Developing great nopCommerce extensions has always been a major priority for us. For the last couple of months we have been working on new plugins to complement our Nop Ultimate Plugin Collection and to offer additional functionality to every nopCommerce online store.
In this blog we would like to introduce the new Nop Attachments plugin and to give you a more detailed picture of its powerful features.
The Nop Attachments plugin allows you to upload and instantly attach files or videos to one or many products in your online store. What makes this extension exceptional is its variety of features which can be easily managed straight from the admin panel.
Here are some of the highlights:
1. As all our extension, the Nop Attachments plugin supports multi-store. All the settings and attachments can be applied to one or more stores.
2. Another useful feature is that the attachments can be grouped in categories making it easier for you to keep files organized once they start piling up. The attachment categories are also useful when you present the attachments to the visitors of your website.
3. You can choose the language for which a particular attachment will be shown which is useful if you have multiple languages for your store.
4. Adding a video from Youtube, Vimeo or any other video website to a product page in nopCommerce has never been easier. All you have to do is copy and paste the video embedded code in the attachment administration. On the product page the video will automatically play in a pop-up window, without you having to code JQuery integrations and fancy boxes on your own.
5. Another handy feature is that you can choose between uploading a file and using a download URL for the download file of the attachment.
6. You have many options how to map attachments to a product. You can manually map an attachment to a product or you can automatically select products based on condition (e.g. show the attachments only for products with manufacturer Bosch and only if the customer is logged in the website).
But that is not all. The product administration page has been enhanced to allow you to add new attachments or map existing ones.
7. We have come that far, created an attachment and mapped it to a product. Here comes the part that I love most about this plugin. You can choose to send a link to an attachment with the Order Placed or Order Complete emails. For example I have a user guide and a warranty attached to my Bosch power tool. When a customer buys this product, the user guide and the warranty can be included in the Order Placed or Order Complete emails that are sent to the customer. Handy indeed!
8. One last thing worth mentioning. You can upload an image/icon to any individual attachment under attachments settings or to a group of attachments based on specific criteria (e.g. all .pdf files)
I hope I’ve got you hooked on Nop Attachments. Still not sure? You can test the plugin and create your own attachment in the plugin’s administration.
We would like to bring to your attention our new Nop HTML Widgets Plugin for nopCommerce 3.20 and to give you a detailed overview of its powerful features.
The Nop HTML Widgets plugin allows you to add html content to pages in your nopCommerce store without having to write a single line of code. This can be very useful and a great time saver to users with no technical knowledge.
Let’s have a look at some of the highlights:
Please bear in mind that an html widget is a block of html content, which you want to add to a page in your nopCommerce website.
1. Using the plugin administration you can create an unlimited number of html widgets. You can edit every HTML widget with the HTML editor in the admin panel of the plugin without having to use any external editors.
2. As all our extensions, the Nop HTML Widgets support multi-store. This means that you can apply every html widget you create to more than one store.
3. You can configure an HTML widget to appear in one of the 24 predefined widget zones. You also have the option to create new widget zones.
4. You can specify a condition for an HTML widget (e.g. I want the HTML widget to be visible on a product page, for a product which is on pre-sale and to be seen only by customers who are logged in).
5. A great feature is the option to set a time frame for displaying an html widget. Let’s say that I want to display an HTML widget for only 3 days of the week. All I have to do is to go to the general settings and set the dates for it.
To test this powerful plugin simply go to the plugin’s administration. I am sure you will find it useful.
If you are already a fan of our nopCommerce extensions, maybe you will be excited to learn that we are working on more new plugins to complement our Nop Ultimate Plugin Collection. So stay tuned for more news from us.
The new Nop Motion Responsive Theme for nopCommerce 3.20 will definitely trigger your emotion! The theme is a great combination of fine design and superb functionality to offer the necessary ingredients for a first-class nopCommerce store.
This is our first theme to come with pre-designed color presets and background textures, which can be easily managed from the administration panel.
To see the presets in action, please visit the theme's live demo.
Introduced improvements in the responsive design will give your customers a more pleasant and ceaseless shopping experience: - brand new responsive approach on mobile devices - better access to the main navigation on a mobile device - menu, search. - the Nop Ajax Filters are easily accessible from the top menu on the category, manufacturer and vendor pages, which allows customers to navigate the products more effectively on a mobile device.
We would like to remind our customers with valid licenses for the Nop Ultimate Theme Collection that they will receive the new theme for free according to our licensing policy.
With a new year comes the opportunity to re-evaluate your marketing strategy and to work up a plan for the next 12 months. Not an easy task to handle, I am sure. If you are a small ecommerce business building up a marketing strategy can be pretty tough. Not having a big budget at your disposal, you need to be smart about it and think twice before you invest.
To be able to make the right decision, first you need to have the right information. The following infographic shows what will be the 2014 small business marketing trends. Here are some of the main points you might take into consideration:
Mobile – 2013 was predicted to be the year of responsive design and this holds absolutely true for 2014. Shopping is already big online and you have to be sure that your online store can be accessible through any device. If you haven’t considered responsive design yet, now is the chance to catch the last train leaving this station.
Online Video – why you should consider online video? Because video sells. By simply adding how to, product or explainer video to your site you can increase traffic by 20%.
Social – if you haven’t considered social networks for your marketing mix yet, I have one simple advice for you: just do it. It is not necessary to use all social networks. Choose the ones most suitable for your business and start building your presence.
SEO and Content – I put these last trends together, because for me they simply go hand in hand. Providing valuable content, will not only attract more visitors to your site, but increase sufficiently the chances of turning these visitors into customers. It is not enough anymore to have the right keyword density and meta tags to rank high in the organic search. Having a relevant content is a must for boosting your ranking.
We at Nop-Templates. com try to keep up with the new ecommerce trends and to create products which can help our customers build a successful online business. For those who have already chosen nopCommerce for their ecommerce stores, we have good news. All our themes are responsive, which will ensure that your customers have a pleasant and ceaseless shopping experience on any mobile device. With our Nop Quick Tabs plugin you can add a video to your products in no time. It is so easy you will start wondering why you haven’t done it before. What about SEO? Here comes our powerful Nop Smart SEO, which adds dynamic and relevant content to your meta data tags for products, categories and manufacturers. All that is left for you is to start generating relevant content.
If you are wondering what to expect from us in the next couple of months, we are working on a social suite, which will boost your online store presence in the social networks. We also have one more plugin coming which will give you yet another option to add videos to your nopCommerce products.
Stay tuned for more exciting news from us!
The infographic is courtesy of www.affinityexpress.com
NopCommerce version 3.20 was released last week and for those of you who are not yet familiar with the new version or have just skimmed through the release note we have a detailed overview of the new features.
Working with the new features in nopCommerce 3.20 would often require a quick modification of certain settings or language resources. Therefore before I go into the details of each nopCommerce 3.20 feature I would like to point your attention to these two videos in case you are not familiar with these small but useful nopCommerce tricks:
NopCommerce 3.20 has a set of highlight features and and a set of minor ones. I will cover all of the new features but before we start with the highlight ones I would like to mention one of the minor features which I believe should really be listed as a major one. This is the new RTL support for the administration panel. Now if you have a language which is marked as RTL your nopCommerce administration will be indeed shown in an RTL orientation:
Let's move on to the highlight features.
1. The first feature that will grab the attention of every nopCommerce store owner is the new Facebook Shop. Now if you go to the nopCommerce administration -> Configuration -> Plugins, you will see a new Facebook plugin:
If you click the Configure button you will be taken to a page, which explains how to setup your Facebook Shop:
Setting the Facebook shop is straightforward as you can guess from these brief instructions. The most important thing to note is that before you setup your Facebook shop, your website would need an SSL. If you do not have one, you can always purchase it from your hosting provider and ask them to set it up for you.
2. The next major functionality that comes with nopCommerce 3.20 is its support for warehouses. What this means is that you can configure individual products to be shipped from a specific location (warehouse). You can also configure the system to use the warehouse location when calculating the shipping cost for the product.
First you start by configuring your warehouses from the Configuration -> Shipping -> Warehouses administration:
What is important here is to configure an address for your warehouses.
Next when editing a product you need to specify in which warehouse it is located:
If you would like nopCommerce to take into account the warehouse location of a product, when calculating its shipping rate, you will need to edit the Configuration -> Settings -> Shipping Settings and check the "Use warehouse location":
3. While we are on the nopCommerce 3.20 shipping functionality, there is another new feature worth mentioning. Now the store owner can specify when a product will be shipped. In nopCommerce this information is referred to as delivery date. This is useful for example when you are selling products, which are manufactured on demand. You can setup different delivery dates from the Configuration -> Shipping -> Delivery Dates administration:
When you create or edit a product you can specify its delivery date:
The delivery date would appear on the product details page and would be useful to the customers before they make their purchases.
4. Although we are covering the major features I would like to mention one very little but useful feature again related to the shipping functionality in nopCommerce 3.20. Now when you mark a product as Free Shipping:
This would be reflected on the product details page and a Free Shipping image would be visible to the customer. This was missing before and customers could only realize that a product is free shipping during the checkout process:
If green is not your color you can change the free shipping image by replacing this file
If you are not working with the Default Clean theme, just replace the DefaultClean part of the path with the name of your theme.
You can also change the "Free shipping" text by changing the "products.freeshipping" language resource. If you are not sure how to change language resources in nopCommerce, do watch this video.
5. Vendors were introduced in nopCommerce 3.0 but only as a backend functionality. Store owners could assign products to different vendors and manage who has permissions to see and edit these products. But all this was hidden from the customers of the store. In nopCommerce 3.20 there is a new Configuration -> Settings -> Vendor Settings -> Show vendor on product details page. When this setting is set you can see a link to the product vendor on the product details page:
Clicking on the vendor link customers are now able to see all products delivered by this particular vendor:
6. In nopCommerce 3.20 there is a new store menu, which shows the main categories from the store:
This is different from the previous versions, where you had only the Home, About Us, etc... links. In the new menu you can configure how many subcategory levels are shown in the drop down menu by editing the Configuration -> Settings -> Catalog Settings -> :
If you are looking for more flexibility and control on what is shown in the nopCommerce main menu and how it is shown, do checkout our Nop Mega Menu plugin.
7. The last but not least major change in nopCommerce 3.20 is its performance optimization.
Now CSS files are being bundled and minified, a feature which was contributed by the Nop- Templates development team. In addition to this more frequently used data is being cached in memory, which decreases the response time significantly.
8. Although this is not a feature, it is important to mention that nopCommerce 3.20 now runs on MVC 5. What is new in MVC 5 is beyond the scope of this article but you can read more on the official MVC 5 release note.
I have covered all the major features in nopCommerce 3.20. Next I will mention the other new features, which although classified as minor ones, I believe are extremely useful to the nopCommerce store owners and developers.
9. In nopCommerce 3.20 you can change what templates are being used for the category, manufacturer and product pages from the administration panel:
This is very handy because to achieve the same in previous versions you had to edit the database directly.
10. Have you ever tried to run a scheduled task on demand in nopCommerce, let's say Send Emails? In previous versions you had to reschedule your task to run every second and then restart your application. After that you had to revert the schedule of your task and restart your application again. In nopCommerce 3.20 you can run a scheduled task immediately:
In this way you are not only saving time and effort but also not restarting your application twice, which would make your website not respond for at least 30 seconds on every restart.
11. In nopCommerce orders have different statuses (Pending, Cancelled, Complete). Before nopCommrce 3.20 changing an order status would require a direct edit of the database. And if you have been running an online store you would know that a store owner should be able to change an order status manually with no hustle. In nopCommerce 3.20 this is now possible from the administration panel:
12. Another new and useful feature related to the order management in nopCommerce 3.20 is the possibility to see all orders for a product. There is a new tab in the product administration page, called Purchased with orders:
13. You can also view what orders a discount has been used with. On the discount administration page, the Usage history tab is now a much more useful source of information:
14. In nopCommerce 3.20 when an order is being processed, the store owner can choose to include the automatically generated invoice with the order placed or order complete email sent to the customer. This can be done from the Configuration -> Settings -> Order Settings administration:
15. If you would like to add additional information to your invoices (remember that they are automatically generated by the system), now you can do so. Going to the Configuration -> Settings -> General and miscellaneous settings, you need to click on the PDF Settings tab and use the two new fields to add text to the footer of the invoices:
16. Moving on from the order management, in nopCommerce 3.20 there is a nice little CMS feature which allows the store owner to manage the social links in the footer of the website. This can be done from the nopCommerce administration -> Configuration -> General and miscellaneous settings -> Store Information tab:
In the public website this information is presented in the footer:
17. NopCommerce 3.20 allows the store owner to choose from the active themes in their store in a much more user-friendly way. Now if you go to the Configuration-> Settings-> General and miscellaneous settings you will see that the themes dropdown has been replaced with a nice set of radio buttons, showing a preview of the active themes:
18. I would like to finish the overview of nopCommerce 3.20 with one very little but very useful feature, which is the auto complete tags in the product administration:
The release note of nopCommerce 3.20 is extensive and covering all the new funtionality would be impossible in one blog post. But feel free to study the changes in more details here:
As you can see in nopCommerce 3.20 not only are the new features quite a few but they are also very handy and will greatly facilitate the work of the nopCommerce store owner.
The nopCommerce developers will appreciate the performance optimizations, the code refactoring and the move to MVC 5. There is also the new deploy directly from Visual Studio but I will cover this in a separate blog post.
So stay tuned for more useful information on this new and strong release of our favorite e-commerce system. Do not also forget to check our new video page, which is constantly being updated with video tutorials on nopCommerce.
Talking about video marketing I can’t help but bombard you with some stats straight away:
the prediction is that by 2015 the number of online video consumers will reach 1.5 billion.
adding a video to your email marketing can increase the CTR by 96%.
having an explainer, how to, or product video on your site can increase the traffic by 20%.
your brand recognition can be increased by 76%.
video ranks better in search engines, in fact youtube is the second largest search engine.
Why is video so popular? The simplest explanation is that video engages in a way that no other formats can. Visual content is more powerful than words and can quickly capture your attention. Video has a longer “shelf-life”, a high share factor and a great potential to become viral. And one more thing – people just love video content.
Video is a perfect medium to inform, engage and convert. And if just a few years ago people might have thought that it is crazy to use video for business purposes, now it is crazy not to take advantage of this marketing channel.
The following infographic is courtesy of JLB Media Productions and shows some interesting stats how video helps increase brand awareness.
Truly believing in the power of video content we at Nop-Templates are initiating a series of “how to” videos which aim to help our customers give a quick and clear answers to the most common questions regarding nopCommerce. We hope this will be a benefit to you!
The term responsive design has been around for a while now and it has definitely caused quite a commotion. Many say that it is just a hype, while others think about it as a trend that is going to shape the web marketing and development for decades to come.
With the rapid rise of the mobile internet users and the predictions that desktop usage will eventually get obsolete, it is clear now that businesses should respond to this evident market shift. No matter what your online business is, to neglect this tendency will mean to neglect all your mobile visitors and the money they are willing to spend purchasing your products.
This is especially true for the e-commerce business. If you run an online store and if you have been asking yourself what the benefits of the responsive design are and whether your e-commerce store needs to get responsive, we would like to answer this for you.
The most obvious benefit of responsive design is that you are going to reach a bigger number of potential customers. Your mobile customers are not going to bounce off your website but browse through it and shop, without difficulty.
Responsive design is different from mobile web sites as you only have to maintain one website with one markup, which adapts itself and looks good on all devices: desktop, tablet, smartphohe, e-reader, etc.
Responsive design is also an investment in your website SEO. Search engines are most probably going to factor in responsive design in their page rank algorithms in the future. And if they are not already doing so and rewarding your responsive website, the fact that your responsive design allows more visitors to stay more on your website and do more conversions is enough to boost your SEO standing significantly.
The following infographic explains what responsive design is, what its advantages are and why you shouldn’t overlook it.
In the last couple of months we at Nop-Templates.com have been working on introducing responsive design to our nopCommerce premium themes. We are sure that this innovation will help our customers explore new business opportunities and drive more sales and revenue their way.
The nopCommerce 3.1 release has been out and about for 2 weeks now and we would like to share with you what's new in the system in a little bit more detail than the standard release note. So let's get straight to the point.
NopCommerce 3.1 comes two months after the major 3.0 release so there are no ground-breaking features like the multi-store, multi-vendor, or the new markup. Still there are a few quite important improvements in the system, which are worth an upgrade of your nopCommerce website.
The most important change in nopCommerce 3.1 is the absence of the product variants, which were an integral part of the system in the previous versions. Now in nopCommerce you have just products. And products can be either group or simple. Essentially all your products with product variants are replaced via a group product with simple products underneath. In addition simple products can show individually on catalog pages, like the category page for example. The Product Variants tab is removed from the Product administrator page. What you should be looking for is the Associated Products tab.
This change makes the catalog system in nopCommerce simpler, at the same time more powerful. With the grouping between products and at the same time the possibility to show simple products individually you can cover complex catalog scenarios.
For example, let's say that you have a product Levi's Alfresco Jeans and two simple products underneath it: Alfresco Blue and Alfresco Green. The two simple products have separate skus and prices. You also have a separate category called Sale, where you show all your products that are on sale. You decide that the Alfresco Green is not selling very well so it needs to go on sale. Now because the Alfresco Green is just another product you can map it to the Sale category. Mark the Alfresco Green as "Visible Individually" and it will show in the Sale category. Previously this scenario was not possible due to the fact that product variants were tied to one specific product and the product itself was the leading entity in the catalog.
So the new group and simple products in nopCommerce 3.1 are a great feature for the nopCommerce store owner. But let me tell you that the nopCommerce developers as well as the nopCommerce team of course, will have to put a lot more effort when working or customizing the catalog system. But this is a topic worth a whole new blog post (very technical) so let's move to the other new features in nopCommerce 3.1.
If you are a nopCommerce store owner, you will definitely love this new addition to nopCommerce 3.1 as it was an obvious and most requested feature. In nopCommerce 3.1. you can associate a product attribute to a product picture. In other words if you have a certain dress, which you sell in two different colors : black and blue and you have two different pictures of the dress for each color.
When the customer goes on the product page and chooses a color, let's say blue, the product picture on the page changes to show the correct image of the blue dress. This UI behavior seems natural and thus important but was missing in nopCommerce up till now. So it alone is well worth considering and upgrade to the newest 3.1 version of nopCommerce.
If you are still not convinced the new product bundling functionality in nopCommerce 3.1 could be it. Now you can have a bundle of products, which works seamlessly with the pricing and the order process in the system.
To create a product bundle in nopCommerce all you need to do is to associate a product with an attribute value. Then when the customer selects the value, nopCommerce will know that you are actually buying the product associated with the attribute value. Do note that you need to have the Dynamic Price Update setting set to true in order to have the prices update with each product you choose.
NopCommerce 3.1 also adds several improvements to its multi-store support. Most importantly now you can enable\disable plugins per store.
You can also configure payment methods per store as well as shipping rates by weight and dimensions.
NopCommerce 3.1 comes with a few performance improvements, which have to do with new database indexes and more presentation level caching. The release note contains also a list of small but useful bug fixes and improvements. If you are interested do check it out here:
Let's summarize what we have learned so far about nopCommerce 3.1.
It simplifies the catalog system for the store owners
Adds very useful features for both the owners and the customers of a nopCommerce store
Fills multi-store functionality gaps
Come with the usual performance and functionality fixes and improvements
So the release is more than worth a look by all involved with nopCommerce.
Do not also forget to checkout our nopCommerce themes and plugins, which are available for nopCommerce 3.1. Currently we are developing responsive versions and theme rollers for all our themes as well as new responsive nopCommerce themes. Every new theme we release is added for free to the Nop Ultimate Theme Collection package of existing customers.
So stay tuned as we continue to develop more products for the greatest (there is absolutely no doubt) .NET e-commerce platform on the market.
The Nop Mega Menu plugin adds a powerful and flexible dropdown mega menu to your nopCommerce web site. You can enjoy an easy and effective navigation in your store managed right from your administration panel.
If just a few years ago the big question was whether to put the E in front of your business, now the more adequate question is whether to substitute the E with the more relevant M. If you are one of those retailers who are still pondering on the former, then you are obviously ignoring or even not aware of the M evolution. In this case, the chances are you are going to be left behind.
With the rapid growth of the mobile and tablet internet users it is now obvious that a major shift in the market is taking place, one that is already having a huge impact on the whole E-Commerce business. It is predicted that eventually by 2015 the mobile internet users will surpass the desktop internet users. Not only more and more users access the internet through mobile devices, but they are doing it with the intention to buy. The following infographic shows how this tendency is shaping up and whether or not in recent years we will be witnessing the last days of the desktop computer.
As a dedicated vendor of premium nopCommerce themes and plugins we at Nop-Templates.com are determined to keep up with the new trend so that we can help our customers build a successful e-commerce business. We are nearing the completion of a major new development on our nopCommerce road map. Can you guess what it is?
Nop-Templates is the leading provider of nopCommerce themes, templates and plugins. Trusted by our nopCommerce customers and the nopCommerce community for our dedication to quality and industry-leading technical support, Nop-Templates helps professionals deliver outstanding e-commerce functionality and grow their businesses faster on top of nopCommerce. Our nopCommerce themes and extensions make our customers more productive and allow them to deliver their nopCommerce projects within budget and on time.