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Configuration Options

Overview

The Configure Build To Order Products or Services page in the Control Panel is shown when you locate a BTO Product and click on Configure. This page is the core of the BTO system in the ProductCart Control Panel. It gives you all the tools you need to closely define your store visitors' experience when customizing the selected BTO Product.

The following is a description of the features/settings found on the page. All settings on the page are set at the category level. That is: for each category of selectable items (see Selectable Items and Additional Charges for the difference between the two). Please use the following graphic as a legend.

Understanding and using the Configure Build To Order Products or Services page in the ProductCart BTO Control Panel

1 - Category Name

This is the name of the section of the BTO configuration page that will list the items available for selection. Take advantage of hidden categories to show on the BTO configuration page categories that are not shown elsewhere in the storefront (some category names might only make sense when shown on the BTO configuration pages in the storefront).

2 - Category Edit/Remove

Use these links to add items to the category, or remove the category completely. To add items to the category, products must exist in the category itself that are…

  • eligible for being listed as a selection (e.g. a BTO Product is not eligible for being listed as a selection for another BTO product's configuration page)
  • not already listed in the category (i.e. the same item cannot appear twice)

Therefore, you will often find yourself add products to a category, then returning to the BTO configuration page to add them there. Open a new browser window/tab to do so without closing the BTO configuration page.

If you wish to add a new category, click on the Add Another Category link located either at the bottom or at the top of the page.

This feature allows you to completely remove a category from the BTO configuration. The same occurs when you remove all items within the category.

3 - Category Order

Enter numeric values to control the order in which categories will appear on the configuration page. You can then sort items within a category using the Item Order input field, described below. By default, categories are sorted in the order in which they are added to the configuration, and items are sorted alphabetically by product name.

4 - Category Settings

FIXME - The screen shot above needs to be updated as it does not reflect the latest interface, which no longer shows “Allow multiple selections”, but rather combines that setting into a more powerful item display setting that allows the store manager to show the available selections with a drop-down, using radio buttons, or using check boxes.

Show Details

When you added Standard Products and BTO Only Items to your store database, you probably entered descriptions, product images, etc. Check this box if you would like your customers to be able to click on a “View Details” text or image link, which will show such information nicely organized in a pop-up window.

You can control the look of the “View Details” pop-up window under BTO Settings > General Settings. Offering additional information on the available options may help your customers make better selections and reduce customer service inquiries.

For example, while configuring a custom PC, customers may want to find out more about the different features of the CD-ROM drives available for selection, without having to leave the page. The “View Details” window would contain descriptions and images for those CD-ROMs.

Required Category

If you check this box the customer will be required to choose at least one item from that category. For example, a computer doesn't work without at least one hard drive, so you would want to make hard drives a required category. Make sure that you select a Default Item when you set a category as required: you cannot set a category to be required without setting a default item.

If the option is left unchecked, then the category is not required and the option None is automatically added to the drop-down menu (or radio buttons) if the category is also set to not allow multiple selections. For example, your customers may not be required to select a monitor, in which case they will select None from the Monitors drop-down menu..

Single or Multiple Selections

This feature changes the way products are shown on the page, and how many of them can be selected. You have three options:

  • Display choices using radio buttons
  • Display choices using drop down menus
  • Display choices using check boxes

When you choose to Display choices using check boxes, all products in the category will be displayed as a list with check boxes, allowing the customer to choose one or more of the items. When using radio buttons, items are also displayed in a list, but only one selection is allowed.

Going back to the example used above, you may allow a customer to select more than one software package or peripheral for their custom built PC.

Even when you check the Allow Multiple Selections option, you can define a default item for the category and you can set whether the category is required or not. If the category is not required, customers will be able to uncheck the default item (if any). If the category is required, if they uncheck the default item, they will be asked to check at least another item from the available selections.

Display Quantity Field

Check this option if you want customers to be able to order multiple units of a selectable item within the category (or of any of the selectable items within the category, if the category is set to allow multiple selections).

You can hide or show the quantity field for any category shown on the first page of the product configurator. You cannot show the quantity field for Additional Charges show on the second page of the product configurator, since by definition these charges are not a function of the quantity ordered.

If this option is not checked, then ProductCart will automatically add 1 unit of a selected item to the product configuration, and the customer will not be able to increase that number. If a customer orders 3 units of a certain item, and 2 units of the BTO Product to which the item has been assigned, this means that the customer is actually buying 6 units of that item. This is important to keep in mind in order to understand how quantity discounts are calculated on the product configuration page. Please refer to the next section for more information.

Show Product Descriptions

When this option is checked, the Short Description (if any) for the items in the category is shown next to the item name. This makes this information immediately available on the page, without having to click on the “More Details” link (or button).

However, this option is not recommended when there are many items listed in the category and it can substantially increase the amount of information displayed on the configuration page.

Show Item Image

You can show a small thumbnail of any item that does have a product thumbnail. Since the product thumbnail could be too large for this purpose, you can force the image width. The default size is 35 pixels. You can change it by using the Image Width input field.

Show Item SKU

You can show the item's part number (SKU) by checking this option.

Sample categories from a BTO configuration page

5 - Category Instructions

You can show category-specific instructions on the configuration page. Use this feature to coach your customers while they are configuring the product. This is especially useful for new customers, who may be a bit intimidated when faced with a long product configuration page.

You can use basic HTML tags to add special content to the field, including link to images and other files (e.g. a link to a PDF file, or another page on your Web site, etc.).

6 - Item Order

Enter numeric values to control the order in which items appear within the category. For example, you may want to sort Hard Disks by their capacity, or sort monitors by their screen size, etc. By default, items are sorted alphabetically by product name.

7 and 8 - Prices

Main Prices

  • Regular Price – This is the price that the product is sold for as a stand-alone product. You can opt to use this price, or enter new prices as mentioned below.
  • User Regular Price – Check this box if you want to use the Regular Price as the Retail Price for this item. Otherwise, enter a different price in the Price field.
  • Retail Price – Enter the price that you would like to use if you elect not to use the Reg Price value. For example, this is often the case when merchants decide to charge a price that is lower than the list price for the product, since the customer is purchasing it as part of larger order.
  • Wholesale Price – Enter the wholesale price if you elect not to use the default wholesale price that you had defined for this product when adding it to the store database.

BTO and Customer Pricing Categories

If your store is using Customer Pricing Categories (e.g. “Preferred Customers”, “International Resellers”, etc.), a Show icon appears next to each item. Click on it to display and edit the pricing category prices at the item level. Click on Hide to hide them.

Being able to set prices at the time level for each pricing category gives you a tremendous amount of flexibility when selling configurable products to different types of customers.

9 - Remove Item

Click on the icon to remove the selected item from this category. If you delete all items within a category, the category will be removed from the configuration. When you delete an item, you are actually only removing it from the list, and you can always add it back. You are not deleting the product or item from the store database.

Other Settings

  • Item Name
    The item name comes directly from the products catalog. This is the name of the Standard Product or Item as you entered it at the time you added those products to the database.
  • Default Item
    Select the Default option to make this the default selection for your configurable product. This allows you to create a “suggested” configuration for your Build To Order product or service.

    For instance, you could be offering five types of paper as part of a configurable printing service, and may want to suggest to your customers that they print their document using medium-quality paper. Customers will be able to either accept your default selection, which will be displayed when they start configuring the product (unless the Hide Default Configuration option has been selected when adding or modifying the BTO Product), or select another one (e.g. a cheaper or more expensive type of paper). The price difference will be shown next to the item, together with the words “Add” or “Subtract” and the monetary value.

    When you make default selections, the prices associated with those items are added to the product's base price. The result, called the Default Price, is shown on the store instead of the base price for the product. The Default Price then changes dynamically based on the customer's selection. If there are no default items, select the No Default Item check box. No selection will be added to the default configuration. If there are no default selections, then the Default Price equals the Base Price for the product.

For performance reasons, beginning with ProductCart v3.1, the “default price” for a BTO product is no longer calculated in real-time in the storefront, but rather calculated in the Control Panel and saved to the database. To “refresh” it, locate a BTO product, click on “Configure” and update the page.


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