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Multi-step "add to cart" on product pages

How is it done

3:01 am on Sep 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

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joined:Dec 2, 2003
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I have a client with a very old site using a very old copy of Miva. Every page is lists of products with buy-now buttons.

Problem is, the product (mattresses) is really a multi-step process - the bed, box-springs, bed frames... I see competitors use a dynamic decision-tree that walk the buyer through these choices. Some even re-post prices as people go through their decisions.

How are these made? Are they part of the shopping cart software? Currently the site is all html, I imagine we would shift to php? Could oscommerce or some open source solution help me here?

I would love to move from Miva and re-build the buying experience with something completely in Dreamweaver - right now Miva (even the latest versions) makes me build in Dreamweaver and then copy the html into hidden little places in their backend - bah!

Thanks in advance for ANY help

-- Don

3:28 am on Sept 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member rocknbil is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

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Yes, this requires a dynamic scripted response, you won't be able to build it in DW. DW is for static pages.

It will most likely manifest itself as PHP, but can be done in any language: PHP, perl, asp, ColdFusion, even Java and C executables.

You submit a form for the "first selection" and the submitted values are saved somewhere - in a database, in plain text temporary files, in hidden fields in the form, even in a cookie. Those values are used to select subsequent values from the database.

if ($mattress_id > 0) {
# get options for mattress of $mattress_id, display them

An alternative and better way is to think it through with less clicks, the less clicks the better. If at all possible, drill down and display all options for a given product on a single page, and control what they select with Javascript and server-side error checking - that is, for mattress brand A, you might have certain options that rely on the selection of other options, you'd just add controls to make sure they don't select any options that are outside the "base option's" option set. Hope that makes sense. :-)

I don't know of any open source proggies that do this, but I don't do a lot of research in that area, I grow my own in perl, php, etc. You might have to go with a custom solution, but others may offer ideas.