Greetings to all the Record Store people.
Happy Post Indie Street Date for Jason Isbell - Reunions. It's one for the record books for our platform, Tuneportals. For that, matter the month of April 2020 is one for the record books for your online sales. I know it's been difficult for everyone out there in the real world. We are happy that we are here to support the incredible growth of online sales in this situation. We hope everyone is staying healthy and maintaining as much safety protocols as you can handle.
This update is a Really Big One that we have been working on for a while and all of the information following is SUPER IMPORTANT , so I implore you to hang with me to the end and gobble it all up.
We are SUPER EXCITED to share some new features and news with you about our platform, and we are all working very hard to maximize the experience for you and your customers. We have many new record store partners coming on board, sales volume is growing dramatically and many existing customers are getting deeper into our software. So, we have been focused both on new features, and looking for more ways to offer resourceful training and guidance. There are a lot of capabilities that we have created over many, many years and some that are brand new.
Let's continue to drive your online sales to assist in being a revenue source for you both now and when you are able to start to see your smiling customers once again.
Stay safe! Music Matters!
In this email:
1. Online Sales + Jason Isbell + Preorder Management
3. New Feature - Splash Page
4. AEC Big News !!!
5. Long requested New Feature - Digital Gift Certificates !!!
6. New Feature - Price Rules, Sale Prices
7. New Feature - TOP SELLERS
8. New Feature - Stripe + Fraud + China
9. Broadtime Training Guidance + New Instructional Video - Ordering
1. Online Sales + Jason Isbell + Preorder Management
Online Sales. Most of you probably realize that your sales online are higher than in normal times. Right now, online, is the best way to stay connected to your customers so that your store is on their mind and on their radar so they can continue to shop your store. With our weird reality we are in right now, things have really picked up in March, and then April was incredible in volume of records sold on our collective sites. It was our biggest month in our history in terms of sales volume and this month continues to be persistently strong.
Jason Isbell - Reunions. An additional reason for extra sales, which were already high, was the incredible support shown by Jason Isbell to provide Indie Record Stores with the Reunions album in all formats to be sold a week earlier than everyone else. The preorders were already going well when the announcement was picked up by the press and then things really took off. It's the largest record and preorder we have ever had in the history of Broadtime. It beat out our previous larger record, Tool. Plus, we are still selling it leading up to the public street date of the May 15th. Cautionary Cashflow Note: Stores have collected the preorder money in April for this record that will come due in May.
Preorder Management. Another success factor and case study for us, is how we handled the Preorders for Isbell though good communication with Thirty Tigers, The Orchard and with Alliance. We were able to maximize preorder sales and know when to "turn off" the preorder and pivot to the Black LP and when to turn that off and pivot to the CD's. All of this in order for your customers to get the record and not be allocated. I'm thrilled to say with AEC's assistance, we were 100% filled on direct to consumer preorders, primarily because we were informed when to stop taking new preorders. (Stores that were planning to fill the orders themselves, had/have the ability to keep them turned on based upon their expected orders)
When we disable Preorders because we know they can longer be filled by AEC, you may go back in and enable it for your store by adding an inventory quantity because you have a sense of how many you will get for your store.
Overall, Sales in general, and Preorders have been absolutely incredible in volume for everyone. We are thrilled to drive this portion of your business. Preorders are about 1 out of every 4 items ordered on Tuneportals.
NOTE: Neil Young - Homegrown PREORDER will go live at midnight Thursday night this week. It's a former RSD piece with an Indie Exclusive.
2. Neilsen Soundscan
In the past, Broadtime has relied upon stores to do their own reporting for Soundscan sales. Many of our stores report their own sales and this seemed to make the most sense. Now that we are moving so much volume through the platform, we are looking to change that. We plan to build out reporting to Soundscan for your online sales in the coming weeks. Initially, we plan to report the Isbell sales for you (manually) this week.
One of the challenges is that some sales are fulfilled by AEC and some of the online orders are filled by the store directly. For our purposes, we need to report all online sales and make sure stores don't also report online sales they fill. For Soundscan, there is a completely different code for online vs physical store sales so it shouldn't be an issue.
If you are reporting your physical sales to Soundscan, we would like to know about it. All of our customers will get a reporting ID for online sales and we can share that with you as well.
3. New Feature - Splash Page One of the things that we haven't utilized in the past that came into play with Jason Isbell, is the Splash Page. This is a designed page that users encounter when they first go to their site that usually has a CTA (call to action) along with a button to "let me in" to go to your normal home page. We had never utilized that feature for all our customers before, as it's a pretty big product placement. Because the story, the sales, and favor that Jason was doing for Indie retail, utilization of this Splash feature made sense.
When we deployed, we checked with you first, plus every store has the ability via a checkbox in their admin to turn it off if you wish. (only one of you didn't want it). We had it live for 48 hours and it didn't go up until after we had started blocking the indie LP, so during that time it drove an additional 500 sales of the Black LP before we needed to block Preorders again.
You may all still view the page by going to your website and /Splash. (ie. plan9music.com/Splash) The code is right there in your site settings to look at or utilize for your own needs. We may enable it for a bit before the proper street date assuming some more Black Vinyl is going to be available.
We would be pleased to hear any feedback and we may consider providing these options to you in the future. It's worth noting that in order to make such a cool animation we were able to repurpose the animation we created for PlayARt to make the page very dynamic and engaging. We put an animated cover on the CD as well in Tuneportals.
4. AEC Price Drop for our Customers
The price for doing Consumer Direct Fulfillment (CDF) will always be different than the price for your store from Alliance. This is reflected by the fact that picking MULTIPLE pieces to ship to your ONE store location is always going to be cheaper than sending ONE piece to MULTIPLE locations. Historically, this price difference has caused some stores to hesitate to let AEC fill vs doing the work of bringing it in, using your box and shipping it yourself.
With input from many stores and coalitions reaching out and working with Ken and the team at Alliance, they made a case for the indie stores that we work with to negotiate a new lower price for CDF products on our platform. (Thank you to everyone that pushed and helped)
This brings the pricing closer to that of your pricing (while still being different) but makes the decision to let AEC fill the orders for you make a bit more sense at times.
Where you find cost for each item: (However, see note)
• Note The new pricing is not reflected yet in this location it's reflected by the monthly invoices you get at the first of the month. It takes us a while re-ingest 1.2 millions rows of data.
5. New Feature - Digital Gift Certificates
Well it's been a long time coming and we have resisted offering an online gift certificate solution for a long time (thanks in large part to customer's wanting and asking for it - like our good friend John Kunz - thank you, John). Our issue was always the impossibility of integrating with everyone's Point of Sale system and existing physical store gift certs. So also thanks to Justin at Darkside for getting us thinking and investigating their system (currently used for in-store), we have arrived at a solution that works with Stripe and we can technically integrate to our shopping cart.
GiftUp is the solution and we are announcing today. You may optionally work with them to create and sell gift cards that work in your online shopping cart and may also be redeemed in your store using an app.
The first step is for you to create a GiftUp account using our link provided. This will also give you the first $5000 in Gift cards for free as part of their Covid19 Promotion. There are a few technical steps after that but we will create a guide and walkthrough for you, from our signup page later in the week. For now, for those that are interested please sign up.
If you would like to see what it looks like, you can checkout Darkside's page for customers here: https://darksiderecords.com/Page/9206
6. New Feature - Price Rules, Sale Prices
Another often requested feature for us has been the ability to set price rules and sale prices for items that are ABOVE list price MSRP. We understand this can be necessary when the MSRP doesn't present a useful margin.
In the past, the only way to do this was to assign store inventory and then when that's gone it reverted back to MSRP. (When we created Tuneportals it was the CD age of always being below list).
Now you may set a sale price and a long duration (10 years) and maintain a higher than MSRP price without worrying about depleted inventory and just using the inventory at AEC as an availability guide. This is under Pricing and Inventory on individual items in your admin.
Now you may also set global price rules for formats and price ranges, where you may automatically go above the list price. It's a bit counter intuitive, as you have to set a NEGATIVE discount to achieve more than list price. Here is an example where if Vinyl is priced between 19.99 and 22.99 list price then adds $2.00 to the MSRP price.
You create that rule like so:
7. New Feature - TOP SELLERS - SALES REPORTING
Another things that more volume in sales demands is the ability to tell what you are selling the most of at any time. We have a sales report in your Admin simply called "Sales Reporting" at the top. It used to be just monthly but you may now select any time period down to the day. This will give you a detailed breakdown of what's sold on your site. It will also divide out what was cost, shipping and taxes on your completed orders.
It's also includes our new feature at the bottom of that sales report we are including the top sellers chart up to 150. This should be helpful to you on many levels. We are including rank and quantity.
8. New Feature - Stripe + Potential Fraud + China
As you know we have standardized on the Stripe platform in order have the most flexibility and quickly bring stores onboard to accept credit cards. Stripe has many layers and levels of services. One of those services is Radar which enables different levels of fraud protection. They have the free version and a version that charges an extra 2 cents per transaction.
We thought we could set your Radar rules for you on our platform level BUT as it turns out we can't. Each of the decisions to enable Radar and add extra fraud controls is done at the store level and we are unable to do that for you.
It came up because we have an extraordinary amount of orders from a few email addresses from someone in China who is ordering Taylor Swift RED from many of our customers and sending them a distributor in Portland, presumably to resell abroad. (12 stores to date)
So far, there have NOT been any chargebacks or fraud reporting that these are bad cards, but we are uncomfortable with the exposure and are recommending canceling these transactions when they occur. We have also reached out to Stripe for some guidance.
You may also choose to activate Radar upgrade for your store where you can block countries, IP's and email addresses.
What to look for regarding the suspect China customer:
1. Almost always for Taylor Swift - Red (you do order history at bottom of any admin Item page)
2. Likely one of these emails or similar:
3. Portland Address of Distributor
15617 NE Airport Way [CO WPO964] <--diff on each order
Portland, OR 97251
9. Broadtime Manual + New Features
Our customers often forget that we have a manual for how to do some common tasks with our products. We have added some BRAND NEW content for ORDER PROCESSING now with VIDEO WALKTHROUGH TUTORIAL.
Our next planned sections are for Adding Items, Pricing adjustments, and Featured Items.
You may explore solutions at your convenience using the manual and remember we are here for you for support at any time.
Please email any suggestions you have to continue to improve the Manual.
Cart Updates AND NEW FEATURES we shared in our last THREE EMAILS…
THANK YOU SINCERELY - The Broadtime Team