Ingram Fulfillment FAQ

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General Questions

Profit and Fees

How to Use

Eligibility

Other Questions

General Questions

How does Ingram fulfillment work?

  1. A customer places an order for one or more books on your website.
  2. The order must be eligible for Ingram fulfillment.
  3. After reviewing the order, you choose to send the order to Ingram.
  4. Ingram ships the book(s) from one of its warehouses.
  5. Ingram invoices ABA for the cost of the order.
  6. If you are using ABA's shared Authorize.net account, ABA deducts the cost of the order from the amount paid out to your store.
  7. If you are using your own Authorize.net account, ABA will collect the cost of the order from you.

Is this the same as Direct to Home?

No, Ingram Consumer Direct Fulfillment (CDF) is a separate program.  The fee schedule is different, and the method of transmitting orders is different as well (automatically through your IndieCommerce website).

Can I use my store's Ingram account?

No, orders must run through ABA's account for this feature.

Can preorders be sent to Ingram for fulfillment?

Yes, but for IndieCommerce stores only.  This feature is not available for IndieLite.

Preorders are subject to the same eligibility restrictions as other products.  See the questions on eligibility below for more information.

Only orders with a single preorder product can be sent to Ingram.  Orders with multiple preorder products, or a mix of preorders and regular products cannot be sent to Ingram.

Preorders will be shipped by Ingram when the book goes on sale.

You can find additional information on promoting and processing preorders on your IndieCommerce site here: https://www.bookweb.org/indiecommerce/preorders

Can I cancel or change an order after it has been sent to Ingram?

NO. Orders sent to Ingram cannot be modified and cannot be canceled from your IndieCommerce / IndieLite site. IndieCommerce staff do not have access to make these changes or cancellations for stores.

Stores should handle these changes and cancellations directly with the customer.

For preorders, stores can send in cancellation requests to the IndieCommerce staff and we can send it to Ingram. These requests should come at least a week before the publication date.

How much effort is required if you're primarily sending orders to Ingram?

It's best to think of Ingram's Consumer Direct Fulfillment (CDF) service as a convenience but not a panacea.  It can save your store time, effort, and the cost involved in packing and shipping books, as well as ordering them if you don't have them in stock.  But it does require staff time to monitor the progress of Ingram-fulfilled orders, communicate with customers, and either fill separately or cancel orders that are not eligible for Ingram to fulfill.  It is not by any means a "hands-off" solution.

Stores looking for a solution that does not require staff to monitor orders and communicate with customers should consider becoming an affiliate of Bookshop.

Profit and Fees

How much profit can I expect to make from a sale?

Short answer: on average, about 25-30%.  Some orders could make less, or even lose money if not configured correctly.  Remember that promotions such as coupons and free shipping can eat into your profit.

Detailed answer: it depends on the books in the order, the amount charged for shipping, whether any books are discounted, whether the customer receives any discounts or coupons, and whether your store uses its own Authorize.net account or shares ABA's.  Here are the key factors:

  • Cost of Goods - this can be determined based on the discount code of the item at Ingram.  You can see this on any product page on your site while signed in as an admin (under "Admin Product Details").  Discounts follow Ingram's standard discount schedule, meaning REG is 40%, and other discounts are as displayed (30%, 20%, etc.)
  • Shipping Cost - the actual shipping cost incurred by Ingram.  Typically, this is offset by shipping charges collected from the customer at checkout, but if your store offers free or discounted shipping, the difference would come out of your profit.
  • Handling Fee - Ingram charges a 50¢ handling fee per item in the order.
  • Credit Card Fees - If you use ABA's shared Authorize.net account, orders paid by credit card are subject to the following fees.  This is true for any credit card order placed on your website, not just those fulfilled by Ingram.

    • Shared Gateway Fee - 4.5% 0.5% - This is taken from the order total of any order that is being paid for with a credit card. This fee goes into a pool, from which we cover any chargebacks.  For the 8 weeks from 4/13-6/7/2020, ABA is waiving 4% of this fee, leaving only 0.5%.
    • Credit Card Processing Fees - 5¢ flat fee + 2.9% for Visa, MasterCard, and Discover, and 3% for Amex.
  • If you use your own Authorize.net account, you will not be subject to the 4.5% shared gateway fee, and your processing fees will be those set by your credit card processor.  You will also have a monthly fee from Authorize.net for your account.

Can you give the fees/profit breakdown for a sample order?

Sure!  Let's imagine a hypothetical order for a new book with a list price of $30.00.  The customer chooses UPS Ground shipping, for which they pay $12.00.  (Sales tax is also collected, but it is being remitted to state and local authorities, so we won't consider it here.)

  • The initial amount received from the customer is therefore $42.00.
  • The book has a REG discount, which equates to 40%.  The cost of goods is 60% ($18.00), leaving $24.00.
  • UPS Ground shipping costs $11.50, leaving $12.50.
  • Ingram's handling fee is 50¢, leaving $12.00.
  • The shared gateway fee is 4.5% 0.5% of the original total, or 21¢, leaving $11.79.
  • The customer used a Visa, so 5¢ + 2.9% of the original total is deducted—$1.27—leaving a final profit of $10.52 (35%).

Can I protect myself against losing money on short discount titles?

Yes, and there are two main strategies for this.

The simplest option is to check the "Short Discount" preference on the Store Preferences page (Store > Configuration > Account Information and Preferences > Store Preferences).  This will prevent any orders with a book with a discount of less than 35% from being sent to Ingram.

You can also use the Store Pricing tools (Store > Configuration > Store Pricing) to adjust the price of books based on the Ingram Discount Code.  If you go this route, make sure you create rules for all applicable wholesaler discount codes, as any product with a discount code without a matching rule will be charged at list price.  You can learn more here: https://www.bookweb.org/indiecommerce/product-pricing

How to Use

How do I send an order to Ingram?

When viewing the order on the admin order screen (Store > Orders, then click on an order), you will see the "Send to Ingram" button if the order is eligible.  After reviewing the order for signs of fraud, just click this button to send the order to Ingram.

Do not attempt to change the status of the order, or make any other changes, prior to sending it to Ingram.  Doing so could cause the "Send to Ingram" button to disappear.

See this document for more information on recognizing fraud before it's too late: https://www.bookweb.org/indielite/fraudulent-orders

After I send an order to Ingram, is there anything else I have to do?

Ingram will take care of pulling and shipping the customer's books, but they do not communicate with the customer.  You can communicate with the customer about the status of the order and the tracking information by adding a comment to the Order Comments section of the order. Check the box that says 'Send e-mail notification on update' and update the order. This will send the customer an email with your Order Comments.

If you open the order invoice (click the "Invoice" tab on the admin order page), you can find the tracking number.

As the order is processed by Ingram, you should see the status change from:

  • Pending Warehouse - this means Ingram is preparing the order.  You will see this status appear after you click the "Send to Ingram" button.
  • Shipped by Warehouse - this means Ingram has shipped the order.  You can see more detail in the admin comments on the order.
  • Completed by Warehouse - this means Ingram has invoiced ABA for the order.  It does not necessarily mean the customer has received the book yet—it could still be in transit.  You can check this using the tracking number and the carrier service.

Is it possible for Ingram to reject an order after it is sent?

Yes, and it's important to keep an eye out for these.  If Ingram cannot fulfill the order as expected, it will revert to your store to fulfill or cancel.  These orders will change from "Pending Warehouse" back to "Pending". There may be additional information on why the order was rejected in the admin comments.

Additionally, if you notice an order is still in "Pending Warehouse" status after three or more days, please contact IndieCommerce staff.

Once Ingram rejects an order, it cannot be sent back to Ingram again.

Eligibility

What criteria must be met for an order to be fulfilled by Ingram?

You can see a detailed list of criteria here: https://www.bookweb.org/indiecommerce/wholesaler-fulfillment

If an order is not eligible to be fulfilled by Ingram, can I "fix" it?

In some circumstances, yes.  For example, if the order was rejected due to all of the books not being in the same warehouse, it may be possible to remove a book in order to have Ingram fulfill the order.  Check with IndieCommerce staff for help with this.

How can I ensure as many orders as possible can be sent to Ingram?

  1. Ensure your site has only the following shipping options, and they are named exactly as listed here.  Having the exact title is important.

    1. Media Mail - only one condition: delivery country is US.
    2. UPS Ground Shipping - only one condition: delivery country is US.
    3. If you have free shipping for gift cards, that is OK to keep (it will only appear for gift cards).
  2. Disable in-store pickup.
  3. Credit card should be the only payment option allowed.  Disable any other payment options.
  4. Enable the following store preferences (Store > Configuration > Account Information and Preferences > Store Preferences):

    1. Short Discount - checked - prevents books with less than 35% discount from being sent to Ingram
    2. Special Order - checked - prevents books that are not in stock at Ingram from being purchased.
  5. If you have the Local Store Inventory module enabled, and your store is not currently able to ship books from your own inventory, ask IndieCommerce staff to turn it off temporarily for you.

Which shipping methods does Ingram support?

Here is a complete list.  Note that the names must match exactly.  If you have renamed any of these on your site, you will need to fix the name before it can be used for wholesaler fulfillment.

  • Media Mail
  • Discounted Ground
  • UPS Ground Shipping
  • USPS Priority Mail
  • FedEx Ground
  • UPS Overnight Shipping - CAUTION - see next answer
  • UPS 2-Day Shipping - CAUTION - see next answer

Any other common mistakes or issues to watch out for?

  • Be very careful with 2-day and overnight shipping.  The rates for these can be extremely high, and they are often chosen for fraudulent orders (the criminal placing the order is hoping the books will reach them before the fraud can be discovered).  They also do not always meet customers' expectations: Ingram will ship the book UPS Overnight once it has been picked, but it may not be picked and shipped for a day or two. Only enable these options if you have a good understanding of the costs and risks involved.
  • If you see the "Send to Ingram" button on an order, do not attempt to change anything on the order before sending it to Ingram.
  • If you see the "Send to Ingram" button on an order, do not attempt to process the customer's credit card (e.g. by moving the order to "Payment Received").  That will happen automatically during the wholesaler fulfillment process. Even if you do not see the "Send to Ingram" button at first, you may want to wait a day or two; if the book is on order at Ingram it may come back in stock.  If you are hoping to send the order to Ingram, do not move it to "Payment Received" at this time.
  • Be careful that you do not rename system shipping methods.  The names must match exactly in order for the order to be sent to Ingram.  See the list of eligible shipping methods above.
  • Orders containing custom products cannot be sent to Ingram.  If you are heavily promoting custom products on your site, consider removing them from the front page for now.

Other Questions

What is the difference between IndieCommerce/IndieLite with Ingram fulfillment and Bookshop?

With IndieCommerce or IndieLite, it is still your website, your branding, and your store selling the book to the customer.  The CDF process is largely transparent and the customer will consider your bookstore to be the merchant who sent them the book.  This can help maintain a closer relationship with your customer, but it also means you are responsible for handling communications and any issues that arise.

With Bookshop, Bookshop is the merchant of record and Bookshop will be responsible for shipping the book and handling customer service.  Your store will receive a commission for sales referred.

About ABA

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.

Contact

PRESS CONTACTS: Dan Cullen (dan@bookweb.org) and Allison Hill (allisonhill@bookweb.org)

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INDIECOMMERCE: staff@bookweb.org

ALL OTHER INQUIRIES: info@BookWeb.org

 

 

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