Branch 2.1 goes forward at a steady gait! A new CS-Cart version 2.1.2 becomes available today.
This new release not only offers a number of routine fixes and improvements, but it features a few innovations that make it really remarkable.
Block Caching to Enhance Storefront Performance
Recently we’ve been working on speeding up the customer frontend of CS-Cart software. To solve this issue, we experimented with different caching capabilities that are known to reduce page load time well.
Starting from CS-Cart version 2.1.2 we equip our shopping cart system with the ability to save the HTML output of blocks that appear on the storefront in the CS-Cart cache. When the next visitor requests the same block, the output is easily retrieved from the cache without going through all the database queries and addressing multiple files. When you make changes to the storefront contents like categories, products and static pages, new HTML output will be generated and cached automatically.
This is extremely helpful for the most frequently used elements of the storefront as well as parts of pages that don’t change too often, but are somewhat heavy to generate. Clearly, it makes more sense to generate the output once and then use it again and again. And shoppers will certainly enjoy the performance of your web store.
And that’s what our tests showed when we compared the load of the home page of CS-Cart 2.1.1 and CS-Cart 2.1.2.
Catalog Mode to Showcase Products
Normally, the products on the storefront can be added to the shopping cart and purchased directly on your website.
Running your store in the catalog mode makes it possible to only showcase products on your website, but not really sell them there. The Add to Cart button is replaced with the Buy Now button linked to an external website where the product is actually sold.
This functionality can help you built a full-fledged online catalog with affiliate links to partner websites or, for instance, sell products that must be ordered by phone. Besides, in CS-Cart you can combine both modes and run the store as a shopping cart and a catalog, and thus sell products directly in your store and showcase products from companion websites.
Instant Product Search to Improve Customer Experience
“This enhancement for the storefront shows search results as the shopper types in the search bar. So, customers can get to the right product much faster because they don’t have to finish typing a full search term and even click on Search.
Moreover, this can help guide your customers’ search: many of them may not know the exact product name plus the small product thumbnail in the search results gives the first impression of the product.
To review the complete list of fixes and improvements in CS-Cart 2.1.2, please refer to the release changelog.