IndieCommunication: If Your Store Is Forced to Temporarily Close [5]

Here’s the IndieCommunication e-newsletter for Saturday, March 21:

Something to Consider if Your Store Is Forced to Temporarily Close

In the event your physical bookstore is forced to close due to the COVID-19 outbreak, consider using Ingram for fulfilling orders on your website.

Sending orders directly to Ingram for fulfillment from your website is referred to as Customer Direct Fulfillment (CDF). Website orders sent to Ingram will be processed using ABA’s Ingram account. Ingram will ship the orders to the customers on behalf of your store. Ingram will invoice ABA for those orders and we will adjust it against what the customer paid for that order. The reconciliation report on your website (Store -> Reports -> Money Management) will provide the details of the disbursement.

Not all orders will be eligible for Ingram fulfillment. The Wholesaler Fulfillment help document [6] lists all the conditions that an order has to meet to be sent to Ingram.

Regarding wholesaler discounts, Ingram will provide the standard discounts.

If you want to send to Ingram as many orders as possible from your website, which is referred to as Customer Direct Fulfillment, please follow these steps:

  • Make sure the site has the following shipping options:

    • Media Mail (only one condition - within U.S.)
    • UPS Ground (only one condition - within U.S.)
    • The shipping method title is important. Disable all other shipping options
  • Disable In-store pickup
  • Credit card should be the only allowed payment option. Disable all other payment options
  • Adjust the store preferences:

    • Store -> Configuration -> Account Information and Preferences -> Store Preferences
    • a. Wholesaler Fulfilled: checked
    • b. Short Discount: checked
    • c. Special Order: checked

Some orders will get sent to Ingram automatically. For some, you have to log into the site, you will see the “Send to Ingram” button, and you have to use it. Give it a try and if you have any questions, drop us an email at staff@bookweb.org [7].

Addressing Customer Concerns About Their Purchase

Over the past week we’ve all received emails from online retailers and shipping services about the steps they are taking to keep online orders safe from viral contamination.

Customers who visit your website have these same concerns. You can address them by creating a text block on your website’s homepage that describes the steps your store is taking to keep their purchase virus-free. Talk about CDC guidelines you have implemented in your store, such as cleaning and disinfecting frequently used surfaces, washing hands, wearing gloves, etc. Be sure to include this messaging in your email and newsletter correspondence with customers as well.

As COVID-19 spreads, your customers are going to become much more sensitive to how their online purchases are handled. Addressing those concerns now will improve your chances of customers returning to your website for future purchases.


Booksellers are encouraged to send their thoughts, questions, or suggestions via email to IndieCommerce staff [8] at any time.

Past editions of IndieCommunication are available on the IndieCommerce Updates page on BookWeb.org. [9]