Chapter 5: Promotions, Marketing and Content Pages

Last modified by joolsr on Fri, May 9, 2008 10:29
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Customer Personalization

In order to maximize the promotion of your products, Magento offers several great ways for your customers to keep track of products and changes in your site. Giving your customers control over which aspects of your site they can monitor gives them a more personalized experience and encourages them to be more involved in your site in general.

Wishlist

The Wishlist is one of the more well known promotion features. It allows your customers to designate products that they wish to purchase (or have someone purchase for them) at a later date. Having your customers able to save products to a Wishlist greatly increases the likelihood that they will remember the products that interested them. To enable Wishlists in your site, navigate to System > Configuration, click on the Wishlist tab in the left column, and select Yes from the Enabled drop-down. This will enable the Add to Wishlist link for every product listed in the category pages, as well as in all product pages. When a customer clicks this link for a given product, they will be directed to their personal Wishlist page (if they are not logged in, they will be prompted to do so, or register first, and then they will be directed to the Wishlist page). This page lists all items that your customers have added.

Please click the image to see a larger version.

For each product, there is a field for comments where your customers can make personal notes for each product, the date the product was added to the Wishlist, and a link to Add to Cart. At the bottom of the Wishlist is the option to Add All to Cart, and Share Wishlist. The Share Wishlist feature is a good word of mouth tool for customers to promote products they like to their friends, as well as a way to informs their friends about products that they would like to receive as a gift. Configuration for the Share Wishlist feature is in the same page as above. Select the Email Template which the Share Wishlist email will use. The Email Sender is the address from which the Share Wishlist email will be sent. For more information on how to configure these email templates and addresses, refer to Chapter 6: Customers. There is also a Wishlist quick view located in the right column of category, product, and CMS pages, where your customers can view a summary of the products in the wishlist, and add each product to the cart. The Wishlist can be accessed via this quick view, the My Wishlist link in the header, or via the My Account page. Additionally, the Wishlist has several more features that are discussed in more detail in other sections. There are RSS feeds available for your customers and the friends with whom they share the wishlist, which will be described in more detail below. The Wishlist can be accessed in the admin in a customer’s page and during admin Order creation, where products can be moved between it and the Order, which will be covered more in Chapter 8: Managing Orders.

Compare Products

The Compare Products feature is a useful way for customers to quickly compare product attribute information in a side-by-side view, and it similar to the Wishlist in several respects. The Add to Compare link appears in category and product pages, however when the link is clicked, your customers will not be directed to the Compare page. The product will be added to the Compare Products quick view (also in the right column), and the Compare page will only be accessed when the Compare Items button is clicked in the quick view.

compare_menu.jpg

This produces a pop-up window, with a table of all products in the list. Each product receives a separate column and each attribute name receives a separate row. You can designate which attributes will display in this page via the Comparable on Front-end drop-down in the Attributes page (refer back to Chapter 3). The products in the Compare page do not necessarily have to belong to the same Attribute Set, or contain values for all the same attributes. If one product does not have a value for an attribute which another product in the Compare page contains, it will simply be left blank. Within this page, your customers will also have the ability to add products to the Wishlist or cart. Additionally, like the Wishlist, you will have the ability to access the Products in Compare List during admin Order creation in order to move products into the Order.

Note: Only Simple Products can be added to the Compare Products list.

compare_list.jpg

Recently Viewed/Compared Products

When a customer removes an item from the Compare Products list, Magento continues to keep track of the item, so that your customers can easily find it if they decide to purchase it later on. Also in the right column, towards the bottom of the page, is the Recently Compared Products list. It contains a link to the page of each product which has recently been removed from the Compare Products list. There is also a Recently Viewed Products list, which works the same way, and lists all products for which your customers have recently viewed the pages. Both of these can also be accessed in the admin during admin Order creation, just like the features above, where you can move products into the Order. To configure the settings for these two features, navigate to System > Configuration, and click the Catalog tab in the left column. In the Show for Current drop-down, select the level at which these lists will save product information. For example, if you select Website, these lists will show all products compared or viewed within the same Website. Additionally, Magento by default comes with a pregenerated Home page CMS page, which has a prepopulated Layout Update XML field (more details about this later in the chapter), containing the code that allows both the Recently Viewed Products and Recently Compared Products to display at the bottom of the Home page so that your customers can see lists of these products very prominently each time they visit your site.

New Products

Along with the Recently Viewed and Compared Products, there is also code contained in that Layout Update XML to display new products. Chapter 3 described the process for entering the Set Product as New from/to Date when creating a new product, and this is where that date range is presented. If you have chosen to use this XML code, all products with a date range including the current date will display at the bottom of the home page (or any other page to where you may have copied the XML code), above the Recently Viewed and Compared Products. This is a great promotion tool to let your customers know about newly added products to your site each time they arrive at your home page. Additionally, you can redesign a product page or change some attributes and then set it as new in order to rekindle some interest in that product.

home_page_xml.jpg

RSS Feeds

In addition to the XML update for newly added products, the new product date range also controls which products will appear in the New Products RSS feed. This is actually just one of several RSS Feeds to which your customers can subscribe, keeping them informed about changes to your site, or even changes to your customers’ personal accounts that they have initiated themselves. In the front-end, there are three different places where customers can sign up for RSS feeds. If you navigate to System > Configuration, click on the RSS Feeds tab in the left column, and Select Enable in the Rss Config section, an RSS link with the RSS logo rss.jpg will appear in the footer of your site on the front-end. This is the first of the three locations where customers can sign up for RSS Feeds. This link will contain links to any of the Catalog section RSS Feeds that you have enabled, including the New Products feed. If you do not have any Catalog feeds enabled, this page will be blank. Your customers can click on each enabled feed link and subscribe to it individually. Depending on which feed reader they choose, the feed may include all corresponding items, or only the most recent 20. For example, for the Special Products feed, one reader may display all products that currently have a special price, whereas another reader may display only the 20 most recently created specials.

The second location is in the Wishlist, as referenced in the Wishlist section above. First, however, you must select Enable in the Wishlist section of the Configuration page. This will create an RSS FEED link in the Wishlist page, so your customers can subscribe to a feed listing the items currently in their Wishlist. However, since your customers already have access to the list of items currently in their Wishlist (that is, by logging in to their account and viewing their Wishlist page), the RSS feature will probably be more useful for sharing the Wishlist with friends. In the Share Wishlist feature, which was described in the Wishlist section above, there is a checkbox with a description reading, “Check this checkbox if you want to add a link to an rss feed to your wishlist.” This checkbox will only appear if the Wishlist RSS is enabled. If it is checked, the Share Wishlist email that is sent will include a link so that your customers’ friends can subscribe to feeds of your customers’ Wishlists, allowing your customers’ friends to stay current with great gift ideas.

wishlist_share.jpg

The third location is in the Order page of the My Account section. First, however, you must select Enable in the Customer Order Status Notification drop-down in the Configuration page. This will create a Subscribe to Order Status link at the top of the page of every Order that your customer has placed. They must enter the My Account page, and click on an individual Order in order to access this feed link. When a customer signs up for this feed, they will only be receiving order status updates for the Order from which they accessed the link. This way, they have the option to keep track only of the Orders in which they are interested. Whenever you update the status of that Order, your customer will receive an RSS feed notifying them of the change. There is more information on the My Account page and all of its features in the next chapter, and more information about order statuses in Chapter 8: Managing Orders.

Tier Pricing

Tier Pricing is a promotional tool that allows a store owner to price items differently for higher quantities. This is an effective way to move more merchandise and appeal to customers who buy more than one product at a time. When a customer adds a certain quantity of a product to their cart, the price is automatically changed to reflect the discount.

  1. In the Magento Admin Panel, navigate to Catalog > Manage Products.
  2. Find the product that you want to add tier pricing to (or create a new product) and click Edit in the Action column.
  3. Locate the Prices tab on the left and click on it. Please click the image to see a larger version.
  4. Click the button that says Add Tier.
  5. Designate which customers will receive the tiered price in the Customer Group drop-down. You can make this tier available to only one Customer Group, or ALL GROUPS. There is more information about Customer Groups in Chapter 6: Customers. Tip: To apply a tier to multiple groups, but not all groups, create multiple tiers, each with the same Qty and Price information, and select a different customer group in each.
  6. Enter the Qty at which you wish to apply the discounted price.
  7. Enter the Price. This is the price that each item will cost when the customer chooses to purchase the specified quantity or greater.
  8. If you want to add multiple tiers, press the Add Tier button again. The prices on the front-end will take precedence from the highest to lowest quantity. Therefore, if you have a tier for quantity 5 and one for quantity 10, and a customer adds 5, 6, 7, 8, or 9 items to the cart, they will receive the discounted price you specified for the quantity 5 tier. As soon as they add the 10th item, the discounted price specified for the quantity 10 tier will supersede the quantity 5 tier, and that discounted price will apply instead.
  9. Press Save to save the changes and have these changes reflected on the front-end. On the product info page, the percentage that your customers can save will calculate automatically and display next to each tier, as displayed below.

tier_price_product_info.jpg

On the product listing pages, the best available deal will display below the regular price.

tier_price_product_list.jpg

If you don’t want one of the tiers, press Delete Tier next the tier you want to get rid of.

Catalog Price Rules

There are two types of price rules in Magento: Catalog Price Rules and Shopping Cart Price Rules. Catalog Price Rules are implemented into product price before they are added to the cart, while Shopping Cart Price Rules are applied in the shopping cart.

Great For

  • Storewide Sales
  • Customer Group-Targeted Sale

To create a new rule, navigate to Promotions > Catalog Price Rules and select Add New Rule.

Rule Information

Please click the image to see a larger version.

  1. Enter a Rule Name and Description for the price rule.
  2. Enable it by selecting Active from the Status dropdown.
  3. Select the Customer Groups to which you want the rule to apply. There is more information about Customer Groups in Chapter 6: Customers.
  4. Define the date range for the promotion to be in effect. If you leave the date range empty the rule will be enabled as soon as it is created.
  5. Set the promotion’s priority. This is useful if you have two catalog price rules enabled at once. This priority tells Magento in which order to process the rules. This is important because it may affect the amount of the discount. For example, you have two rules: “10% off T-shirts” and “$1 off all Blue items”. If you prioritize the 10% rule first, a $20 Blue T-shirt would first receive a 10% discount (of $2) and then a $1 discount. However, if you prioritize the $1 rule first, a $20 blue T-shirt would first receive a $1 discount and then a 10% discount (of $1.90). The priority affects the total discount offered.

Conditions

Once you have set up the information for the price rule you can set the Rule’s Conditions.

  • If you’re creating a rule which requires two conditions (for example, the product must be manufactured by Sony AND the price must be over $100), select “If ALL of these Conditions are TRUE”. If you wanted the discount to take effect if the product is manufactured by Sony OR if the product is over $100, you would select “If ANY of these conditions are TRUE.” Additionally, you can change TRUE to FALSE, which will make the rule apply to the exact opposite situation. For example, “If ALL of these conditions are FALSE” would mean that the rule would apply to all products where the manufacturer is NOT Sony, and the price is LESS THAN $100.
  • When you click the green + button, a drop-down will appear. You can select either Conditions Combination (see below for more details about this), or one Product Attribute from the list of all existing Attributes. The middle rule (‘is,’ ‘is not, ‘equals or greater than,’ etc.) defines the relation between the attribute and the option. Finally, enter the value of the attribute option. Different attributes will require you to enter the option value in a different manner. For example, Manufacturer will product a drop-down, contained all the existing options that you previously defined when you created the Manufacturer attribute. Price, however, will have an open text field where you can manually enter the price.
  • To add more rules, keep pressing the green + button. Each condition further limits the number products to which this discount applies. To remove a condition, click the red X button.

Please click the image to see a larger version.

  • If you select Conditions Combination instead of one of the Product Attributes, you can create and different set of ALL/ANY and TRUE/FALSE conditions within the overall condition. For example, in the first condition you can establish that the Manufacturer is Sony. In the second condition, you can create a Conditions Combination, where you change ALL to ANY. Within this “subcondition” you set the Price equal or greater than $100, and the Weight equal or less than 5 lbs. With this Conditions Combination, the rule will apply if the Manufacturer is Sony, AND either the Price is $100 or more OR the weight is 5 lbs or less.

Please click the image to see a larger version.

Actions

Now that you have the Conditions set, you can create the Actions. This defines what Magento actually does to the product matching your conditions. This is where the discount is defined.

  • Apply - Select how you want the discount applied to the product (By Percentage of the original price, By Fixed Amount, To Percentage of the original price, or To Fixed Amount). The difference between By and To is that By subtracts the Discount amount from the original price, whereas To sets the final discounted price to the Discount amount. For example, if a product costs $100, and a discount amount of 15 is applied By Percentage of the original price, the final price would be $85. If the discount amount of 15 was applied To Percentage of the original price, the final price would be $15 (in this example, you would choose By Percentage).
  • Discount amount - Enter the numerical value of the discount, which will be either a percentage or foxed monetary amount, depending on what you selected in the drop-down above.
  • Stop further rules processing - If you have multiple promotions active on the same products at once, and you don’t want another rule to interfere with this one, you would select Yes here. This will cause Magento to ignore any other existing rules with a lower priority once this rules has been calculated. For example, if you have a storewide discount of $5 that you don’t want to apply to products in this promotion, you would select Yes here, set the priority of this rule higher than that of the other existing rule, and any products matching the conditions established in your new rule would no longer receive the $5 discount from the other existing rule.

When you are finished, you can click either Save and Apply or Save Rule. Save and Apply activates the rule immediately after creating it, so that the price change will be displayed on eligible products in the front-end. Save Rule saves without activating. If you click this, you can go back and apply the rule later by clicking on it in the Catalog Price Rules grid and clicking Save and Apply, or by clicking the Apply Rules button on the Catalog Price Rules page, which will activate all existing rules. If you wish, you can allow customers to be alerted of new Catalog Price Rules via RSS feeds. There is more information about RSS Feeds earlier in this chapter.

Shopping Cart Price Rules

The other kind of price rule – Shopping Cart Price Rules – is applied when the customer reaches the shopping cart. They can be enacted either with or without a coupon code, and include features not found in traditional coupon tools. Shopping Cart Price Rules are very similar to Catalog Price Rules (CPRs), with a few changes and additions. For those aspects which are the same as Catalog Price Rules, please refer back to that section for a more detailed description. To create Shopping cart Price Rules, navigate to Promotions > Shopping Cart Price Rules and select Add New Rule. As discussed in Chapter 3, this tool can be very useful to market Grouped Products. To illustrate this, let’s revisit the example of the 3-piece suit introduced there.

Rule Information

Please click the image to see a larger version.

  • Rule Name - Same as CPRs
  • Description - Same as CPRs
  • Status - Same as CPRs
  • Customer Groups - Same as CPRs
  • Coupon Code - If a code is not entered the rule will take effect once the customer reaches the cart without any action taken. If a code is entered, the customer will have to enter that code to receive the discount.
  • Uses per coupon - This is the maximum amount of times the Rule can be used total. This limit will apply whether or not you require a coupon code. If it is left blank, there will be no limit.
  • Uses per customer - This is the maximum amount of times the Rule can be used per customer. This limit will apply whether or not you require a coupon code. If it is left blank, there will be no limit.
  • From/To Date - Same as CPRs
  • Priority - Same as CPRs
  • Public In RSS Feed - If you wish, you can allow customers to be alerted of new Shopping Cart Price Rules via RSS feeds. If you have enabled this feature, you can determine here whether or not users who subscribe to the RSS Feed will be alerted about this particular Rule. There is more information about RSS Feeds earlier in this chapter.

Conditions

This is very different from CPRs, however there is some overlap. To begin with, the overall condition is in the same structure: If ALL/ANY of these conditions are TRUE/FALSE. However, clicking the green + button presents you will a different set of options.

  • Product Attribute Combination - Selecting this will create a “subcondition” with a different format from the ALL/ANY and TRUE/FALSE overall condition. It will state: If an item is FOUND/NOT FOUND in the cart with ALL/ANY of these conditions true. This subcondition applies directly to the products within the cart, therefore when you click on the green + button, you will have the same Product Attribute options that exist when created CPRs. In addition to this, you will have the choice to select a Cart Item Attribute instead, including Price in cart, Quantity in cart, and Row total in cart. These options differ from the Product Attributes because they define aspects of the product as they exist in the cart, which may differ from the aspects that you defined when creating the product.

shopping_cart_price_rules_conditions.jpg

  • Conditions Combination - Same as CPRs
  • Cart Attribute - Cart Attributes describe a condition within the shopping cart, rather than within a particular product. This ranges from the Subtotal to the Shipping Country. Like with Product Attributes, you will need to define the option, and the relationship to the option. For Shipping Country, the option would be the name of the country (which you would select from a drop-down listing all allowed countries in you site) and the relationship to this option would be is or is not.

Actions

  • Apply - Select how you want the discount applied to the product (Percentage of product price discount, Fixed amount discount, Fixed amount discount for whole cart, or Buy X get Y free).
  • Discount amount - Same as CPRs
  • Maximum Qty Discount is Applied to - You can limit how many units of each line item will receive this discount. If you select 5, each line item with a quantity greater than 5 will only receive a discount for five of the items, and the remaining quantity will be calculated at the normal rate.
  • Discount Qty Step (Buy X) - This field only works depending on which option you selected from the Apply drop-down. This field is not applicable to the 3-piece suit example, so it will be discussed using different examples.
    • Percent of product price discount - If you selected this option, the Buy X field determines the quantities that your customers will have to purchase in order to receive a percentage discount. For example, if you sell an item at whatever quantity the customer prefers, but you receive the item in packs of six, and would like to offer a discount to the customer for every factor of 6 items that they buy, you would enter 6 into this field. The product costs $5, and the discount percentage is 10. If the customer buys 1-5 items, they will receive no discount. If they buy 6-11 items, they will receive a 10% of $5×6 discount ($3). If they buy 12-17 items, they will receive a 10% of $5×12 discount ($6), and so on. This way, they are encouraged to buy items in a factor of 6, ans they are allowed to buy additional quantity, but they just won’t receive any discount for that additional quantity.
    • Buy X get Y free - If you selected this option, the Buy X field determines the quantity that your customers will have to purchase in order to receive free item(s). These quantities will be a factor of the number entered into this field. The amount of free items they receive is determined in the Discount amount field. For example, if you want to give your customer 2 free items for every 5 that they buy, you would enter 5 in this field and 2 in the Discount amount field. If the customer buys 1-5 items they will receive no free items. The 6th and 7th items that they add to the cart will be free. The next 5 items that they buy must be paid for, and the 13th and 14th items that they add to the cart will be free, and so on.
  • Free ground shipping - Select whether you want to combine the coupon amount with a free shipping offer. You can select For matching items only to offer free shipping only to specific items in the cart, or For shipment with matching items to offer free shipping for the entire order when the designated items are present.
  • Stop further rules processing - Same as CPRs
  • Apply the rule only to cart items matching the following conditions - This is similar to the Product Attribute Combination option that you can set in the Conditions tab. You can select from the same list of Cart Item Attributes and Product Attributes. This determines which items in the cart will receive the discount defined above when the conditions defined in the Conditions tab are met. If you leave this section blank, the discount will apply to the entire cart. shopping_cart_price_rules_actions.jpg This way, only the three specific items listed will receive the 10% discount. If the 3-piece suit is purchased in the same order as other items, the discount will not apply to any of the other items.
  • When you are finished, click Save Rule.

Newsletters

Newsletter Configuration

The first step to creating newsletters is to configure the newsletter settings for your site. To do so, navigate to System > Configuration, and click on the Newsletter tab in the left column

  • Unsubscription/Success/Confirmation Email Sender - Designate the address from which Unsubscription/Success/Confirmation Emails will be sent to your customers. For more information on how to configure these email addresses, refer to Chapter 6: Customers.
  • Unsubscription/Success/Confirmation Email Template - Designate the template of the Unsubscription/Success/Confirmation Emails. For more information on how to configure these templates, refer to Chapter 6: Customers.
  • Need to Confirm - Select whether or not you customers will need to send an email confirmation reply in order to activate their newsletter subscriptions.

Newsletter Templates

Before sending a newsletter, create a newsletter template. You can create and save as many of these as needed for any situation, whether it be an annual holiday newsletter, or weekly product updates. To do so, navigate to Newsletter > Newsletter Templates, and click Add New Template in the top right of the page.

Please click the image to see a larger version.

  • Template Name - This is for internal purposes, to help you differentiate between templates.
  • Template Subject - This is the subject of the email that will be sent to your customers for a newsletter using this template.
  • Sender Name - This is the name of the sender of the email that will be sent to your customers for a newsletter using this template.
  • Sender Email - This is the email address of the sender of the email that will be sent to your customers for a newsletter using this template.
  • Template Content - This is the body of your email. It can be written in HTML format. If you want to include a static block into the email, use the code:
    {{block type="block-id"}}

You can read more about Static Blocks later in the chapter. All new templates will automatically be populated with an unsubscribe link in the Content field, however you can choose to remove this link if you wish. If you click Convert to Plain Text, you can see the content of your email without the HTML tags. You can then click Return HTML Version to add the tags back again. This is a good way to check the text without having to sort through HTML tags, which can be confusing.

  • To view the content with the HTML tags formatted as your subscribers will see it, click Preview Template.
  • When you are finished, click Save Template.
  • Once you have saved a template, you will see a new button when you edit this template. Save As allows you duplicate the template, so that you can make changes and save the template as a new template without affecting the original template. This can save you time by not having to enter all the template information for a new template. If you already have an existing template that is similar to the new template, simply edit the fields that you need, and Save As a new template.

Newsletter Queue

Once you’ve created a template, you can send your newsletter by queuing the template. Navigate to Newsletter > Newsletter Templates. You will automatically be redirected here when you save a template.

  • Find the template you want to use in the newsletter and select Queue Newsletter from the Action column.
  • Queue Date Start - This allows you to line up multiple newsletters to be sent automatically at select times. If you want to send it immediately, leave this blank.
  • Subscribers From - Select the subscribers from which Store View you wish to send the newsletter. You can select multiple Store Views. You can see the Store View from which each subscriber subscribed by navigating to Newsletter > Newsletter Subscribers.
  • Subject - This will automatically populate from the template you selected, however it can be changed.
  • Sender Name - This will automatically populate from the template you selected, however it can be changed.
  • Sender Email - This will automatically populate from the template you selected, however it can be changed.
  • Message - This will automatically populate from the template you selected, however it can be changed.
  • Click Save Newsletter. You will automatically be taken to Newsletter > Newsletter Queue. This lists all currently queued newsletters. From this page, you will be able to see the which newsletters have an have not been sent. Magento will batch a newsletter if there are a large amount of recipients. For example, if you have 1000 recipients, Magento may send 100 emails every 15 minutes. Because of this, you can see which emails are in progress, how many recipients have currently received the newsletter, and the time than the newsletter finished sending.

Newsletter Subscribers

To view a list of all current and former subscribers to your newsletter, navigate to Newsletter > Newsletter Subscriber. You can view all of their information, as well as the Store View from which they subscribed to the newsletter. As mentioned in the previous section, you can send different newsletters to subscribers from different Store Views. In the Type column, a subscriber can be either a Customer or a Guest. Customers have several options to sign up for the newsletter. There is a checkbox present when creating an account, as well as a checkbox in their My Account page. All visitors have the option to sign up by entering their email address in the Newsletter block located in the left column. Logged in customers can enter alternate email addresses (other than the one associated to their account) in order to have newsletters sent there. If they are not logged in at the time, they will be subscribed as a Guest.

From this list you have the option to make batch updates to subscribers, to unsubscribe one or more subscribers at one time. To make Batch Updates to subscribers, select the subscribers to which you would like to unsubscribe. At the top of the subscribers list, you have the option to Select All subscribers or Select Visible subscribers (subscribers currently displaying on the page). Or, you can simply check the checkboxes of each subscribers to which you wish to unsubscribe individually. You can see the number of items selected at the top of the customers list, and it will update each time a checkbox is checked or unchecked. When you have all the desired subscribers selected, choose Unsubscribe from the Actions drop-down menu, also at the top of the customers list. This will unsubscribe the selected subscribers from your newsletter when you press Submit.

Newsletter Problem Reports

You can view any problems that the system had sending the newsletter by navigating to Newsletter > Newsletter Problem Reports. For example, a newsletter sent to an erroneous e-mail address will appear here.

Static Blocks

By using Static Blocks you are able to create content for category pages, allowing you to showcase items and promotions instead of just displaying a grid list of products. To create a static block, navigate to CMS > Static Blocks and select Add New Block

static_block_new.jpg

  1. Enter the Block Title.
  2. The Block Identifier must not contain any spaces. When you want to place a block on a landing page or in a newsletter (see Landing Pages and Creating and Sending Newsletters), you can use this identifier and this piece of code:
    {{block type="block-id"}}
  3. Select the Store View to which this block will apply. You can also apply it to All Store Views.
  4. With the Status you can choose whether the block is Enabled or Disabled.
  5. Enter your Content in an HTML Format.
  6. When you are finished, click Save Block.

Please click the image to see a larger version.

You can place this block on a category page by selecting it from the CMS Block drop-down in Catalog > Manage Categories.

static_block_cellphone_front_end.jpg

The static blocks are incredibly flexible, allowing you to create something as simple as a text category description, or something as intricate as multiple image maps, such as what we are showcasing on the Electronics category page. You can also add blocks to a Landing Page by using the code:

{{block type="block-id"}}

You can read more about Landing Pages later in the chapter.

static_block_in_landing_page.jpg

Landing Pages

Landing Pages in Magento can be used for any static page, from a Homepage to a Frequently Asked Questions page. To create and edit landing pages, navigate to CMS > Manage Pages. To create a new page, click the Add New Page button. You will see three tabs for the new page: General Information, Customer Design, and Meta Data.

General Information

cms_page_information.jpg

  1. Enter the Page Title for this page. The Page Title is used for the Meta Page title for the new landing page.
  2. The SEF (Search Engine Friendly) URL Identifier allows you to create a more descriptive URL for each page, so that search engines can find them more easily. In the example above, entering home for the homepage would create a URL for this page i the format domain.com/home. For more information about URL rewrites, refer back to Chapter 3: Set up your Catalog.
  3. Select the Store View in which you want to present this Landing Page. You can also present it in All Store Views.
  4. The default Status for a new page is Disabled, meaning the page will not show on the Front-end. Switch the status to Enabled to have the page appear.
  5. Create the content of the Landing Page in the Content field. It must be in HTML format, allowing the most flexibility. You can use HTML to upload images, videos, text, Static Blocks, etc. To add Blocks use the code:
    {{block type="block-id"}}

Custom Design

Configure the theme and layout of your Landing page in the Custom Design tab. This is very similar to the design options available for category and product pages.

  1. Select the design you want from the Custom Theme drop-down. Magento comes with several different design options out of the box. If you leave this drop-down blank, it will automatically use the Current package name design. This can be edited by navigating to System > Configuration and clicking the Design tab. Enter the name of the design you want in the Current package name field, and this design will apply to all Landing Pages for which you do not specify a different design.
  2. With the Customer Theme From and Custom Theme To fields, you can select a time frame in which the category will automatically switch to a design, and then switch back to the blank option when the time frame ends. This is perfect for the holidays, so that you can create a holiday design for you pages, and then have your site automatically switch back to the normal design whenever you want, without having to remember to do it yourself.
  3. The Layout drop-down determines the structural aspects of the page. The default is Empty, which will only show the information you enter in the Content field. If you want to keep your headers and footers on this page you will need to code them into the content area. All options other than Empty include both the header and footer, so they will not need to be codes into the content area. 1 column displays only the Contents, header, and footer. 2 Columns with left bar adds the left column to the 1 column display, which by default includes the currency selection and layered navigation. 2 Columns with right bar adds the right column to the 1 column display, which by default includes the shopping cart view, wishlist, compared products list, polls, and newsletter sign-up. 3 columns displays both the left and the right column.
  4. The Layout Update XML is essentially a static block, with a few differences.
    • Rather than HTML, the structure must be in XML format.
    • The Update will display at the bottom of the page, below the content, whereas a static block will display anywhere within the content that you specify.
    • The Update will display on the page only during the dates specified in the Customer Theme From/To date range.

Meta Data

You already designated the Meta Page Title in the General Information tab, but you can add Meta Keywords and Meta Description in this tab. When you are finished, click Save Page. You can edit the page again by clicking on it, or view the page with all HTML and XML formatted by clicking the Preview button in the Action column.

Please click the image to see a larger version.

Once you have created a few Landing Pages, designate which one will be used as your home page, and which one will be used for HTTP 404 errors. Navigate to System > Configuration, and select Web from the left column. In the Default web url field, enter the relative path of the home page, and select which Landing Page to use as the home page from the CMS Home Page drop-down. In the Default no-route url field, enter the relative path of the no-route page. This is the page that visitors will encounter when they attempt to view a page in your site that does not exist. Select which which Landing PAge to use as the no route page from the CMS No Route Page drop-down. You can also determine whether or not Landing Pages will have the breadcrumb feature enabled from the Show breadcrumbs for CMS pages drop-down.

Polls

Polls are a powerful marketing tool, and Magento makes it easy to find out your customer’s opinions on just about everything.

poll_question.jpg

Polls are beneficial because they occupy a small amount of space on your pages and are likely to be answered by many people. Poll results are immediately displayed after an answer is submitted, as shown below:

poll_answer.jpg

The first step is to ensure that your configuration settings are correct. Navigate to System > Configuration, select the Advanced tab, and set Mage_Poll to Enable. This should be Enabled by default, but if it has been Disabled, you must Enable it before being able to create polls. If you want to Disable Polls, select Disable. When you are finished, click Save Config.

To create a Poll, navigate to CMS > Poll Manager.

Poll Information

  1. Click on Add New Poll in the top right of the page.
  2. The Poll Question will be the question displayed at the top of the poll in the front-end, i.e. What is the best open source e-commerce solution?
  3. The Status by default will be Open. This is similar to Enabled. To remove the Poll from your store, select Closed.
  4. Select which store views in which you want the poll to appear from the Visible In multiple select menu.

Poll Answers

  1. Click on Add New Answer to add potential answers. Each answer will list on the front-end, with a radio button by which the customer can select that answer.
  2. Enter an Answer Title, i.e. Magento.
  3. If you want to “influence” the poll and skew the results, you can add or remove votes from the Votes Count. This will automatically increase each time a customer votes for this answer in the Poll.
  4. Click Add New Answer for each answer you want to display in the poll, and repeat the steps above.

Please click the image to see a larger version.

Customers can only answer a poll once. Once they submit an answer, they will only be able to view the results. You can view the results in the admin in this tab. If you have multiple polls, they will rotate randomly in the front-end each time the page is reloaded.

Search Synonyms and Re-directs

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In Magento, the Store Owner has complete control over the catalog’s Search. This includes the ability to designate which aspects of which products the search can access, as well as capability to instruct the search to display different results or even a different website. There are two search options available to your customers: Quick Search and Advanced Search.

Quick Search

Quick search is available to your customers via the search bar at the top of the header in the front-end.

What the In-Store Search looks for

When conducting a search, results will populate based on matches in any of a searchable product’s searchable attributes (yes, there are separate search settings for both products and attributes). Because all characteristics of a product are considered attributes – such as the name, description, and color – you can search for anything related to any product. Simply make sure that the product is searchable by:

  1. In the Admin, navigate to Catalog > Manage Products.
  2. Click the Edit link under the desired product.
  3. Locate the Visibility dropdown and select either Search or Catalog, Search.
  4. Click Save.

And make sure that the attribute is searchable by:

  1. In the Admin, navigate to Catalog > Attributes > Manage Attributes.
  2. Click on the desired attribute.
  3. Click Properties in the left column.
  4. In the Use in quick search drop-down, select Yes.
  5. Click Save Attribute.

When the customer types a set of characters into the search field, the query will locate any occurrence of those characters in the order which they were typed, anywhere within an attribute. For example, if your customer created a search for tie rack, and you had a product description containing the words necktie racks, your customer’s search would yield this product as a result, because their search term is contained in order within the attribute: necktie racks. An additional feature of Magento Search is that as soon as your customer has typed two characters into the search field, a dropdown window will appear listing up to ten suggested search terms that begin with the same characters, along with the amount of results for each term. You will find more about how to customize this feature below.

Saving a Search Term

All saved search terms can be accessed in the Admin by navigating to Catalog > Search. There are two ways for a search term to be saved to this page. All search terms used by a customer in the store will automatically save here. Additionally, you can manually enter a search term that you believe will be useful to your customers.

From the Store

When a customer types any set of characters into the Search Bar at the top of the page and clicks Search, those characters will save as a new search term, provided this set of characters has not already been searched for. The term will save whether or not the search returns any results in the store.

From the Admin:
  1. Click Add New Search.
  2. In the Search Query field, enter the search term as you anticipate the customer will type it.
  3. If you anticipate that a customer may incorrectly type a term in the search bar, but you still want this search to point to the correct results, you can enter the correct term in the Synonym For field. For example, when searching for electronics, if your customer accidentally types electroincs, the query will produce no results. If you designate that electroincs is a synonym for electronics, your customer will see the correct results.
  4. If you prefer that a customer’s search does not produce a results page, but rather leads somewhere else, such as an existing catalog page, you can enter the desired web address in the Redirect URL field. This web address can be within the same store, or a completely different website altogether. For example, if you have two stores, one that sells digital wristwatches and one that sells analog wristwatches, you can designate that a search for digital in your analog wristwatch store redirects to the digital wristwatch store. This way, your customers won’t wind up with an empty results page.

Editing Search Terms

Once a search term has been saved, you have the ability to edit two new fields. Simply click on the desired search term in the list and you have access to:

  • The Number of Results field displays how many results were displayed to the customer during the most recent search using the selected search term. This can be changed manually, but it will reset to the real number of results the next time this search term is used in the store. This is more useful when creating a new search term, or adding a synonym for an existing search term. For example, you noticed that several customers have searched for the plural shirts, but this has not produced the maximum results, since several of your products only contain the singular shirt. You know that shirt returns 32 results (including the singular and plural occurrences), so after you have added this to the Synonym For field, you add 32 to the Number of Results field. This way, the next time a customer types shirt into the search field, they will see an option for shirt and for shirts, both with 32 results.

Note: If the Number of Results for a search term is blank, the term will not display in the suggested search terms dropdown window.

  • The Number of Uses field displays how many times a customer searched for this term. As mentioned above, the suggested search terms dropdown window displays up to ten terms. The top ten terms are determined by the highest Number of Uses, and they will sort from top to bottom based on this as well. Therefore, you can ensure that a certain suggested term will always display at the top of list by entering a high Number of Uses into this field.
  • When you’re done, click Save Search, and you have successfully customized your search options.

Advanced Search

advanced_search.jpg

In the footer of the front-end is a link to the Advanced Search page. As you will notice immediately, the Advanced Search contains separate fields for each attribute. For an attribute to appear in this page, you must navigate to Catalog > Attributes > Manage Attributes, locate the attribute, and select Yes from the Use in advanced search drop-down. The field of each attribute will vary depending on the Catalog Input Type for Store Owner in the attribute’s properties. Some attributes may have text fields, others may have drop-down menus, while still others may have multiple select menus, and so on. Therefore, unlike the Quick Search, the Advanced Search will only search the attributes for which search criteria has been entered by the customer (if your customer enters search criteria in the color field, but not in the size field, the Advanced Search will only search within the color attribute). Within a given attribute, the query will locate occurrences of the characters similar to the manner in which the Quick Search works, however this is only for text fields. Drop-downs, multiple select menus, and other Input Types will search for an exact match, since the available search options are already presented to the customer. As a result of the multiple search fields, there are no Search Terms which save to admin.




 

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