Non-Book Products on IndieCommerce FAQ

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Selling Non-book Products

Stock for Non-book Products

Selling Non-book Products

Are there already non-book products on my IndieCommerce website?

Yes, but you have to enable them. In addition to data on over 10 million books, data is available from Ingram for approximately 25,000 calendars, maps, blank books, and other book-like non-book items (Department T), and approximately 25,000 gift & game non-book items (Department M). To enable these products for sale on your site, just go to:

Store > Configuration > Account Information and Preferences > Configure Book Settings

And check on these two settings, if they are not already enabled.  The products will be immediately available on your site after that.
 

How do I create other non-book products?

Enabling Ingram's non-book departments is a great start.  But if your store offers other non-book products not carried by Ingram, you can create them on your IndieCommerce site by creating custom products.  To learn more about this process, please review our documentation on creating custom products: https://www.bookweb.org/indiecommerce/creating-custom-products
 

What if I have a very large number of products to add—more than I can do by hand?

Creating products one-by-one is a great way to get started, but if you have hundreds or thousands of them, it won't be practical to add them all this way.  We recommend stores create a few products by hand first, to get familiar with the process, and to see how these products will appear to customers.  Once you're comfortable with that, check out the Bulk Import feature.  This feature allows you to upload a spreadsheet with a very large number of products, and also includes built-in validation to check for problems before posting the data to your site.  To learn more about this feature, see our help documentation here: https://www.bookweb.org/indiecommerce/indiecommerce-bulk-importer
 

How do product images work for bulk upload? I have thousands of images to add.

If you have a very large number of images to add, there are two options:

  1. You can provide links in the file you upload to the bulk importer. This option works best if all of your images are available publicly online, someplace other than your IndieCommerce site—for example, on the website of a vendor or distributor.
  2. You can bulk upload a ZIP file of images.  See this document for more information: https://www.bookweb.org/indiecommerce/bulk-upload-images
 

How should I organize my non-book product data?

Before you create a large number of products, it's worth taking the time to think about the different types of non-book products your store sells and whether any of them require special shipping methods, payment methods, sales tax rules, or additional unique metadata.  If so, these products should have their own product class.  See "Why Use Product Classes?" at the top of our Creating Custom Products document for more on this topic: https://www.bookweb.org/indiecommerce/creating-custom-products
 

Which options are available for IndieLite?

Most of this document discusses features available exclusively on IndieCommerce sites. Custom products, bulk upload, and LSI are all features for IndieCommerce only. IndieLite sites can take advantage of Ingram's calendars, maps, blank books, and other book-like non-book items (Department T), and gift & game non-book items (Department M). To enable these products for sale on your site, just go to:

Store > Configuration > Account Information and Preferences > Store Preferences

Stock for Non-book Products (New feature, ETA Oct/10/2020)

Can I upload non-book products together with books in my LSI?

Yes.  For Department-M and Department-T products carried by Ingram, this feature works automatically.  Just make sure the SKU in your LSI file matches the EAN-13 barcode for the product.
 
For products you create yourself—those not in Ingram's database—we are launching a new feature in October 2020 which allows you to upload inventory and price data for those products in your LSI file together with books.  To get ready for this feature, please check the following:
  • That the products you want to supply LSI for already exist on your website
  • That the SKU for each product on your website matches the SKU for that product in your Point of Sale system
  • That the LSI file you upload to IndieCommerce includes these products

Will uploading LSI make all my non-book inventory appear on my site?

No.  Any products not available through Ingram will need to be created as custom products before they appear for sale on your site.

Are there any differences in the LSI file format for non-book products?

No, the format is the same as for books:
  • Product SKU or EAN - maximum length is 20 characters
  • Quantity on Hand
  • Price
  • Section in store
For more details on file format, please see our help document on Local Store Inventory: https://www.bookweb.org/indiecommerce/local-store-inventory

Can/should I send my non-book products in a separate LSI feed?

No, all data should be sent in a single file per store location. Sending a second file for the same location will erase and overwrite its inventory with the content of the new file.

Can I use LSI for some non-book products, and not for others?

Yes.  You can enable or disable the LSI feature by product class—another reason why configuring product classes in advance is so important.  Product classes for which LSI is disabled have unlimited inventory and are always available to purchase.  Good examples of product classes for which LSI is not relevant might include online gift codes, donations, or store memberships.
 

Can I upload prices for non-book products in LSI as well as inventory numbers?

Yes.  There is a preference to use the prices for non-book products in your LSI, just as there is for books.
 

Can I prevent customers from buying products if the stock runs out?

Yes, non-book products will be marked out of stock and unavailable for purchase if:
  • LSI is enabled for the product class
  • The quantity for the product is 0 across all store outlets, or the product does not appear at all in your LSI

If a customer buys a product, will it decrease the stock?

No.  LSI does not work this way for books, and it will not work this way for custom products, either.  For this reason, we encourage stores to update LSI frequently on their sites.
 

How often should I send LSI updates?  Is there any way to send them faster?

Several times a day is ideal.  If you'd like to speed up delivery of LSI to your site, consider switching to LSI via FTP if you're not already using it.  More info is in our LSI documentation: https://www.bookweb.org/indiecommerce/local-store-inventory
 

I don't upload LSI.  Can I provide stock details for my products?

We recommend using LSI if possible.  However, if this is not possible for you, we do have another stock module with different functionality.  Details on this feature can be found here: https://www.bookweb.org/indiecommerce/bulk-importer-importing-stock-lega...
 

Does LSI for non-book support attributes and options?

LSI for non-book is compatible with some implementations of attributes and options, but not with adjusted SKUs that create multiple product variations.  The rule of thumb is, if attributes and options are used to alter something about the product but there is only one source of stock, then it is compatible.  If they are used to represent multiple variations of the product with different stock levels, then it is not compatible.
 
Examples:
  • Compatible: a signed copy of a book.  Attributes are used to allow the customer to choose a gift message.
  • Compatible: a product with a "gift wrap" option.  Adding gift wrap makes the product cost extra.
  • NOT compatible: T-shirts in multiple sizes and colors.  (To use LSI with a T-shirt in multiple sizes and colors, upload each as a separate product.)

I am already using the bulk importer to upload stock for my non-book products.  How can I switch to this new option of uploading non-book stock in our LSI file with books?

The legacy stock solution for the bulk importer is not compatible with LSI, so you will need to switch your entire inventory to LSI when you are ready.  Here are the steps you'll need to take to switch from the previous stock solution to LSI for non-book:
  • Understand the differences between the legacy stock module and LSI:

    • The legacy stock module does not support multiple store locations; LSI does.
    • The legacy stock module does not display detailed stock status on the page; LSI does.
    • The legacy stock module does not include price or store section/shelf, LSI does.
    • The legacy stock module requires uploads to go through the "Import Products" page; LSI works via Treeline, FTP, or manual upload.
    • The legacy stock module requires a separate feed with a different format; with LSI for non-book you simply need to check that the products on your site appear in your LSI file.
    • The legacy stock module allows you to toggle stock as "active" on or off per SKU; LSI works per product class.
    • The legacy stock module automatically reduces stock when customers purchase products; LSI does not adjust stock until you provide an update by supplying a new feed.
  • Review your LSI file to check that your custom products are included.  If they aren't, check settings in your POS system to see what is necessary to include them.
  • Check that the SKUs uploaded for products in your LSI feed match the SKUs on your site.  If they don't, you'll need to update them to match.
  • Once you're comfortable that your non-book inventory is appearing in your LSI, ask ABA staff to switch you to the new LSI system.
  • After the new LSI for non-book module has been enabled, review the settings at Store > Configuration > Local Store Inventory > LSI Settings and make sure the product classes you want to enable LSI for are checked.

Can we use the bulk importer for uploading stock for some non-book product classes and the new LSI option for other non-book product classes?

No. You will need to choose which solution works best for you.

Ugh, it turns out I have a lot of SKUs that need to change. Am I condemned to toil?

Not at all. Just pull together a simple spreadsheet with two columns and send it to staff@bookweb.org:
  • The Old SKU (what's currently on your site)
  • The New SKU (what's actually in your POS/LSI file)

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

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Allison Hill, allisonhill@bookweb.org

 

 

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