Holiday Tips For IndieCommerce & IndieLite

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The 2020 holiday season has been busy, with IndieCommerce and IndieLite stores receiving a large volume of online customers and subsequent online orders like never before.  To assist in handling customer expectations and order processing, the IC team has compiled some suggestions and methods available to IndieCommerce and IndieLite members.

Please be aware that the cut-off date is December 15th for orders to be sent to Ingram via your IndieCommerce or IndieLite site (Ingram CDF) to hopefully arrive in time for December 25th.

INDIECOMMERCE STORES

Messaging

It may be helpful to adjust the messaging on the home page of your site to clarify important deadlines and availability for customers. 

  • If not already available, you may want to place a Block on your site (Structure > Blocks > Add a block) that provides the following:

    • Hours of operation
    • Last date to order by, if shopping for gifts
    • Shipping information
    • Curbside pickup (if allowed) instructions
    • Contact information

  • Utilize a custom checkout pane to get customer preference regarding canceling items on an order in time for the holiday.

    • For example, Custom Checkout Pane 2 can be customized to provide options to customers for items not available by Christmas:

  • Update the store’s checkout instructions and completion message.  This can be especially helpful for in-store or curbside pickup orders, which may have additional instructions or steps for customers to follow.  To do this, head to Store > Configuration > Checkout to update the ‘Instruction messages’ and ‘Completion messages’.Please note that the ‘Completion messages’ uses tokens for customers and order information; please be sure to use the proper replacement pattern within a set of square brackets.

Product Offering Suggestions

There are a few ways to control website product offerings and promotions for customers as the holiday season.

  • Promote gift cards, online gift codes - these options are good for last minute purchases
  • Promote any non-shippable products such as ebooks, audiobooks, and ‘Book a Month Club’, ‘Memberships’.  For example:

  • Promote in-stock non-book items
  • Sell only what you have in stock if your store is uploading Local Store Inventory/LSI.  To do so, navigate to Store > Configuration > Local Store Inventory > LSI Settings, and underneath the setting for LSI Only, check the box for ‘Sell only books that appear in LSI?’
  • Alter availability language to reflect the longer shipping time on orders from Ingram, and again once the cutoff date has passed to reflect that it won't be available by Christmas.  This can be done at Store > Configuration Account Information and Preferences > Configure Book settings.
  • If needed, the store can disable checkout to catch up on order processing, especially if there is a high volume of orders.  Navigate to Store > Configuration > Checkout and uncheck the box at the top of the screen for ‘Enable checkout’ to turn off checkout.

    • However, please be aware that disabling checkout only prevents customers from going through checkout.  Customers will still be able to place items in their cart.  Once checkout is enabled again, they will be able to place their order.
  • Accept only credit card or PayPal payment.  This can allow for easier and quicker order processing and can provide a safer payment option for curbside or in-store pickup orders.  To modify your available payment methods, head to Store > Configuration > Payment methods.
  • Save customers’ payment profile by default.  This can be especially helpful if you need to charge a customer’s card again or re-authorize it for a higher order total.  The ‘Always Save Credit Card Profile’ setting can be found at Store > Configuration > Account Information & Preferences > Store Preferences.
  • For stores that do not upload LSI or stores that want to disable Backordered or Special Order titles that might be more difficult to fulfill, visit Store Preferences at Store > Configuration > Account Information & Preferences > Store Preferences.

Order processing

  • Pick List: A pick list is a document that indicates which items should be taken from your inventory to fulfill open orders. This allows you to grab all the items you need for a group of orders and removes the need to go back and forth for each order. This downloadable list will include the following for each order:

    • Products, SKUs, titles, and publisher information
    • Availability status

IC stores can filter the list by order date, order status, and in stock status. IL stores can filter by order date and order status. Stores can use the Store Features page (Store > Configuration > Account Information and Preferences > Store Features) to have this feature enabled on their site.  More information is available here.

  • Bulk Printing of Invoice: This feature allows stores to print order invoices for multiple orders with one click. Orders can be filtered by date range, order status, and payment method. Stores can use the Store Features page (Store > Configuration > Account Information and Preferences > Store Features) to have this feature enabled on their site.
  • Gift Wrap: For IndieCommerce stores that want to offer free giftwrap for customers can use the Custom Checkout Pane #2, which offers multiple options during the checkout process.  The full steps for configuring this checkout pane are here.  If you need this pane enabled, visit Store -> Configuration -> Account Information and Preferences -> Store Features on your site to submit a feature request.

    • If you are looking to charge for gift wrap, this can be done utilizing custom product classes and custom products; please write to staff@bookweb.org and our team will assist with setting this up for your store.
  • Gift Invoice: IndieCommerce stores can now print or email Gift Invoices for online gift purchases.  The gift invoice contains the store's information, the recipient and customer information, and relevant order information (minus the price of each item on the order.)

There are 2 main ways to access this feature:

1. On the order invoice tab within each individual order, there is an additional tab for Gift Invoice with a print option.


 

2. For sites that have the Custom Email Invoice Template feature enabled, there is an option to email the Gift Invoice via the invoice tab within each individual order under the 'Mail Invoice' option

  • Shipping labels: IndieCommerce stores using Stamps.com, Pirate Ship, or ShippingEasy can export order information into a CSV file and create shipping labels in bulk. To request this feature, go to: Store -> Configuration -> Account Information and Preferences -> Store Features
  • Store Gift Card Pane/Custom Checkout Pane 1: For stores that offer store gift cards, one of the custom checkout panes on IndieCommerce can be configured to collect gift card numbers at checkout.  Customers enter their gift card number but also pay with a credit card or other payment method, should the balance not cover the order total.
  • For IndieCommerce stores on their own credit card processor: All order processing and payment captures can be done from your website.  There is no need to go into Authorize.net to capture payment for your orders.  For more information on order processing now that your store is on its own credit card processor, please see this page here.

INDIELITE STORES

Messaging

IndieLite stores also have the ability to adjust the messaging on the home page of your site to clarify important deadlines and availability for customers. 

  • For example, if not already available, you may want to place a Block on your site (Structure > Blocks > Add a block) that provides the following:

    • Hours of operation
    • Last date to order by, if shopping for gifts
    • Shipping information
    • Curbside pickup (if allowed) instructions
    • Contact information

  • Update the store’s checkout instructions and completion message.  This can be especially helpful for in-store or curbside pickup orders, which may have additional instructions or steps for customers to follow.  To do this, head to Store > Configuration > Checkout to update the ‘Instruction messages’ and ‘Completion messages’.Please note that the ‘Completion messages’ uses tokens for customers and order information; please be sure to use the proper replacement pattern within a set of square brackets.

Product Offering Suggestions

  • Promote gift cards, as these options are good for last minute purchases.
  • Promote any non-shippable products, such as e-books and audiobooks.
  • To disable Backordered or Special Order titles that might be more difficult to fulfill, visit Store Preferences at Store > Configuration > Account Information & Preferences > Store Preferences.

Order processing

  • Pick List: A pick list is a document that indicates which items should be taken from your inventory to fulfill open orders. This allows you to grab all the items you need for a group of orders and removes the need to go back and forth for each order. This downloadable list will include the following for each order:

    • Products, SKUs, titles, and publisher information
    • Availability status

IL stores can filter by order date and order status. Stores can use the Store Features page (Store > Configuration > Account Information and Preferences > Store Features) to have this feature enabled on their site.

  • Bulk Printing of Invoice:This feature allows stores to print order invoices for multiple orders with one click. Orders can be filtered by date range, order status, and payment method. Stores can use the Store Features page (Store > Configuration > Account Information and Preferences > Store Features) to have this feature enabled on their site.
  • Shipping labels: IndieLite stores using Stamps.com, Pirate Ship, or ShippingEasy can export order information into a CSV file and create shipping labels in bulk. IndieLite stores can request these features from the Store Features page on their site. Go to: Store -> Configuration -> Account Information and Preferences -> Store Features
  • Store Gift Card Pane: This is a custom checkout pane that can be used on the checkout page for customers to enter their gift card number. You can find the help doc here for more information.

IndieCommerce Help Documents

 

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The American Booksellers Association, a national not-for-profit trade organization, works with booksellers and industry partners to ensure the success and profitability of independently owned book retailers, and to assist in expanding the community of the book.

Independent bookstores act as community anchors; they serve a unique role in promoting the open exchange of ideas, enriching the cultural life of communities, and creating economically vibrant neighborhoods.

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