We're so glad you're here! Here are answers to a few questions you might have.
- Why is our rental program transitioning to Sidewalk?
- My students are going to have questions. How does this work for them?
- What if my students have a question I can't answer?
- Do I have to train my students to go to a new website?
- Will my students notice a difference?
- I want to offer the best prices to my students. Is this change going to negatively affect my rental prices?
- What about students who have summer rentals?
- How will students return books moving forward?
- Who do I contact for account questions or my own support issues?
- Can we test this out before it goes live?
- Will my commission structure change?
- Who will I receive my commission check from?
- Will my institution or legal department have to approve Sidewalk as a new rental provider?
- Are you forcing my store to switch providers?
- Who is Sidewalk anyway? I've never heard of them.
- Can my store be a depot?
- I have a Verba product integration. Will that work once we switch over?
- Is Sidewalk PCI complaint?
- How long will I still be able to access my historical data with Rafter?
- Rush is a big deal. What does Sidewalk do to protect my store during Rush?
- I have a favorite feature or report with Rafter! Does Sidewalk have similar functionality?
- What is BookIt?
- Is student data transferring from Rafter to Sidewalk?
Why is our rental program transitioning to Sidewalk?
Rafter is exiting the online affiliate rental business as of 10/31/2016. Until that time, Rafter has partnered with Sidewalk to be your technology fulfillment partner. Rafter and Sidewalk couldn't be happier to be working together here. Both of our companies have industry-changing reputations, and we both want the same thing: all students should have access to the best content available at a fair price. Since Sidewalk's rental program (both in-store and online) is a core part of its business, it made perfect sense to partner with Rafter and keep textbook rentals flowing to the students who need them. On their end, this shift allows Rafter to focus completely on Rafter360, an innovative solution that puts required course materials in the hands of 100% of the students at partner schools--before the first day of class. Click on that link to check it out!
My students are going to have questions. How does this work for them?
Great question. If you'd like to take a spin through our demo site, you can do that here. Your Sidewalk site might look a bit different (it will have your store colors and logo, for example), but everything should flow just the same.
If your students have questions, they'll probably find answers here on our demo site's FAQ page. Once your store's Sidewalk site is live, point your students to your branded FAQ page, and keep it bookmarked yourself.
What if my students have a question I can't answer?
We'll take care of it! Send your students to our Student Support team at email@example.com, or by phone (toll free) at (855) 855-1185. They work Monday to Friday, 8AM - 5PM, Mountain Time, and have extended availability during Rush.
Do I have to train my students to go to a new website?
Nope! We'll put a redirect in place that will direct your students to the new website automatically.
Will my students notice a difference?
Probably! Head here to see what they'll see. This is our demo site; your store's branded site--if you don't have one already--is coming soon!
I want to offer the best prices to my students. Is this change going to negatively affect my rental prices?
Not really. Both Sidewalk and Rafter are analyzing the same market data, and both of them have robust pricing strategy teams--so your pricing shouldn't significantly change. That said, the textbook market is definitely going to change, and rental pricing will obviously adjust up or down accordingly. Stay tuned!
What about students who have summer rentals?
Business as usual. Students who have rented with you this summer already have access to (or have accessed) a return label that will allow them to ship their books back to Rafter. If they need to log in to their old Rafter website account, they'll need to do that in their old Rafter website. Send them to our Student Support team at 855-855-1185 or firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll get them taken care of. If our Student Support team can't help (if your students need to adjust their summer rentals, reset their password, etc.) then send them to Rafter Support.
We know this is a little wonky, but it's also important: when we transitioned your site over to Sidewalk, we intentionally didn't want to access any of your Rafter data: historical sales, student information, credit card data. To protect you, Rafter, your students, and us, we're giving everyone a clean slate.
Going forward, for every transaction after 8/1/16, your customers will need an account with your new Sidewalk site. That should hold them forever!
How will students return books moving forward?
We provide your pre-paid return envelope. After the books arrive, we'll send an envelope that has a USPS prepaid and pre-addressed label already attached. They simply have to open it up, place the book(s) inside, and drop the package off at the nearest USPS blue mailbox or post office. This process ensures that their books are returned to the correct location and the tracking that is built into each label gives the student peace of mind (see attachment at bottom of page that details these instructions that you can give to your students). It's one more thing we do to make the textbook rental process as painless as possible. When we receive the textbooks, the student's account will be updated to show the books were returned and they will receive a confirmation email. This return process completes the rental cycle.
If your student has misplaced or did not receive a return mailer, they can also print one from their online account.
Who do I contact for account questions or my own support issues?
Our Store Support team is standing by and ready to help. You can email them at email@example.com, or call them toll free anytime between 7AM and 5PM, Mountain Time at (800) 699-4558. They'll have extended availability during Rush. They're an incredible team, and they're excited to meet you!
Can we test this out before it goes live?
Absolutely (In fact, that's a requirement.). You'll run through a few test transactions with our Store Support or Product team before your students ever see your new website. If you want to see how our demo site flows, you can always click here.
Will my commission structure change?
We want to make this Rush as smooth as possible for you. A great way to do that is to leave your commission structure as-is this Rush.
Who will I receive my commission check from?
For all Summer and Fall 2016 rental transactions you will continue to receive your commission payments directly from Rafter, this includes any commissions from Fall 2016 rental extensions and buyouts that may occur as late as January 2017. Rafter highly recommends that before October 31, 2016, you contract with Sidewalk, or another online rental provider, as Rafter will no longer continue to be your online rental provider after that time (our agreement will terminate on 11/1/16). That means prior to Spring 2017 you will want to replace your existing online rental URLs with your new provider links.
Will my institution or legal department have to approve Sidewalk as a new rental provider?
Not for this Rush--we're going to make this a smooth transition, which means that nothing financially will change until the fall. As of 10/31/2016, Rafter will fully transition out of being an online affiliate rental partner. At that time you’ll need to either contract directly with Sidewalk, or find a new partner.
Are you forcing my store to switch providers?
Not really. If you're worried about a new provider in general, tell us about your worries and ask us your questions. We're happy to help (and you just might end up liking us!). If you really don't want to work with Sidewalk, though, you can absolutely opt out.
Who is Sidewalk anyway? I've never heard of them.
We're here to change the way that content works in higher education, forever. We're working on ways to help stores source smarter, to change the ways faculty adopt content, and--just like we always have--help students (and stores!) save money through textbook rental. Check out our story here, or drop us a line!
Can my store be a depot?
Yes and no and maybe. Summer rentals are heading back to Rafter or back to your store--business as usual, however that's currently working. Fall rentals with Sidewalk will head back to Sidewalk's warehouse here in Ogden, UT. Right now our platform isn't able to work with your store as a depot--but we're coding towards it! If depot functionality gets coded and deployed to the point where you can use it, we'll certainly be looking for beta testers! Let us know if you're interested!
I have a Verba product integration. Will that work once we switch over?
Absolutely. As part of the process to set up your new site, we're sending your new link to Verba. It shouldn't change any functionality at all for your store. For instructions on how to set up your Sidewalk Verba integration click here.
We have you covered for the future, too. Sidewalk's Store Support team and Verba Support Team have a formal ticket-sharing agreement (thanks to Zendesk), which allows us to collaborate on support issues easily. That leads to better communication and faster support resolution times. (Plus they're really nice people.)
Is Sidewalk PCI complaint?
Yes, completely. Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (official organization here, quick cheat sheet of requirements here) gives us a framework to protect your customers from credit card fraud while they transact on our products. All transactions run through a payment processor (which means that credit card data is tokenized, and never stored on our products or in our databases) and we have a robust system of network security and user controls.
How long will I still be able to access my historical data with Rafter?
You should download any data or reports you need before 10/31/16. Your Rafter data won't live in BookIt (your reporting platform with Sidewalk) so make sure you grab everything you need!
Rush is a big deal. What does Sidewalk do to protect my store during Rush?
Rush is a very big deal. Each Rush we offer extended Support hours for all our teams, temporarily increase the amount of servers that support our products, and institute what we call Code Freeze. Code Freeze means that we don't release updates to our products during the busiest times of your year (unless it's an emergency, of course) so that you stay with the same, stable, familiar version of the product you're used to. This August, Code Freeze lasts from 8/4/16 to 9/22/16.
I have a favorite feature or report with Rafter! Does Sidewalk have similar functionality?
Depends (but we sure hope so!). Rafter and Sidewalk have different products and different reporting suites--but both of us have very happy, very successful clients. If you can't find your favorite part of Rafter's program right away when you start spinning through Sidewalk, send us an email describing it. It will be a great opportunity to tell you how to use BookIt (our rental program back-end platform) and how we'd go about solving the problem you're trying to solve yourself.
What is BookIt?
BookIt is our cloud-based, user-friendly rental program back-end platform. You'll use it to run a bushel of reports on anything from transaction data to end of year sales calculations. You can see a few screenshots here, or just contact us to take a tour!
Is student data transferring from Rafter to Sidewalk?
Nope! The transition doesn't include any student information, any of your Rafter sales history, or any current rental transactions. Or (especially this) any credit card information. Rafter and Sidewalk structured the transition this way to protect everyone's data, so that your business with Rafter can stay with Rafter, and your business with Sidewalk starts fresh.
What this means for you is that you should absolutely jump into your back-end Rafter reporting suite and gather all information you'll need before 10/31/16, after which it will be unavailable to you.
What this means for your students is, first, that their data is secure; nothing gets shared with a third party. And second, that they'll need to create a new account when they use your Sidewalk site. That account will work with them for the foreseeable future!
Did we miss your question? Do you just want to say hello? Great! Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we'll get you taken care of.