Version 7.5 Release

We just released version 7.5 of zeckoShop which includes some great enhancements.

Image Optimisations

As a lot of people know, a slow loading website can impact the visitors of your site and is known to decrease traffic if severe enough.

Knowing this we are always looking to optimise our platform in all possible ways, and in particular with regards to website assets such as images.

Images are always the largest assets on a website that need to be downloaded by the browser and thus, if they aren’t optimised in terms of size, then your page loads will consequently suffer.

Till now zeckoShop images have been optimised by our software and delivered directly from the same host that manages your web application.

Moving forward however, we are using an industry leading solution to both optimise and deliver images such that all generated images are as small as possible while keeping quality and delivery of those images is as fast as possible.

Benchmarking to date has shown that generated image sizes are between 30-40% of what they were previously and delivery of those images, both because of the decrease in size and the use of a high efficiency CDN has also improved by approx. 50%.

We’ll be continuing to make further improvements in this area in our next release to have this fully optimised.

Equipment Registry

We’ve created a new addon that allows managing equipment through your zeckoShop along with a self serve portal for your users.

Essentially, you set up the equipment using the zeckoShop admin which allows tracking attributes such as:

  • Manufacturer
  • Type
  • Parts & Accessories (actual products in the system)
  • Customer Purchases:
    • Customer #
    • Serial #
    • Date Purchased
    • Warranty Expiration

Once pieces of equipment have been setup and assigned, your customers can then log in to your zeckoShop and browse their equipment, view warranty information and also add pieces of equipment, or separate components to their cart for purchase.

Addon Wizard

One of our more popular addons is ‘Product Addons’ which allows you to assign a list of options to a product such that when added to cart the user is presented with a series of options that they can choose from such as additional products to purchase, additional fees, extra commentary etc.

This works great as long as the list of options is relatively short and cohesive, but as soon as you have a lot of different options, where certain ones should be grouped separately, then it becomes difficult to setup and awkward for your users.

We’ve now enhanced this so that each option can be assigned a step and when a user is presented with the addon dialog, they will go through it wizard style and be presented one set of options at a time based on the step configured in the admin.

To enhance this one step further, you can also assign custom fields to the wizard so that the final screen in the wizard can request additional information from users related to the order and have these fields flow directly into your ERP.    

Other Notable Additions:

  • Quickbooks Online integration has been added
  • You can now make sales history available in a users favourites
  • A dedicated page to your manufacturers has been added to serve as a landing page for users
  • You can now set custom images to appear as ‘ribbons’ on your product images on the site based on status such as ‘Promo’, ‘On Sale’ etc

Upcoming Release

Our next major version is due for release end of March, version 7.6!

We’ll continue to optimise performance and enhance existing features such as My Account (UI overhaul), Coupons (ease of setup and more powerful use cases) & the Checkout (vault integration, more payment options etc).

Version 7.4 Release

We just released version 7.4 of zeckoShop which includes some great enhancements.

Addons Moved to Core

In an effort to continue enhancing our offering, we’ve moved several features, previously considered paid addons, into the core:

  • Abandoned carts
  • Blog
  • Cycling banners
  • Order detail custom field rules
  • Order templates
  • Premium statistics

We are reviewing all our addons and will continue to include others into the core in upcoming releases.

CRM Integration

We announced our new CRM integration in 7.3 and as promised are continuing to enhance based on feedback.

Firstly, we’ve added additional fields when syncing customer profiles to the CRM:

  • Year to date sales
  • Last Year Sales
  • Customer Notes
  • Days since last invoice
  • Ref Num
  • Credit Balance
  • Credit Limit

Another important enhancement is that we now adjust the “deal” stage based on the status of orders. As they change from quote to order, or order to invoiced, the stage is also updated automatically in the CRM to give your sales people the information they need and determine what deals were “Won” as they are invoiced in the ERP

We’ve also added additional information to deals to better help identify the salesperson, customer and participants associated.    

Security

2 factor authentication has been added to the admin, thus increasing the security significantly when accessing this area of the site.

We’ve also increased the strength of passwords in zeckoShop by using a more advanced hashing algorithm. Along with this, the password reset mechanism forces users to reset their password after successfully logging in for the first time after requesting a reset.

Checkout

Several additions have been added to the checkout including:

  • Ability to request billing & shipping address changes directly from the checkout for your customers
  • Ability for customers to choose their shipping preference for items on backorder i.e. ship when each becomes available or ship when all are available
  • Ability to set customer specific shipping padding and threshold that applies when an order is less then a specified threshold amount
  • As part of our ongoing effort to have all payment entered inline on the checkout screen, we’ve updated our Paypal integration to include this ability

SEO

With the importance of keeping your permalinks up to date we’ve updated our system to ensure these are automatically created for each new item added to the system, specifically:

  • Products
  • Categories
  • Manufacturers
  • Custom Pages

Also, a dedicated screen for maintaining your metadata has been added, which includes import/export capabilities.

Other Notable Additions:

  • Ability for users to order favourites as they wish
  • Ability to set global search filters based on custom fields and categories
  • Ability to set up recurring courses
  • Dozens of enhancements to the admin to make finding and updating information much easier

Upcoming Release

Our next major version is due for release end of November, version 7.5!

Along with our ongoing effort to increase performance, security and the admin, we’ll also be adding several new features and addons, each of which we’ll preview on our blog after the release is available.

Version 7.3 Release

We just released version 7.3 of zeckoShop which includes some great enhancements and new add ons.

CRM Integration

This is a feature we’ve wanted for some time now and it’s finally here, allowing your salespeople to view customer information & purchase history directly in your CRM without having to jump between that and your ERP/zeckoShop site to find required information.

We push the following data from your ERP to your CRM:

  • Customers: all billing customers are pushed as companies while their shipping addresses are pushed as child companies of the billing entity. Also, for both billing and shipping their contacts are pushed and associated with the relevant company
  • Invoices/Orders: the full order history for each company is pushed along with the workflow of orders updated to reflect changes in your ERP e.g. Quote, Open & Invoiced

Also, to provide tighter integration between your systems and zeckoShop we also push the following events to your CRM as they happen real time in zeckoShop:

  • Login
  • Logout
  • Search
  • Product Viewed
  • Add to Cart
  • Initiate Checkout
  • Purchase

For our initial rollout we have integrated with Hubspot & Pipedrive but we will continue to add more integrations over the coming months including zohoCRM.

If you have a specific CRM in mind and are wondering if we can integrate with it just send us an email or give us a call and we’ll discuss.

Inline Payment Processing

Since the inception of zeckoShop we’ve used what is referred to as “Hosted Payment Pages”, HPP for short, to process payment. The advantage of these are with regards to security since all transactions happens on the payment processor end and thus Terracor doesn’t have to handle any sensitive information by integrating via APIs.

Since these pages live outside of zeckoShop it has always meant an additional step when checking out as your customers are forwarded to these pages after verifying the details of their order and selecting their shipping.

As part of our ongoing effort to modernise and improve our platform, we are making several updates and additions to our checkout and in this build we’ve updated two of our more popular payment processors to now accept payment directly on the checkout page and thus removing the HPP previously in place.

This not only streamlines the process of making a purchase on your site but it looks more integrated with the overall site as the form is embedded directly in the checkout.

For now we’ve implemented this for Bambora & Moneris, along with adding a new integration with Stripe but we will continue to update other payment processors in upcoming builds. For instance, or next release will embed Paypal along with add support for Amazon Pay.

Accessibility Support

Accessibility is a complex topic but something becoming even more important on the modern web.

With this in mind we have put together an ongoing effort to ensure our platform is accessible to all and will continue to make improvements as we release newer versions of our software.

For this build we have made dozens of changes to better support accessibility benchmarks to allow tools and readers to better navigate any site build on the zeckoShop platform.

“Ads”

Another major area we’ve been making improvements in and will continue to do so is giving you the ability to make additions/changes to the site content in more powerful ways.

We created a new component we call “Ads” that simply allow you to place as many advertisements on your site as you require, thus allowing you to maintain this list of ads over time as your requirements change.

“Ads” at their core are just rich content allowing you to include any text, images etc but you also have the ability to choose who these ads will display for based on properties in the customer/user profile, location etc

Other Notable Additions:

  • Custom checkout disclaimers
  • Close to free shipping notifications to your users/customers
  • Auto mark products as new
  • Support for up to 5 decimals places for pricing display

Upcoming Release

Our next major version is due for release mid August, version 7.4!

This version will be heavily focussed on further improvements to our checkout and payment processors, ongoing improvements/enhancements to our platform accessibility & CRM integration along with major enhancements to security & performance to ensure you have a platform that is not only full featured but secure and reliable.

Version 7.2 Release

We just released version 7.2 of zeckoShop which includes some great enhancements and new add ons.

Salesperson Quotes

This addon allows the creation of quotes in zeckoShop by both salespeople and customers and interaction between both parties during the quoting process

It allows for your salespeople to maintain all their quotes through a listing in the admin. The salesperson can then modify all aspects of a quote including line items, address information, shipping, status etc.

As a quote goes through different phases the user tied to the quote is constantly updated via email so they can keep track of all the changes. The user can also view the quote details on the site and request any changes they would like to have made.

Finally, once the quote has been approved by the user and marked as completed by the salesperson it will flow down to your ERP as an order.

Notify Me

This allows users of a site to request notifications from the system when certain conditions are met:

  • When a product goes on sale
  • When a product is out of stock

For any product that is either not on sale and/or is out of stock a ‘Notify Me’ button will appear on previews and the details page allowing users to opt-in to notifications of when a particular product meets one of these conditions.

Once a particular condition is met the user will be emailed letting them know so the can take action.

Facebook Pixel

This has been added as a core feature to allow tracking analytics of your site through Facebook.

Alongside the default behaviour of tracking page views we’ve also included the tracking of several other events:

  • Add to cart
  • Initiate checkout
  • Purchase
  • Search
  • User registration
  • Product details page view

Customer Part Numbers

This addon allows setting customer specific part numbers on the site

Once active customers can add & update their customer part numbers through the product details and my account sections of the site

When products have customer specific part numbers assigned these will display on the product details, cart, checkout & my account sections of the site

Other Notable Additions:

  • Desjardin payment processor integration
  • Setting custom Javascript & CSS via the admin
  • Alternate parts

Upcoming Release

Our next major release is due for release mid April, version 7.3!

This release will include many other improvements related to how we integrate with payment processors to make it more seamless, enhancements to better support site accessibility, CRM integration and more…

Version 7 Release

We just released version 7 of zeckoShop and just like it’s predecessor it’s a pretty substantial one including several new features and major changes to our UI.

UI Overhaul

In an effort to cut down on maintenance, make upgrades easier & to improve the default look of zeckoShop we’ve started a full UI overhaul

The majority of the work got completed in this build although there are several other areas of improvements we’ll be making over the coming builds, both already known and based on feedback. Here is some information on the main areas we focused and will continue to focus on:

Mobile first

  • With the prevalence of mobile users surfing the web now and it’s constant increase it’s important to think mobile first when developing a modern day website
  • We choose a framework that has been built with mobile first in mind and added our own zeckoShop specific styles on top of it
  • We also updated several aspects of the site such as the checkout page, product previews, product details, my account etc so they look and behave well on mobile devices

More Configurable

  • Up till now only someone with knowledge of CSS could change the appearance of a site
  • Over the coming versions we want to change this so there are default themes/skins any user can choose from and also give our clients the ability to change several aspects of the sites branding themselves

Easier Upgrades

  • One of the most difficult parts of upgrading is the site skin as it’s customised for each client and will usually break in some way after an upgrade. How much it breaks depends on how old the site is, how complex the skinning is etc
  • The goal moving forward is to have it such that when skinning a site that only the minimum amount of styles are created and the core is heavily utilised
  • This means that when sites are upgraded the clients skin would be minimally affected thus allowing us to upgrade sites more frequently moving forward
  • A little bit more work is required to make this completely the case and it will only be the case for versions > 7.0

Syncs/Download Manager

The syncs and download manager settings and UI have all been ported to the zeckoShop admin

This in turn means that the sync tool has no UI and only needs to be installed on the clients server moving forward

All the following screens now exist in zeckoShop:

  • Amazon Integration Settings Screen
  • eBay Integration Settings
  • Download Manager Settings Screen
  • Sync Settings Screen
  • ShipStation Settings
  • Prism Settings
  • Sync Profiles
  • ERP Settings Screen – settings will show for the specific ERP based of the ERP Code setting

Manual Syncing

  • As per the previous tools, manual syncs can be run
  • The difference now is that only a single manual sync can be run at a time across all users
  • So if one user initiates a sync and another user goes to the admin to run another the sync button will be disabled until the other one finishes
  • This not only removes potential issues with overlapping syncs but also reduces the burden on our servers by having only one run at a same time

Sync Profiles

  • Now that there is only a single sync, ERP -> Shop, sync chaining is no longer required
  • Also, the previous syncs were overly complicated in terms of the dependency graph needed to determin when certain items should be mandatory based on selection
  • The whole setting up of a sync profile has now been simplified to include just major areas for syncing e.g. “Products” and once selected all data pertinent to that entity will be sync’d automatically
  • The available sync items are:
    • System: currencies etc
    • Products: product profile, pricing etc
    • Stock Levels
    • Product Categories
    • Customers: customer profile, addresses, custom fields & customer specific pricing
    • Orders

Courses

  • This new addon allows creating courses in the system that users can purchase seats for
  • A course can have a “Description”, “Instructor”, “Location” & “Seat Capacity” all of which are displayed to the user and apply to each instance of a course
  • A course can run over many days and have different time slots with each considered an “instance” of the course
  • Each instance in turn can have a “Date”, “Start Time”, “End Time” and for that specific instance can override the course “Instructor”, “Location” & “Seating Capacity”
  • When displaying courses in search results they are laid out very much like a normal product preview with the addition of the location, seating capacity etc
  • The product details page is where all the available instances reside so a user can select the instance they are interested in and add to cart
  • When course instances download to the ERP they do so as normal products with the addition of the instance specific data for date & time

Keyword Search History

  • All keyword searches are now saved to the database for later search
  • An admin screen has been added that allows filtering on past searches
  • The data recorded includes:
    • The username of the person who ran the specific keyword search
    • The name of the search since a site can have multiple keyword searches
    • The search terms entered
    • Any search filters applied
    • The group by & sort by if applicable
    • The date the search was run
    • The number of search results yielded
  • The data can also be exported if advanced data manipulation/filtering is required
  • This screen can help us and our clients improve their search such as:
    • Catch misspellings and creating synonyms
    • Find all searches yielded 0 results to determine potential issues with setup
    • Determine the most common searches and engineer their return relevance or reach out to clients with targetted mailers

Order Admin Listing

  • The previous order admin listing just showed a basic filterable list of orders
  • This has been updated to allow viewing the details of each order in a separate review screen
  • Also, any errors/issues encountered when downloading orders will be recorded and displayed here with the ability to create missing customers

Category Product Carousels

  • Product categories can now have carousels for assigned products displayed at the top of a page
  • This is activated on a per category basis via the product category admin screen
  • The products displayed can be set to random order or based off YTD sales with random order as the default
  • Also, how number to display can be set with the default being 5

Other Notable Additions:

  • Freightcom Integration (also allows initiating shipments from the admin
  • Punchout Integration
  • Import/Export now CSV and not Google Sheets anymore
  • User manager overhaul to make it easier and more intuitive to use
  • Manufacturer based teasers
  • Ability to add products to order templates from the search/browse and details page

Upcoming Release

Our next major release is due for release in January, version 7.2!

This release will include many other major improvements around syncing and UI including:

  • Quickbooks sync
  • Salesperson portal for handling quotes which will allow the initiation of quotes and working with existing ones, allowing for collaboration between salespeople and the end user
  • Affiliate updates to allow affiliates themselves to change settings, mark up pricing etc
  • Hubspot CRM integration
  • More major UI changes
  • And much more…

Version 6 Release

We just released version 6 of zeckoShop and it’s a pretty substantial one including several new features but also making major changes to how you administer the data on your site.

Data Admin Changes

Since the inception of zeckoShop you’ve administered the data aspects of your site in your ERP and zeckoCentral and then any site specific data or settings are manipulated through the zeckoShop admin.

This approach has worked great but we also found it difficult in terms of training and understanding of our system not to mention that it can include data maintenance concerns and can add to potential syncing issues you experience.

In a move to change all this and constantly improve we will be making several big changes over this and our next build to make things easier and more robust all round.

For 6.0.0 we’ve moved all data administration to the zeckoShop admin essentially making zeckoCentral just a tool for syncing (in fact we’ve renamed it to zeckoSyncs to drive this concept home).

Now when it comes to setting up your category structure, working with custom fields and adding manufacturers you will do that directly in zeckoShop, no need to worry about two administration sections anymore, it’s a one stop shop!

Also, image thumbnail generation has moved to the web. Instead of us generating these on your server and uploading them to the web individually which is a time consuming process, we instead compress and move batches of your ERP images to the web and from there your thumbnails are generated. This approach is not only more efficient but several issues which is great for all our clients dealing with lots of image changes.  

Now on to features…

Product Promotions

This is a feature we’ve wanted in zeckoShop for some time and it’s finally here!

This feature works off our our already existing coupons but adds very important enhancements that add to the visual aspects of the discounts and promotions in play.

So let’s say for instance you wanted to offer a normal BOGO style coupon, you can now set it to a promotion and the system will handle it in a much more visual and helpful way for your customers.

Firstly, any promotions will be displayed in the product previews and details page making your users aware that they actually exist and that they can take advantage.

Once a user has added a promotion to their cart the discount is displayed so they know what savings they have made and this information flows all the way to the receipt.

Along with this we’ve really taking your helpful feedback on board and made setting up coupons/promotions much simpler than previous by making this all happen in a single admin screen.

Also, in order to add true flexibility to how and when a coupon/promotion is applied we’ve updated the system to now use our conditions system. This means that you can base coupons/promotions not just on part #’s and categories but manufacturers, custom fields, customer information, user information, location etc. The options here are vast and allow for you to have different coupons/promotions for completely different sets of users based on any make up of conditions you like. Truly powerful.

Auto Translations

zeckoShop has had the concept of translations for some time now.

You could have multiple languages and once you had a full set of translations available could import them into the system and voila! You support the alternate languages of your user base.

The problem we found was that sometimes you didn’t have the means to get the translations in place. Whether it be cost or effort it just wouldn’t be feasible and overall the daunting nature made this a difficult project to take on.

What we’ve done is set up an integration with Google Translate that automatically translates all your descriptions for products & categories so that every time you make changes to them in your ERP or the zeckoShop import, that they are automatically translated without any intervention from you.

Of course, if you find that you don’t like how a translation occurred, you can just go in and make adjustments after the fact so it reads exactly as you want.

Multiple Stock Indicators

We’ve not made it so you can have as many stock indicators and their associated settings as you need. For instance if you wanted your retail and wholesale customers to see different stock indicators you can set one up for each customer type.

The best part is that like coupons/promotions these are all controlled by the same condition system which has the flexibility for you to have stock indicators appear differently in a multitude of situations, including on mobile.

Product Quickview

This feature, when enabled, allows your users to quickly view the details on a product without having to leave the search/browse page they are on to jump off to the details page.

You get to configure exactly what shows here and by simply clicking the link a popup will appear with all these details.

Much more efficient then jumping back and forth between a list of products and their details page which will speed up the shopping process considerably and make it more enjoyable for your users.

Price Matrix

We have a long standing integration with Essentials/Spire and as part of this we’ve supported their incredibly powerful price matrix system.

The price matrix however lacks support for currencies so we’ve enhanced our implementation to allow setting a currency for each price matrix rule.

An import/export has also been included so you can administer as much of your pricing through our implementation as you need.

Other Improvements

  • Your users can now search on alternate part #’s, multiple UPC’s and the SEO keywords associated with a product.
  • Product addons can now be embedded directly in the product details page instead of appearing as a popup
  • Product selectors now have multiple choices for how options are displayed. Previously all options appeared in a dropdown whereas now they can appear as a list, colour list or image list
  • The Google Taxonomy component has been completely reworked to be automated with much less setup involved. Instead of associating the taxonomies with products they are associated with the product categories. When you add new products to your ERP and they sync the taxonomies assigned to the associated category are now automatically applied to the products so you no longer have to manually handle this yourself
  • We’ve added support for the Paytrace payment gateway
  • We’ve added diagnostics around missing shipping information so you can tell if dimensions and weights are missing for your products and for which

Upcoming Release

Our next release is due in September, version 7!

This release will include many other major improvements around syncing and UI including:

  • We will be removing the UDC and so only a single sync between your ERP and zeckoShop will exist
  • We will move administration of the syncs to the web so you will only need a single install of zeckoSyncs on your server. No more multiple installs required!
  • We will be doing a major overhaul to our UI to make it even more mobile friendly but also to include more advanced components and give you the ability to change certain appearance properties yourself e.g. background colour, fonts etc

Version 5 Release

zeckoShop 5 has been released and along with lots of great new features we’ve moved into a new major version.

Our reason for moving to version 5 is that we want to focus on major cleanup of our core components such as the cart, checkout, my account, browsing etc, both to improve performance and also to modernise how these work for the modern web.

So what’s in this release:

Product Addons

This allows assigning “addons” to your existing products so when your users add an item to their cart that has addons assigned to it they are then given the chance to also include these via an informative popup.

This would allow you to setup things such as fees (installation, levies etc), accessories (camera/phone case, cake toppings etc) and so on. Really the options are endless here.

When creating an addon you have the following options:

  • Bundled pricing
  • Create using a an actual product in your inventory or as “virtual” product i.e. the addon doesn’t have to be a real product in your system
  • Notes to display to your customers
  • Capture notes from your customers
  • Mandatory or optional

Cart Rework

The cart has seen major rework in this version. Our goal here was to make working with the cart easier and more efficient along with streamlining the whole shopping process.

The cart page has been completing removed which eliminates the need for your users to be directed to that page before getting to the checkout. Now once they are ready to complete their purchase they are directed straight to the checkout page.

Previously, we had widgets that would display a users cart items when hovered over. This would simply display the part #, description & price of each product. We have now removed these widgets in favour of a cart popup that displays all the information associated with an item that would have been previously on the cart page.

Now when a user is adding items to their cart from a search/browse page they will never have to leave that page when they would like to view the full contents of their cart as the popup content updates inline without page refreshes.

Also, to make working with the checkout more powerful we’ve added the ability to delete items and update their quantities directly on that page so if your users realise that they want to make changes at that point they no longer have to navigate away from the checkout in order to do so.

Shipping

We’ve improved shipping in several important ways:

  • When generating the origin address that we send to shipping providers this previously was your company address. We’ve updated this to now use the warehouse address associated with the products in the cart, providing that warehouse has an address set. This now allows you to have more accurate rates generated from shipping providers since the address that the products will be sent from will be the correct location
  • We’ve added the ability to map states/provinces to their associated warehouse so when your guest users enter an arbitrary shipping address this will update the associated warehouse for the items in the cart to the mapped warehouse
  • In cases where certain rates returned from your shipping providers should not be displayed at the checkout we’ve added the ability to hide these from view
  • Canada Post
    • We’ve updated our code to use their latest API which now returns more accurate rates and improves the support provided by Canada Post
    • We also included “hooks” which give us the ability to provide custom rate overrides when required. For instance, if you want to modify the rates returned from Canada Post based on a custom algorithm this is now possible
    • We’ve added a setting that when active will only push weights and not dimensions to Canada Post as by default both are included when calculating rates
  • Purolator
    • We’ve added a setting that allows you to include insurance in the shipping rates returned

Payment Processors

We’ve added 2 new payment mechanisms:

  • Paypal Payments Pro
    • This offering from Paypal allows paying both through a Paypal account and credit card
    • In instances where you want to offer both of these payment options you needed to have 2 separate modules, 2 separate payment processors and potentially multiple bank accounts
    • Now you just need a single module, a single payment processor and only a single bank account so you not only consolidate to make your life easier but save money also
  • Beanstream Interac
    • If you already have a Beanstream account for Credit Card you can add Interac as an option here
    • Also you have options around how this is presented to your clients:
      • As 2 separate payment options in our checkout (requires both the Beanstream Credit Card & Interac modules to be installed)
      • As a single payment option in our checkout and once a user selects this option and navigates to the hosted payment page they can then choose Credit Card or Interac

Other Improvements

  • Kitted products now always appear as in stock and their quantities are ignored if you have disallowed backorders on your site since kitted product quantities are always 0
  • You can now add new product statuses directly through the shop admin. This is particularly useful for those of our clients who don’t have zeckoCentral
  • You can now set the default quantity that displays in the add to cart quantity box that’s shown on the browse/search & product details pages
  • In situations where you only have a single payment processor and shipping carrier on the checkout page these will now be auto selected, thus removing the need for your users to select them before proceeding to the next step
  • For those of you with Spire, if you only want users to be able to purchase products that have pricing derived exclusively from the price matrix we’ve added a setting for this

 

So there’s a quick summary of the major additions to this version of zeckoShop.

Upcoming Release

Our next release will be coming out mid July and will include several new features and updates around improved performance, customer retention, useful integration etc. 

4.6.0 Release

zeckoShop 4.6.0 has been released and it’s full of great new features. Let me go through each of the major ones in turn to explain what each provides.

AvaTax

We now have full support for AvaTax which is a great addition to our list of services that we integrate too.

We still utilise your customer tax profiles as set up in your ERP but for cases where a user doesn’t have an associated customer and providing AvaTax is enabled then it will kick in to generate the needed taxes.

With the ever growing complexity involved in generating taxes and with the rules constantly changing for online shopping this module is a must for those of you selling B2C.

Search Relevancy Updates

The search relevancy has been heavily reworked to make it much more deterministic by you.

Previously there was an advanced algorithm used along with applying “boost” factors that could be entered through our admin.

This worked great for a lot of our clients but for some it unfortunately did not yield the results expected.

This in turn caused us to make the search results fully dependent on the boost factors entered into our admin so that you can choose exactly the priority to use when matching against the different fields and therefore allows you to dictate which fields push results to the top of the list.

Quick Entry Updates

The quick entry has been heavily reworked so that entering products is much more efficient.

Firstly, the page no longer refreshes after adding a product but in fact acts just like our regular add to cart functionality.

Secondly, the user no longer has to select from the autocomplete but can just add directly after entering the part #

Marketing

In an effort to help our users better target and communicate with their users we are moving forward with enhancements based around marketing strategies.

In this release we’ve added the ability for the system to send follow up emails to users who’ve completed orders on your site.

This email can optionally display related products and also request the user add a rating and/or review.

You can choose when this email gets sent after completed orders along with controlling what gets displayed in the header and footer of the emails.

Product Fee Enhancements

Fees have been enhanced with the following:

  • Ability to base fees on “virtual” products
  • Ability to group fees

Virtual products allows you to create fees without the need for the product to exist in your inventory which was the previous requirement. All you need to do is enter a part #, description & cost and you are done.

Grouping fees allows you to set up a specific group of fees that once displayed to the user they can only select one from the list. So for instance if you set up a “Warranties” group with fees for “1 Year”, “2 Years” & “3 Years” the user would then be prompted to choose which Warranty they want after adding to cart. Of course like all fees this can be mandatory or optional.

Responsive Email Templates

Our last version of zeckoShop shipped with several enhancements around responsive design.

This version has now expanded on that so that all our email templates are fully responsive providing your site is also responsive.

Instagram Support

We’ve added in the ability to display your Instagram images on any area or page of your site.

The display of the images is based on a hashtag so once all the integration details are setup you would just need to let us know where you’d like them to display and what hashtag to use.  

Shipping Enhancements

We’ve made several great enhancements to shipping:

  • You can now specify, on a per product basis
    • Which products have free shipping
    • Which products require offline shipping calculation and along with this specify the note that shows up in the checkout when this happens
  • You can create shipping rules based on the order weight

Other Improvements

  • Share functionality on product details pages has been updated to use ShareThis!
  • Conditions added to hide currency & unit of measure
  • Setting to display sale end date on product image
  • Setting to show add to cart stock warnings/errors inline
  • Setting to force product warehouses to be updated to the customer’s default before completing checkout
  • Ability to set up matching and discounted coupon products based on >= operator
  • Setting to have custom pages fall back to the default language if none exists for the current language
  • Ability to show category images in the top level of the mega menu

So there’s a quick summary of the major additions to this version of zeckoShop.

Upcoming Releases

Our next major release will be coming out April 1st and will be the first in our 5.x series.

 

4.4.0 Release

zeckoShop 4.4.0 has been released and it’s full of new great features. Let me go through each of the major ones in turn to explain what each provides.

Statistics

zeckoShop now has a statistics module!

There are 2 versions available: the free version that comes with the core and a premium version available for purchase.

Both deal with sales statistics related to overall sales, by category, by manufacturer and by user but the free version delivers just the high level details whereas the premium version allows you to drill down further and use filters to get at the information you require.

In future versions we will add statistics for abandoned carts, user search behaviours, coupon usage etc.

Abandoned Carts

This feature will not only allow you to view abandoned cars but it will also send out emails, with the body content of your choice, after a custom set period of time to users who have abandoned their carts.

There are several settings allowing you to set when a cart should be considered abandoned, when it should be removed etc.

Mega Menu

This new menu component still keeps the same feature set and look of our previous menu but has amped things up quite a bit.

Now you can choose to have your menu behave like a flyout panel where all items are displayed in one area along with optional images. For instance, you can choose to show all your top level categories so they appear all on one panel with their images also.

In future versions we will be adding other specialised panels for manufacturers, my account etc.

Product Fees

This feature gives you the ability to add arbitrary fees to your products so that when a user purchases a product, a fee (optional or mandatory which is set by you) is applied to that product.

Each fee can require comments, show your notes and be conditionally shown to a user depending on several pieces of criteria such as customer profile, user profile, logged in/out, user tags etc.

Other Improvements

  • We have added a translations screen to the admin which now allows you to change your own labels on zeckoShop. It also include an import/export
  • We have improved performance in several areas making this the fasted version of zeckoShop yet
  • We’ve added a feature called ‘Order Detail Custom Field Rules’ which allows you to set rules that determine when a custom field appears on the checkout. This allows you to have different fields show for specific products that your users can then fill out to supply needed information for their purchase of each item
  • The PO Number box has been moved to it’s own section which can also be hidden. This will solve the issue with your users entering sensitive information in here during checkout.
  • Users can now add a previous order to their cart through the My Account section
  • You can now assign multiple bill and ship to’s to your users

So there’s a quick summary of the major additions to this version of zeckoShop.

Upcoming Releases

We will be coming out with a minor version in September and a major version in December that will include tons of new features and changes so stay tuned for more details as it happens!

 

4.3.0 Release

zeckoShop 4.3.0 has just been released and there are a lot of new features to talk about. Although I won’t go over absolutely every feature, I will touch on all the major ones

zeckoCatalog

Anyone who has been a partner with Terracor for at least the last few years may have already heard of zeckoCatalog. For those of you who haven’t heard of it, it’s a client side Windows application that allows you to generate rich catalogs based on the data from your UDC. This version of zeckoCatalog as we know it no longer exists and has been superseded by our new zeckoShop module which moves it off the client and onto the web. There were several reasons we made this decision but the most important ones are that it will allow us to take advantage of the latest web technologies, heavily integrate zeckoCatalog with zeckoShop and also since zeckoShop is constantly being improved zeckoCatalog will too benefit from this momentum.

We actually released this module in our 4.2.0 release under the name Catalog Generator but have decided to rename it as it’s the next generation of zeckoCatalog. So what does this version bring to the table:

  • We have added 2 editions of the module: Professional & Enterprise. For those of you who only need to generate price lists then professional is for you whereas if you want to use our other available layouts (or have a custom one built) and other advanced features then enterprise is the way to go
  • We’ve also added 3 different plans in relation to the volume of catalogs you intend to generate. There’s the bronze, silver and gold plans which allow 20, 75 & 200 catalogs generated per month, respectively
  • A new 2 column layout
  • Previously we only supported grouping by a single level of category whereas now the full category hierarchy is supported
  • Ability to filter what products are output into a catalog by product and category. This will allow you to create catalogs tailored to a particular product set e.g. you could create separate catalogs for every major category or even just for a particular set of special order items
  • A special test mode that allows you to generate your catalog as many times as you like till it’s perfect without using up one of your allowed monthly transactions

Search

The search has gone through some major changes, mostly in relation to offering you much more flexibility in creating and exposing searches to your users. Here is a list of the major enhancements:

  • You now have the ability to create your own searches. Previously we offered 5 search/browse pages (basic, advanced, category, status & manufacturer). Basic (now called keyword), browse, status & manufacturer all still exist but now you can create any other number of searches you wish. You can choose exactly what fields a user can search by, how they sort, group, page & filter those searches
  • You can create a custom page and assign whatever searches you like to it with the visibility of the page and searches controlled by conditions. This means you can create special search landing pages specific to your individual users/customers as needed
  • A new concept we call “Custom Data Types” has been added. You can consider this to be a much more powerful and flexible version of custom fields. What it allows you to do is create a complete custom data set and import/export data to it. From here you can then use any of the fields in this custom data set in your searches. For instance, if you have a data set for vehicles that consists of year, make & model you could create a custom data set for this and then create a custom search that allows users to search for products associated with a particular year, make & model. The possibilities here are endless
  • A new masked control has been added which allows your users to search against a specific pattern defined by you. For instance, you could create a pattern like ‘DDDWWR’ where DDD maps to a diameter field, WW to a width field and R to a ratio field. A user would then enter their search terms into a text field in this format instead of having to select the fields from a set of dropdowns for instance. This works great where the format of the pattern is well know in an industry and something users are used to working with
  • The dropdown control has had a new feature added to it that allows you to set it so the values contained in the dropdown are dependent on the value selected in another dropdown control. Going back to our year, make & model example. You could set it so when a user chooses a ‘year’ that only ‘makes’ matching that ‘year’ are available in the ‘year’ dropdown and then when a ‘make’ is chosen only ‘models’ matching the selected ‘year’ & ‘make’ will appear in the ‘model’ dropdown
  • The PAS (Product Attribute Selector) has now been integrated fully into our search. This means that when you run a search, only the PAS category will display in the results and not all the products matching from the PAS. This keeps the result set much smaller and also keeps the functionality of the PAS intact
  • The way our autocomplete matches on products has been updated so it’s more efficient and also more relevant. You may have noticed that previously it only matched on the start of a keyword whereas now it matches on any part of a keyword
  • It’s now possible to turn on/off partial matching at the field level. This means you could turn on partial matching for part numbers but leave it off for custom fields for instance
  • When matching against fields in a search the previous behaviour meant that all values had to match for a product to be returned. Generally this is fine but there are cases where matching against at least one control is the desired behaviour and this ability has been added

SEO

We have added some nice automation features to our SEO offering along with import/export functionality.

For instance, permalinks can now be auto generated based off a set of rules defined by you. This means you no longer have to go in and manually create permalinks but can in fact have zeckoShop take care of this for you. You can of course still manually make changes as needed.

Also, the Google Product Feed is now auto generated after your sync runs so it’s always up to date.

Finally, you can now import/export permalinks which allows much easier maintenance of this data set.

Cart

zeckoShop has previously only allowed a single instance of a product to exist in the cart at a time. We’ve updated zeckoShop so you can turn on the ability to allow a product to exist more than once. This can be useful in instances where the same product may need different instructions or custom data. In line with this we’ve also added the ability to let users add comments to an item when adding it to the cart.

Diagnostics

We’ve added a simple diagnostics module that will let you know if certain data is malformed. This includes:

  • Missing product short descriptions
  • Missing default selling price
  • Missing default unit of measure
  • Missing units of measure

And More…

Some other really great features we’ve added include the following:

  • SSL everywhere! Now every page on your zeckoShop will be secure and encrypted. The benefit of security on every page aside, this is a Google recommendation and will positively effect your page ranking
  • Custom registration fields are now included in the admin email
  • When a user registers their username and email are now included in the admin email
  • The user manager now shows the date and time a user registered on your site
  • We’ve added shipping integration to Loomis

Upcoming 4.4.0 Release

The next release of zeckoShop is going to include several more great features including more enhancements to our search, several performance improvements, a stats module, abandoned cart reporting and much more.

As soon as this version is released I’ll write another post outlining the major additions so stay tuned!