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Setting up Ecommerce Items

Overview

To help you start planning and setting up your store for Ecommerce by flagging items as Ecommerce, writing descriptions (product names) and HTML descriptions, and item images.

Table of Contents

Planning Your Items

Selecting the Items to Sell Online

Item Descriptions

Optimizing Your Content

Item Images

Using the Category Editor

Using Inventory / Items

New Items & Specials

Item Layout

Item Editor

Related Items

Working with Prices

Working with Quantities

Working with Alternate Units

Working with Gridded Items

Changing the Image for Each Color

 

Planning Your Items

Many merchants choose to open their store with a small subset of items and add more items later as time allows. This method allows merchants to open their online store as quickly as possible and to focus on the quality of the items instead of the quantity. The better your descriptions and images are, the better your chances that shoppers will buy from you.

Item Tips

  • Use clear, quality images. Recommended image size is 360 x 434 pixels if you do not intend to use the built in zoom feature or 664 x 800 or larger if you do want to use the zoom feature. To ensure that your online store is visually pleasing, try to fit all images into square like shapes with the same dimensions (this will ensure your thumbnails are all proportionate).
  • Use the item number as the image name and save as a .jpg. By naming your images in this manner, NRO will pull the item images from your images folder specified in the NRO ConnectionConfig utility setup and associate the images to the correct items.
  • Write great item descriptions. Imagine that the shopper is in your store to inquire about the product. What do they ask? What do they want to see? If they called you on the phone, how would you describe the item? Use lots of adjectives to describe the item. Describe the size, color, height, width, suggested uses, ingredients, materials, how/where it’s made, etc. Most importantly, include the key words and phrases people are most likely to use when searching for your products. Keyword-dense product descriptions help increase your site’s search engine ranking and improve your customers’ overall shopping experience.
  • Incorporate target keywords anywhere you can. Your existing Counterpoint item names may not be shopper friendly or optimized for search engines.
  • Keep your formatting simple and easy to read. Optionally use HTML to add formatting, links, etc. Resist using all UPPER CASE letters and symbols such as '&'.
  • Reduce files sizes. File size per image should be no more than 20KB to allow pages to load quickly and minimize your bandwidth costs. Most graphics software has a ‘save for web’ option to help reduce file size. Image resolution should be 72 dpi (the highest resolution viewable on the web).
  • Contact your vendors to obtain images and descriptions.
TIP: If you plan to leverage descriptions from your vendors, you should reword the descriptions to suit your business and target audience. Keep in mind that other businesses similar to yours may be using identical descriptions from the same vendor. If identical product descriptions are used on multiple websites, search engines may rank your site lower (or not at all).

 

Checklist

Counterpoint:

  • Select items to sell in your online store using Inventory / Items (learn more below)
  • Publish ecommerce information from Counterpoint using Ecommerce / Publish.

NRO:

  • Import ecommerce information to NRO using the Integration Agent.
  • Images can also be loaded via the Integration Agent automatically by being placed in the ItemImagesNRO folder.

Selecting the Items to Sell Online

Counterpoint: Inventory / Items

You can sell all of your items online, or you can sell a subset of your items. Each item you decide to sell in your online store requires setup. The amount of setup depends upon which NRO features you want to use in your online store.

For every item that you sell online, you can:

  • Add a detailed item description (Item descriptions cannot be HTML. Plain text only)
  • Add an image
  • Assign a weight to use for shipping charges
  • Specify whether or not the item can be discounted
  • Specify whether or not to charge tax on the item
  • List the item in one or more categories
  • Include the item on the New Items and/or Specials page in your online store
  • Identify and link to related items
TIP: Start with a small group of your best-selling items in multiple ecommerce categories and continue to add more groups of items later.
  1. Select Inventory / Items and locate the item you want to include in your online store.
  2. On the Ecommerce tab, check the Ecommerce item box to designate this item as an ecommerce item.
  3. Enter additional information, edit the item’s ecommerce description, assign this item to one or more categories, etc.
 
 
TIP:To print a list of all items that have been marked as ecommerce items, select Ecommerce/ Reports / Ecommerce Items. You can optionally print item descriptions and/or the category assignments.

Update Other Item Fields As Needed

Counterpoint: Inventory / Items

Depending on your plans for your online store, you may need to add or update other information in the Counterpoint item record.

For example, you may need to update the following Counterpoint fields in Inventory / Items:

 

Counterpoint Field

Typical Use in NRO

For MoreInformation

Description

Used as the item name in your online store

You can optionally use one of the fields on the Description tab for the item name. Learn more in "Counterpoint Ecommerce Controls.”

Weight
(Othertab)

Used to calculate shipping charges for certain shipping methods

Learn more about shipping weights in "Shipping Options in NRO.”

Related Items

Substitute items may be used as related items

Learn more Here.

Item Descriptions

Item descriptions are one of the most important parts of your online store. A good item description should accurately describe the item, including its size, color, suggested uses, ingredients, materials, how/where it’s made, etc. Item descriptions should be straight-forward and honest. Most importantly, they should include the key words and phrases people are most likely to use when searching for your products. Keywords should be similar to those used in your meta information(learn more on page 89H22).

TIP: Keyword-dense product descriptions help increase your site’s organic search engine ranking and improve your customers’ overall shopping experience.
 
Each item HTML description can be up to 6,240 characters in length.
 
HTML Item descriptions may include HTML formatting. The item description must be entered on one line and cannot contain any line breaks. It can wrap to the next line in your word processor, but do not press Enter in the middle of a long description! If you need line breaks in your long description, you must insert appropriate HTML code, such as a <BR>or <P>tag.

Warning: DO NOT use double quotes in HTML formatting entered in Counterpoint! If you must use quotes, use single quotes.

In Counterpoint, you can enter item descriptions for each item one at a time, or you can create all item descriptions in a text file and import them into Counterpoint. .

Entering an Item Description

Counterpoint: Inventory / Items
Select Inventory/ Items and locate the item.

Click on the Ecommerce tab and enter or edit the long description.

 

TIP: You can copy and paste descriptions directly into this area.

Importing Item Descriptions

You can use an external application such as Microsoft Word to enter all of your item descriptions, save the file in .txt or .csv format, and then import that file into Counterpoint.

Create the File

Using any word processor, create a file that contains an item number and its long description on one line, separated by a comma. Save the file in .txt or .csv format. The format should be as follows:

Item number,Item long description

For example:

BAS-0300,The Rawlings Official Major League baseball is a durable performance ball with…

 

BAS-2452,The RawlingsAdirondackwooden baseball bat is made from Northern White Ash…

 

To use Microsoft Word

A possible method of using Microsoft Word to create a file to import long descriptions is:

  1. Open a new document and create a table with two columns.
  2. Enter a row for each item with the item number in the first column and the description in the second column. Do not enter a Tab character anywhere, and ensure that your item numbers do not have spaces after them.
  3. If you include HTML, don't use double-quotes in your HTML. Use single-quotes, or no quotes.
  4. Save the file as a Word document. Don't use spaces in the file name.
  5. Choose Table/ Convert / Table to text from the Word menu. When asked, select Commas as the character to separate text, and click OK.
  6. Choose File /Save As from the Word menu and save the file in Text only (*.txt) format. This file is now formatted properly for Counterpoint.
TIP: Turn Off Smart Quotes!
 
If you use Microsoft Word to prepare your long descriptions, you probably have "smart quotes" turned on (the curly, typographers quotes that "curl in” towards the quoted words). Smart quotes imported into long descriptions will cause strange characters, so they should be turned off while creating long descriptions.

To turn off smart quotes in Microsoft Word, select Tools / Auto Correct Options from the menu bar. On the Auto Format tab, uncheck Replace: Straight quotes with smart quotes.

To use Microsoft Excel

A possible method of using Microsoft Excel to create a file to import long descriptions is:

  1. Open a new document and create a table with two columns.
  2. Enter your items and descriptions by typing the item number in the first column and the long description in the second column. Do not use a header row (e.g., column headings) and delete any blank lines in between your items.
  3. When you have finished entering your items, copy and paste the table into Microsoft Word.
  4. Follow steps 3 through 5of the Microsoft Word instructions above to complete the import process.
TIP: We recommend using Word due to the fact that when using Excel, if there are any commas in the long description, the entire long description will be enclosed in quotation marks.

Import the File

Counterpoint: System / Utilities/ Database Import

To import a file containing item descriptions:

  1. Select System / Utilities / Database Import.
  2. Select EC_ITEM_DESCR from the list of tables.
  3. Uncheck Use header line.
  4. Click and use the dialog to move Item number and HTML description (in that order) into the Mapped Fields list, then click OK.
  5. Enter the name of the .txt or .csv file you created above.
  6. Check the boxes for Add new and/or Update
  7. Click to import the data, or to preview any potential issues without performing the import.


Optimizing Your Content

People aren’t the only ones "reading” your content. Search engines constantly scan the Internet to find out about your site, who you are, and what you’re selling. By optimizing your content for search engines, you have a better chance of achieving a higher ranking.

Example of Optimized Content

In this example, a sporting goods store wants to target Rawlings baseballs.

Not Optimized

Item Name: Rawlings Base Ball

Description: Durable performance ball with raised seams and a cushioned red cork center. Features premium grade full grain leather cover and wool blend windings with a durable vinyl finish wind. Ideal for professional and collegiate levels.

Category: Sporting Goods / Baseball

Optimized

Item Name: Rawlings Official Major League Baseball

Description: The Rawlings Official Major League Baseball is a durable performance baseball with raised seams and a cushioned red cork center. Rawlings baseballs feature premium grade full grain leather cover and wool blend windings with a durable vinyl finish wind. Each baseball is carefully weighed, measured, inspected, and tested. Rawlings Official Major League Baseballs are ideal for professional and collegiate game ball. Available by the each or by the case.

For over 25 years, Rawlings has been the exclusive supplier of baseballs to the Major Leagues. Rawlings baseballs are crafted from the finest materials to ensure the highest level of quality.

Categories:

Sporting Goods / Baseballs
Shop by Brand / Rawlings
Baseball / Equipment / Baseballs

Related items:

Rawlings Big Stick Baseball Bat
Rawlings Baseball Catcher’s Face Mask

Additionally, keyword-dense content is used throughout the site, including the home page, about us page, footer, etc. Extra Pages are used for relative, informational content such as a "Baseball Glove Fitting Guide.” Meta keywords and meta descriptions include baseball-related keywords (learn more below). The optimized site also includes reciprocal links to complementary websites such as websites for summer baseball camps and little league trophies.

Item Images

Populating your online store with high-quality product images can make a big difference in whether shoppers purchase items from you or from someone else.

Image Guidelines

Item images should have a .jpg extension for association in NRO.
 

Assigning Images to Items

NRO will take images, and re-size as needed for the other primary image sizes. Requirements for alternate and swatch images are covered here. To be properly associate the image to the item in your store, please us the naming format of [ITEMNUMBER].jpg. (ex. BIKE-170.jpg).

Uploading your images automatically is as simple as placing them in a directory so that the Integration Agent can send them to NRO for you. The item images folder used for NRO is the same folder you set up during your integration agent installation.
 
Copy your item image into the ItemImagesNRO directory, and when the Integration Agent polls for new files, it will pull the image in, and take care of the resizing for you. If the Integration Agent finds a file of the same name with a newer date and timestamp, it will automatically import that image into NRO.
 
TIP: Replacing item images with new ones may require you flush your NRO cache under System / Cache Management.

 

Adding Items to Categories

If an ecommerce category has no items assigned to it, that category will not display in your online store.

It’s a good idea to add items to multiple ecommerce categories to give shoppers more than one way to find items in your store. You can list each item in an unlimited number of categories.

For example:

Sporting Goods

>Sports Equipment

- Nike ProTour Golf Bag

- Men’s X8 Snowboard

>Sports Apparel

- Youth Baseball Jersey

Shop by Brand

>Nike

- Nike ProTour Golf Bag

>Rawlings

- YouthBaseball Jersey

>Burton

- Men’s X8 Snowboard

Shop by Season

>Summer Sports

- Nike ProTour Golf Bag
- Youth Baseball Jersey

>Winter Sports

- Men’s X8 Snowboard

Using the Category Editor

Counterpoint: Setup / Ecommerce/ Categories

Select the category or sub-category folder you want to work with.

WARNING: You cannot add items to categories that contain sub-categories.


Adding Items

Add one or more items to this category:



Deleting Items

Delete one or more items from this category:


 


Moving Items

Move items from one category to another by cutting and pasting the items:


WARNING: Only one group of items can be held (i.e., cut) for pasting at a time. If you cut a second group of items before pasting the first group, the first selection of items will be removed from the clipboard.

Using Inventory / Items

Counterpoint: Inventory / Items

Select Inventory/ Items and locate the item.

Click on the Ecommerce tab to open the Ecommerce Category Assignments form.
 

New Items & Specials

Counterpoint: Inventory / Items

NRO includes pages for New Items and Specials. To mark items as new or on special, select Inventory / Items.

Check the New box if you want this item to display on the New Items page of your online store. Enter the date that the item will no longer be considered new (the item will no longer display on the New Items pag eafter that date).

In the On special field, select Yes or If on sale if you want this item to display on the Specials page of your online store.

  • If you select Yes, you will need to enter the date that the item will no longer be considered on special (the item will no longer display on the Specials page after that date).
  • If you select If on sale, this item will appear on the Specials page of your online store anytime the item is on sale in Counterpoint. Learn more about using sale prices in "Defining & Calculating Prices.”


Item Layout

Before you begin the NRO setup steps, you should publish your Counterpoint information using Ecommerce / Publish and import it into NRO using the Integration Agent.

Default Item Layout

 
 

NRO Default Item Layout

This is an example of the default item layout when viewing an item at the detail level.

 

NRO System Config for Catalog Options 1

Some of the default item layout options are handled in your system configuration, and it can be accessed by going to System/ Configuration / Catalog / Catalog.

The front end section allows you to change how you list items, how many products are viewed per page, how the products are sorted, and various other options.

NRO System Config for Catalog Options 2

Another interesting feature is the addition of placeholder images for items that do not need an image or do not currently have one available. Simply upload the image you use in place of missing or blank item images.

Basic Options

This area will let you define the basic display options, such as which prices to display, whether or not to display vendors, and more. Many of these fields are defined in Counterpoint, but can be edited here. Be aware that the next time you do a publish, any fields controlled by Counterpoint will be changed when the publish file is uploaded.

NRO Catalog Product General

Stock Status Options

Basic stock status options for your site can be configured by accessing System / Configuration / Catalog / Inventory. This section will allow you to configure how out of stock items are handled, how they are displayed, quantity thresholds for out of stock items, carts, and backorders.


Stock Status for Gridded Items

Stock status for gridded items will changed based on the options you selected and the quantity on hand of each item. The gridded item will not be considered out of stock until all varieties / styles of the gridded item have been sold through. If a particular variety or style is sold through, then that option will not appear on the drop downs for the customer.

Item Editor

NRO: Catalog (horizontal top menu) / Manage Products / [pull up an item]

Use NRO’s Item Editor to edit item-specific information, including item-specific layouts, supplemental text, meta information, featured items, and more. To open the Item Editor, select Catalog / Manage Products, search for and then select the item to modify the properties. You will be presented with the product information menu that will allow you to browse through the various configurable options.

NRO Product Information Menu

Basic Info

The Item Editor displays basic information about this item. Most of this information will come from Counterpoint, but will still remain as editable fields. Be aware that fields controlled by Counterpoint will be overwritten the next time you do a publish. These fields include name, price and description fields.

NRO Catalog Products General Tab

Related Items

NRO: Catalog (horizontal top menu) / Manage Products /[open an item] / Related Items

Related items can be viewed under the Related Items tab in the item's Product Information screen. Two related items can be assigned in Counterpoint in Inventory / Items by populating the Substitute Items tab. However, an unlimited number of related items can be selected through the NRO Admin Panel.

Working with Prices

NRO uses many of the same flexible pricing options that you have in Counterpoint, including:

  • Alternate unit pricing
  • Discounts and promo codes
  • List price and selling price
  • Non-discountable items
  • Oversize pricing for gridded items
  • Sale prices for limited time promotions

 

Working with Quantities

When an item is out-of-stock, you can choose to display an out-of-stock message, suppress the Add to Cart button, hide the item so shoppers don’t see it, or do nothing (the shopper won’t know that the item is out-of-stock). You can also display customizable in-stock messages for selected items.

Quantity Available

Counterpoint: Setup / Ecommerce / Control

All quantity information comes directly from Counterpoint. To change how Counterpoint determines the available quantity, change the Qty available field on the Items tab of Setup / Ecommerce / Control.

CP Quantity Available

Counterpoint bases the available quantity on one of the following methods:

  • Item qty available: Total of all inventory quantities across all locations
  • Item qty on hand: Total of all inventory quantities across all locations, minus any inventory already committed
  • Location qty available: Inventory quantities from the store specified on the Main tab
  • Location qty on hand: Inventory quantities from the store specified on the Main tab, minus any inventory already committed

Each time an online order is placed, the quantity sold is subtracted from the Quantity available field for the item.This is how Out-of-stock status is determined in NRO. Customers do not see Qty available. Each time you publish data from Counterpoint and import it into NRO, the quantities will be updated.

Displaying Quantities Online

NRO: System / Configuration / Catalog / Inventory / Stock Options

 

At launch, NRO does not have the ability to display quantity on hand. You can, however, set a threshold on your inventory to alert customers when quantities of an item are low. For example, if you set an item to a threshold of 5, as soon as the stock on that item reaches 5 or less, NRO will inform customer viewing the item how many of that item are actually left in inventory.

 

Working with Alternate Units

WARNING: Do not rearrange the sequence of alternate units if you have outstanding orders on file in NRO. First import online orders, then change the order of the units, then publish item changes to NRO.

NRO supports alternate selling units so you can sell, for example, an item by the case, by the dozen, and as a single item. For items with alternate units, you will see a drop down menu on the item details screen that will allow you select which unit type you would like to purchase.

Working with Gridded Items

With NRO, you can change the item image for each color or style, suppress specific colors or sizes, change the grid’s display labels, customize the layout for gridded items, and use oversize prices.

NRO supports gridded items with up to three dimensions (e.g.,color/size/pattern) .

Changing the Image for Each Color

NRO: Catalog (horizontal top menu) / Manage Products / [open an item] / Images

You can assign cell-specific images for your gridded items so that when a shopper selects a different color or style, the image changes accordingly.

  1. Upload unique, images for each cell (color/pattern/etc.) using either the Integration Agent or a manual upload.
  2. Access the Product Information screen and click on the Images tab. All images associated with your item should be displayed here.
TIP: A naming convention is required to manage your gridded item images. This naming convention allows NRO to recognize that it the image is associated to a base item number, and will act as an alternate item image, or as another color / style in a swatch.

#APP-1920, name the color-specific images:

APP-1920^navy.jpg
APP-1920^ocean.jpg
APP-1920^red.jpg
 
When viewing the image in your storefront, selecting a new color or style will automatically change the image show. You will also be able to view these alternate images by clinking the thumbnails below the base item image.
 
NRO Item Image Swap

Suppressing Specific Colors or Sizes

For gridded items, all colors andsizes that are ‘stocked’ at your publishing location will be available for sale in your online store.

If you don’t want to sell specific colors or sizes online, you have two options:

  • In Counterpoint: Mark specific colors or sizes as ‘not stocked’ at the location you use to publish your ecommerce items.
    (NOTE: If you publish quantities from all locations, all colors and sizes will be eligible for online purchases.)
  • In NRO: Mark specific colors or sizes as "Exclude" from the item images tab inthe Product Information section.
NRO Item Image Suppression
TIP: Learn more about publishing data from one or more locations in"Publishing Ecommerce Data”.

Changing the Color/Size Labels

NRO: Catalog (horizontal top menu) / Manage Products /[open an item] / Images

Item labels can be changed under the Images tab on your Product Information screen. These labels will affect the mouse roll-over text seen by a customer when viewing the item search results. By default, image labels are blank,and will display the item name for roll-over text. For example, if a customer searches for Polo shirts, when the customer rolls their mouse-over a Patagonia Striped Polo Shirt, they should see that same item text.

By changing the item label, you will change the roll over text for items during searches. As a merchant, you can use these labels to add additional quick details to items if you want to display more than just the item name during the mouse roll over.

Layout Options for Gridded Items

NRO: Catalog (horizontal top menu) / Manage Products / [open an item]

By default, gridded items will be displayed using drop down menus when a customer views the item in your store. At launch, there will be no other options to change the way gridded items are displayed in your store. These maybe adjusted with other themes or extensions as the releases progress.

Oversize Pricing

NRO supports oversize pricing for gridded items. If you are using oversize prices, the selling price will display different based on the sized selected.

NRO Oversize Pricing 1NRO Oversize Pricing 2


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