Our initial interview was published in the May, 2002 edition of the IOBA Newsletter. We are thrilled to be able to give you, Gentle Readers, an update on our progress.
We opened for dealer registration on 4/22/02 and file uploading was activated during the first week of June. We are very happy to say that currently we have 240 registered sellers (with more signing up daily), and a continuously growing database of over 1 million items.
At ChooseBooks.com, everything we do is centered on providing choices. From order processing, to payment structures, to inventory management and uploading, we let you decide on a system that would best fit your business. If you do not have credit card processing capabilities, you can have us process credit card orders. If you do not want to pay a flat monthly fee to list books with us, you can pay a small percent of sales (only when your books sell). Offering many choices has not been easy for our programmers. However, they rose to the occasion.
Following is a list of major features that are currently functional:
1. All of the various searching functions including Any Word Search and the exclusion of Book Club Editions and Ex-library books (please see our search functions at http://www.choosebooks.com ).
2. Inventory Uploading & Management, including:
a. FTP and Web-based File Uploading interfaces.
b. Ability to accept Book files in various formats (HomeBase 1&2, UIEE, Delimited Text).
c. Ability to manually Add, Modify or Delete books online.
d. Ability to accept picture files in various formats.
e. Purge and Relist your inventory.
f. Uploaded File Management System.
3. Ability to submit Want Lists with nightly matching.
4. Watch Item Function, where if you find a book of interest to you, but are not ready to purchase it at the time of the search, you can put it on your Watch List and quickly access it at your convenience without repeating the search.
5. Ability to Find Sellers by Specialty, Geographically or Alphabetically.
6. Browsing through various categories.
Please note, many of these features were designed with the help and input of our book sellers (we hope that they will read this and will accept our profound gratitude for their help). We strongly believe that ChooseBooks.com is for you and consequently are very open to any suggestions or comments that would improve it.
What is left to be done? We are glad you asked. There is only 1 major functional feature left to finish before we are ready for buyers – The Shopping Cart.
That is not to say that after the shopping cart is finished, our work is done. Quite the contrary. Many improvements (i.e., Tracking System to determine where your orders are coming from, ability to raise or lower all of your prices by a fixed amount and Home Pages for sellers with various html pre-coded functions, etc.) are on our To-Do list and will be implemented upon Shopping Cart completion.
Following is a list of items that are in the process of being completed.
1. Shopping Cart: This, by far, is the most important feature left to complete. Currently it takes most of our time since its completion will allow for actual sales. Our Shopping Cart is comprised of 3 separate portions – Shopping Cart, Checkout Process (including our optional Dealer Discount Ring) and Payment Processing.
The Shopping Cart itself and Payment Processing system are completed. Checkout process is the one that we are currently working on. This is by far the most complex of the 3, since we want to have a shopping cart where a buyer will be able to purchase multiple items from different sellers and checkout all at one time.
2. Shipping: Not long after we opened for dealer registration, it became apparent that current shipping choices that we offered were inadequate. We needed more flexibility to allow for differences in shipping to different parts of the world from sellers in various countries (i.e., thanks to our Canadian sellers, we realized that shipping from Canada to the U.S. is substantially lower than shipping from Canada to Europe or Asia). But, just as we had the more flexible system worked out, the U.S. Postal Service decided to drastically change their shipping structure within the U.S. (it is now dependent on zip codes and zones). In order to accommodate this change, we are currently reprogramming our shipping fees system.
3. Our translators are finishing up various text portions of foreign language sites.
And let’s not forget Marketing. We would like to reiterate our strong conviction that without generating sales, all of our features become meaningless. Marketing ChooseBooks.com deserves a separate update.
Suffice it to say that we:
1. Initiated groundwork of collecting information from our sellers to be used in promoting their individual businesses along with ChooseBooks.com
2. Laid ground work for several distinct targeted marketing campaigns to introduce ChooseBooks.com to both “seasoned” and “new” online book buyers.
Our promotional activities will begin as soon as the site is ready to accept buyers. Our aim is to offer buyers positive experiences from the beginning, to ensure their return.
To summarize it all:
We are doing our utmost to create a high quality, useful and user- friendly site that will attract buyers and will sell books. It is close to completion, and getting closer every day. We are trying to finish the last major functional feature – Shopping Cart – and will continue implementation of all other functions immediately following shopping cart completion. WE WILL NOT CHARGE ANY FEES UNTIL THE SITE IS FULLY TESTED AND READY FOR BUYERS.
This includes our introductory free months offer that we will start counting only after we officially launch. We feel that it is better to double test everything and have a perfectly working site, than have any glitches after the launch.
Again, we would like to express our sincere gratitude to IOBA for letting us post this update and to all book sellers who have or plan to sign up with us. Please visit us at http://www.choosebooks.com and if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact us at email@example.com or by calling toll free to 1-877-844-8333.