The Call For Leaders interview series reached its third phase, with the established 3Q format having received a revamp for 2021. The original Call For Leaders 3Q and its sequel, Call For Leaders – Back in Business, have seen us talking to quite a diverse roster of business leaders in Romania, representing top companies and various industries. For today’s interview, we sat down with one of the most experienced executives in the bookselling industry, Laura Țeposu, CEO Libris.ro, a role she has held for the past 13 years.
- After a difficult 2020 year, how do you think business optimism will be influenced in 2021?
From an individual perspective, we were all affected on multiple levels, depending on our experiences, lives and unique personalities.
From the business perspective, the impact of the pandemic on the companies activities was somehow a paradox, based on the market they operated, but even in the same market: some were completely closed, some thrived, others reinvented to survive or to support an accelerated dynamic. Ecommerce was on the high tide last year, considered a winner as a whole.
Considering these variable dynamics, I wouldn’t look at 2020 as an unique reference for future plans, as they can be severely biased. Some leaders would show increased optimism, others would find themselves at the opposite pole, pessimistic. Some may have courageous plans, thinking that things will go better and better, for some of us the sales from 2020 could become a milestone hard to exceed, or, for those affected hard by the pandemic, they can be overwhelmed and disappointed, losing their entrepreneurial momentum.
This is why I think it’s more important than ever to calibrate our dose of optimism, but only after we analyse our context objectively and strategically, without being over-influenced by last year.
- How will your company be involved in the development of your industry, and also in the recovery of other sectors which were affected by the pandemic?
Our industry -the bookselling -was strongly affected by the total closure of bookstores for three months, then by the people’s reluctance to go in the physical stores. Part of customers migrated towards online, but others were lost. Also, a whole base of events that support authors, books launch and attract the public towards reading were cancelled, which meant the connection between the public and the books was put to test.
We tried to adapt to the new condition and develop these events and occasions online, becoming not only a prefered sales channel, but a space for meaningful interaction with books and authors.
- How will you approach innovation and new investments in 2021?
Libris is a business that integrates technology in its day-by-day operations. We are an online bookstore to the core and our general strategic vision is based on books selling online. Libris is about books, books that can reach any Romanian household in a matter of 24hours, through online.
Hoping our approach is not too optimistic, we start 2021 with plans to expand our warehouse, panning to finish this major project in 2023. We continue to invest in the eCommerce platform in order to create a better navigating experience for the customers and a more significant connection between the book lovers and each title we showcase.