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Release notes  | Agfa Graphics, Mortsel, BELGIUM  | 01 February 2017

StoreFront 4.0 release notes

Version 4.0 of the Apogee StoreFront and Asanti StoreFront web-to-print solutions will be released on February 19, 2017. The main new features are:

More information about StoreFront is available in the Online Help and the Online Help Addendum. Existing users should check the post-update guidelines.


Stores

Responsive stores

Responsive design is a web technology to optimize websites for being viewed and used across a wide range of devices, from mobile phones and tablets to large monitors. StoreFront now supports the creation of responsive stores so that pages automatically adapt themselves for easy reading and viewing on the device of the shopper. The need to scroll through long pages or zoom in to see essential product information is minimized. Ordering becomes easier on a phone or small tablet. The Analytics data of one of the most used private B2B stores showed that around six percent of all visits in December 2016 were done using a mobile device, up from around three percent one year before.

You can create a responsive store by activating the ‘Responsive Pages’ checkbox in the Stores > Style window. It is only available if the store style is set to ‘Show Colored Bars’ or ‘Show Custom Background’. Once activated, the store automatically adapts its size to the available screen real estate. When new storefronts are created, they will by default be responsive, using the ‘Show Custom Background’ style. Only stores are responsive, StoreCenter continues to use a fixed width layout.

  • On wide screen monitors, four categories or products are shown next to each other, instead of three. If a category contains more than 12 products, the additional products are shown on extra pages.
StoreFront 4.0 responsive store large
  • On smaller tablets and phones two categories or products are shown next to each other. In product pages all the page elements appear underneath each other: the product pictures are at the top, followed by the description, the order box and at the bottom the product specifications and the store footer.
StoreFront 4.0 responsive store small
  • When the browser window is too narrow to show all the links to additional pages, the menu partially collapses. Clicking the triple dots brings up the remaining links.

StoreFront 4.0 responsive menu bar
  • On mobile phone screens where there is no room for menu options, a hamburger button provides access to the additional pages and user profile data.
StoreFront 4.0 hamburger menu
  • In stores that use a custom footer, that footer should obviously also be responsive and adapt itself to the horizontal width of the screen. This is done by allowing the use of multiple footer cells. The example below shows three cells next to each other. In these frames contact details, links, payment icons, etc. can be added. On smaller screens those three cells will be positioned underneath each other instead of next to each other. The wide cell will contain the company address and a copyright message. It will span the full width of the store window on all display sizes.
StoreFront 4.0 store footer blocks small

The underlying framework used to make storefronts responsive is Bootstrap, an industry standard open source library. Bootstrap components and classes can be used in informational pages, custom footers, and product descriptions.

Control hovering behavior

When users position their mouse on top of category or product icons, the color of the rectangles is inverted and the thumbnails are replaced by a short description. Some companies have reported that their users find this effect distracting. A new dropdown menu in Stores > Style provides control over the hovering behavior. The available options for ‘Hovering Behavior’ are:

  1. Show short description in category and product rollovers – This was the default behavior up to this release.
  2. Show thumbnails in category and product rollovers – When this setting is used it still makes sense to add a category description for public stores because the text is inserted in the meta description tag and useful for SEO purposes. The short description is also shown in the search results of the quick search drop-down and the description of products in a kit.
StoreFront 4.0 hovering behavior

Product & Product Templates

Image SEO improvements

To further optimize StoreFront pages for search engines like Google or Bing, images on product pages get better metadata:

  • The product name is added to the alt tag of the main product image.
  • The original file name of images is added to the <alt> tag of the small preview images that are shown below the main image on product pages. It is recommended to use proper file names for images, not generic names like ‘DSC-2536236.jpg’.

Support for larger file uploads

When ordering posters, banners or big catalogs, customers may need to upload large files. Previously the maximum file size for uploadable products was set to 500MB. This has been increased to 1 GB.


Ordering & Checkout

Quote function

There are StoreFront shops that target resellers and print brokers. When a print broker needs to know the price for shipping 20 A0-sized posters and 5 roll-up banners to a location in Zurich, he or she would need to upload files in order to add the posters and banners to the cart, so that the shipping cost (and a possible surcharge cost on payment) can be calculated. Such a broker may obviously not yet have the content their customer wants to have printed. Up to now the solution was to upload dummy files.

To facilitate the creation of a price quote, there is a new ‘Quoting’ function. It is only available for users with a MallPack Gold or Platinum license.

There are two ways to activate the quoting function:

  • When it is enabled for a store by activating the ‘Quoting’ checkbox in Stores > General all the users get access to this function.
  • Quoting can also be activated for select users using the ‘Quoting’ checkbox on the profile page of the users.

When this option is activated, users of that particular store get two options in order boxes. The new second option is called ‘Add to Quote’. When it is clicked for a customizable, uploadable or variable data product, the shopper does not need to upload a file or customize the document.

StoreFront 4.0 add to quote

All the products which are added to a quote are listed in a new ‘Quote’ section in the shopping cart. There is a summary of the total price of all the items and a ‘Quote’ button that allows the user to specify a shipping address and select a payment method so that the shipping and payment costs can be calculated. 

StoreFront 4.0 create quotation

Once a quote has been generated, the user can use the pricing information to make a proposal for their customer. There is also an option to print the quote. Based on customer feedback this function will be enhanced in future releases of StoreFront. 

StoreFront 4.0 broker price quote

The quote function cannot yet be used for product kits. This will be added in a future update. When user account data are imported, there is no flag available to indicate which users are allowed to use the quote function. 

Renaming products

Users can now change the name of a customizable product when they reorder it. The rename window shown below pops up, allowing the shopper to give a different name to the new order item. There is also a ‘Rename‘ link in the shopping cart to change the name of customizable products. 

StoreFront 4.0 rename reordered product

Renaming can be handy for users who customize stationery for an entire team. They can reorder the letterhead from person A, change just the name to that of person B and leave the office address and other data untouched. The next time they need to reorder letterhead for person B, they can easily find the previous order back in the order history window.


Order Fulfilment & Shipping

Packaging for roll media

Sheets, flat substrates, and non-print products can be packaged in boxes. For roll media, there is now also a dedicated type of packaging unit, called a ‘Roll’. It is meant for prints that can be rolled up, such as posters or banners. Only unbound flat products and non-print products can be rolled up. 

StoreFront 4.0 packaging for shipping roll media

Once such a packaging unit is defined, you can specify per product how many meters or feet can be combined on a single roll. This is done in the Product Templates > Packaging Units window when you add the packaging unit. StoreFront will automatically rotate media to minimize the number of rolls. You cannot yet specify that certain media should not be rotated because of the paper grain or some other property.   

StoreFront 4.0 length roll media

Group order items in a single box

You can create a library of boxes and rolls for packaging orders. For each product you can then list which packaging units can be used. This allows StoreFront to calculate the shipping cost based on the number of boxes and rolls. With previous versions of StoreFront, each order item would be packed separately, which could lead to high shipping costs. StoreFront 4.0 uses a smarter packaging algorithm that can automatically combine multiple items in the same packaging unit. Obviously it only does this if the packaging unit is capable of holding the order items and the total weight of the items doesn’t exceed the maximum allowed weight of the box or length of the roll. Product kits and non-print products are not yet grouped in this release.
The overall policy for combining packaging units is defined in the Advanced > Shipping > Shipping Services window. It applies to services for which the ‘Calculation Method’ is set to ‘Fee per Packaging Unit’,’Fixed Fee per Package’, ‘Fee per Weight Unit’ or ‘Weight based Fee’. There are two options available for the ‘Packing Optimization’:

  • By Number of Packaging Units – StoreFront will try to use as few boxes and rolls as possible, even if this leads to higher shipping costs.
  • By Shipping Costs – StoreFront picks the combination of boxes and rolls with the lowest shipping cost, based on the shipping cost for first units, even if this leads to the use of additional packaging units.

Defining if a product can be combined with other items is done in the product wizard in the Set Price & Schedule window.

StoreFront 4.0 group items in box

For products that are packaged in a box, you can select:

  • None – do not combine the product with other products
  • Same Template – group the item with other items that are based on the same product template
  • Same Size – group the item with any product that allows grouping, provided that product has the same size, with a tolerance of five percent.

For products that are packaged on a roll, you can select:

  • None – do not combine the product with other products
  • Same Template – group the item with other items that are based on the same product template
  • Compatible Size – group the item with any product that allows grouping, provided that product’s dimensions fall within the minimum and maximum width constraints of the roll packaging unit dimensions.

Lower shipping costs for additional packaging units

Some couriers offer a discount if they need to transport more than one package to a customer. Shipping a single box may cost four euro, but adding a second box only adds three euro to that price. In the Advanced > Shipping > Shipping Services window you can now separately specify the shipping cost of a single packaging unit and of additional units. There is also a checkbox to configure if the highest price should only apply to the first and most expensive shipping unit, or whether it is applied to each packaging unit category. 

StoreFront 4.0 packaging pricing

Packaging instructions

For stores that use packaging based shipping, StoreFront can automatically generate a page with packaging instructions. It lists all the items in an order, showing which packaging units should be used for shipping and how items can be combined. To access this list, select an order and click the ‘Show Packaging Instructions’ button in the Orders window. 

StoreFront 4.0 packing instructions

General new features

Performance improvements

The shopping cart is updated much faster when a user orders multiple products that all have a complex pricing structure.
In the user profile pages, the page that shows all the products that the user previously ordered now displays much faster.
Product prices are now also cached. Users benefit from this but for an administrator updating prices, it means that it can take up to five minutes before changes to the prices of existing product templates become visible in the store.

Integration with MIS systems

When exchanging data with an MIS system using the MIS Export option, you can now specify that promo code discounts should be reported as a separate order item. Handling large orders which get split up in subitems to facilitate order processing in Apogee or Asanti has also been improved. 


Post-update action items

Some of the changes and new features in this release require an intervention from a printer administrator:

  • Visually check all existing stores in which custom HTML or CSS code was used to enhance the visual appeal of the store. Such effects may look slightly different after the update, even for stores that are not yet responsive.
  • Replace all Flash-based banners by HTML5 banners since browsers increasingly try to block Flash content.
  • If you use the MIS Template or the product MIS ID columns in the order Excel file, please note that the ’25:MIS Template’ and ‘26:MISID‘ columns now contain the correct values. Those two columns were switched in the previous version.

Contact

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