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Need input to create ecommerce test cases

8:20 pm on Jul 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I want to write an article, a bake-off, about a range of ecommerce carts. Right now, I'm looking to develop at least three test sites that represent low, medium, and high complexity ecommerce sites. For example, one of my clients uses variants (think selling a polo shirt in variants of blue, red, and green) and needs to track pricing, quantities, and sales for each variant. Another client needs QuickBooks integration.

I wondered if you'd toss at me some of the more complicated ecommerce needs like variants that you have or your clients have had? What do you think is a minimum feature set for carts, based on your needs/experiences? Your input will help me develop test sites so I can do a fairly accurate tests.

If you want to briefly mention the cart you used to meet your needs, and how well the cart has met your needs, that would be gravy. But I don't want to get into a discussion about specific carts, just the range of needs people have to solve with a cart.

Thanks in advance for any help!


3:40 am on July 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Welcome aboard redwrangler!

Another client needs QuickBooks integration.

You're going to have serious fun with this one. We have the '07 Retail Edition and I spent months trying to get it to work. It just doesn't. The .IIS files will import and export fine, they just won't update inventory when imported because there are several internal QB functions that need to take place to update inventory in QB. I'd be extremely interested in any success you may have, QB support for web integration is horrid in spite of what their marketing department says.

I wondered if you'd toss at me some of the more complicated ecommerce needs like variants that you have or your clients have had?

I custom program carts and don't use off-the-shelf carts. The greatest challenges I've found are:

1. An open-ended method of adding unlimited possible options, of either required or optional value, and maintaining a consistent way of calculating price no matter what those options are.

Scenario: Product has three options: color, size, and add-ons (like a cover for your widget.) However, you should not be limited to color, size, or option, you must be able to have as many options as required.

Color selection (normally) does not affect price, but size might. Color and size are required options to order the item, but an add-on will only add to the price of that item in any case. You must maintain a consistency when it's displayed in the product display, initially added to a cart, edited later, in checkout, and across all receipt and order displays. I've got some posts buried here on how to approach this, but it was . . . a challenge. :-)

2. Methods of displaying stock and inventory, from both a customer view and administrative view. Actually #1 has a deep integration into this challenge: I want to be able to display

6 large green widgets in stock
3 large blue widgets in stock
8 medium green widgets with covers in stock

From a shopper viewpoint, this has been gold, people seem to love that they can see that it's in stock and when they buy it, they see the stock has decremented. which it doesn't really, it is only decremented after shipment- this also is in posts here.

When it gets to the administrative side, you should be able to assemble a printable report, edit inventory from any point, query sales over time, and determine where and when specific items were sold in drill-down fashion.

These things seem fundamental to a cart's usability, though I don't know that they all do so. You said briefly, so I'll stop there. :-)

3:42 pm on July 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

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This is excellent, rocknbil, thank you! I'll let you know if I can figure out the QB integration. I appreciate you time and input.
5:34 am on July 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Hi several clients I work with use T-hub for QB integration. I don't use it but I'm sure you can find more information on the manufactures site.

Other things to consider when comparing low, medium, and high ecommerce sites, are shipping, real time vs flat rates. Tracking shipments is it built-in or will a third-party service be needed.

Client accounts does it just store the user name and password or actual customer history.

I've seen request for t-shirt sites where they wanted to be able to allow customers to design the shirt via their browser and upload logos for printing. Quotes for that those types of features ranged 3k to an unbelievable 100k (that did include the cost of a custom server).

Other challenges include expandability, as ones online business grows, store owners need more features to perform routine task that are redundant. True story -store owner refuses to use automated order status. I explain it will help keep phone calls down. He replies thats ok I only expect to get about 3 orders a month. (I think he needs some SEO) Which brings up another item for your list, how search engine friendly are the various levels of carts.

There are many facets to look at when comparing and testing.

7:10 am on July 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I wondered if you'd toss at me some of the more complicated ecommerce needs like variants that you have or your clients have had?

Quantity discounts, i.e. 1-11 $5.00each, 1dozen-12dozen $4.00each/$48.00/dozen, +12dozen, $3.00each/$36.00/dozen. I have a client that has a lot of discounts like this.


3:45 am on July 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Sorry to disappear, family emergency. Just want to quickly thank you Webtress and Marshall for your input. It helps!

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