BookSense.com has begun a marketing program designed to encourage booksellers who may not have evaluated the program since its commercial launch in November 2000 to look again. Len Vlahos, BookSense.com director, told BTW that since BookSense.com first went online in the summer of 2000 in a live beta test "the product has experienced so much growth and development -- we really want stores to take another look."
To encourage booksellers, the new marketing initiative -- entitled "BookSense.com, Better than Ever!" -- features a free trial for stores that have never participated in the program. The offer will run from February 15 through June 30, and the only requirement for participating is that the bookstores be ABA members, Book Sense participants, and that the stores have never been active BookSense.com stores. (Bookstores that were part of the live beta test but that never signed a BookSense.com contract after the commercial launch are eligible.)
"We believe the product is so good that if they try it they will see that it's an excellent marketing tool for their stores," said Vlahos. BookSense.com has enhanced the product in a number of ways since 2000, including:
- keyword search and a faster search engine
- a local store affiliate program
- payment methods in addition to credit cards for consumers
- enhanced cash-management reporting
- an improved interface for sites' event pages
- a separate gift certificate shipping option.
In addition, Book Sense stores that take part in the free trial will also be able to contact BookSense.com "mentors," current users who are volunteering to help answer questions.
The marketing program will also offer something for current BookSense.com stores. Also beginning on February 15, those stores will be able to try, at no cost, the newest BookSense.com feature -- inventory uploading.
Vlahos noted that the enhancement allows bookstores "to upload their in-stock positions" for items in the BookSense.com database. Now, consumers at a store's BookSense.com site will see a new inventory status -- "on our shelves now" -- and will be able to specify that they want to pick up the purchase at the store. "The purpose of this is to give the consumer more and better information, and to further integrate the bricks-and-mortar store with the online store," said Vlahos.
Beginning in July, the inventory upload feature will cost an additional $100 per month for one location and $50 per month for each additional location, with a cap of $250.
Booksellers can get more information about the two free trial opportunities, and about BookSense.com, by e-mailing email@example.com or by calling (800) 637-0037, ext. 1234.