Tip of the Week January 9, 2012
Volume: 2 | Issue: 2

Tip: Using customer filters

So the chaos of the holiday season has passed and you are all breathing a little easier -  hopefully the New Year brings a few spare minutes here and there to work on some BookManager housekeeping. Over the years, we've heard form a lot of stores who wish for the ability to analyze their customers and see a breakdown of sales by a certain "type" or "group" of clients. Well wish no more, as this is possible! Some users may already know about cleaning and sorting their customers by type and are enjoying the perks of being able to efficiently and quickly analyze only certain customers and compare their sales activity over previous years, etc.

The first step to cleaning up your customers would be to run a one-time routine from your Scheduler to remove any older/inactive customers - there is no sense going in and cleaning up customer accounts that have not been active in your store since 1998 and so on. Look for or add a routine in your Scheduler called "18) Remove Customers inactive for over XXX months" - it is up to your discretion if you wish to make this a weekly, or monthly routine - at Mosaic, we run it every Tuesday night. We have a customer database of just over 20,000 and so one less thing we have to worry about maintaining on a weekly basis is fine by us.

One note about this routine: Customers will NOT be removed regardless of date if they have active orders or unpaid A/R. To remove a customer, the 'LastActive' date and the dates in the relative records in Orders, Sales and A/R files must meet the age criteria you specify.

Once you have run that routine and cleaned up your cust file to give you a more realistic quantity of accounts to work with, take a moment to think about the different customer base you have, and how you would like your sales analyzed. To offer some perspective, we have separated our customer file so we can analyze between these various groups - staff, frequent/loyal customers who receive a 15% discount, schools, government organizations and book clubs. The next step may require a bit of time, so perhaps is best reserved for those quiet moments - but the good thing is that you can work on it and pause what you're doing to help a customer - since really, they are the reason we are all here right? 

You will need to create a filter, or several, to locate the different types of customers you want to group. Staff would be an easy place for this example, so let's start by searching for your own name in #6 customers. Edit the customer card and arrow over to the customer type or multi-store # field - in the image below it is where the highlighted 9 is located, which means we have designated the number nine as our staff code.

Time saving tip! When doing multiple repeat editing, hit the F9 function key when you are in the customer type/multi-store field. So instead of aggressively arrowing down every time you hit E to Edit, your cursor will start in your specified activated field, which in this case, is the customer type/multi-store field.. The F9 key is one of BookManager's most efficient weapons!

Admittedly, this whole process can be a somewhat time consuming one, depending on how big your customer file is, or how many different "types" or "groups" you wish to create. But take it from us, and other stores who made that one-time effort of cleaning it up, it is definitely worth it to be able to get a snapshot on your daily tapes of sales by cust type, as well as generate reports, etc.

You can also use BookManager's customer Filters to generate some lists with your different groupings of customers. Of course you will need to think of a common thread that will allow you to filter them in one list. Don't hesitate to give us a call if you need a hand on working with BookManager's filters and creating one [or some] that will work for you.
Let's fast forward and assume you have located and edited all the customers you would like separated.
One of the most beneficial features of setting your customers up this way, is the Sales By Customer Type on your end-of-day will provide a more analytical breakdown to interpret. Using the image below, we can see that 1% of all sales done today, were purchased by Staff, while Schools accounted for about 7.3% of all sales.

Many stores also need the ability to send out emails/newsletters to a certain group of their customers - since you have now designated different customer types, you will be able to create a filter and locate these types much more efficiently.  You can easily create a filter to pull out emails based on the customer field.

Note - the name of the customer type/multi store number is called something different in the list of filters: "p) Store number $ ??????????"

Now that you have created filters you can easily just swap out the customer type/multi store/store number field to one of your other designated numbers and pull customer information. When you hit Print you will see you have a load of options - the most common for mail/email lists are "Generate an email list file for use by an external application" [which just generates a .txt file of ONLY email addresses] and "Export customers in tab-delimited format" [which lets you select which information you want to export.]

You can also create a date-range POS subtotal report to analyze sales from a certain period, based on a certain customer type - at Mosaic, we use this function often, especially when we want to analyze our school business.
From #4 Point-Of-Sale, select Misc and Date-range POS subtotal report, and enter in your specific information.

So although this may be one of your more time-consuming "housekeeping" projects, we strongly recommend it - the benefits of seeing a daily snapshot of sales by customer type, or creating an email list, provide endless benefits in the long wrong.  And as you all know, if at any stage of the game here if you need a hand - be it creating a filter, or starting this whole process from the beginning, don't hesitate to give us a call for some hand-holding and overall witty banter.

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FYI: Online Business Directory

Do you ever see a supplier code in PubStock that you don't recognize? Wonder what other book stores are operating in your area? We provide an online Business Directory on our website. If you have a BookManager Webstore, the business directory is also available to you on your site when you are logged in as your store (customers on your site do not have access) at the same location - i.e. Browse --> Business Directory.

In the case of suppliers, you can enter in their PubStock supplier code into the search field. The matching supplier will be displayed, and clicking on their name will allow you to view their contact information (including e-mail address and website if applicable) and a description of the company if they have provided one.

You can also search for bookstores and suppliers by name, or by using our filters of category, specialty, city, province/state, or country, or a combination of these filters as needed to pinpoint the stores / suppliers you are looking for.

Our Business Directory is available and visible to any visitor to the BookManager site, meaning that your store is also listed here and available for discovery!

Please edit your own store's information to include a logo image, blurb about who you are and what you do along with an image of your store. To edit your listing search for your store, then click on the Edit button in the extended store information area (underneath your contact information.) An editing screen will pop up, allowing you to add or edit your store's information as needed. Clicking on Save Changes will submit the changes, Cancel will exit without making changes, and Revert will change the information back to our default information for your store. Once you have saved the changes, a request will be sent to us to approve the information you have supplied. We deal with these promptly to ensure that your new information is included ASAP.