Over the past two years, retail customers have been shopping online at independent bookstores in record numbers. To help manage the boom in online shopping, recent updates to the IndieCommerce platform can help make the fulfillment process easier and cheaper — and faster for your customers.
Consumer Behavior Has Changed
The graph at the top of the page shows how recent online customer traffic is up 243% vs the same period in 2019. The data for the graph represents the aggregated online traffic for 560 IndieCommerce and IndieLite websites between January 1, 2022 and February 13, 2022 (blue line), compared to the same period in pre-COVID 2019 (orange line).
More Sales & New Customer Expectations for Your Store
Throughout the pandemic, consumers have been shopping on retail websites in record numbers out of necessity. As we now shift to a post-pandemic world, customers now expect retailer websites to display currently available in-store inventory. They also expect rapid online order fulfillment that includes in-store and/or curbside pickup. Bookstores that integrate their point-of-sale (POS) system with their website will have a much easier time fulfilling these new customer expectations, and increase customer satisfaction and customer loyalty.
Bookstores Are Adapting
IndieCommerce has been actively working to integrate popular bookstore POS systems into the IndieCommerce platform. The three most popular bookstore POS systems that can now exchange sales information with the IndieCommerce platform are iMRCHNT, IBIDie and WordStock.
Last week, we distributed a survey to bookstores asking them about the benefits they were seeing from integrating their POS software with their IndieCommerce website. Here is a sample of the comments we received:
- “Two things above all, [first is] the ability for the customer to see on-hand numbers on the website. Our customers use it daily to check stock at the store before they come in. Second thing is bulk processing website orders at the end of the night. Instead of ringing every web sale as they come in, we can run a report at the end of the night and the POS (WordStock) does all the work for us.” —McLean and Eakin Booksellers
- “It saves a lot of time to import orders from the website into iMRCHNT. The import automatically creates customer records as needed, and makes sure the pricing in the iMRCHNT order matches what the customer was charged on our website.” —Skylight Books
- “It is extremely easy to ring up online orders, check stock, and to order books through IBIDie.” —Village Books and Paper Dreams
- “We like having almost real time, on-hand information visible on our website. We also find the online orders integration features really helpful, as well as the integration with the IBIDie gift card system. These last two have been game changers for us.” —Kepler’s Books
Which POS System?
If your store uses WordStock, IBIDie, or iMRCHNT as your POS and you would like to integrate it with your IndieCommerce website, we’re here to help. To get started, email email@example.com and include the name of your POS system. Then, contact your POS vendor for additional information.
We’re also working on POS integration with Anthology, Basil, and Booklog, but those systems do not currently offer the same level of integration as IBIDie, WordStock, and iMRCHNT. If you would like more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Recent IndieCommerce Updates
All six of the POS vendors mentioned above have the capability to export your available in-store stock quantities into IndieCommerce 1.0 websites, which allows online customers to see what is available in your store. Many stores who completed the POS survey mentioned this as being a very popular feature that drives customers from their website into their physical store.
Another POS feature that we’ve introduced over the past year for bookstores using IBIDie, WordStock, and iMRCHNT is gift card as a payment option on IndieCommerce websites. With IBIDie and WordStock, customers can purchase physical or digital gift cards and redeem them online or in-store. iMRCHNT also allows customers to redeem gift cards online that have been purchased at the merchant’s physical store.
POS integration with your IndieCommerce 1.0 website work and can save your bookstore a great deal of time when processing online orders, as well as drive online customers into your physical store. We’ll continue to improve on this service and hope to add more POS vendors and new features based on demand. For stores interested in moving to IndieCommerce 2.0, we will begin to offer these integrations in 2023. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to the IndieCommerce team at email@example.com if you have any questions or suggestions to improve your store’s POS integration with IndieCommerce.