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The Perfect Home Page

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    Posted: 29-April-2010 at 4:39am
What should be on the Perfect Home Page?

ProductCart already gives you some flexibility in managing the content shown on your store's home page. But, it's time to gather some good feedback from you on this key element of your ProductCart-powered store.
  • What features are - in your view - missing from the "Manage Home Page" section of the Control Panel?
  • What would you like your home page to do, which it cannot do today?
Of course, we are already looking at a number of new ideas. For example, check out this feature products slider that we were playing with a few days ago (definitely a "BETA"): this could become a feature that you turn on and off, indicate how many products should "slide", etc.).

We look forward to your feedback!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mattprice Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-April-2010 at 4:52am
Thanks for the opportunity for feedback.
 
I am always going on about the importance of customer Product Reviews and am really looking forward to the forthcoming changes in V4.1.  I would love to see the option of adding the latest x product reviews on the home page.  Not just a list of products that have been recently reviewed but the overall star rating, small product image, and short excerpt of the review text.
 
Matt
 
 


Edited by mattprice - 29-April-2010 at 4:53am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Greg Dinger Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-April-2010 at 10:32am
The above scrolling thing does nothing for me.  I see this as uninteresting as the new v4 hover effect on the category page - just something to turn off and to work around when editing code. (Sorry.)
 
Our most frequent requests/needs are the ability to:
 
- feature categories on the home page rather than individual products
 
- use different images (either for products or categories) on the home page than those used in the interior pages.  The idea being that product images in some industries are very poor.  The images on the store are selected on the basis that strong images were available for an isolated selection of products.  The images used for the interior pages for those same products are the manufacturer's "inferior" images (or smaller) so that they don't clash with the rest of the product line, but we do happen to  have nicer images for the home page. 

Interior page images are frequently a different size than home page images.  We store those home page images at a different path, EI could provide a 4th image reference which is intended only for  home page use - for example.
 
- Arranging "new arrivals" in the same horizontal layout as "featured products".
 
We've developed an alternate strategy, featured on www.madcowcutlery.com, www.ahamodernliving.com and www.koolertek.com where we administer the images/links/text/prices via a seperate configuration file. Using that strategy, we have ultimate control over the layout, while providing a mechanism by which the merchant may alter their selections. If we had that level of control via the store admin, that would rock.
 
Ultimately, I think messing with the home page is less important than other possible improvements.
 
One of the most important feature enhancements I would wish to see, rather than dancing around the edges and playing with the home page, would be the ability to put products on sale without touching standard pricing.  I'd want the sale price to override the online price, and to be controlled by a begin/end date setting.  Establishing a store or category-wide sale, perhaps using a percentage, would add flexibility.  And yes, I understand this requires a greater effort than home page cosmetic changes.  But I see it as a critical need.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-April-2010 at 1:54pm
Originally posted by Greg Dinger Greg Dinger wrote:


I'd want the sale price to override the online price, and to be controlled by a begin/end date setting.  Establishing a store or category-wide sale, perhaps using a percentage, would add flexibility.  And yes, I understand this requires a greater effort than home page cosmetic changes.  But I see it as a critical need.

I'll second this in a big way. I was quite surprised not to see this in PC. I think it's the only cart I've ever seen that doesn't have a field for sale pricing at the product level -- complete with strike through on regular price an indication of "Sale Price".
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ProductCart Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-April-2010 at 2:01pm
Originally posted by Greg Dinger Greg Dinger wrote:

The above scrolling thing does nothing for me.  I see this as uninteresting as the new v4 hover effect on the category page - just something to turn off and to work around when editing code. (Sorry)


Greg: it might do "nothing" for you, but do you realize that virtually ALL of the leading e-commerce Web sites have a slider or "gallery" element as the #1 element shown on the home page? Again, not one of the elements on the home page. The number one element on the home page!

Let's just look at a few:
  • Staples
    9.8 B in sales. Automatic slider with 4 offers shown.
  • Dell
    4.5 B in sales. Automatic slider with 5 offers shown.
  • Office Depot
    $4.1 B in sales. Automatic slider with 4 offers shown.
We could go on and on.

In any case, this is just one improvement that could be made to the home page, and that - according to empirical evidence - is one way chosen by most leading e-commerce stores to present their newest and best offers.

The home page is an absolutely crucial element of any e-commerce store. Please keep your suggestions and comments in this thread strictly focused on what tools and design elements could be added to the home page to make it a stronger, more effective "landing" page within a ProductCart-powered store.

Thanks!


Edited by earlyimp - 29-April-2010 at 2:02pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ProductCart Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-April-2010 at 2:08pm
With regard to Sean and Greg's messages about sales prices: a "sale manager" has been on the drawing board for a long time. It's a very, very complex feature due to the depth of our application (i.e. sales price relationship with: tiered pricing, pricing categories, sub-products, BTO configurations, promotion pricing, bundle pricing, category-based tiered pricing, etc. etc. etc.). It's a massive development project. Let's discuss it separately and keep this thread focused on the home page.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote RedLeafDev Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-April-2010 at 2:56pm
Everyone has great ideas! I am only going to make one or two comments right now and then think about other things to add later.
 
Along the lines of the "slider" - I second Mark's comment about using something like JQuery - why not just use JQuery?? I think that this is a valuable option for the home page (but please make it so that it can be easily turned off).
 
And, instead of publishing to twitter why not make it an option to grab the JQuery "Recent Twitter Posts" thing - that displays them right on the home page? It is super easy to style!
 
I liked the featured categories idea as well.
 
OK, that was 3 comments!
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mattprice Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-April-2010 at 3:04pm
I give the slider / gallery a big thumbs as an option for the Home Page.  I do agree with Greg however that the images most store owners want on their home page are not the same images they use for their products and I would like to see the glider in particular have the ability to undependently set an image and destination link instead of just the default product images.
This way the store owner could use the glider to send a customer to a particular category, a content page, or indeed a product if they so wish.
The three example stores given by EI : Staples, Dell and Office have made sure the flashiest images on their site take centre stage on their glider.
 
Matt
 


Edited by mattprice - 29-April-2010 at 3:05pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ProductCart Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-April-2010 at 3:11pm
Originally posted by RedLeafDev RedLeafDev wrote:

Along the lines of the "slider" - I second Mark's comment about using something like JQuery - why not just use JQuery?? I think that this is a valuable option for the home page (but please make it so that it can be easily turned off).


This was just a quick "BETA" and it does already use a slider based on JQuery, adapted to use database-driven information in ProductCart.

There are many JQuery-based sliders that could be used. We just need to find the one that works the best and then adjust it to work well in ProductCart.

Of course, it needs to be easy to turn on and off and to customize in terms of the information it shows and how.

Once again, the rationale behind talking about this feature is that empirical evidence (large amount of successful stores using this approach) appears to indicate that there is consensus on the fact that is an effective way to "welcome" visitors to an e-commerce Web site.

Thanks for the rest of the feedback too. Keep going!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote roknrod12 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-May-2010 at 3:24pm
I like the idea of a slider to show off products, with the option to handle what and how the content is displayed.  Here's the type of slider I'd prefer to see though - http://www.musiciansfriend.com/

I think one of the things I'd like to see in future releases is some modular snippets that can be styled externally.  For example, a snippet of code that pulls the new arrivals and can be placed on a content page (w/o the dependence of having best sellers and specials) and then styled to fit into the store scheme.

Another big thing that I think is way past due is the incorporation of RSS feeds.  Being able to see when new products come in a particular category would be very helpful to customers.

-rh
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