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Application & Sample Stores

A good way to familiarize yourself with ProductCart Build To Order is to think about where and how it is being used today, but hundreds of Internet stores. Online computer stores that sell custom-built PCs are just one of the many applications of ProductCart Built To Order.

Other industries that have shown a clear need for this system include: industrial machinery, complex consumer products (e.g. custom outdoor and indoor furniture, air conditioning systems, gift baskets, etc.), printing services, catering services, Web design and Web hosting services, and many others.

The following is a series of hypothetical scenarios that are hard if not impossible to handle with a standard e-commerce application, but that ProductCart BTO can handle quickly and effectively. Note that all names and references to products and places are fictitious, although ProductCart has indeed been successfully implemented in very similar circumstances.

Catering

Moonlight Dinners offers catering services for private and corporate parties. Taking orders over the phone is time consuming and open to misunderstandings, and the company is considering taking its business online to streamline order processing and possibly generate additional visibility and business.

Due to the complex nature of the product that it sells (catered dinners), Moonlight Dinners cannot use a standard shopping cart application. How many courses? Which dishes? In what quantity? What type of silverware? Do you also need entertainment? And how about flower arrangements? When’s the event date & time? In addition, the menu changes depending on whether customers are ordering a catered lunch or dinner, something that needs to be reflected in the ordering process.

ProductCart’s Build To Order Module allows Moonlight Dinners to easily set up its “products” (i.e. dinners, lunches, parties, etc.) as customer-chosen combinations of predefined items. During the ordering process, customers select from a variety of categories (i.e. entrees, desserts, beverages, silverware, etc.) specific items (i.e. cheesecake, carrot cake, etc. from the “Desserts” category) to dynamically “configure” the catered dinner that best fits their preferences.

The price for the catered event changes dynamically, based on the number of guests and the menu selections, without the need to refresh the page. The total price automatically includes any quantity discounts that apply to any of the selections. The price for optional entertainment selections (e.g. Jazz pianist) and flower arrangements does not change regardless of the number of guests.

The customer is then asked to specify a date and time for the event during the checkout process. A pop-up window clearly displays blackout dates that are not available for selection.

Thanks to ProductCart, Moonlight Dinners can easily bring its business online.

Printing Services

Quality Printing offers a vast array of printing services. Quality Printing knows that bringing its business online would increase visibility for its offerings and likely generate incremental revenues. However, the company cannot use a standard shopping cart application due the nature of what it sells: services that the customer configures at the time of the order, or for which the customer requests a quote before purchasing.

All the e-commerce applications that Quality Printing found on the market, and that fit in its budget, did not provide the ability to handle custom quotes. With ProductCart’s Build To Order Module , Quality Printing can offer its customers any number of printing options (i.e. paper type, cover type, binding type, number of colors, number of copies, delivery option, etc.), and let them configure a custom order online.

For some of the available services, prices are not shown as the company needs the system to behave strictly as an online quoting tool. Customers configure what they need, save a quote, and then submit it to the store. A Quality Printing representative then follows up and discusses pricing over the phone.

Thanks to ProductCart, Quality Printing can now easily bring its business online, streamline and automate some of the order processing, and consequently increase its operating margin.

Custom-Built Computers

FastComputers assembles desktops, laptops and servers for small businesses in the Los Angeles area. The company decided to try to automate order processing to make it less human resource intensive and reduce the chance of committing mistakes. FastComputers’ computers are typically configured by the buyer, as the company focuses its business on affordable, custom-built PCs.

FastComputers began looking for a prepackaged e-commerce solution that would fit its needs and its $1,500 budget, but found nothing. Then, the company considered hiring a Web development company to have them create a customized solution, but discovered that the project would exceed its budget by several thousands dollars. As a result, FastComputers decided to put the project on hold.

With ProductCart Build To Order, FastComputers can now execute its strategy quickly, easily and cost-effectively. ProductCart's flexible catalog allows the company to partially pre-define some of the items (i.e. operating system, motherboard, etc.), and then let its customers configure all remaining options (i.e. memory, hard-disk size, CD-ROM & DVD drives, etc.). FastComputers can sell ready-to-ship computers (non-customizable), partially configurable systems, and computers that the customer can create “front scratch”.

Thanks to ProductCart Built To Order, FastComputers can also increase sales by offering a full range of parts and accessories, and use the same product catalog to do so. The same computer hard drive could be included both as a selectable option for some of the configurable systems, and as a stand-alone product. The price could be different in the two scenarios.

Gift Baskets

Deluxe Foods sells specialty foods both through their retail store and on the Internet. One of unique services that Deluxe Foods offers to its customers is custom gift baskets. Especially around the holidays, that’s their biggest seller. Unfortunately, their online store cannot take orders for custom gift baskets because there is no way for the customer to select which products he/she would like to put in the basket. This not only limits the online store’s sales, but also forces Deluxe Foods to keep taking orders over the phone, which is time consuming and hard to do, especially when the retail store gets busy.

ProductCart Build To Order can solve the problem. Customers can easily put together the exact gift basket that they had in mind by selecting products from Deluxe Foods’ vast selection. As their selections vary, the price changes in real time. Discounts are also automatically calculated: the store can offer price breaks on certain items when purchased in multiple quantities. A pop-up window shows customer all the discount details.

On the second page, customers select special gift wrapping options and “rush order” surcharges. The total weight of the gift basket is automatically computed as the sum of all selected options, and shipping is properly calculated by taking into account that the gift basket is an “oversized” item.

This next holiday season, the company will spend a lot less time taking complex orders over the phone or via fax.

Demo Stores

The examples above have likely given you an idea of what can be accomplished by using ProductCart Build To Order. To help you gain a hands-on understanding what you can do with BTO, ProductCart has created several, fully functional demo stores to its Web site.

Looking at how existing BTO products have been setup in these demo stores can give you a immediate, visual explanation of how the system works. You can find them here:

http://www.earlyimpact.com/productcart/build_to_order/demo.asp


ProductCart Build To Order: Table of Contents


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