Many Options For POS Integration With Bookstore Websites (Part 2)

IndieCommerce POS Integration Partners

This is the second half of our two part story on the integration of POS systems with the IndieCommerce 1.0 platform. If you missed Part 1it is viewable here.

With the sustained increase in online sales since March 12, 2019, online orders can now represent as much as 30% or more of a bookstore’s annual revenue. Manually managing and fulfilling those online orders can take a significant amount of time for bookstores. To automate and expedite the processing of web orders, stores have started integrating their IndieCommerce website with their POS system.

In the table above, we’ve outlined some of the basic functions that are currently offered by POS vendors for their clients who have IndieCommerce websites. These all currently work on the IndieCommerce 1.0 platform. This list of features will continue to grow as we move forward on the new IndieCommerce 2.0 platform, but will not be available on IC2.0 until 2023.

For more details on how each POS system works with IndieCommerce, we asked vendors to provide brief comments about their integration with the platform. The following comments are vendor-provided and edited for brevity while providing essential information. For more information on what each POS vendor is offering, please contact them through their website or the contact information they provided.

iMRCHNT

For the last five years, one of iMRCHNT’s primary focuses has been on increasing our customers’ e-commerce sales and reducing their effort to fulfill those sales. In collaboration with our customers and the IndieCommerce team, we have been working towards fully automating the procedures and inputs between iMRCHNT and IndieCommerce. Our goal is for our stores to do no manual work in regard to inventory and orders within IndieCommerce, and we are very close to achieving that goal.

At this time iMRCHNT + IndieCommerce can:

  • Automatically send inventory levels on a nightly basis.
  • Send all store inventory (New/Used/Sideline/Gift).
  • Send properties and images for all products with no need for manual inputs on the IndieCommerce side.
  • Multi-Store customers can present item inventory levels by store and offer in-store pickup by store.
  • Automatically send inventory adjustments every 15 minutes for near real-time inventory sync between in-store and online.
  • Automatically pull IndieCommerce orders every 15 minutes, create orders within iM, add new customers, match to current customers, add new items, and place new or out of stock items on our To Be Ordered lists for buyers to act on.
  • Automatically send order updates back to IndieCommerce.
  • Redeem and sell in-store gift cards online.

We also have a feature to check the balance of in-store gift cards on IndieCommerce sites, but this requires that new cards be printed with an authentication pin for security reasons.

These integrations will increase revenue and reduce expenses, boost revenue by offering more products online and presenting inventory levels to your online customers in near-real time. A 2021 Shopify eCommerce Market Credibility Survey showed that over 55% of consumers will search your store’s inventories online prior to visiting your physical store. 

Integrating iMRCHNT allows stores to lower costs by reducing or completely eliminating the time it takes to complete certain IndieCommerce related tasks. Stores of all sizes that are manually transferring files and inputting order updates within IndieCommerce will save considerable time on processes that can easily be automated by integrating iMRCHNT.

IBIDie & WordStock

Here are the components of IndieCommerce integration that we offer:

  • Exporting your store on-hand values to populate your website —  A file goes out on an automated periodic basis.
  • Importing your IndieCommerce orders/sales into your POS system — The nature of this integration varies with WordStock and IBIDie systems.
  • Selling, Redeeming, and Managing Gift Cards, through our gcXpress Gift Card service — This offers seamless processing of gift cards on both IndieCommerce and your store POS systems. Cards can be sold either online or at your store, and all cards can be redeemed either through the store POS or via IndieCommerce.
  • Exporting on-hands — Our automated tool will automatically send the on-hands from your store to IndieCommerce. You can decide how often you want the upload to be done. To get started, you’ll need to contact IndieCommerce to get “FTP credentials.”  Then contact your IBIDie or WordStock Support Representative to get it all set up.
  • Importing Orders/Sales — We’ll work with you and IndieCommerce to automatically download the appropriate orders for processing on your POS system.

 

IBIDie: Orders are downloaded to be processed and either shipped or picked up at the store.  The process allows the easy creation of Special Orders for titles not in the store inventory, and easy processing of the orders through the POS register. The integration includes importing consumer names and addresses from the e-commerce downloads. An instructional video on this integration exists on our YouTube channel, IBIDie for Booksellers.

WordStock: Completed orders can be automatically downloaded into WordStock and the POS system will automatically run the sales through the register. The store can be set up to either process sales shipped/picked up at a store, or processed and shipped by Ingram. Orders shipped/picked up at the store will have local inventory information updated, those shipped by Ingram will not.

Gift Cards: Our gcXpress Gift Card service is now fully integrated with IndieCommerce. This allows stores to have all gift cards, e-gift cards, and physical gift cards processed on a common platform and allows interchangeable sales and redemptions on all sales channels. The balances on any card can be checked via the IndieCommerce website as well as the local POS. Part of this deployment also enables stores to download and merge into the service all open Givex card balances as well as existing IndieCommerce Online Gift Codes. This integration is for both IBIDie and WordStock.

To learn more, IBIDie users can call us or email dwalton@irtnet.com. WordStock users can call us at 800-444-7224 or send us an email at support@wordstock.com

Basil

Basil’s integration with ABA’s IndieCommerce has two primary functions:

  1. The upload of available inventory and order downloads. Inventory is uploaded four times daily at 11 am, 3 pm, 7 pm and 11 pm ET.  The available quantity is calculated by reducing the store’s on-hand quantity by the pending Special Orders.
     
  2. Downloading IndieCommerce orders every 15 minutes. As orders are downloaded, the process either creates a new Basil customer account or links to an existing account by email address.

Orders are searchable within Basil by date, order status, customer, or bibliographic information. When reviewing an IndieCommerce order, each bookstore can see in-store stock availability as well Bookazine and Ingram availability for each order line. Having all this information in one place greatly facilitates the fulfillment decision-making process.

Stores can print a picklist of order items currently in-stock and designate those items for shipment from Basil. Basil provides multiple options for postage/shipping integration, including Endicia, Pirate Ship and DesktopShipper.

Special Orders can be created for items that are not currently in-stock or items can be flagged for Ingram fulfillment using the Ingram Direct to Home function.

Special Orders created via IndieCommerce orders participate in the same workflow as Special Orders generated in the store, but include the associated IndieCommerce order number and indicated shipment method.

Our integration with IndieCommerce has evolved over the last couple of years, and we look forward to the future and an even tighter integration between our two systems.

Anthology

The Anthology IndieCommerce link provides integration options for communicating in real time with your IndieCommerce site. Inventory uploads can be run manually or can be scheduled to run throughout the day, allowing your site to be updated with the latest On-Hand or Available quantities. IndieCommerce sales can be downloaded directly into the Anthology customer order module seamlessly either by scheduling downloads throughout the day or by manually running the process through the Anthology user interface.

Downloaded sales are designated as web orders in Anthology, allowing clerks to process orders, send items to purchase orders, email customer notifications, and track sales via the numerous reporting options. Customers can be sent email updates regarding their outstanding orders. New customers are added to the customer database in Anthology seamlessly with the ability to set default options (including frequent buyer clubs, tax profiles, etc.).  Additional functions exist for exporting customer contact info in bulk for newsletter mailing systems like MailChimp, as well as importing changes to customer contact information back into Anthology.

The Anthology-IndieCommerce module makes communication seamless, providing multiple communication options and concentrating your sales and ordering data in one location.

Booklog

In March of 2020, Booklog received a call from a customer who described his situation as “beautiful and frightening.” Although his store was closed, he had received 500 online orders for an autographed book written by a local author with that number increasing on an hourly basis. Although the store was using IndieCommerce, they were manually entering each order into Booklog separately. We introduced them to our IndieCommerce interface, and that saved them a lot of processing time.

The Booklog IndieCommerce Interface simplifies the communications between IndieCommerce and Booklog. There are two parts to this interface. The first part takes information from Booklog and sends it to the store’s IndieCommerce site. This populates the store’s website with information about the store’s current stock. Booklog generates a list of books and uploads them to the IndieCommerce website, avoiding the hassle of manually creating IndieCommerce lists. Customers who shop through the store’s IndieCommerce site can see the current stock, including how many copies are in the store at the time of the export and where to find the items in the store's departments. To keep the quantity numbers current, the store can upload the information several times a day.

The other part of the interface is the one that has saved Booklog customers a lot of time in processing IndieCommerce orders. This is the downloading of orders from IndieCommerce and importing them into Booklog. Transactions are pulled from the IndieCommerce site and loaded into Booklog's Mail Order module, creating a record of each sale in Booklog. The Mail Order looks like a cash register screen that has been pre-filled with everything the customer ordered online including all the customer information. Once the order is in Booklog, the store can print out picking lists to grab books from the shelf (if the inventory is available in the store), or indicate that the order will be fulfilled by Ingram’s Direct to Home program. If the books are in the store, the store completes the transaction in Booklog’s Mail Order module and ships the items to the customer. Alternatively, the store can check the Direct to Home option and Booklog will automatically generate and transmit an electronic purchase order to Ingram to fulfill the customer’s order.

As more and more of our customers move to IndieCommerce to have an online presence, we recommend the IndieCommerce interface to make the process a lot faster than manually processing each transaction.