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Enabling Conflict Management

To help you visualize the features that will be described in the following paragraphs, we will use the example of an online print shop that allows customers to order custom brochures using ProductCart Build To Order. You can see the product used as a reference in this document by loading this URL:

http://www.productcart.com/printing/productcart/pc/configurePrd.asp?idproduct=50&qty=100

Please note that all of the items, names, and business rules used in this example are completely fictional.

In this example, some of the choices displayed on the page where customers can configure a custom brochure are incompatible with other available selections shown on the same page. For example, load the page and select Orientation > Horizontal. Then, try selecting Style > Booklet. The system will alert you that the two selections are not compatible.



How did the store administrator define the relationship between these two items? When you add Conflict Management to your ProductCart Build To Order store, a number of new tools are added to the Control Panel to allow the store administrator to create and manage an unlimited number of business rules that control the way items assigned to a Build To Order product behave in relation to one another on the product configuration page.

The Conflict Management features translate into the ability to…

  • create an unlimited number of business rules to manage conflicts and enforce selections among any of the items that are assigned to a Build To Order product.
  • create completely different rules for different Build To Order products.
  • combine multiple rules to implement complex business logic.
  • copy rules from one Build To Order product to another, assuming the products share the selectable items that are referenced in those rules.

Let’s start with the simple rule mentioned above and see how it was added to the Custom Brochure Build To Order product in the ProductCart Control Panel.

After logging into the Control Panel, we located the Build To Order product to which we wanted to apply the new Conflict Management rule. On the search results or Manage BTO Products page, we clicked on Configure and then on the new, Conflict Management link located at the top of the configuration page.

The Add New Rules button allows us to start the process of adding a new Conflict Management Rule to the product. The following screen is displayed:



The screen is divided into 3 sections, which define what happens when customers select a specific item on the product configuration page.

1. If customers select… This is where you pick the selection that will trigger the enforcement of the rule that you are creating. In our example, we will select “Horizontal”.

2. … they must select. If the first selection requires the selection of another item on the configuration page, choose one of the two options listed in the “must select” area. You can either pick a specific item that must be selected, or a category of items from which the customer will have to make one selection. Note that a must rule cannot be used to enforce the selection of multiple items, but rather only of a single item (either a specific item, or one item out of a category of items).

3. … they cannot select. If the first selection is not compatible with one or more other items on the configuration page, you will use a “cannot” rule. Unlike a must rule, you can specify multiple products and categories that are not compatible with the selected item.

The two item selection areas display standard products and Build To Order Only items that have been assigned to the Build To Order products. They are grouped by category, and then sorted alphabetically within the category. Press the CTRL key on your keyboard to select more than one item at once.

You can combine must and cannot rules, on the same item, to create more complex rules. For example, you could create a rule that enforces the selection of an item from a category (must rule applied to category XYZ), but limits the selection to only certain items within that category (cannot rule applied to N items within the XYZ category). This is discussed later in this chapter.


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