Thursday, February 24, 2011

Bookstore Business Ethics

I have written articles related to bookstore business in this blog for several months now. In my previous writings, I discussed a lot of aspects about management, layout and the POS software or how to start an online bookstore. Today I want to say something about ethics. Running a bookstore, a manager or an owner must carefully decides the type of books which he or she will sell. Any books can be sold but what our readers will read will shape their minds or opinions for their whole life. The followings are the books that we MUST NOT sell if we really care about people or community where our bookstore exists:
  1. Books that encourage discrimination or hatred among people with different religious beliefs or ethnic backgrounds
  2. Books that teaches and encourage violence and terrorism
  3. Books about pornography
All bookstore owners must know that they have moral responsibility in presenting books that bring positive values to the community where they live. Books that we sell should bring hope, positive thinking, encourage entrepreneurialship, explore new science and technology for humanity, and books that are relevant to the education of children and youth. By applying such ethic principles in our business, we have given positive contribution both to our employees who work in our bookshop and to people who buy our books. by Charles Roring

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Operating a bookstore cash register

Cash register machine is a device used to handle purchase transaction. For a small bookstore, there usually is one cash register. For larger bookstore, there can be more than two or three of them. Cash register should be placed near the exit door. So that people will bring the books which they want to buy to the cashier desk and pay them. 
Purchase transaction process
  1. A cashier staff will scan the bar code or type the code of the merchandise into the computer together with the quantity of items that the customer buys. 
  2. As calculator, the cash register machine will tell both the customer and the cashier staff the total amount the customer has to pay. 
  3. When the customer pays or gives his or her money, the cashier staff will type the amount into the computer. 
  4. The computer will reply the input data with the amount of change the cashier has to pay. 
  5. After paying the change back to the customer, the next process is putting the books into a plastic bag or other packaging bag before handing it over to the buyer. This is done manually by the cashier staff.
Database Process inside the cash register machine
The information which a cashier staff enters into the cash register machine will be processed  by the computer to change the inventory of books or merchandise inside the database of the bookstore. Computer will record the number of transactions during the whole day operation of the bookstore, the remaining books or merchandise left and the number of merchandise whose quantity has been zero or out of stocks.
How the inventory data is used
Bookstore manager will check the database to make decisions that are related to the ordering of books from certain publishers whose titles are now not available anymore on the bookshelves or hold a meeting to inform the staff to make promotion if the performance of the bookstore is not really satisfied, and etc.
The database management system of a bookstore is similar to the DBMS of other retail stores. When there are mistakes in the input of data at the cash register machine or point of sales (POS) software system, the decision making process for the whole operation of the bookstore will not be accurate. So, what a store manager has to do is making sure that the staff of the cash register machine is able to perform his or her job well.  by Charles Roring
Also read:
Bookstore POS software
Bookstore POS cashier

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

POS Software for small bookstore

Today big and small bookstores use POS software system to serve their customers. If you are now running a small bookstore to serve book lovers from around your neighborhood, you should consider of buying a simple POS software system for your business if you don't have one. Many home based businesses including bookshop still do not use POS to accelerate and control their purchase and selling transactions.
With POS software, bookstore owners can manage their business well. The number of books for each title in the bookshelves, the total amount of money that the store gets in one day, and other information related to inventory control can be obtained from the computer database with high accuracy.
In addition, the book categories and sub-categories can easily be arranged and matched both for the bookshelves and for the POS database. In other words, the management of a small bookstore will be much easier if the owner uses POS software. Today the price of a POS system is not expensive. Some are even offered for free as an open source program on the internet. Most of the POS software are supported by database management system created in Microsoft Access, or MySQL.
Although the POS software uses Microsoft Access or MySQL as the database platform, when you operate POS, you don't need to master Access or MySQL. Usually, the POS software that has been installed in the computer or cash register machine has got simple interface to help you retrieve the data that you need for making business decision related to the operation of your bookstore.
The bookstore that you run may be small but it is a complicated business. The number of book titles and the quantity of the merchandise which a store manager have to order from publishers, and the percentage of the profit margin have to be determined by bookstore owner. If these tasks are done manually, at least two or three clerks should carry out the jobs. With POS software, one person can do all the jobs in faster and more efficient way.
So, modern bookstore management has to be streamlined with the use of computer. If you haven't got POS software to help you run and manage your home based bookstore, you had better buy it now or your business will not be able to compete with other bookstores. by Charles Roring
Related post: Bookstore POS software

Monday, February 14, 2011

Bookstore POS Cashier

If you run a bookstore you need to have at least one cashier machine to deal with customers who want to pay the books which they want to buy. Today, most of the bookstores whether brick and mortar or web-only retailers rely on bookstore POS software computers to do the transaction processes. Old cash machines that do not have database management capabilities are now things of the past. Sales persons who sit at the cashier desks are equipped with hand-held barcode scanning machines, and cash register machines or computers that have been installed with POS software system. With POS technology, the purchase transaction can be handled faster.
Although retail experts are now developing a shopping scheme where buyers can use wireless scanning devices to do the scanning process of the goods that they want to buy thus accelerating the buying process and reducing the number of people standing in line at a cashier counter, the deployment of such technology still faces some technical challenges. It seems that the practice of shop assistants doing the process of scanning the barcode will still dominate the brick and mortar retail format for more years to come.
For online bookstore, the transaction process is more automatic where web visitors directly interact with a bookstore's website that is powered with shopping cart software such as OS Commerce, ZenCart and VPASP. These shopping cart technologies are not expensive. They are even provided for free to anybody who has paid for an e-commerce website with a Fantastico feature.
If the brick and mortar retail bookstore is supported by POS software that is connected with central database system, the click and mortar bookstore or simply called online bookstore, is supported by e-commerce website that is connected with database (usually mySQL) that is stored in a web-server of a webhosting company. Owners of online bookstores do not need to turn on their computers to serve every customer who visits their websites at the same time. Most often, the e-commerce shopping cart software that is supported by mySQL database technology has to handle thousands of customers at the same time. For instance, Toko Buku Online Sapphire that is powered by ZenCart a free shopping cart software has to serve tens or even hundreds of web-visitors who order their preferred books simultaneously. If the transactions occur in a brick and mortal retail bookstore format, manager of the bookstore has to employ at least 10 staff with ten cashier machines to do the job. So, it is not surprising to see that bookstores around the world are now expanding their businesses into the internet. In the future, we will see more people shop online because they can do that while lying on their beds or sitting at the comfort of their couch watching their favorite TV shows. by Charles Roring

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Bookstore POS Software

If you are now running a bookstore, you know that a good bookstore management software is important for your business. One of the softwares that you need to speed up the transaction process is POS software. POS stands for Point of Sale. Whether your bookstore is a small home based business or part of a large chain stores, you really need a simple yet powerful POS system. There are at least four features that a good POS software must possess to do its jobs for your bookshop:
  1. Captures information that is related to book purchase - When a customer takes some books from the shelves and bring them to cashier desk, a clerk who is handling the cash register machine or computer desktop installed with POS software system insert the product numbers (usually by scanning the barcode) of the books and then type the quantity of the books into the computer. POS software system records these information into the computer database and simultaneously do its other job as a calculator.
  2. Creates New Information - During the transaction process, the POS software creates new information such as the total amount of money which the customer has to pay. Perhaps the price of the books is 35 dollars and he or she pays it using a 50 US dollar bank note. The clerk has to enter the value of 50 into the cash register machine and the POS software will tell him that he has to pay 15 US dollars back to the buyer as change for the book purchase transaction.
  3. Conveys information - I have mentioned above that the POS software system that is running inside the cash register machine or the cashier's computer displays 15 US dollars as the amount of change that the clerk has to pay back to the customer. Such information is conveyed to the clerk (as an order entry specialist) in less than one second. At the time when he hits the enter button of the computer keyboard - after typing 50 US dollars, the POS software - as shop calculator - do its job telling him or her to pay 15 US dollars as change for the purchase. The display of such information on the computer screen as one of the ways which POS software can do to convey information. Another information can also be conveyed in printed form.
  4. Cradles the purchase transaction into the computer database - When doing its job as cash register and shop calculator for the bookstore, at the same time the POS software system stores the information of the book purchase transactions into the computer database updating the number of books (stocks) in inventory system.
At the end of the day, manager of the bookstore can check the number of books that they have sold and the amount of money which they get and the books that are out of stock or not available on the shelves. Based on that information that he retrieves from the database of the bookstore software, he is able to make business decisions such as ordering new books or make a report to the store owner of whether the performance of the bookstore is getting well or not, whether they are making profit or whether they need to offer discounts to some categories of books to boost their sales. If you plan to buy a POS software for your bookstore, make sure that it has the above four capabilities. Finally, there is one thing that you also need to know before buying the POS software for your bookstore, i.e. it has to be simple and easy to be operated. by Charles Roring
Also read: Bookstore management system

Starting an online bookstore as member of Amazon Associates

My first online bookstore was hosted in free Geocities.com
Continuing my previous discussion about how to start a bookstore without much capital, this time I want to explain how to sell books and other goods using Amazon Associates program. In my previous post, I explained how my bookstore website stored in free webhosting geocities.com got book order from someone in Riau city worth 4.5 million rupiahs. At that time I did not have any stocks of the books. When my customer send his money via bank transfer to my account, I used the money to order the books from importer in Jakarta. I ran my online bookstore from Malang city back then.
Treat your online bookstore as a real business
Based on my personal experience in selling books online, I know that internet is powerful in supporting anybody who wants to work hard to earn a living from this virtual world. Now, the opportunity of having an online store still exists even to those who do not have a lot of money to buy books and other goods as their initial stocks.
E-commerce software
Starting an online store is not difficult right now. Even the e-commerce software for your bookstore is available for free. Some of the that I know are ZenCart, and OS commerce. If you want to sell products from your town to anybody around the world through the internet you need to do the following things.
  • Purchase a domain name for your online store. It can be for example mybookstore.com 
  • Buy a webhosting package usually for 1 year
  • Install one of the e-commerce that I mentioned above. My online Toko Buku Online Sapphire is powered by the free and open source e-commerce software ZenCart. 
  • When the e-commerce software has been installed you can begin inserting the picture of books, or leather products or anything that is manufactured from your town into the website. The more products you sell with better explanation inside the website, the most likely people will buy from you.
  • You need to study the software by reading its manual book.
  • For online payment system, you need a merchant account that is powered by secure online payment system. If you are not sure what to do with this very important technical matter, I suggest that you sign up for an account in paypal so that you can receive payment for the goods that you sell easily. 
Make money selling books and other goods with Amazon Associates
In the title of this post, I mentioned Amazon Associates. This is a special program from Amazon.com - the largest online store in the world to website owners who want to monetize their website by selling books, electronic products and anything that Amazon.com has. When I mention the word selling, I don't mean that you have to find customers to buy the goods. All you need to do is add some codes from Amazon Associates into your website. The codes can be a product link, astore widget or omakase and some other programs that you need to embed into your website. When someone who is reading your article becomes interested in the products that automatically appear in your site and buys them, you will get some money from that transaction.
Because Amazon Associates website ( https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/ ) has got a lot of information for anybody who wants to participate in the program, I suggest that you visit Amazon.com to read them by yourself. by Charles Roring

How to start a bookstore business without large capital

Starting My First Online Bookstore
Starting a bookstore might be your plan this year to make money. You might have never worked in a bookstore but you are considering of entering this business. Similar to other retail store, a bookstore is simply a store that sells books. It can be a brick and mortar shop, an online bookshop or the combination of them.
When I started a book selling business several years I go, I did not have any capital at all. I was working as an English teacher when I got an idea of selling the English learning textbooks on the internet. At that time (around 2004), I did not know anything about shopping cart software such as OS Commerce or VPASP. I could design a website using Frontpage. So, I began designing an online bookstore website using Microsoft Frontpage 2002 or 2003.
Selling books to people in other cities through the internet
Because I didn't have any capital to start a bookstore, I decided to upload the website to Geocities.com whose webhosting capacity was only 15 megabytes. I didn't have stocks of books either. What I had in my hands were the textbooks from the English language institution where I was working. I had used the books quite long and know their contents well. So, I wrote some reviews about them added with the table of contents of each books and uploaded them into my "bookstore" website. To make the website more interesting, I copied the pictures of the books in their official website and used them in my bookstore website.
In less than 3 months, I received an order of English learning textbooks from Riau city worth 4.5 million rupiahs (around 505 US dollars). When I received the money through bank transfer from the buyer, I contacted the book importer in Jakarta. Most of the books were available whereas some titles had to be ordered from Singapore. So, I sent the money for the books and asked the importer to send them directly to our customer in Riau using our address as the sender. The foreign book importer agreed with my arrangement. The next shipment of the books was also sent by the importer directly to my customer using my address as the sender. Well, that's my personal story of how I run my bookstore several years ago without large stock of books in my hand.
Selling Books Through Amazon Associates Program
Today, we can sell any books that Amazon online bookstore has through our website under program called Amazon Associates. What you need to do is write an article whose content is relevant to the books that we want to sell via the article. If we use blogger account, we can insert the information about the books directly into our article. When someone buys Amazon's books through our website, we will get some revenue which is called advertisement fee. If we are member of Amazon associates, we don't need to think about bookstore management. All we need to do is write a review about a book, add Amazon code of the book in the blog or website. When visitors buy it online from through our website, we have made some money from it.
There are still other ways that you can do to start a bookstore without using large amount of capital. You can begin selling used books that you have but do not need them anymore. by Charles Roring

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