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Do you want to run sales the same way any brick and mortar store does! Do you wish your customers to instantly know when there’s a sale on?

We would like to present to you our latest Nop Sales Campaigns plugin with which you can run sales with minimum work required, without spending hours updating product prices.

Now you can create your own campaign for the products you like, for the period of time you wish to, with just a few clicks from the admin panel.

With the Nop Sales Campaigns plugin you can:

  • Run a sale based on a category, product type, manufacturer, store wide, or even create your own product segments based on condition
  • Explicitly include or exclude products from the segment you have created
  • Run a sale for the period of time you like – hours, days, weeks, etc.
  • Run a sale based on a time pattern – every Monday, every day at 12PM, etc.
  • Automatically adjust the price of the products, showing old/new price
  • Have a live sale countdown clock added to the products
  • Run no coupon required campaigns

To see the plugin in action, let’s create a sale campaign of our own.

Let’s say that I run an online store selling electronic devices. Recently I have noticed that the ACER products that I offer are not selling very well and that I have a great quantity on stock. In order to try to move these items faster I would like to discount them and to run a campaign for 3 day. Let’s get started.

First let’s set the general settings for our campaign. We will give it a name, set the discount we would like to offer and select the widget zone on the product details page where we would like the countdown clock to be displayed as shown below.

Next let’s customize the countdown timer. I want my sale to last for three days only, but I also want to show minutes and seconds for a more dramatic effect. So, in step 1 in the admin panel I will choose the first option as shown here.

Then in step two I will customize the style of the clock – I will set the font size, choose the color, align the text and change the padding size.

We can further customize the countdown timer via CSS. In this case I will only change the border radius as shown here.

When I click preview we will see how our timer will look like. If we are not happy with the results we can go back and change the settings. In our case I will go back and change the background color.

Once we have customized the countdown timer, we have to set the scheduling for our campaign – we will set the time span and the scheduling pattern.

With this done let’s move forward and set the conditions for our campaign. As said before we want the campaign to apply to only products with manufacturer ACER. Once we set the condition, we click update.

If we click on the preview mode we will see all the products with manufacturer ACER which will be included in our campaign. The price of the products has been discounted automatically with both prices old/new being displayed for our convenience.

Now I am ready to run our first campaign. But just before doing it my stock manager updates me that the ACER Aspire One laptop has been a bestseller for the past week, so I decide to exclude this product from our campaign.

With this done and the campaign started, we can go to the public store and see the results. All ACER products have been discounted except for the one we have excluded from the campaign. The price of the discounted products has been automatically updated.

If we go to the product page of any of the discounted product we will see the countdown timer we have previously created displayed.

In no time and with minimum effort we have created our first sale campaign.

Using the Nop Sales Campaigns plugin you can create unlimited number of campaigns for unlimited number of products and schedule them in advance so that your campaigns run seamlessly on their own according to your sales plan.

If you wish to give this great plugin a try, simply go to its administration.

In our next case study dedicated to the Nop Sales Campaigns plugin, we will show you how this plugin integrates with the Nop Ajax Filters, the Nop Mega Menu and works seamlessly with the Nop Product Ribbons.

Following our previous blog post on what's new in nopCommerce 3.3, I would like to point your attention to a few performance optimizations in the new version. I would also discuss a couple of optimizations from previous versions of nopCommerce, which you might not be aware of.

Please note that in the following 3 points I will discuss 5 settings, which can be set from the administration of your nopCommerce store and are extremely important to its performance.

1. In nopCommerce 3.3 now there is a new "Ignore ACL rules" setting.

NopCommerce does have a powerful ACL (Access control lists) system, which grants permissions to customer roles to certain parts of both the administrative and public website. You can configure the ACL by going to the nopCommerce administration -> Configuration -> Access Control List. Since version 2.7 the nopCommerce team have been gradually adding ACL permissions for the major entities (Products, Categories, Manufacturers). For example if you edit a product in nopCommerce you would find an "Access control list" tab where you can set who can browse and edit the product:

nopCommerce Product ACL

While this is a powerful tool for the store owner it means that every product needs to be checked against the current customer roles. Both in the administration and the public site there are several product, category and manufacturer list pages. So for example if you are browsing the category page on the public site the whole product list will go through the ACL check. Let's take another example. Our JCarousel plugin, which can be configured to show products (related, cross sell, new, custom list, etc...) in a carousel on different public pages. All products in the carousel need to go through ACL checks too. All this ACL overhead is true for categories and manufacturers too.

But often store owners would not need ACL permissions on any of their products, categories or manufacturers. Still the checks will be performed creating additional work for the system and thus adding to the response time of the website.

Until version 3.3. Now if you set the new "Ignore ACL Setting" the ACL checks will be bypassed.

Our tests showed that on a category page with just 8 products, on a cleared system cache, this setting reduced the response time of the server by almost 50%.

2. In nopCommerce 3.3 there is a new "Ignore limit per store rules" setting.

Similar to the ACL permissions, when you have a multi-store nopCommerce, you can set the visibility of products, categories and manufacturers per store:

nopCommerce store configuration per product

Just like with ACL, every product, category or manufacturer will be checked against the current store. But what if you do not have multiple stores but just one store. The checks will still occur.

Until version 3.3. Now if you set the new "Ignore limit per store rules" the store checks will be bypassed.

Our tests showed that on a category page with just 8 products, on a cleared system cache, this was reducing the response time of the server by almost 25%.

So combine this with the 50% improvement from bypassing the ACL checks and you get an enormous performance boost in your nopCommerce. To make use of this you need to go to the nopCommerce administration -> Settings -> Catalog Settings and enable the two settings:

nopCommerce ignore ACL and store rules

3. Although we are on the subject of nopCommerce 3.3, I would like to show you three very important settings, which were introduced in nopCommerce 3.2 and which will again reduce your server response time enormously.

If you go to the nopCommerce administration -> General and Miscellaneous Settings -> Localization settings you would notice the following three settings:

nopCommerce localization settings for performance improvement

Locale resources refer to all strings in nopCommerce, which are not properties of the shop entities. For example such strings are the "Information", "Customer Service", etc. titles in the footer. So if you are browsing a product page, the system would need to load both the product information and the locale resources as the footer is present on every page in the public website.

Localized properties refer to all properties of an entity (product, category, manufacturer, etc...), which could be localized for different languages. For example such properties are the product name, short description, full description and SEO information. These are stored in a separate table (different from the main entities tables) in the database.

Search engine friendly names refer to the URL slugs (parts), which map to an entity in the shop. For example if your Laptop category has Id 1 in the database and has the following URL in your shop http://www.myshop.com/laptops, the "laptops" part of the URL is what tells the system that it needs to load the category with Id 1. This is possible because there is a separate table and entry in the database, which maps the "laptops" slug/search engine friendly name to the category with Id 1.

What is common in these three cases is that there is information which needs to be fetched with every request but is stored separately from the main request data in the database. For example if you are browsing a category page, nopCommerce would query the database once for the category search engine friendly name, once for the category information, once for the the category localized properties and once for every locale resource. In addition, to build the main menu of the website as well as the category navigation panel, nopCommerce would have to query the database for each an every category search engined friendly name and category localized name. Product or manufacturer links and names present on the current page would result in the same type of requests.

As you can see, before the page data has been cached by nopCommerce, the number of requests to the database for just a single page, becomes enormous.

To avoid this you need to set the three settings. Our tests showed that on a category page with 20 products, on a cleared system cache, setting the:

  • "Load all locale resources on startup" reduced the response time by more than 15%.
  • "Load all localized properties on startup" reduced the response time by more than 30%.
  • "" reduced the response time by more than 18%.

Combine this improvement with the gain from the Ignore ACL and store limitations settings and you do get a much better response time from your nopCommerce.

4. In nopCommerce 3.3 there are a few performance optimizations which might not be so obvious to the store owner but are still important and worth mentioning:

  • When you have thousands of categories the admin area could become very slow as hundreds of database requests were being made. Now there is just one request.
  • The category pages now load all specification attributes with just one request and not with one request for every attribute.
  • Checkout attributes are not being loaded for each HTTP request anymore as it is not necessary. This was being done to render the mini-shopping cart block resulting in additional load time for every single page, as the mini-shopping cart is present in the header of the website, thus on every page.
  • Customer language and currency are being cached between requests and not loaded every time.

5. In nopCommerce 3.3 there is a new Clear Log scheduled tasks, which would reduce the size of your database significantly and keep it from bloating unnecessary.

nopCommerce clear log scheduled task

You do need to set an interval on this task, which would allow you enough time to investigate any possible errors or activities that might occur on the website.

6. In nopCommerce 3.3 when you go to System -> Message Queue, there is a new function Delete All, which will delete all queued emails and will again reduce significantly the size of your database.

nopCommerce delete all emails


Emails that are being sent from the system are kept in a separate table in the database. So you end up having them both in your email account Sent folder and your nopCommerce database. Deleting them from your database is perfectly alright. Before you do this do make sure to go through the emails that are marked as not sent or in other words have failed.

This concludes our review of nopCommerce 3.3. I hope that learning about all the performance tips and tricks will prove at least as useful to you as it has to us and our work. Do also checkout our previous blog post on the nopCommerce 3.3.

As usual your comments are more than welcomed!

Next we will follow with more details on our new nopCommerce 3.3 plugins and functionality. So stay tuned as we continue to cover the best .NET e-commerce system!

What's new in nopCommerce 3.3 ~ Wednesday, April 9, 2014

With nopCommerce 3.3 out of the door I would like to share our usual Nop-Templates.com digest of the new features in this newest release of the best .NET e-commerce system.

Working with the new features in nopCommerce 3.30 would often require a quick modification of certain settings or language resources. Therefore before I go into the details of each nopCommerce 3.30 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:

How to search and change resources in nopCommerce

How to search and change settings in nopCommerce

So what is new in nopCommerce 3.3?

There are quite a few things worth noting in nopCommerce 3.3 among which are its performance improvements. The nopCommerce 3.3 release is too much for a single blog article. So in this blog post I will skip the performance improvements and will discuss them in detail in a separate article to follow.

1. First and foremost nopCommerce 3.3 now runs on .NET 4.5.1.

Developers are keen on using the latest and greatest technologies and the fact that nopCommerce follows closely with every new .NET update could only testify to how cool it is to develop solutions based on nopCommerce. So if you are a .NET developer and wondering what is new in .NET 4.5.1 do visit the MSDN documentation:

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms171868%28v=vs.110%29.aspx#v451

2. NopCommerce 3.3 has a brand new framework for the administration UI of the system, namely Telerik's Kendo UI.

This might not sound too exciting to the store owners but it is certainly great news to the nopCommerce developers. Because to extend nopCommerce, developers now have a framework, which is actively developed by no other but Telerik, and being used in thousands of modern web applications. It comes with a set of powerful controls, most notably the Kendo Grid, so plugins or any nopCommerce functionality can have an efficient at the same time easy to develop administration.

3. The Default theme in nopCommerce 3.3 is responsive now.

Responsive design is a must nowadays, so this new feature does not need any elaboration. What I would like to note though is that Nop-Templates.com were the first to introduce native responsive design to nopCommerce with our nopCommerce themes. In fact we refactored the markup of the system so responsive themes could be developed. So this new 3.3 feature does remind us that we did something very important which has pushed the project forward.

4. In nopCommerce 3.3 store owners can sell not only products but also paid memberships.

This could be achieved by creating a Customer Role and then assigning the role to certain products (memberships).

how to create a nopCommerce membership

When the customer buys this product, they are being automatically assigned this role. The store owner can of course grant certain permissions to the role based on the power ACL (Access Control List) system in nopCommerce. Permissions could range from accessing the website as a whole to viewing only certain pages.

5. The checkout process could now be simplified in nopCommerce 3.3.

There is an option to disable the billing address step, which means that the billing address in the checkout would be populated with the default customer address information. To enable this option you need to go to Configuration -> Settings -> Order Settings:

Disable billing address in nopCommerce

6. Store owners can now have full control over the customer registration information.

In the 3.3 version of the system store owners can define customer attributes straight from the administration. To do this you need to go to Configuration -> Settings -> Customer Settings and click on the Customer form fields tab:

nopCommerce customer attributes

These attributes would appear both on the registration page as well as the customer info page in the My Account section. I am sure that many nopCommerce stores will be upgrading to version 3.3 just for this because up to now this has been a major requirement and a matter of custom development.

7. While we are on the subject of often requested customizations, in nopCommerce 3.3 there are two very important improvements to how attribute combination are being handled.

Now when you have an attribute combination, which has its own Price, SKU, Manufacturer Part Number and GTIN, when you select the attribute combination on the product details page, not only the price but also the SKU, MPN and GTIN will be refreshed.

To enable this you need to enable these two settings:

nopCommerce attribute combinations management

As the second setting is not explicitly visible in the Configuration -> Settings -> Catalog Settings, it is best to edit these settings by following the instructions in this video: How to search and change settings in nopCommerce

In nopCommerce 3.3 store owners can now specify that only the defined attribute combinations can be added to the shopping cart or wishlist. So if you have defined the following attribute combinations for your product: size S - blue, size L - red, customers would not be able to add the product with size L - blue.

8. In nopCommerce 3.3 there is a major SEO improvement. Topic urls are now id-less.

This means that if you have a page in your website with the following url:

http://www.nop-templates.com/t/aboutus

The new url in version 3.3 would be:

http://www.nop-templates.com/aboutus

A more SEO-friendly url, which would not only be frowned upon by search engines but would add to the SEO rank of the page.

The nopCommerce team have been gradually introducing id-less urls since verison 2.7 and this new enhancement more or less marks their effort as complete. In nopCommerce 3.3 all pages (category, product, news, blog, topic) have SEO-friendly urls. The only pages that do not have these are the forum ones, but I don't think id-less urls are viable to forum pages anyway.

9. NopCommerce 3.3 adds support to the new Google Universl Analytics.

To find more about it please visit the Google Universal Analytics Center.

You can enable the Google Universal Analytics by going to Content Management -> Widgets -> Google Analytics or Universal Analytics and clicking the Pre-Configure Universal Analytics button:

nopCommerce Google Universal Analytics

10. NopCommerce 3.3 builds on its multi-store support by adding the ability to configure countries per store as well as checkout attributes. Both can be configured from the new Stores tab.

NopCommerce countries management

NopCommerce checkout attributes management

11. In nopCommerce 3.3 the store owner can configure their store to detect customer language automatically based on its browser setting.

This is a small but very handy feature which can be enabled from Configuration -> Settings-> General And Miscellaneous Settings -> Localization Settings:

NopCommerce automatically detect language

These are the more notable new features in nopCommerce 3.3. There are of course other features, which you can read about in the release note. I am going to talk about the very important performance improvements in nopCommerce 3.3 in a separate blog post.

Until then, stay tuned and do share your feedback with us on this great new release of the best .NET e-commerce system!

The new Nop Allure Responsive Theme for nopCommerce 3.30 combines great design and superb functionality and is the ultimate e-commerce tool for your online business.

Choosing the color presets and background textures of the theme is now easily done straight from the nopCommerce administration panel.

You can also experiment with the presets on the theme’s live demo.

As with every new themes there are several ehancements introduced which will help your customers focus on the most important thing for every online store - continue shopping.

- We just love the previous and next functionality on the product page. Your customers can ceaselessly browse the products in a single category without going back to the category page.

- An improved integration of the Nop Quick Tabs plugin is introduced for the first time in this new theme. All the information related to the product is presented in a handy way right below the product’s title.

 

Apart from these the theme has yet more to offer. It is equipped with 10 premium plugins for exceptional ecommerce functionality - Nop Ajax Filters, Nop Anywhere Sliders, Nop JCarousel, Nop Mega Menu, Nop Quick View, Nop Quick Tabs, Nop Ajax Cart, Nop Instant Search, Nop Cloud Zoom, Nop Product Ribbons.

The Nop Allure Theme looks exceptional on any device and comes with enhanced responsive functionality for easy navigation and shopping experience. There are several improvements, which will give your customers a more pleasant and ceaseless shopping experience on a mobile device.

- Better access to the main navigation (menu and search bar) on a mobile devices.
- Nop Ajax Filters are now 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.

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.

The following plugins are styled and come with the theme to guarantee a powerful ecommerce functionality  - Nop Ajax Filters, Nop Anywhere Sliders, Nop JCarousel, Nop Mega Menu, Nop Quick View, Nop Quick Tabs, Nop Ajax Cart, Nop Instant Search, Nop Cloud Zoom, Nop Product Ribbons.

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

What's new in nopCommerce 3.2 ~ Tuesday, December 17, 2013

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:

How to search and change resources in nopCommerce

How to search and change settings in nopCommerce

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:

nopCommerce administration RTL support

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:

nopCommerce Facebook Shop

If you click the Configure button you will be taken to a page, which explains how to setup your Facebook Shop:

How to setup a nopCommerce 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:

nopCommerce warehouses

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:

Assign a nopCommerce product to a 

warehouse

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":

nopCommerce 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:

nopCommerce delivery dates

When you create or edit a product you can specify its delivery date:

nopCommerce product 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:

nopCommerce product free 

shipping administration

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:

nopCommerce product free shipping

If green is not your color you can change the free shipping image by replacing this file

Themes\DefaultClean\Content\images\free-shipping.png

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:

nopCommerce vendor link on product 

page

Clicking on the vendor link customers are now able to see all products delivered by this particular vendor:

nopCommerce vendor page

6. In nopCommerce 3.20 there is a new store menu, which shows the main categories from the store:

nopCommerce menu

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 -> :

NopCommerce number of 

subcategory levels in top menu

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:

nopCommerce templates administration

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:

nopCommerce scheduled tasks

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:

NopCommerce change order status

NopCommerce change order status

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:

NopCommerce 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:

NopCommerce discount history

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:

nopCommerce include invoice with order emails

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:

nopCommerce pdf settings

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:

nopCommerce social urls administration

In the public website this information is presented in the footer:

nopCommerce social urls

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:

nopCommerce themes administration

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:

nopCommerce product auto complete tags

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:

http://www.nopcommerce.com/releasenotes.aspx

http://nopcommerce.codeplex.com/workitem/list/advanced

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!

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