I never kept a customer database when I ran DB Distro, but I plan on keeping one for Things You Say. I'm going to use an Excel spreadsheet, but I'm not sure yet as to what information to include besides the obvious name and e-mail address. I plan on having some kind of reward for frequent customers, like free shipping or a free zine. I'm still working on ideas. I'd love to hear what others have to say.
I think a customer database is a must! You'll want to have addresses and email addresses to send major updates or print newsletters or things like that. I usually do some kind of seasonal mailing to all of my customers who've ordered in the last year offering some kind of clever discount or coupon or some such thing. It helps remind people that they like to read zines and comics.
The new Parcell Press site gathers up a customer database for me and I can export it into a spreadsheet for sorting. Before I had the new site I used a database called "My Contact Manager," which was a little busted but served my purposes. It's cheap and I think it's still available, though I'm sue there's an open source alternative that would be free and just as good if not better.
obvs i keep one. i used to have one on a computer & another hard copy on index cards, but my track record with computers isn't the best & now i just have my index cards. each orderer has a card with their first & last name, address, e-mail address, the date of each order, what they ordered, & how they paid. they are organized alphabetically by first name in an archival storage box. bit more time-consuming than a spreadsheet, but there have been times when it's been really handy to have to enter the data by hand. it keeps me familiar with regular orderers, what they order, if they have moved...i never thought i'd use it for anything other than my own amusement, but it all came in really handy when i started the subscription thing. i can use that info to not duplicate zines that subscribers have already ordered from me, & i have all the info i need for the rewards program.
I have an excel spreadsheet. It has a tab for zinemakers I stock, customers, and another for people who've signed up to the mailing list. It includes their name/email/address/zine name if applicable/wholesale/retail prices/preferred payment method
i've never kept a database, but anyone who has ordered more than once, i sort of remember them. i have a tendency to keep letters that people send me anyway. on occasion i send out postcards or emails to say hello to people.
No, but it seems like a good idea, and now that I'm learning how to make databases for something else, I plan to do one for Trees & Hills. It'll include a lot more than distro customers - inventory, money stuff, stores, events, artists, who knows what else. I'm excited about it! I plan to use the customer info for occasional e-mailings & maybe once in a while a snail mailing, to let people know about new zines & whatnot.
I keep a database. I use one that utilizes cloud computing, it's called Upvise you can add things to the database from any computer using there site, and it syncs to an app that you can download on your iPhone or iPod touch.
I use it to keep track of who buys what, and when I get repeat customers I include a little note and a special item. And sometimes it's just cool to see who buys your stuff.
Right now the only "database" I have is a receipt book, where I include their name, address, email address and their order. I have another, simplified one where I keep track of what I charged for shipping and actual shipping costs, but that's more to see how accurate my shipping charges are.