Capstone Experience: Books-A-Million

This semester we have the pleasure of working with 2nd & Charles! 2nd & Charles is a used bookstore that was established in Hoover, Alabama. Owned by Books-A-Million, there are fifteen stores nationwide, and they are looking to expand further. Customers can bring in anything from books to vinyl records to eReaders to sell for either cash or store credit. The buyback employees at 2nd & Charles will examine the items and generate a quote based on the condition of the items and the store’s current inventory. Customers can shop while waiting for their quote to be processed and will be notified by their ticket number being shown on one of the TV screens located throughout the store. They can choose to receive cash, store credit, or to have the items returned to them.

The UA MIS Team will be creating a web application called “Queue 4 You!” for 2nd & Charles that will revise and streamline their queuing process. “Queue 4 You!” will allow the employees at 2nd & Charles to keep track of all buybacks. Employees will be able to track the status of buybacks that are currently being processed, from the “Pending” state to when they are “Complete.” Customers will be notified on the in-store TV screens, as well as by SMS or email, whichever they prefer, once their quote is ready for pickup. “Queue 4 You!” will then follow an escalation process if the quote is not picked up, notifying the customer the next day, a week later, then signaling the employee to call the customer to alert them.

The queuing system that is currently in place costs 2nd & Charles $1,500 a year per store. “Queue 4 You!” will significantly reduce that overhead cost for 2nd & Charles, as they will no longer have to pay for that service. Customer response times will be reduced, and there will be the added flexibility for customers in terms of waiting in or out of the store, both of which will improve customer satisfaction and retention.

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