Sales Surge on IndieCommerce Sites as Readers Practice Social Distancing

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IndieCommerce and IndieLite, the American Booksellers Association’s e-commerce platforms for independent bookstores, are seeing a spike in sales as people practice social distancing amidst the COVID-19 outbreak.

IndieCommerce staff are reporting rapidly climbing revenue for participating stores since Thursday, March 12. This past Sunday, March 15, online sales revenue had increased by 750 percent compared to the same day last year. Sunday’s sales revenue also exceeded the highest online holiday shopping day of 2019.

The number of people purchasing books online from independent bookstores is increasing daily at an unprecedented pace, according to the IndieCommerce team. The average conversion rate for all IndieCommerce stores in 2019 was 1.56 percent; the rates seen here are between 2 percent and almost 6 percent. Conversion rates exceeded 6 percent on March 17.

Sales chart of e-commerce conversion rates

Because bookstores are promoting their websites as an alternative to in-store shopping and helping create this demand, ABA and the IndieCommerce team are offering the following to IndieCommerce and IndieLite stores:

  • Visit the new “Coronavirus Resource Center” for IndieCommerce and IndieLite users. We’re updating this new resource frequently and we encourage you to check it often.
  • With the increased online sales volume, all IndieLite and IndieCommerce stores that use ABA for credit card processing will be paid on a weekly basis rather than twice each month. The new payment schedule will remain in effect for as long as sales volume remains higher than normal. We’ll update you before changing the schedule back.
  • Online customers are looking for free shipping, curbside pick-up, and free local delivery. Select any of those options to view a short video demonstration for how to enable it on your site. If you need additional assistance setting up one of these delivery options, drop us an email at [email protected].
  • Your customers want to support your store. Consider accepting donations by creating a custom product page for donations. Promote the donation page by setting up a prominent donation button on your homepage or in the footer or header of your website.
  • Another way for customers to support your store is by offering them the option of purchasing gift cards and gift codes for future use. Be sure to prominently promote these items with buttons or banners on your website.
  • Post a message to your homepage regarding updated store hours, store contact information, and other important information that your customers need to know. You may also want to disable in-store payments as an online payment option if your store is closed to walk-in traffic.
  • IndieCommerce is holding off on implementing the password policy update that was announced last month.

If we can assist you with any other requests for your website, please don’t hesitate to pass them on to us. We’re here for you at [email protected].