Ecommerce Templates > Newsletter > July 2010

Ecommerce Templates Newsletter July 2010

Welcome to the July 2010 Ecommerce Templates newsletter

Welcome to the July edition of the Ecommerce Templates Newsletter where we bring news of the forthcoming Version 6 release along with some css tips and some template makeovers.

Upcoming updater features (Version 6)

We are just putting Version 6 through the last of the beta testing. As always it's a feature packed update with many of the goodies coming from customer suggestions and popular demand. With only a few weeks before the release date, we thought you'd like to know what will be included in this release.

Updaters as always are available from the updater page - it doesn't matter which version you are currently running, you can always update to the latest and greatest without going through all previous versions first.

The filter bar
The new "Filter Bar" will appear on your products page and allows customers to filter the product listings by Manufacturer, Price, Keyword and an additional Search Criteria parameter that can be assigned to products. In the same Filter Bar the customer can dynamically sort by any of up to 10 definable sort options and to dynamically alter the number of products per page. The filter criteria is completely controlled through the control panel, where you can select the filters you want to offer and choose the labels to introduce them. We believe this will be an invaluable feature for your customers to allow them to find the exact product they are looking for, and give them the ability to customize their product listing preferences. We strongly believe this will be a great aid to boost sales and customer interaction with the store.

Notify me when back in stock
This is one of the most requested features recently and we believe we've come up with a very neat and elegant solution. With a simple switch in the includes file, the Out of Stock message will be replaced by a “Notify me when back in stock” link. Clicking the link (or image if you prefer) will trigger a lightbox effect with a pop up window for the customer to enter their email address. Once the product or option is back in stock the store will automatically fire off an email to the customer. The text is completely customizable through the admin email messaging page and as always there are css classes and images for buttons for you to personalize the look and feel. Don't lose another customer just because the stock is late in arriving!

Show all shipping services in the estimator and on checkout
The alternate shipping rates feature has been given an overhaul. It is now included in the main admin settings page, and you can choose to show alternate shipping carriers, all carriers together or simply turn off the feature. It also allows for ordering the choices in both the estimator and checkout. Give your customers the choice, show the alternatives up front and keep them happy.

Multiple purchase options
We know a lot of you have been using this feature successfully but we received a lot of feedback that you wanted to be able to have regular product options in addition to the multiple purchase options for the same product. Well, we've just made that possible. Mixing the options up like this makes the whole product attributes feature a much more powerful proposition.

Mailing list features
In the last version we added the html editor to the mailing list and allowed for emails to be sent out in batches. From your feedback we've further enhanced the mailing list feature by allowing the filtering of emails that the newsletter can be sent to. You can choose to send emails to the search results of the mailing list based on product ordered, product category of product ordered, geographical location, wholesale / non-wholesale attributes or manufacturer of product purchased. That's a pretty cool and powerful marketing tool.

Other goodies.
Discounts can now be limited by login level so you can set a discount for say only logged in customers with login level 2 or higher. Or a discount that is only applicable for login level zero customers etc.

You will be able to specify how long cart items stay in the cart now for non-logged in customers. So for instance someone browsing your store can come back in a week and still find the items in their cart even though they haven't created a login account.

More control will now be passed over to CSS with the removal of deprecated tags where possible. This will however mean that you should have the cobtbl/cobhl/cobll classes set in your stylesheet.

We will announce the final release as soon as it's ready via Twitter, Facebook and through the support forum.

Top Tips – CSS

As mentioned above we are leaving more of the markup to CSS rather than being hard coded. This may leave some of your designs a bit bare if you haven't already added extra classes for things like the cart and search table backgrounds, discounts text etc. With that in mind, we've set up some sample formatting for you to copy, paste and tweak – you can play around with the colors, fonts, sizes etc til you get the look and feel you are after.

We also strongly advise setting the cobtbl/cobhl/cobll classes. These are not only used for table backgrounds and formatting of the cart and search pages, but also the email a friend window and the upcoming Notify Me pop-up. We have some sample settings here to get you started.

Design updates

Next year marks the tenth anniversary of our sister site, The Template Store. After the success of designing and selling regular templates we quickly moved on to add extra value and functionality to some of those designs. Just a year later Ecommerce Templates was born. Over the years we've probably designed hundreds of templates, adding new ones whenever we can but in the last couple of months we've taken a step back, reviewed our back catalog and have started on a "makeover drive". We hope you like the results so here's what we've done so far…

If you have any questions or comments about the content of the newsletter, please feel free to post them on the support forum.