Many marketing platforms offer advertisement placement within the layout of the web site. eCommerce solutions (like WebSphere Commerce) even offer powerful precision marketing engines to personalize content inside of widgets or espots within the layout of the page. I have five reasons why you would use a marketing tool like IBM Mobile Web Push for your site that will enable marketing beyond the page layout:
You get an out of the box “inbox” of the offers you have received. The marketing person can even control whether to send the offer as a popup message or directly to the inbox.
The inbox can easily be customized as there are API’s to the offer data store – I am thinking jQuery or Dojo for a really cool experience.
You can send customer and page data to the Reactor server which gives the marketing person the ability to isolate offers specific pages and shoppers on the site
You can completely customize the offer user interface – ie. have a popup in the middle of the screen, a slide in to the right, left, bottom, or top of the site.
You can create custom events for tracking, analytics, and custom messaging.
I have recently spent some time reading the Info Center about the Commerce Composer Widget Architecture. Think of widgets as the building blocks to construct a page in your store front. Widgets are basically JSP snippets with a data JSPF and two user interface JSPF’s, one for the horizontal representation and one for the vertical representation. This is essentially a basic J2EE programming model. The widget code structure is still pretty much the same as it was in FEP5 but in the new FEP7 you have to do some more steps in registering the widgets with the store.
Earlier this year I posted an article (Using Dynamic Drive’s Image Zoomer in WebSphere Commerce) but I didn’t complete it. Meaning, if you selected a new swatch color the large zoom image did not change to the new color. This post finishes the implementation, all be it as a little hack but works great!
With social media becoming more and more popular many sites offer a “Pin it” button for their products to be posted on Pinterest. If you are working in WebSphere Commerce and modifying the Aurora storefront, here is a quick snippet of code you can put into the ProductDisplay.jsp to enable this functionality.
In this video I show how you can edit web activities directly from site preview in WebSphere Commerce. I created a new customer segment that only has shoppers who have purchased something in the past 30 days. When I preview the site as that segment I see the new advertisement.
If you read the “What’s New” section on the InfoCenter for WebSphere Commerce you will notice a single line that states:
The Tealeaf User Interface Capture API is embedded in the checkout pages for registered and guest shoppers to allow for high-fidelity replay in Tealeaf. —link
Once again IBM has delivered on its promise of further integrating the products it has purchased in the last several years into its core set of products – forming solutions. This is only one of many exciting new features put into WebSphere Commerce, lot’s of blogging material! As you can see below, enabling the integration is simply the click of a button in the store properties.
Page layouts are arguably one of the best features to be introduced into WebSphere Commerce. They allow the marketing staff to quickly change or schedule the layout for page types or the entire site with a few basic steps. What has to be done today is a developer has to create the page layout first – which will not be the case in a future release (more to come on that later). So what are the steps and skills needed to create a new template? The good news is the code is extremely well structured and easy to follow. If this is all new to you, you should check out this PDF to learn about layouts and widgets. The Aurora store provides modular UI widgets that can be plugged into store pages. These UI widgets are independent, self-contained entities (IEA).
A page layout is a store page created for a particular layout type such as a category page, product page, or home page. A page layout has widgets associated with it and each widget has a set of configurable properties that can be provided to allow finer configuration of the widget in a layout. – IEA
With the new Aurora store front comes many new and exciting features. One feature I really like is the way the store uses Ajax throughout the user interface. The WebSphere Commerce Ajax Framework is based on Dojo (check out the Dojo Ajax documentation here) and it does a great job in easing the use of Dojo in your store front. You can read more about the framework here in the InfoCenter.
But lets dive on the implementation just a little.
With the new code base in the WebSphere Commerce Aurora starter store it is even easier to modify things like the Home page. If you have not seen the Aurora store front you can check out a three minute YouTube video I posted showing the slick new look here. Basically all of the store “templates” are now abstracted out into a single folder and are individual JSP pages. If you want to learn how to create a new template for a page “type” you should check out this great article by Drew Harvey. In Aurora, there are several different template types out of the box:
No audio in this one! Just a high level view of what you get out of the box with WebSphere Commerce. This new look and feel was introduced in feature pack 5. Very slick, new, and fresh looking. I don’t show anything really technical, I just wanted to highlight the new visuals in the starter store. The store pages were designed to take advantage of the new page template feature in Feature Pack 5. There is also tighter integration with Order Management which is what I will be focusing on a bit in the next coming weeks.