Archive for the ‘News and announcements’ Category

Faster Checkout in CS-Cart 4.3.1

By Yan Kulakov, Monday, April 6th, 2015 in Articles, News and announcements, Tips and tricks

With CS-Cart 4.3.1 customers spend less time on checkout

Fast checkout

Hello!

After adding a product to the cart the customer proceeds to checkout to pay for the order. During checkout, the customer completes four steps:

  1. Signs in to an existing account or registers a new one
  2. Enters the billing and shipping addresses
  3. Chooses the shipping method
  4. Chooses the payment methods

Checkout steps

CS-Cart 4.2.4 and earlier have two checkout styles. The store admin switches between them on the Settings → General page in the admin panel:

  • Multi-page checkout—when a customer proceeds to the next checkout step, the web browser reloads the whole page. Reloading a page takes almost as much time as initially loading it.

Multi-page checkout

  • One-page checkout—moving through steps doesn’t reload the whole page but only updates a part of it. Since there’s less to load, switching between steps is faster.

One-page checkout works on the AJAX technology. AJAX allows data exchange between browser and server without the full reloading of the web page.

One-page checkout

In CS-Cart 4.3.1 we have removed the multi-page checkout style. From now on, CS-Cart uses one-page checkout by default.

Checkout Settings

The checkout settings have been relocated from Setting → General to Settings → Checkout. You will find a description of each checkout setting on the Reference Guide → CS-Cart → Settings → Checkout page.

Three of these settings let you hide checkout steps:

  • If the sign-in step doesn’t require contact information, you may want to hide this step. Choose Hide step completely in the Configure “Sign in” step setting. When the first step is hidden, unlogged customers place orders anonymously. Logged in customers don’t see this step as well. If a logged in customer has indicated the billing and the shipping addresses in his or her profile, the second step is completed automatically.
  • It may be that there is only one shipping method accessible for your region. Place this method first in the Administration → Shipping & taxes → Shipping methods list. Now, go to Settings → Checkout and hide the Shipping options step to use the method you’ve just listed first by default.
  • If you offer only one payment method, e.g. credit card, make sure this method is the first in the Administration → Payment methods list. On the Setting → Checkout page, hide the Billing options step. Now, payment by credit card is used by default.

If you want your customers to choose shipping and payment methods themselves, leave the checkboxes ticked:

Checkout settings

By hiding all three steps, you let unlogged customers complete only one checkout step instead of four. Registered customers who indicated addresses in their profiles, place orders in one click. Handy!


What checkout style have you been using in your store? What do you think about the refined checkout in CS-Cart 4.3.1? We would appreciate any comments!

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New Look of the Vendor Page

By Yan Kulakov, Monday, March 30th, 2015 in News and announcements

Hello!

Multi-Vendor allows you to create an online marketplace where multiple vendors sell their products on a shared storefront, and the root administrator regulates vendors’ activities.

In Multi-Vendor 4.3.1, we’ve introduced a long-awaited feature—the ability to make a fully featured vendor storefront. In Multi-Vendor 4.3.1, the vendor page looks similar to a vendor page on eBay or Amazon.

Your Own Ebay with MVE

The New Look

In the previous Multi-Vendor version (4.2.4), customers could buy vendor products from the vendor page. But there was no way to search by vendor products, no product filters, and no single list of all vendor products. It took time to find the needed product on a vendor page. That’s why customers tended to buy vendor products through a common storefront which had those filters and search capabilities.

In Multi-Vendor 4.3.1, vendors create fully featured stores in a common marketplace. Customers see a list of all vendor products, product filters, and a “search by vendor products” field on the vendor page. Customers can still buy vendor products through a common storefront, but now they easily find and buy vendor products from the vendor page as well. A vendor page in Multi-Vendor 4.3.1 looks like a vendor page on eBay:

MVE vs. eBay

Vendor Locations

Root administrators fill locations (Design > Layouts) with blocks. Blocks carry the content that customers see on storefront pages. To display content on a vendor page, root admins fill in a special vendor location.

Watch the layouts video tutorial to learn more about locations and blocks in CS-Cart.

In Multi-Vendor 4.2.4, there was only one vendor location—Vendor account. We kept Vendor account in Multi-Vendor 4.3.1 and added a new vendor location—Vendor store:

Vendor Locations

    The Vendor store location is pre-filled with these blocks:

  • Vendor search—a search field to search vendor products directly on the vendor page.
  • Vendor information—vendors use this block to add their companies’ descriptions to the vendor pages.
  • Breadcrumbs—navigation links. This block helps visitors keep track of their location on the storefront.
  • Vendor categories—this block allows the root admin to add a categories menu that shows products of the current vendor.
  • Vendor filters—customers use these filters to quickly find products of the current vendor.
  • Main content—a list of all vendor products on the vendor page. Customers can click any product to open the product details page directly from the vendor page.

Vendor Page Elements


Please leave any questions regarding this new Multi-Vendor feature in the comments section. We’ll be happy to answer! We also appreciate your feedback.

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Have a nice day!

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Pills Instead of Tabs in the Admin Panel

By Yan Kulakov, Monday, March 23rd, 2015 in Articles, News and announcements, Tips and tricks

In CS-Cart 4.3.1, there are no hidden tabs in the admin panel

Hi!

Today we’ll tell you about the simplified tab design in the admin panel, and why it is convenient.

Redesigned tabs

In CS-Cart 4.2.4 and earlier, tabs are arranged in a single line. And if tabs didn’t fit the line, some of them were ‘hidden’ in the More menu. Which is not so handy, since it means you don’t see all the tabs. You have to click the More menu to see them.

There’s also unused space between the visible tabs and the More menu—empty space that could be filled with additional tabs.

In CS-Cart 4.3.1, instead of tabs you’ll find pills. Simply, pills occupy the whole space of the tab bar. For example, on a product edit page you will see all the pills arranged in line:

4.2.4 vs. 4.3.1

If pills don’t fit a single line, they simply move to the next line. The More menu is thus removed.

Arranged in two lines

Check out pills in CS-Cart 4.3.1 Beta. The beta testing is free, just download and install the beta version. And to sweeten the cart, by the end of the beta test we will reward the most active testers!


Please do share your thoughts and ideas on this new design. Do you find pills more convenient than tabs? We appreciate your feedback!

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Have a good one!

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Blog Add-on: Make a Blog Inside Your Store

By Yan Kulakov, Monday, March 16th, 2015 in Articles, News and announcements, Tips and tricks

Hi everybody,

Meet the new CS-Cart 4.3.1 add-on—the Blog add-on.

The Blog add-on

Use this add-on to create a fully functional blog inside your store. In your blog, you can publish news, special offers, and announcements.

By reading the blog, your customers stay informed about store events.

Blog Layout Page

On the Design → Layouts page in the admin panel, you will find the Blog layout page.

The Blog layout page

The layout page is filled with blocks. Blocks keep the content that customers see on the storefront. Use the blocks on this layout page to arrange the blog content:

  • Breadcrumbs—navigation links that help your customers keep track of their location on the storefront.
  • Main content—posts. This is what blog visitors come for.
  • A post comprises a title, date of addition, author’s name, and the main text with illustrations.

  • Recent posts—a list of recently added posts. By clicking the post title a visitor opens the post.
  • Blocks

    You can add a list of blog posts to any storefront page. For example, add the list to your store’s homepage to let your customers open a post directly from the homepage:

    Posts on the homepage

    To add a list of posts to a storefront page, use the Recent posts block. We have prepared detailed instructions on adding a list of posts to your storefront.

    How to Manage Your Blog

    Go to the Website > Blog page in the admin panel to add, edit, and remove blog posts:

    Blog management

    Сlick the “+” button to create a post. On the New blog post page, enter the title and the text of your post. Switch to the Add-ons tab to upload images. Сlick the Сreate and close button to publish your post:

    New blog post page

    Refer to our Knowledge Base for detailed instructions on creating a blog.


    We’ll be happy to hear your opinion about this new add-on. Do you find it useful? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

    Help us improve this add-on—share your ideas on our UserVoice.

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    Bye!

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Your Own Page Layout in CS-Cart 4.3.1

By Yan Kulakov, Tuesday, March 10th, 2015 in Articles, News and announcements, Tips and tricks

Hi!

Today we’ll tell you how to make your own layout of each storefront page in CS-Cart 4.3.1.

CS-Cart layout

In CS-Cart, store admins arrange storefront content. They do it on the Design → Layouts page of the administration panel.

The Design → Layouts page shows available layout pages. Each layout page consists of four containers: Top panel, Header, Content, and Footer. These containers have blocks that carry content. Customers see blocks’ content on the storefront.

Layout page

To learn more about layouts in CS-Cart watch this video tutorial.

In CS-Cart 4.2.4 and earlier, layout pages inherit blocks in Top panel, Header, and Footer from the Default layout page. It means that the store admin cannot manage blocks in these containers in a particular layout page. That’s why all storefront pages in 4.2.4 have a uniform layout.

In CS-Cart 4.3.1 we unlocked the Top panel, Header, and Footer containers on all layout pages. A store admin is free to add, replace, or delete blocks in these containers. By doing this, the admin creates a unique layout for each store page.

For example, compare the Products layout page in 4.2.4 and 4.3.1. In 4.2.4 the containers are locked; in 4.3.1 they are unlocked:

4.2.4 vs. 4.3.1

To unlock a container, click the Set custom configuration link on it:

Set custom configuration

Blocks will appear in the container. For example, to remove quick links from the top panel on the product details pages, switch to the Products layout page and deactivate the Quick links block:

Block deactivated


We’d like to hear your opinions about this new feature. Do you find it useful for your store? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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