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Creating a SmartSpace E-Store

SmartSpace website subscribers can create their own custom E-Store using the Products module.  This manual explains the back end processes that create the framework for your E-Store.  If you are setting up an e-store after your website has already beebn crreated, you may need extra styling of the pages to appear as you would want them.

The E-Store Concept (Overview)

E-Store is a portal which showcases the products that you sell, with each listing representing a product line, not a unique product.  Once a product is listed, it should remain active until that product is discontinued or is out of stock.  Selling a product does not mean the product listing is removed from the active list.

  • The sales history is retained in the account record of the sale.
  • Sales history can be viewed under the Stats TAB in the product admin page for that product.

SmartSpace has its own shopping basket which can be customised to suit your needs and which works through PayPal and/or alternate payment methods.  You must have a fully functional PayPal account for your basket to function correctly when using the PayPal option.

Please note that if you are using a different payment gateway, some development work may be needed to be able to connect to the gateway. THis will not incurr a fee, but it may take some time to be completed.

Setting Prices

To be able to sell a product online it must have a current price attached.  While a product's prices can be managed in the Price TAB of the product admin page for any particular product, prices need to be previously set up in a two stage process.

  1. The Price Code is the permanent base price record.  This is created first.
    • The Price Code is the record a Product is attached to.
    • The Price Code only contains a price if there is a special price attached and the product is viewed during the special price period.
    • Specials will override the relevant price for a product for the entire duration of the special, regardless of Price Instances (see below).
  2. There are separate Price Instances which apply for certain price periods.  These are created as "Child" records of the price code and are, in effect, the price history of the Price Code.
    • If a price "Special" does not apply, the system will get the price instance that applies to the specified price period.
    • If there is no relevant price instance at the time of viewing a product, the shopper will not be able to add the product to their shopping basket.
    • Administrators should add a far future Date Effective To date to ensure that the last set price will apply to the product until a change in price.
    • Prices can be set well in advance and will automatically change when a product is viewed in the new time period.
    • When a new price instance is set, the previous price instance is automatically closed off, so that there are never any price conflicts.
  3. You can attach the same Price Code to a number of products, but changing the price for one product means that all products which use that Price Code will also change.

All products are attached to user created Product Categories.  Sub categories can also be created but it is not required.

Administrators can easily view their products as buyers would see them by toggling between the Admin: Manage or Details TAB and the Web View TAB.  This applies even when a product has not been activated.  The public are not able to see products that are not activated.

When the public has a direct link to a product that is no longer active, a message regarding its unavailability will be displayed.

Getting Started

Before setting up products, you must configure your E-Store and create a PayPal account (if you do not already have one) if you wish to use this option.

To find out more about setting up PayPal account click here.

Configure SmartSpace Payment Settings

From the Control Panel under the Prices Heading select Payment Settings.

Click here to watch a short video on Payment Settings

Complete the configuration details as required:

  • Account Verified: You have three selections:
    • PayPal Verified
      • Only tick this box when PayPal has independently verified a PayPal account. 
    • Alternate Direct  Payment Options
      • These are offline methods which might include, Cash, Cheque EFT etc
      • List the Alternatives you want to provide in the the Alternate Pay Options field (comma separated)
      • Provide detailed instructions on each form of payment in the Alternate Pay Options Text field
      • These instructions will be shown to the buyer upon purchase and sent to them with their account in en email at the same time
    • You can enable both payment options if you wish, to be activated by user selection
    • You can also use this field to disable your shopping cart, even when you have a verified PayPal account.
  • PayPal Style: In PayPal you can set up various styles in your account.  If you are wishing to use one of these styles for your E-Store, insert the identical style name here.
  • Alternate Email: By default, SmartSpace uses your Trader contact email as your PayPal email ID.  If your contact email and PayPal email are different, insert the required email address here.  This email address must be registered in PayPal.
  • Tax Rate: This is the tax rate which will be applied if a product is to be taxed and accounted for in SmartSpace.  Insert the value here (e.g. 10 = 10%).
  • Default Tax Status: If tax applies to your products, you can apply the tax on your product pages or let PayPal apply the tax later.  This can be useful if your tax only applies in one country.  You can specify what countries tax applies in your PayPal profile.  This setting presets the tax setting for each product created but individual products can be changed.
  • Delivery Charges: You have three options
    1. You can use PayPal to set up delivery charges.  This is done separately in the PayPal system
    2. You can have a simple deleivery pricing system where the delivery amount selection is for the whole basket ignoring the contents of the basket.
    3. You can use advanced delivery which enables you to setup delivery mulitpliers for every product and then to set further multipliers for areas which you can deliver to
    • This setting must be configured this to ensure delivery is charged correctly if applicable.
    • Access deleiver through Products/Prices > Manage Delivery
  • Basket Summary: You can show a one, two or three line Shopping Basket summary on all pages of your website.
    • One Line: Basket Icon, Link and number of items in the basket.
    • Two Line: Basket Icon, Link, and Number of items on one line and Basket value on the second line.
    • Three Line: Number of items on one line, Basket value on the second line, and separate link on the third line.
    • Please note that not all Website Templates support all selections.
  • Basket Format: There are two selections currently available
  • Preview Images
  • Enable Vouchers
    • Tick the box if you want customers to be able to input dicocunt voucher codes into the shopping basket
    • You can set up vouchers using the Products/Prices > Manage Vouchers link
  • Minimum Purchase: The minimum amount that needs to be in the basket before the Buy Now button (or equivilant) becomes available to click
  • Custom Images and Text: You can customise your Basket by uploading and inserting the links of the listed images or adding text.
    • Header Image: This image will appear on the top of PayPal processing page.  The size should be no larger than 750px x 90px otherwise it may be cropped on PayPal.
    • You will need to upload these images separately in the SmartSpace Content Manager.  We strongly advise you save these images in an album named "Menu".
    • Buy Now: The button that takes you to PayPal checkout for payment.
    • Add To Basket: This button appears on the product page and adds the selected product to the Shopping Basket.
    • Update Basket: This button appears in the Shopping Basket and updates any changes made to the Basket contents.  Sometimes, for baskets that have been created some time ago, you may have to click this button before a Buy Now button appears (in case prices have changed).
    • Basket Name: To ensure that your Basket terminology is consistent with custom buttons, you can insert the required terminology (e.g. Cart, Trolley etc.).
  • Service Rules: You can ensure that purchasers agree to your purchase conditions by attaching specified content to your Basket.  You create this content in the Service Rules content category in the Content Manager

Ensure that you save this configuration even if you have not completed all aspects of your set up.  You can come back at any time and edit these settings.

Configure Smartspace Product Settings

The Product Settings determine how your products appear in the E-Store and what functionality it displays.

Click here for details on Product Settings

Setting Price Codes

Before creating the product listings in your E-Store it is wise to create the required price codes.

From the Control Panel under the Prices Heading select New Price Code.

  • Price Code: Insert a code if required.  If you plan to use specific price codes, ensure that each is unique.  If nothing is inserted, the Code ID will be used as a code.
  • Price Name: Make sure that that this is an easily recognisable name
  • Tax Status: This setting defaults to your global setting in your configuration set earlier.  Set as required.  If selecting the Tax is additional selection, ensure that you have configured PayPal correctly.
  • Special Price: Set only if you are setting a special or discounted price - all fields must be completed.
    • If this is set and accessed during the sale period, it overrides all price instance information including special prices on the sale of multiple, like items.
    • Ensure that dates are set and formatted correctly.
    • Once the sale period has passed, this price is ignored - there is no need to delete after the sale period ends.
  • Pricing Unit: Always set this to Unit Price (1st selection) when setting against E-Store products.  Other selections are for other SmartSpace modules.
  • Set Detailed Hours: Ignore this field for E-Store products.  It only applies to the Bookings module.
  • Click on Save or Update this record when values have been set.

Once you have created the Price Code, you can now create a Price Instance, (a link to a new Price Instance should appear near the processing message).

  • Either click the New Price Instance link near the processing message or click on the List link when viewing the list of Price Codes.
  • The most recent Price Instance will appear as a form (or a new form will appear when it is the first Price instance for that code).
  • Note: You should NOT edit a price when changing prices.  Always use the Carry Price Forward button.
    • This closes off the last price just before the new one is due to commence.
  • Date Effective From: Enter the selected date in dd/mm/yyyy format.  Ensure that this date covers the period from when the product will be public.
  • Date Effective To: Enter the date that will expect this price to cease applying.  If you are not sure when this price may not apply, set a far future date.  (E.g. at least 10 years hence.)
    • This will save resetting the price in the not too distant future.
    • When the price is carried forward, this To date will be reset automatically to just before the new From date.
  • Price: Set the price in decimal format.  Please note that prices only support decimal currencies.
  • Multi Discount: Set a discount amount or value.  This will apply if more than one like item/product is sold.  The discount applies to each of the multiple items including the first.
  • Discount Type: This determines the type of discount the Multi Discount value (above) represents.  Either a whole value (e.g. $3.00) discount or percentage (e.g. 3%) discount.
  • Save or Update the Price Instance record to save your settings.
  • If you wish to set a new Price, Click on the Carry Price Forward button.

A list of all the products that currently use this price is listed below the Price Instance form.  You can view, but not edit, historical price data.

Creating Brands

To add richness to your E-Store, you can create Brands, which, in turn, can be added to your products.

Go to the link: Manage Products/Categories > Manage Brands > Manage Brands > Create a new Brand here.

  • Brand Name: Insert the name of the Brand here.
  • Brand Image: Attach a preloaded Image or logo here
  • Brand Description: Enter something about the Brand.  Format as required.  (Not yet supported.  When supported, a link to a pop up window will be in the product Page.)
  • Make Public: Tick this box to show this Brand to the public.
  • Save or Update to save your changes.
  • The Brand will be available for attachment on the Product pages.

Creating Delivery Options

If you want SmartSpace to handle delivery options you will need to create the options and set a price to them.

Go to the page: Manage Products/Categories > Manage Delivery > Save a new Delivery Option.

Buyers self select from the options that you create when creating their shopping basket, so you need to provide all the options that are needed.

  • Delivery Option Name: Make this a concise but descriptive name.  E.g. Free delivery - Orders over $100 or 3 items - $20.
  • Option Description: This will provide greater explanation of what the options mean to buyers who are not sure.  A link to all options and descriptions is provided on the Basket page.
  • Option Cost: The cost of the delivery option.  Decimal format e.g. 0.00.
  • Save or Update Delivery Option save your changes.

Stocking Your E-Store

 Once you have done the preliminary work of prices and delivery, you can now start to create your product listings.  With each listing you can also add associated information such as product images, content and other relevant information.

Create a Product Listing

Go to the page: Prices/Products > Manage Products/Categories, choose which Product Category you are intending to add a new Product to and click View All Products  > Create a New Database Product.

Complete the Product form:

  • Product Name: Insert the name ensuring it is the official name of the product.
    • This field is important as this name not only goes at the top of the product page, it also is the page title which is used as an important search element by search engines.
  • Model Number: If the product has a model number, it should be inserted here using the exact format used by the manufacturer.
    • This value gets appended to the page title when available.
  • Product Category: A product Category will be preselected but you can change the product category if you wish.
  • Brand: Select a Brand if available.
  • Choose or Create a Sub-Category: If required, you can either choose an existing subcategory or create one on the fly.
    • Only use subcategories when you have a large number of like products.
    • Do not create sub categories when there will only be one or two products in the subcategory.
    • You can add or select subcategories later if you wish.
  • Bar Code: Whilst SmartSpace does not support POS systems at present, future versions will support POS transactions.
  • Product Description: This field should be used to explain the purposes, benefits and/or description of the product.
    • Keep paragraphs short and use embolden headings where description is lengthy.
    • Ensure that you are consistent in writing product descriptions, clearly separating the type of content put in descriptions and of that put in product features (below).
  • Product Features: This section should be used to list features of the product.
    • Use bold headings and dot point formatting to keep this concise.
  • Product Specifications: This section should be used to list specifications of the product.
    • Use bold headings and dot point formatting to keep this concise.
  • Price Code: Select a Price Code that had previously been saved.
    • If you leave a Price Code out, buyers will not be able to save this product into their shopping basket.
  • Price Text: This text will appear adjacent to the price - it can be any short phrase that you want to provide in this area
  • Primary Image: If you have previously uploaded images, they will be available in this list.  If not, you can upload photos at a later time.
    • This image or a thumbnail of it, will be seen in all instances of this product on the website.
    • More images showing other features, detail or angles can be loaded/attached at a later time.
  • Active: Ticking this box will make this product available publicly on your website, if the category that it is in is also public.
  • Display Order: If you wish to order your products within the category, place a number in this field.
    • Numbers of the products within the category do not have to be unique or consecutive.
    • Where numbers are the same, Products will be ordered alphabetically.
  • Click Save or Update Product to save changes
  • Click on Details in the Tab menu, to edit or view your Product details (see below).

Associated Product Information

When you are in a Product record, a tabbed menu appears near the top of the page.  Here you can complete all administrative tasks associated with the product.  Once you have saved a Product, you can associate other information with it.

Options

Please note: If you wish to apply inventory to specific color options (and not one inventory figure for the entire product), you will need to save and configure Colour Lists when enable you to set inventory for each Colour selection available. Click here to read more about Colour Lists. You can add a colour list on a product by product basis, and once added it auotmatically enables extra inventory management in the Options section of the Product Manager.

Adding options to a Product allows buyers to choose from a range of alternatives of that Product.  Options do not affect pricing, so if you have options which change the price of a product you must save that product separately.  You can initially save a number of options in one process, but then they are generally edited separately.

To save Options click the Options TAB then click the Create Product Options Here link.

Complete the form:

  • Size: If your products come in varying sizes, enter the values here at one per line (e.g. Size 6 US (5 UK) ).
    • Do not put any extra spaces in between lines.
    • If there are no sizes, leave blank.
  • Read below if combining sizes with styles.
  • Style: When your product comes in colours, patterns or other variations, enter the values here at one per line (e.g. Brown).
    • If you have already put in sizes, each size will be combined with each style.
    • Depending on your size/style combinations, you may have to enter some sizes and styles in separate processes.
    • They will appear together in the correct order when viewed on the Products page.
  • Display: You should leave this box ticked when creating your options.
    • If one or more of your options becomes unavailable in the future, you can easily untick this box to remove from the public options list.
  • Save or Update Options to save your changes.
    • Once created, edit options separately, although you can update the Size field for all styles in one size by ticking the Update All box.

 Images Overview

You can attach a number of images to your product in addition to the primary image.  When attaching more than one image, the set of images attached to the product can be viewed as a slide show from your product page by clicking any of the images on show.

It is wise to limit the number of attached images to no more than 6.  This should provide enough information to prospective buyers, at the same time ensuring that the page will load in a time that will not start frustrating the shopper.  We also recommend that you add informative captions to all attached images to help provide information to shoppers.

If, in the process of creating your E-Store, you have not yet uploaded any images, all image connections can be managed through the Product interface in the Images tab.

To start uploading and attaching images click on the Images TAB then click the Upload an Image Here or Upload the Primary Image Here link (if you need a new image) .  Or click the Attach another image here link if you want to attach an already uploaded image.

For uploading images

This uploading form does a number of functions - we will concentrate on uploading images for products for the purposes of this manual.  Read the Image section of the SmartSpace manual for more detail on uploading images.

  • If no Primary Image, or other images have not been saved with the Product, click on Add the Primary Image Here or Upload an Image Here.
  • Otherwise, click the Upload an Image Here link.
  • Choose a File: Select a file from your computer by clicking the Browse button.
    • Ensure that the file format is jpeg, jpg, gif, or png.  Other formats will not be accepted.
  • Name Image: Insert a name (see the manual about image naming conventions).
  • Tags: Insert tags here and separate the terms by a comma.  This will be used for a future search feature.
  • Resize: This box should be left as is when uploading product images.
  • Choose an Album Option: Select a pre-existing album or create an album on the fly (can be edited later).
    • Use only alpha numeric characters - it can be renamed later if required.
  • Product Image Information: Tick the Primary Image box if your upload is to be the Primary Image.
    • If image is not a primary image, complete the Optional Caption and Display Order fields.
    • If the image being uploaded is a Primary Image, ignore the following two fields.
    • We recommend that the optional caption field be used too for a better buyer experience.
  • Click the Save Image field to upload and attach image.

To Change an Existing Primary Image...

  • Click on the Primary Image - [ImageName] link.
  • Select a new image.
  • Click on Update Image to save your change.

Or...

  • Click on Upload an Image Here.
  • Follow the previously explained uploading process (above), ensuring that you tick the Primary Image box.

For Attaching Previously Uploaded Images...

  • Click on Attach Another Image Here.
  • Other Product Image: Make a selection.
  • Optional Caption: We recommend that your enter an informative caption.
  • Display Order: To ensure this image appears on the products web page, you need to set a number > 0.
  • Click on Save Image to save your selection.
  • To edit an attached image click on the [Image Name] under the Images tab and edit or delete as necessary.
  • Deleting an image only detaches it from the product, it does not delete it from the database or server.

Formatting Images

Product images can make or break an e-commerce site.  While there is plenty of information on the internet on how to take good product photos, we will provide some basics which will help in producing a professional looking E-Store.

Obtaining a photo editing program is also important so that you can crop and edit your raw images for best effect.

  • In general, it is best to use a white background in your product images.
  • If it is not possible to use a white background, ensure the product is seen clearly.
  • Generally SmartSpace deals better with images with a height:width ratio of 1:1 (ie. square images).
  • Try not to upload images with a ration of greater than 2:3.
  • Try not to have images of all shapes and sizes - be consistent.
  • Whilst your SmartSpace resizes images and creates a total of three different sized versions, you should reduce the size of the file you intend to upload to no more than 1 mb (Often Images from digital cameras can be far greater than this size.)
  • You shoulf always allow SmartSpace to resize photos as those larger than 700px in size may not view easily on the shopper's computer screen.  Remember, not everyone has extra large computer screens.

Prices

You can edit or add a Price Code in the Prices TAB of the Products interface.  If you have not attached a Price Code to the Product, check wether a suitable Price Code is not already available before creating a new Price Code.

  • If you need to set a Price Code for the active Product click on Create New Price Code.
  • Follow the steps in "Setting Price Codes" above.

Stats

At present, only basic Products statistics can be viewed in this area.  In future, a variety of reports will be available on the viewing, sale and stock of the Product.

Please note that basic viewing statistics do not include viewing by logged in staff.

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