Sven Kauber
Hi!  I'm Sven Kauber.
I develop information systems. My interests include IS design, development and usability.Read more...

E-Shop

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April 21st, 2011

E-Shop consists of multiple parts that make it simple to handle even large product catalogs.
Product groups are displayed as a tree menu in the Front-end. Products have list- and detailed views, and there's a shopping cart.

There's sliding window paging available for larger catalogs in the Front-end. It works in a similar way to Google's.
Both products and groups support multilingual content. All texts can be inserted in languages that have been added to the CMS.


Product groups

  • Product groups are handled in a tree view in the Back-end. It is very easy to create new groups and order, rename or edit them.
  • Each group can have multiple products.
  • In the Back-end, it is possible to change the order of products belonging to a group by using drag and drop.
  • There can be indefinite hierarchical structure of groups and subgroups.
  • A group can be used as a placeholder in groups menu (i.e. not having any products).
  • Each group has search-engine friendliness options: alias can be added to replace the technical URL, browser title, meta description and meta keywords can be set.
  • Each product group can be hidden from the Front-end.
  • A description and a code can be inserted for each group.


Products

  • Each product has a catalog and a detailed view.
  • A product can belong to one group.
  • Both files and images can be added to a product. For some extra search-engine friendliness, title and alternative texts can be added to them.
  • All images are automatically resized and copied into multiple smaller images that are then used in catalog and detailed view. This speeds up page loading. Having proper thumbnails also improves quality of images that are displayed to the visitor because there's no need for browser to handle the resizing.
  • There is support for SEO similar to product group's: aliases, browser title, meta description and meta keywords can be set.
  • Discounts may be added: each product can be set to have a discount price.
  • Products can be highlighted: each product can be marked to be presented in a special way. A good place would be the front page of the site for example. There can also be a list view if multiple products are marked this way.
  • It is possible to add any amount of extra parameters to products. Each extra parameter has a title and its contents are presented as a drop down menu in the Front-end. Extra parameters also work together with the shopping cart: the choices that have been made by the visitor will be visible to them in the cart and once the order has been completed, sent to the admin by e-mail.
  • Products can be related to each other: it is easy to select them in the Back-end by using a dual multi-select widget. In the Front-end, the related products are displayed in product detailed views.


Shopping cart

  • In catalog and detailed view there are links for each product that allow amount to be inserted and then product may be added to the cart.
  • The cart displays all the products in clearly formatted list view, showing price and amount information.
  • Amounts can be changed for every product.
  • Contents of the cart are sent to e-mail address(es) set by the site admin.
  • A mini-cart can be made visible in the layout. A visitor can easily view the total sum and the amount of products that were added to the cart.


Tailored add-ons

  • There might be a lot of e-commerce - related data in the existing information system. A handy import script could be developed that would automatically load all products, groups and hierarchies from it. The existing system could be as simple as consisting of a couple of Excel spreadsheets or a large database from a CMS.
  • If data constantly needs to be updated, it would be wise to try to automate as much as possible. A custom renewal script could be made that would renew product groups, add new products, renew prices, titles and texts. All from an Excel or CSV file for example.
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