Bookstores Use IndieCommerce’s Wish List Feature to Create Gift Registries [5]

Greenlight Bookstore [7] and Politics & Prose Bookstore and Coffeehouse [8] have repurposed IndieCommerce’s wish list feature so that customers can also use it to set up gift registries at their stores.

An example of an IndieCommerce wish list used as a gift registry
An example of an IndieCommerce wish list used as a gift registry

The wish list feature, which is available to all bookstores that use ABA’s IndieCommerce platform for online sales, puts an “Add to Wish List” button alongside the “Add to Cart” button on website product pages, the search results page, and book lists. According to ABA IndieCommerce Manager Geetha Nathan, while the feature was created for customers to keep track of the books they want to read for their own reference, Greenlight and Politics & Prose have been promoting registries as an additional application.

The two bookstores have made it clear on their websites that customers have the ability to create specific lists of gifts and books that others can purchase. The lists can be created for events such as holidays, birthdays, baby showers, or weddings; for schools hosting book fairs or looking to build their libraries through contributions; or for other events.

“Customers who are logged into their bookstore’s website can manage their wish list from their personal account page on the site. Then they can e-mail their list to friends and family members and include a custom message,” said Nathan.

Recipients will receive a link to the wish list page on the bookstore’s website. The wish list feature shows the product quantity desired and the quantity already purchased, which can be especially useful for schools or charitable organizations that might want more than one of each item.

When someone makes an online purchase from a wish list, that list is updated accordingly, with the item marked “Fulfilled” and the “Add to Cart” button removed. For purchases made at the store, store staff have access to update the customer’s wish list. A wish list creator can see whether something has been purchased from his or her own list by visiting their personal wish list page. When a person purchases a book off of a wish list, the item can either be mailed to the wish list creator or made available for in-store pick up.

Customers can also use IndieCommerce’s “Find a Wish List” feature to search for a friend’s list by inputting that friend’s name or e-mail address, added Nathan. At the moment, customers can only create one wish list per store account per e-mail address provided.

Jessica Stockton Bagnulo, who co-owns Brooklyn, New York’s Greenlight Bookstore [9] with Rebecca Fitting, said their store also offers another option for schools to create public pages that list book fair titles and requests for classroom book donations. These public book fair registries, created by the store, allow parents to purchase titles online and pick them up at the school during the fair or to review the online registry ahead of time. Public lists are also given customized URLs, which are easily searchable on Greenlight’s website.

Stockton Bagnulo said that since Greenlight began offering the IndieCommerce wish list feature in 2012, the store’s online account holders have generated seven full pages of wish lists.

“IndieCommerce’s wish list feature is one of two ways that we set up registries or book drives, and it’s the most hands-off way,” said Stockton Bagnulo. “We definitely promote it every holiday, so customers know they can ask for the books they want and other people can fulfill their gift list. We also have a dedicated page for wish lists and gift registries on our site’s drop-down menu, under programs and services.”

Politics & Prose [10] lead IT specialist Leeza Luncheon said members of the store’s web orders team consider IndieCommerce’s wish list “a great feature and would like to see it get more use for birthdays, bar and bat mitzvahs, registries, showers, and the holiday season going forward.” According to Luncheon, an engaged couple contacted the Washington, D.C., bookstore last fall to inquire about setting up a wedding registry with almost 100 books.

“The feature is easy to use and [it’s helpful that] every product on the wish list has an ‘Add to Cart’ button,” said Luncheon.

The store’s Children and Teens Department has also used the wish list feature to partner with schools and literacy organizations to conduct book drives, according to Luncheon. While the success of those efforts has varied significantly, she said, this was likely in correlation to the amount of marketing done by those groups and the engagement of their supporters.

IndieCommerce bookstores interested in enabling the wish list feature on their websites should contact ABA’s IndieCommerce staff [11].