can be deleted!

Now we can focus on digital distribution. But the principles of bulk still apply: selling ten books in one transaction is preferable to just one. As such, we'll chase larger sales by bundling together digital goods in the form of a loyalty program. NEXT →

Posted in: Scaling up

Scaling in progress!

Come back soon to see how the next plan hatched.