Joseph-Beth Booksellers’ new CEO says that the bookstores will undergo changes in expanding their digital presence and the way they target what customers want to read.
Adam Miller, 49, comes from “a retail family,” he said Tuesday. “I was balancing payroll at the age of 13.”
Miller was recently named Joseph-Beth’s president and CEO. He replaces Mark Wilson, who had held the job for 12 years.
Joseph-Beth, which has battled headwinds from book selling that has increasingly gone online, will be getting “transformational change” from its new head, Miller said.
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He is particularly proud of the Lane Bryant outlet division: “We continued to grow that business through the great recession,” he said.
Now, at the three-store Joseph-Beth company, he wants to “elevate the brand” including having a strong commerce strategy from e-commerce and a mobile app.
While Miller said that Joseph-Beth’s strength is the in-store experience, customers will be able to easily shop both in person and online. When they shop both, Miller said, they spend three times as much annually. That’s a synergy he looks forward to cultivating, he said .
Miller also plans other in-store technologies and perks to improve the in-person book-buying experience. For one thing, Joseph-Beth’s social marketing platforms will be honed, he said, and stores will gather “profile information that allows us to communicate with customers in a more personal way.”
But Joseph-Beth will keep the ambiance — with it’s overstuffed chairs, fireplaces and comfy reading nooks — that allows customers to “get away from the digital technology, sit in one of our chairs ... and get away from the digital business of the world,” he added.
Miller hopes to expand the Joseph-Beth footprint, opening additional small Joseph-Beth bookstore locations in what is called the “medical center model,” because of where the stores were located. Although he offered no specifics.
“We have some of the best booksellers in the industry working for Joseph-Beth,” Miller said. “They have always been very strong with the in-store experience.”
Robert Langley, owner and chairman of Joseph-Beth said that Miller is “exactly what Joseph-Beth needs to enter its next chapter in creating personalized customer experience and brand growth.”
“He is a proven strategic business leader with deep understanding and passion for customer experience and leading winning teams by example,” Langley said in a release. “We are committed to the success of Joseph-Beth Booksellers and believe Adam is exactly what Joseph-Beth needs to enter its next chapter in creating personalized customer experience and brand growth.”
Miller loves the Lexington location of Joseph-Beth, in 44,000 square feet at Lexington Green, he said.
“I am very passionate about the Lexington location,” he said. “That is the location that made me fall in love with Joseph-Beth.”
He hopes to enhance the Lexington store environment by using the patio area, possibly allowing birthday parties themed to a child’s favorite books and making it even easier for customers to linger and read on premises.
He said that Joseph-Beth’s product mix — which includes not only books, but cards, games and the Bronte Bistro restaurant — is favored by its customers.
“I can tell you that our customers who shop the store see it as a strength,” Miller said.