World of Books case study

How World of Books re-kindled a love for the written word by utlising customer data

Picking books of the shelf

At a glance

• 315% increase in revenue year on year


• 85.4% increase in engagement year on year


• 72% increase in sales of educational titles during lockdown

Reacting to daily changes in consumer behaviour to deliver personalised email communications, increasing engagement and driving a 315% increase in revenue year on year

World of Books sell quality used books at competitive prices to millions of customers worldwide. Over the last decade, they have grown from a start-up into a leading global seller of quality used books and pioneers in e-use and recycling. Their inventory has grown to over 5 million in stock, and they sell a book somewhere in the world every two seconds.


Founded on an ethos to do good, to help charities and to make a positive impact, World of Books want to share the love of literature by rereading and reusing books.


Their objectives going into lockdown were to maintain a level of engagement with their existing customer base and to be as reactive as possible to adapt product messaging, whilst delivering a personalised experience to readers. All working towards their business goal of improving customer loyalty and lifetime value.

Reading a book

A new chapter in customer behaviour

When the UK was forced into lockdown in March 2020 schools, colleges, and universities, along with non-essential retailers, were told to close for the foreseeable future. Empty classrooms and deserted high streets were about to result in e-commerce traders seeing some of the biggest growth in sales and revenue outside of peak.


For World of Books this meant a huge desire and need for books, DVDs and CDs as living rooms became classrooms overnight and people were seeking routes of escapism to distract, educate and entertain themselves.


With a captive audience at home the need for them to monitor customer behaviour became more important than ever if they were to keep their customer base engaged and converting online.

“We look to build upon the continued success we’ve had during lockdown by continuing to listen attentively to our customers, adapting to their needs and utlising the range of customer data available to us, which is what the RedEye platform enables us to do." Ciaran Downes, CRM Manager World of Books



Books on a green background

Educating the nation

From home schooling to self-care and personal development, consumers have turned off the screen and instead turned a page to teach, as well as learn.


Quick to react to the announcement of school closures, World of Books began to include educational titles within their email campaigns, utilising transactional data and onsite browser behaviour to personalise content to the individual.


The typical peak period for these titles is August-September, however, having the data easily accessible to segment their customer base and personalise content meant the Marketing and CRM teams were able to react quickly.


During the first five weeks of lockdown and they saw a 72% increase in sales of educational titles, with math and science titles alone seeing a 50% week on week increase.

Reading with a coffee and cat

The art of story telling

The World of Books team began to track changes in consumer sentiment through their social channels, alongside real time customer data to analyse engagement.


They also leveraged social listening tools and product review data, all of which was used to inspire and inform content within their email campaigns. Throughout the course of lockdown, a timeline of trends was to unfold…


Week 2: Stage to screen and TV adaptations saw an increase in popularity


Week 4: Baking and recipe books became popular amongst those having the time to learn a new practical skill


Week 5: Virtual tours of museums and art galleries, taking you to far corners of the world without stepping on an airplane


Week 5: Fitness fanatics began to seek ways to burn off the calories consumed when they purchased their new recipe books


Week 6: Romance novels and happily ever after endings was what the nation needed after 6 weeks of lockdown


Leveraging transactional data alongside recent on site browse behaviour, World of Books were able to target those browsing and purchasing from these categories with dynamic personalised content within their subject lines and email creative.


Open rates improved by 79.3% and unique click rates by 85.4%.

Books everywhere

“Whilst we leverage historic data to proactively plan for the future and provide relevancy to our customers, we have also learned the importance of being flexible and applying more real-time data to adapt our strategy to grow and secure the future value of our customer database.”


Ciaran Downes, CRM Manager
World of Books


increase in revenue year on year.


increase in engagement year on year.


increase in sales of educational titles during lockdown.

Securing customer lifetime value

World of books have achieved a 315% year on year increase in revenue from email alone. Through using historical customer data to forecast the future as well as monitoring real time engagement, the team have successfully nurtured their customer base, kept them engaged and encouraged future customer loyalty.


World of Books’ consistent measurement of all their digital channels allowed them to make small changes often, reacting to the environment and retaining valuable customers, working towards their goal of continually improving their customer lifetime value.

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