IndieCommerce Outlines Plans for First Half of 2010

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This week, the American Booksellers Association presented IndieCommerce members with a roadmap of upgrades and new features planned for the first half of 2010. ABA also assured members that, in the wake of the staff reorganization announced last week, IndieCommerce remains an extremely high priority and that the recent changes would put staff in a stronger position to respond to customer service questions and to implement new features.

The plan, presented below, prioritizes some of IndieCommerce members' wish list features in order to hit the most critical targets first.

At the top of this year's schedule are two major projects:

  • Finish the migration of legacy stores to the Drupal platform. The migration, which has been an enormous but necessary drain on customer service resources, is scheduled for completion by the end of March. This will free up IndieCommerce staff to implement new features faster.
  • Upgrade to Drupal 6 and Ubercart 2. Upgrading to the latest version of Drupal and Ubercart will not only ensure future security and stability, it should improve site performance and add some new features as well. Testing is underway, and the rollout is expected to begin in March and to finish in May, before BookExpo America.

While those major projects are underway, there are several other new features IndieCommerce staff will be working to implement:

  • UPS and USPS Ubercart modules that support price quotes by weight. These modules will integrate with a store's own UPS/USPS accounts to automatically adjust shipping charges at checkout.
  • E-book pricing. IndieCommerce is working on a system to show to store administrators the wholesale price for e-book downloads to help stores set consumer prices for e-books.
  • Google Preview. Google Preview offers a slick, comprehensive "look-inside-the-book" feature.
  • Gift wrap. Allow customers to select a free gift-wrap option at checkout.
  • Don't enter shipping address for Pay at Store. IndieCommerce staff is investigating options for re-ordering items on the checkout page, so that customers who wish to pick up a book in the store do not have to enter a shipping address. IndieCommerce is committed to implementing this feature -- if not before the upgrade to Drupal 6 -- then immediately after.
  • Coupon codes. Offer customers a discount by creating "coupon codes" that can be entered at checkout.
  • Make event date formatting more user friendly. IndieCommerce is reviewing some improvements to the event module so that it does not require the Start Date and End Date for events that take place on a single day.

IndieCommerce has a long wish list of additional features that may not be implemented in within the next six months, but a few of the items that it plans to explore as future options are:

  • Destination-based tax system (a top priority following the successful upgrade to Drupal 6/Ubercart 2)
  • Discounts by customer class
  • Combining gift card and credit card payment methods (using a credit card if gift card doesn't have enough funds)
  • Improvements to the book list feature (search by title/author, not just ISBN)
  • Fine tuning search results to collapse books by edition
  • Adding an "add to cart" button to search results
  • Implementing Google Checkout

Questions and comments about anything related to IndieCommerce should be addressed to staff@bookweb.org.