Product Configuration for AspDotNetStorefront and ChannelAdvisor e-commerce platforms

We regularly face some interesting challenges with complex product variations with these platforms. Especially as ChannelAdvisor’s Premium Store’s platform only allows one “parent-child” relationship for products and their variants.

We recently worked with client ‘Tackle Discounts' - www.tacklediscounts.co.uk Operations Director Steve Larsen on some of these challenges.

The Premium Store’s platform allows a “parent-child” relationship for products and their variants. This is great for products such as shirts which may come in various sizes e.g. large, medium or small. However at present there is no support for more than one attribute e.g. size and colour. We addressed this by creating separate product variants for each colour variation. Another use for variants might be for quantity discounting e.g. box of 10, box of 50, box of 100 the variant solution is great for this as we can assign different prices to each variant.

Dealing with variants can becoming quite complex when skinning the store, so we decided to use a business rule on ChannelAdvisor that specified the XML package of the product. This means that processing on the e-commerce store is much faster as we already know the product type.

Credit to Steve for coming up with the following rule on ChannelAdvisor:

(XPATH("ca:VariationInfo/ca:IsParent")="true", "product.MultiVariantsInRightBar.tackle.xml.config", "product.SingleVariantInRightBar.tackle.xml.config")

Steve also came up with some nice fixes for sending in category data, as a simple space would cause havoc as products would be assigned to incorrect categories:

REGEXREPLACE($SAPCATEGORY1," +/ +", "/")

Another nice thing about variants is the fact that they hold stock information. We revamped the category pages to show fly out information about stock levels, making it easy for users to understand what’s available in a particular range without having to click down to the product page.


The idea was to clearly show stock information and pricing information. With the site being focused on discount products, we made use of all the rich discounting functionality, including implementation of a Customer Loyalty Scheme. Obviously the discount logic gets very complex as it’s based on current membership levels of the Loyalty Club. We achieved this via the customer levels system in the store.

Note, the blue icons are automatically generated too really draw the eye to the featured product. It’s not always the case that we are restricted to the use of variants, sometimes clever use of categories can also help in the product selection process.

One other change we made, was to totally revamp the standard search function on Premium Store's, we introduced a similar look and feel to the category pages and also gave the user the option to see a picture and search by price range, once an initial simple search was completed.

 

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