See you at the Alphagraphics Show!

In only 6 days, Four51 will be heading to the Allegra Network Alphagraphics Joint Technology Expo.  For all who are going, take the time to stop by our booth #832 to find out about our all new Advanced Sales Program!

This FREE program will give you access to better equip prospecting/sales support and planning, marketing collateral, and more. We want all our customers to have the knowledge and expertise to use and sell CommerceTools effectively, which is why we are offering this program as a complimentary service to our customers.

We are also introducing our new FanTools Enterprise Solution.  This new edition specifically addresses the social media challenges of distributed businesses.

If you are looking for more information on either one of these new and exciting opportunities please stop by and see us at the Expo, booth #832, or visit us online by clicking here.

We hope to see you there!

Web to Print: Kitting

Kitting in the CommerceTools word is an important tool, especially while selling.  Kitting is grouping several different products to create one product option.  Most people know about kitting, but if you haven’t gotten it setup, we can help you get started!  If you are familiar with kitting, but would like like to freshen up on what is available or need some questions answered, we can help you with that too!

Case Question:
Are kits/kitting supported in CommerceTools?  If so, can you briefly explain the kit functionality so I can tell if it will accommodate my customer’s needs?

G-Ray:
Kits can be great tool in the sales cycle or to spice up the product offering for existing clients on CommerceTools.  The kit functionality supports basic/static type scenarios as the end user is not able to modify the products or their quantity in the kit.  Adding the dynamic kit functionality is on the roadmap as a phase 2 of the overall kit project.

To find out more about subscribing to the kit performance option or to check it out on the CommerceTools Demo environment, drop us a line at info@four51.com or submit a case.

Ski-Dog:
Creating a kit on CommerceTools is very similar to creating a static product.  There are various differences like selecting which variable/static products to include as kit items, setting inventory to track at the kit and/or kit item level, and selecting if pricing will be displayed as an overall kit price or the sum of the kit items.  Click Here to read the Knowledgebase article creating kits.

Remember to subscribe to your favorite articles in the Knowledgebase to receive a notification when they get updated!!  Just click on “Subscribe” in the right navigation bar when viewing an article and enter in your email address.

Headphones:
The kit will appear as a single line item during the checkout process for an end user and in the emails.  When an order is received on the administrative interface, the kit items will be visible and can be sourced to the same or different suppliers.  **This is a great way to handle sourcing each aspect (embroidery, material, etc) of a job like a hat or shirt to different suppliers on CommerceTools.

In regards to kits in the Order Request XML document, the productType will be set to ‘Kit’, and there will be a new extrinsic element named ‘parentKitLineItemID’ that references the lineitemID of the line item containing the kit’s parent product.  Click Here to check out the Knowledgbase article on the Order Request XML document.

Four51 Web to Print: Product Pricing

This week’s post is all about product pricing.  Instead of creating many individual items, read on with Ski Dog and Headphones to figure out how to use variable specs and apply price mark-ups to any special items you may have.

Case Question:
I recently sold a new fulfillment program for corporate branded apparel and I am not sure how to configure my products.  I have shirts that come in four different colors and five different sizes. Each shirt has its own inventory and I need to charge more for the larger sizes.  Do I need to set each one up as an individual item or is there a way to create just one item for each style of shirt?  Four51 Variable Spec (tshirt)
Ski Dog:
Good news! You do not need to create individual products for each style of shirt.  Instead, you can create one item and use variable spec selections to have the user pick the color and size combination.  These options can either be displayed as dropdowns or radio buttons.   Also, when creating your spec values you can apply price mark-ups to the options that you need to charge more.

Headphones:
In addition, you may also set inventory levels for each color/size combination and you can display different images as the user makes their selections.  In order to this you will first need to generate variants based on the selection specs.  This is a simple process, all you need to do is determine which combinations you need to use and the application will create the variants for you.  Each variant will automatically be assigned a variant ID.  Once the variants are generated you will be able to: modify the variant ID, add an interop id, add an image specific to the variant, and set an inventory level for each variant.

Implementing QR Codes

QR Codes aren’t new anymore, but they are certainly a great way to get particular information across or guide people to a certain image or webpage.  This is why CommerceTools has created the ability within our system to create and upload QR Codes to templates.  Try scanning this one with your QR Code reader on your smart device now!

 

CommerceTools QR Code

Case Question: I have a new customer that would like us to put a QR Code on the back of their business cards.  Do I have the ability to do this with CommerceTools?

SkiDog
Absolutely! With the Pageflex QR Code plugin, customers are now actively creating QR Codes for a number of products, including business cards that contain vCard or meCard information.  To download the required Pageflex Plugin, follow this link.

Headphones  
A little history for you… A QR code (abbreviated from Quick Response code) is a type of matrix barcode (or two-dimensional code) first designed for the automotive industry. More recently, the system has become popular outside of the industry due to its fast readability and comparatively large storage capacity. Created by Toyota subsidiary Denso Wave in 1994 to track vehicles during the manufacturing process, the QR code is one of the most popular types of two-dimensional barcodes.

Tell us!  Have you ever scanned QR Codes before?  Also, if you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us!

CommerceTools Web to Print Approval Rules

Asking for permission is something we are all taught at the youngest age possible… but it is also something you don’t necessarily grow out of.  Certainly it changes, and it probably changes a lot, (at least I hope so).  There are many times in business where you need approval from a superior or sometimes even a subordinate.  It is a way to double check our work and keep people accountable.  Its also a way to ensure we… well, to say it straight, don’t screw stuff up!  When using CommerceTools, companies run into many scenarios that require approval rules.  It helps them create processes that are near flawless.  We’ve taken that seriously and built our application in a way that allows for approval rules to be setup.  Read this common case question below to learn how to set up your own approval rules!Web to Print Approval Rules Continue reading

Customer Logon Continued

Last week we talked about the single sign-on work flow, and Four51’s take on it – Auto Profile Logon (APL). Headphones said that there was way too much information to convey in one sitting, so here he is with a follow-up…

Headphones
Ah, yes. Way too much to convey in one sitting – so here we are sitting again. Thinking about ways to get users from one system into another system. Continue reading

Web to Print Product Image Zoom Funtionality

Online shopping and browsing is only becoming more popular.  Along with that, customers are demanding more functionality out of product websites.  They want to see their product, in detail, before purchasing.  If you have started selling promotional products to your customers and they are demanding more than a static image, continue reading to learn how to have a zoom on your promotional product images, exclusively.

Case Question: I recently began selling promotional products to my customer.  They are asking me for the ability to zoom in on the product image.  I do not want this same functionality for their print products.  Is this possible?

G-ray:  The ability to display your products in the way your customers want to buy them is an important consideration to online sales.  Best practices dictate well written product descriptions, multiple images that are both clear and optimized for the web so they load fast, and proofs for variable products.

Ski-Dog: We use Product Detail templates to create a different look and feel for a specific catalog, category or product.  The customization of a template can include html, javascript or  one of Commerce Tools image display widgets.  Click here to view a solution video and to read more about Product Detail templates.

Headphones: Those product image widgets Ski-Dog talks about are quite easy to implement and will add a great deal of pizazz to your products.  At a technical level we took some of the more popular jQuery plugins out there and added them to our own library.  The knowledgebase articles will show you how to use and configure the widgets to add features like light boxes, slideshows, zoom, and fade in to your products.

Four51 Web to Print Security Errors

Browser errors, blocked pop-ups and security warnings are all things we’ve seen on our computers, and probably the only times we don’t take those warnings very seriously.  We know security errors can happen with CommerceTools from time to time, so we want to make sure you know how to avoid this issue.  This week we are discussing a common case question addressing those browser issues.

Case Question:
I am new to CommerceTools and am getting security errors when using the project file upload utility.  Is there a specific browser I should be using?  Are there any changes I need to make within the browser or on my computer to get it working?

Ski-Dog:
To upload project files in CommerceTools, you need to have Microsoft .NET 2.0
framework installed, and then make several configuration changes.  The .NET upload utility requires Mircrosoft’s Internet Explorer browser, but for you Firefox and Google Chrome users, you can also use the IE Tab, if you really don’t want to leave your favorite browser.  This knowledgebase article will cover the changes you need to make.

HeadPhones:
For security purposes, browsers were not built to handle complex file system tasks. It would probably be a bad thing to let any website have less-limited access to your file system, due to malware/spyware/virus threats. So, to allow the type of file management in a browser that the Project File Upload Utility requires, we built a .NET control to facilitate the interaction between the browser and the file system.  Since it is a .NET control, it will only work in the IE browser, and you need to modify security permissions in .NET and within your browser to recognize it as a trusted activity. The KB article referenced by Ski-Dog has the precise steps that you need to follow to make these modifications. Following the article to the letter will probably work for 99% of users. The odd instance or two where something is still not working correctly, can usually be resolved with a support case.

Have any questions regarding this?  Write us a comment or submit a case.  We’re always happy to hear from you!

Supported Browsers for Ecommerce Solution CommerceTools

Ecommerce Browser CompatibilityInternet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Google Chrome……. and the list goes on!
With the ever growing variety and version of browsers, its important to keep up with what your customers are using, to ensure CommerceTools is compatible.  We have created a list of all of the compatible browsers and versions in which CommerceTools have been tested against.  Learn all of the details and how you can help your customer on which browser to use on CommerceTools.

Case Question:
My customer is planning on upgrading the browsers on all of their PCs.  Do you have a list of browsers that are supported with CommerceTools?

Ski-Dog:
Sure thing.  We keep an up to date list of the currently supported browsers in this  Knowledgebase Article.

HeadPhones:
When a new version of a browser is released, the Quality Assurance team will test the new browser to find any issues.  If there are any issues identified, they will be prioritized and slotted into a future release.  Once the known issues have been resolved, then the Knowledgebase Article will be updated to reflect the change in browser support.

When older versions of browsers are not supported anymore, they will be removed from the KnowledgeBase Article.  The logic used to stop support of a version includes what industry leaders are doing, how many newer versions exist, how long a browser has been around for, and if the version supports the advanced technologies used on CommerceTools.  For example, Internet Explorer 7 was removed from support in the summer of 2011 because Microsoft no longer supports the version with newer operating systems, Google dropped support for it, there are two improved versions (IE8 and IE9), and new functionality added to CommerceTools wasn’t accommodated for in the version very well.