Welcome to the March edition of the Ecommerce Templates Newsletter where we bring the latest news regarding the ECT Version 6.8 release, some information on Google's "mobile-first" approach to indexing, mobile testing tools and updater news.
We have delved into the ECT Suggestions Forum for the latest features added to the ECT Version 6.8.5 release. What we came up with was a response to many of the recent popular requests such as offering sort orders based on popularity, best sellers and product reviews. We also added the ability to download the stats data to a csv file as well as showing item counts on many of the store admin pages.
Allowing your customers to choose the order of products as well as filtering those they want to display is a key feature on an ecommerce site. Visitors will have different preferences so allowing them to define the display themselves can be crucial to getting your products in front of them in a way they want to see them.
The most recent additions to the updater allow customers to be able to sort products by popularity (based on views of the product detail page), sales (based on the time period you can define), number of ratings and average ratings. You can have a look how it can display on our WordPress Demo Store.
The top filter bar is part of the core shopping cart software, the side filter bar is available as a Plugin or as part of the Premium Responsive Designs - both can be configured in the main admin settings page of your store control panel.
In ECT Version 6.8.5 we added an item to count to many of the admin pages. The admin products page will show the number of products on your store but you will also see a count of registered affiliates, client login accounts, mailing list entries, content regions, active gift certificates, products options, categories, discounts and quantity discounts.
Back in 2016 Google announced it was testing a new ranking system based on indexing mobile content first. It seems that after 18 months of experimenting this system is expected to be rolling out in their search results in 2018.
What does this mean?
Google will use the mobile version of your site for its rankings, and that will be used for both mobile and desktop based searches. Over the course of the rollout we expect to see sites that don't perform well on mobile devices to take a hit on their rankings.
What should I do to prepare?
If you are already running a responsive website, one that adapts to the users' device, now would be a good time to do some testing and we have listed some useful tools below
If your store is not mobile friendly now would be a good time to consider switching to a responsive design. We have set up a thread on our support forum with details on how to make the switch and we'd be happy to answer any questions you have there regarding mobile friendly stores.
ECT Version 6.8.5 will be the last release in the 6.8.x line of updates - all new features will go into ECT v6.9 now. Obviously, if there are any bug fixes the 6.8.5 version will be updated with those.
As a reminder the ectcart.css file needs to go on all your frontend store pages. It's a file that shouldn't be edited as it is included in the updater, often with changes between releases. If you need to make any edits, add them to your main css file. As your main css file should come somewhere after ectcart.css that will take preference and your changes will show fine.
Updaters as always are available from our updaters 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. If you want to be informed automatically of the new features included in the updaters you can subscribe to the Updater forum - that means you'll receive an email each time a new post is added.