With the overwhelming increase in online sales volume that many IndieCommerce websites have experienced since March 18, many bookstores have been looking for ways to expedite the processing of online orders.
To address this urgent request from stores, the IndieCommerce team announced that several point-of-sale (POS) vendors have implemented an automated solution that will allow stores to quickly and easily transfer online orders received by their IndieCommerce site into their POS systems. Some POS vendors have also simplified the process of transferring in-store inventory to the store’s IndieCommerce website. These features are only available for IndieCommerce stores.
Bookselling This Week reached out to the following vendors for an update.
Tom Maule, owner and developer of Anthology, said that booksellers can easily export their Anthology inventory into their IndieCommerce site. They can also import IndieCommerce site sales into the Anthology customer order module to process with available in-store stock or indicate if being fulfilled otherwise.
For more information, contact Anthology’s sales staff at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mike McKnight, vice president of operations at Basil Software, said that the service is currently working on its integration with IndieCommerce, including an automated direct file transfer protocol (FTP) for booksellers to upload local store inventory (LSI) files from Basil to the store’s IndieCommerce site.
“We are also working on an automated option to download orders,” said McKnight. “Once we get the IndieCommerce orders in the system, we already have existing infrastructure to print picklists, print packing slips, and integrate with shipping software.”
Arnie Cuarenta, director of sales at ComputerWorks of Chicago, makers of Booklog, said that Booklog has an e-commerce module (the IndieCommerce Importer) that allows users to download their orders from IndieCommerce to import into Booklog.
Once in Booklog, users can fulfill orders from the store inventory, or have the items shipped directly to the customers using Ingram’s Direct-to-Home program. Cuarenta noted that users also have the option of combining fulfillment options.
If the store uses a frequent buyer program, he added, the customer information comes from IndieCommerce and will automatically credit the customer’s account with their online purchases.
“We recommend that IndieCommerce users continue their process of managing orders on IndieCommerce and download all orders that are marked Payment Received. This will allow the users to process orders in Booklog, whether the items are going to be shipped from the store, shipped from Ingram, or the customer is going to pick the items up from the store. Once the orders are fulfilled, they can mark the orders as Completed,” Cuernta said.
For stores that report their store’s inventory to Above the Treeline, inventory is automatically uploaded to IndieCommerce sites. Otherwise, Booklog’s e-commerce module will manage the export of inventory titles and the import of IndieCommerce orders.
Dave Walton of IBIDie said that the service is now integrated with IndieCommerce, explaining that the IBIDie system automatically polls the bookstore’s IndieCommerce website for a file of recently transacted orders. Users must alert IBIDie that they want the system activated; IndieCommerce can set up the export function.
The integration allows orders pulled to be reviewed by the bookstore so that they can decide whether to create an IBIDie Special Order (SPO) from the e-commerce order or to skip creating the SPO for the e-commerce order, Walton said. Creating an SPO may be skipped at some stores if the book is in the store inventory. Once an order is skipped or an SPO is created, it will be considered processed and will no longer appear as an order in need of processing
If the user does not run the e-commerce order through the register immediately after either skipping or creating a SPO for it, the order is set up to be run through the register at a future date to enable pre-orders to be processed efficiently. The store can skip or create an SPO quickly for a pre-sold book, and then the e-commerce order will remain on the checkout screen awaiting processing through the register, which can then occur on the on sale date.
The system also automatically adds missing titles to the inventory data file, Walton said, so if web orders come to the store for books not currently on the inventory system, they are automatically added to the inventory file.
The service is still in the planning stages for WordStock.
iMRCHNT's automation with IndieCommerce sites is done through an automated Inventory Exporter and Order Importer, said iMRCHNT Executive Vice President Mark Hochreiter.
The service has three file types that can be exported to IndieCommerce. All three files can be built based on filters set by the individual store.
- The Main Inventory file is based on items with ISBNs.
- The Custom Products file can be sent for any items without an ISBN; the service uses the SKU in this file. This file enables users to export their sideline/gift inventory to IndieCommerce.
- The Store Books file allows the service to send Used Books to IndieCommerce sites based on SKU.
“Our Order Importer is in the final stages of testing and we plan to have our solution released in July,” said Hochreiter. He added that it will also be possible for iMRCHNT users to pull their IndieCommerce orders manually, simply by clicking a button within iMRCHNT.
The Order Import process will also add the customer to the store system for future marketing purposes, said Hochreiter, noting that customers can opt out of marketing emails or join a store rewards program during the checkout process.
For more information, contact iMRCHNT at email@example.com.