What's New in Version 3.0
Administrative Features | Shopping Cart Features | Technical Features
Revamped Administrator. A completely revamped Administrator interface including a new look and feel,
new organization, and in-line help.
SoftSlate Commerce has over 300 configuration settings that control all aspects of the store's behavior.
These Administrator settings has been completely reorganized to be more logical, more intuitive and easier to find.
If you can't find a setting, a new "Settings Index" (Store Settings -> Settings Index) has been added to help you find it.
To make it easier to manage certain areas of the store, namely Products, Categories, and Orders, we've added new
Overview screens. These handy screens present a list all of the different aspects of the product, category or order in
question, with links to edit and manage each detail or related entity.
"Quick Add" Forms.
To make your store easier to set up and configure, we've added Quick Add forms to key control screens throughout the
Administrator. For example, when setting up multiple Options under an Attribute, you can use the Quick Add Option form
to add each option. Doing so allows you to remain on the control screen where all the other options appear.
It's a great help when you've got a lot of data to enter at once.
Order Management Features.
New features appear on the control screen for orders (Orders and Customers -> Orders) that allow you to more easily
manage your store's incoming orders.
Click off a few checkboxes, and select a status to update the statuses of multiple orders at once.
To assist with shipping and fulfillment, you can also check off orders that you wish to print invoices and/or
packing lists for.
Viewing Incomplete Orders.
A new toggle appears on the Order control screen (Orders and Customers -> Orders) that allows you to work with
Completed (the default) or Incomplete orders.
For the first time in the Administrator interface you can drill down into your customer's incomplete orders and
see what items they added to their carts and what other information they entered during their session.
A new screen under each product allows you to clone it (Product Catalog -> Products -> Details -> More -> Clone Product).
When you clone it, a new product will be created that has the
same data. Optionally, you may choose to clone any Attributes that were assigned to the product, or to simply assign
the same Attributes to the new product. For stores that sell many items that are similar, it can save tons of set up time.
Two new reports: a "Monthly Sales Report" and a "Sales Report by Product" are now available in the Administrator
(Utilities -> Reports). The
reports each may have a date range applied to them, and they may be viewed on screen (and printed nicely) or downloaded
in flat file format.
Integrated Contact Us Form.
For customers wishing to contact you, the "Contact Us" page now may be configured to display a form asking them for
any information you wish. The submitted information is sent to you in an email. The email addresses that are notified,
the questions that are asked, as well as
which questions are required and which are not, may all be configured in the Administrator (Store Settings -> Contact Form).
Google Analytics Integration.
After signing up for Google Analytics, you can simply paste in the tracking code they provide into the Administrator
(Store Settings -> Tracking), and
your store will communicate its hits to Google, allowing you to track your visitors through their reports. The integration
automatically sends ecommerce conversion statistics to Google as well, whenever a customer places an order in the store.
Ordering Products within Categories, Attributes within Products.
In addition to ordering products globally across the entire product catalog, you may now reorder them separately within each
category through the new "Order w/in Cat" field on the Category control screen
(Product Catalog -> Categories -> Displayed Columns ... -> Order w/in Cat). Similarly, you may reorder related products under
their parent product, and Attributes under each product separately.
SKU Imports and Exports.
SKUs may now be exported and imported along with products, categories, attributes, and options (Utilities -> Imports and Exports).
For stores using SoftSlate Commerce to track their inventory, this import and export can make it much easier to synchronize the store's inventory
with offline inventory.
Drop Shipper Features.
Manufacturers within SoftSlate may now be identified as "Drop Shippers" (Product Catalog -> Manufacturers -> Details -> Drop Shipper? field).
If you are using the UPS or USPS integrations and a customer places an order for a product from a "Drop Shipper", SoftSlate will
automatically divide the order up into multiple shipments, one for each drop shipper, and query UPS or USPS appropriately.
The shipping rates displayed will be accurate, based on the origination of each product in the order.
Authorize.net Direct Post Method (DPM) Integration.
Watch a video demo: SoftSlate Commerce and Authorize.net Direct Post Method (DPM).
It's the answer for many small businesses struggling to become PCI compliant. Customers submit their credit card information directly to Authorize.net,
removing most liability and compliance issues. Once the payment is processed, they are seamlessly redirected back to the SoftSlate Thank You page,
making it appear they have stayed on the merchant's site. (Enable by going to Payment Configuration -> Payment Settings and Payment Configuration -> Authorize.net DPM.)
This is a new type of Discount that is applied against the customer's shipping cost. For example, "Free Shipping" coupons or "$5 Off Shipping" discounts
are now just as easy to set up as any other Discount. (To create a Shipping Discount, go to Discounts -> Discounts -> Add New Record, and choose "Shipping
Discount. Applies to user's shipping cost." for "What Items Does This Discount Apply To?")
FedEx Shipping Integration.
SoftSlate now comes with FedEx shipping integration out of the box. With any FedEx account, you can display real-time shipping rates to customers on the cart
page and as they go through checkout. (Enable by going to Shipping Configuration -> Shipping Settings and Shipping Configuration -> FedEx Settings.)
Shopping Cart Features
Estimated Shipping Costs Displayed on the Cart Page.
You may now display estimated shipping costs on the cart page by activating a new setting in the Administrator
(Shipping Configuration -> Shipping Settings -> "Display Estimated Shipping on Cart Page"). The estimated shipping is calculated in real
time as each item is added to or removed from the cart. If you are integrating with UPS or USPS, a query for the actual rates is sent
with each change of the cart. It also works with other shipping processors such as the "Shipping Methods" defined in the Administrator.
The lowest rate returned is displayed below the items on the cart page. Since shipping costs are a critical factor for most
shopping cart users, this will help your customers decide what to purchase.
Merchandising: Upselling on the Cart Page.
A new setting in the Administrator (Orders and Customers -> Orders -> Checkout Flow -> "Upsell Related Products on Cart Page")
allows you to display a product's "Related Products" whenever the product is added to the cart, providing a handy way to
upsell products. The related products are displayed at the bottom of the cart page, under the heading, "You Might Also Be
Merchandising: Get x Number of y Items Free.
You may now set up a discount whose reward is that the customer gets x number of a given SKU or set of SKUs for free. For example,
you could define a discount that offers the customer one free t-shirt with purchase of $50 or more. Or, two free coffee mugs and
a free t-shirt for any logged in customer.
Merchandising: Buy x Item, Get Discount.
One of the conditions for a discount may now be that a given item is in the user's cart. This allows you to offer promotions where
if the customer buys a given item, they become eligible for other discounts. For example, if you sell knife sets, you could define a
discount where if you buy a knife set, you are eligible for two free butter knives.
Merchandising: Global Discounts Displayed.
Global, or "Store" discounts may now be displayed in the side panel of each page of the store. A new setting defines how many global
discounts to display there (Look and Feel Settings -> Header, Side Panel and Welcome -> "Number of Store Discounts to Display in the Panel").
This gives you a quick and convenient way to let your customers know about current discounts in effect
for the store.
Display Categories on the Welcome Page.
A new setting in the Administrator (Look and Feel Settings -> Header, Side Panel, and Welcome -> "Display Categories on Welcome Screen")
allows you to display the store's top-level categories in column format on the Welcome screen.
A new setting in the Administrator (Product Catalog -> Discounts -> Discount Settings -> "Strike Through Product Prices")
allows you to display a product's price as striked through, whenver a discount pertains to the product. The regular price is
striked through and the discounted prices appears next to it.
Display Products in Row or Columns.
A new setting in the Administrator (Look and Feel Settings -> Product Lists -> "Product List Display Format")
allows you to display products in either row or column format, on category pages, manufacturer pages and search results. In addition,
if displaying column format, you can choose how many columns to display the products in.
Watch a video demo: SoftSlate Commerce and Wish Lists.
Customers may now choose to create any number of "wish lists" of items they'd like to have. They can send their wish lists to their friends,
who can buy the items for them. They can modify their wish lists at any time, create new ones, and more.
Large Data Sets. Numerous optimizations have been made for dealing with large product catalogs,
such as those in excess of 100,000 products. Imports, exports, various Administrator screens, and Lucene reindexing
have all been optimized to handle tens of thousands of products and SKUs.
Lucene Reindexing. The Lucene indexing process has been improved to allow reindexing to occur without
interrupting the search function for customers. In addition, a back up of the previous index is preserved each time. We have
exposed Lucene's "Merge Factor" as a setting (Store Settings -> Advanced System Settings).
Two-Way Encryption. A new form allows administrators to generate the two-way encryption key from
the admin area (Utilities -> Maintenance and Upgrades -> Create Two-Way Key). This form can be handy if something goes
wrong during installation. In addition, the default algorithm for the two-way encryption key changed from DES to AES
(DES is still in use for upgraded stores).
Upgrades. We have upgraded to the 2.4 Java Servlet Specification, and JSTL 1.1, which includes the fn: tag.
In addition, we have upgraded to Lucene version 2.4.