Retail Promotion Series: Bullet Journal – selling life hacks

For paper aficionados, it is a newly purchased appointment diary that marks the start of a brand new year. From September onward, stationery retailers will be displaying diaries to get their customers in the mood for the coming year. At the same time, there are much more creative ways of organising one's life with the aid of a diary. "Bullet journal" is the magic term that allows retailers to market notebooks, pens and creative materials.

The broad target audience of the bullet journal method

A bullet journal is not merely an appointment diary, but a method of organising your life that is practised on every continent. There are entire books on the method in more than 20 languages. The books appeal to both very organised people and those who are drowning in a sea of post-it notes and to-do lists. Some people use electronic organisers, but they often find that they come up against the pre-programmed limits. Others need a treasure chest where they can stow away their many ideas, notes and lists all in one place. With a pen and notebook and the bullet journal method, all of their everyday, annual and life plans can be individually adapted to suit their own preferences. In short, a lot of customers are potential "BuJo" disciples.

The idea behind the bullet journal 

Graphic designer Ryder Carroll invented the bullet journal system to help him focus on tasks that were important to him. Realising that his approach could help others organise their lives, too, he developed the idea further and streamlined it. With a table of contents and various overviews, each and every notebook can become a bullet journal. Besides the table of contents, the components include a future log, a monthly overview, a daily log, and a collection of notes, lists or custom collections. Ryder published his method on his website  in 2013 and was surprised at how fast his followers grew and blogs and communities sprouted up. His book "The Bullet Journal Method: Track Your Past, Order Your Present, Plan Your Future" was published in 2018. Since then, it has already been printed in 16 countries and will be issued in 12 other countries in 2019. Ryder Carroll regards his method as a tool "to help us become mindful about how we spend our two most valuable resources in life: our time and our energy."

Content over form 

And so that not too much energy is wasted on the exaggeratedly arty forms of presentation, Ryder Carroll stresses the following: "the only thing that matters in BuJo is the content, not the presentation." This is because, in countless blogs, communities and Instagram pages where they post their artwork relating to self-organisation, BuJo fans quickly give the impression that the bullet journal is something that's only for art school graduates. The minimalist BuJos simply don't get published.

Product spectrum for in-store displays

However, the bullet journal product range offers both pragmatic and imaginative BuJo supporters a wealth of options and retailers a veritable gift for a themed table display. The manuals on the bullet journal method form a framework for this, because besides the standard work by Ryder Carroll, there's a whole flock of manuals and practice books. Often they also appear under a different name. At the heart of the merchandise display are the typical dotted notebooks that you can design by yourself, or with already sketched overviews for your short and long-term life plans. The notebooks are supplemented by pens and markers of every kind. Other accessories are equally diverse. Your daily planning can be structured and decorated with stickers, mini-stamps and washi tapes. Anything that makes you enjoy planning your life is allowed, because that's exactly the message that retailers wish to convey to their customers with these schedulers and life organisers: enjoy the freedom that every person has to give some active and well-reasoned thought as to how they want to plan and live their lives.

Creating points of contact to new topics for customers

Awareness and enthusiasm for a product often have to be kindled first. Retailers can create points of contact. Social media offer a variety of ways to make customers aware of the bullet journal method, like in the blog of the London Graphic Center. Or be it via Facebook or Instagram or in cooperation with bullet journal bloggers. The easiest way to kindle a spark of interest in a topic is by experiencing or trying it out yourself. Retailers can invite BuJo bloggers to do a demonstration in their shop or organise a customer workshop in their shop, like the Papierkiste in Veitsbronn. Because one thing is certain: when people are really enthusiastic about ideas or hobbies, they like to equip themselves with accessories and, in the best case scenario, soon become regular customers.

Retail tip

Sell life concepts rather than just products. Wherever you can simplify your customers' lives with good tips – also called 'life hacks' – your customers will come to regard you as a problem solver. This creates long-term customer loyalty and, at best, attracts new regular customers.

Want to learn more about how to stage events to tempt customers to buy from you?

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