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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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?

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.

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?

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

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.

Web-to-Print Online Ordering, Maintaining Buyer Sites

In North America alone, more than 78% of the population are internet users.  As we are all experiencing, this is changing everything.  One of the biggest changes our users are seeing is the need for online ordering.  Read this common case on how you can get your buyer sites set up with online ordering.


Case Question:
As end customers are realizing the benefits of online ordering, we find ourselves spending more and more time building and maintaining buyer sites.  Due to the large amount of data that needs to be entered, the set-up process and maintenance has become very laborious and time consuming.  There must be an easier and quicker way to build my client’s sites.

Customers love responsiveness.  Large customers appreciate vendors that can accommodate change and do it quickly.  Your knowledge and capability of leveraging the various data upload options in CommerceTools will allow you to demonstrate to your customer that you can indeed handle their setup and ongoing maintenance.

We have a couple simple service options to help you expedite the process of both creating and maintaining your client sites.

Data Upload Templates

This is a perfect solution for those who periodically need to upload new data to a buyer site.  There are more than 20 different data sets that can be uploaded.  Just click here for a complete list and instructions.

 Batch Upload Service

This is perfect for handling the needs of large, data-intensive clients who need frequent data uploads and updates. The batch upload process allows you to upload tab-delimited data files directly into the Four51 Application using specified formats (templates) for different kinds of uploads. Click here for more details.

For customers that have development resources, and want to move data between systems, it is possible to build an integrated solution using web services.  Click here for a complete list of administrative web services. It’s important to note that there are no off-the-shelf integrations – it would require a custom project, and Four51 doesn’t currently offer this type of service. If you don’t have a team in-house, you’d have to look at farming it out to a third-party development shop.

Four51 Admin Web Services

This solution is best suited for those who would like to send SOAP-based web service requests to Four51 to update/create data such as products, users, addresses, inventory levels, and more.  If you have no clue what I just said…it’s probably not for you.

Four51 Web-to-Print: All About Project File Management

Do you ever feel like your desk looks like this?

Or maybe your computer monitor looks like this?  (I’ll admit it, I’ve been here before)

Well, we don’t ever want you to have to deal with that in CommerceTools while you are balancing your customers varying products and ongoing corporate design changes.  That is why we are talking about the setup of variable data products and the project file upload utility.  Join our panel of experts on how you can get setup and organized today.

Case Question:
My customer frequently changes their corporate logo, and has over thirty variable data products that use this logo.  Is there a way to setup these products so that I can swap out one image, rather than maintain thirty identical images for each product?

Absolutely.  From an operations efficiency and customer solution development viewpoint, it is important to understand how variable data products are setup, and how the project file upload utility works to make decisions on how to optimize your workflow.  Some key considerations include:

  1. Can a project file work for more than one product?
  2. Will images be shared across multiple products?
  3. Does more than one product use the same data source?
  4. How often does the project file require change?

These considerations are exactly why hands on training is required to gain access to manage projects in CommerceTools admin.  We demonstrate the relationship between the Pageflex template design tools and a CommerceTools variable data product.  We also walk the trainees through the installation of the project file upload utility, which maps the data found in the Pageflex project to a CommerceTools variable data product.

It is important to note that the upload utility requires a desktop computer installation and Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser.

We do get a few cases on installing the utility when someone completes instruction and returns to their work desktop.  Should an install fail after following the instructions in the article right here, we provide another troubleshooting utility that Headphones created.

Once you get the utility working, you can follow the instructions to share a project file with multiple products here.

Don’t forget about the project file web service if you need to manage frequent changes to the project file.  The web service allows updates and additions to those projects so that your admin user does not need to repetitively login and manage the project via the CommerceTools admin interface.  We commonly see the web service used to replace a data source with a nightly update.  Take a look here for specifics on the web service.

Accepting Credit Cards using PayPal Processing


Does this ring a bell?

You: “Hi, this is So-and-So from Company ABC and you have an outstanding balance with us.”

Them: CLICK!

Tired of acting like a debt collector?  Stop chasing down outstanding bills, improve your cash flow, less your bad debt, and get automated and improved reporting!  Now, more than ever, people are preferring to do business with plastic.  Read the case question and explore the credit card processing options Four51 offers to get your customers set up today.


Case Question:
My customer now wants to pay with credit cards on CommerceTools, but I don’t know where to begin.  What should I do?!

Times have changed, and customers expect an online shopping experience that includes credit cards as a payment method.  Once credit card processing is setup on CommerceTools, you can enable it for any of your customers.  This is a great opportunity to take additional functionality  to the rest of your customer base, while streamlining your own accounting practices.

CommerceTools supports the PayPal Website Payments Pro and the PayPal Payflow Pro products for credit card processing.  The Website Payments Pro product is easy to setup and cost effective for supporting low volume transactions.  When you have customers requiring high order volume, it is better to use Payflow Pro because of the lower transaction fees.  Here is a Knowledge Base article comparing the two products and exact steps on how to get started with choosing a product.

As you begin the process of accepting credit cards, include your customer in expectation setting, because the majority of issues that arise are during initial setup and testing.  Payflow Pro can be implemented in as little as a day, or up to two weeks depending on configuration and testing.

There are some common mistakes made that can cause the implementation to become delayed:

  • Take the time to complete ALL of the getting started steps when setting up your PayPal account.
  • If you decide the right product for you is Website Payments Pro, be sure to choose the “Pro” version instead of Website Payments Standard.
  • If you plan on using Approval Rules or the Saved Credit Card feature in CommerceTools, you will need to choose Payflow Pro, with reference transactions enabled.

Growing software firm Four51 helps clients go paperless via The Line Magazine

Originally published The Line Media

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