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Bluepark Solutions Ltd
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Stay informed of our latest developments
We are constantly striving to make Bluepark's software and services even better. All of our sites are updated regularly and automatically with the very latest features, improvements and bug fixes.
Our most recent and significant updates are recorded here for your information.
Customer EORI Numbers
Wednesday, 24 February 2021
Bluepark now supports the collection of customer EORI numbers, and the field will appear automatically if you are already displaying the VAT number field.
Promote Your Website with Klaviyo
Wednesday, 10 February 2021
Klaviyo connects to your Bluepark online shop to listen, collect, and store important information about what visitors are doing on your site. With this data you can then create highly targeted, personalised marketing campaigns to increase conversions. Automated abandoned basket emails and post-purchase targeting emails can also be used to improve customer experience and conversions.
Simply add your Klaviyo public API key via Integrations: Website Plugins.
Find out more on our dedicated Klaviyo page:
The Brexit Update
Friday, 1 January 2021
An hour before 1st January 2021, we implemented the changes to the VAT system brought about by Brexit. This update constitutes the biggest change to the Bluepark tax system for many years.
Broadly, UK companies will now treat EU countries the same way as they have done in the past for countries outside the EU. However, in order to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, NI will still apply many of the rules set by the EU.
Firstly, the EU flag has been removed from both the UK and the Isle of Man.
Secondly, in the Tax Rules section, the Default VAT Rate activates the Bluepark tax system. The VAT Countries setting determines where the default rate will be applied.
There is now a new setting, "Within the UK", available alongside the existing settings:
Within the UK
Our update has switched merchants across to "Within the UK" if they A: previously had "Within the EU" set, and B: have their country set as UK or Isle of Man in Settings: Company. This "Within the UK" setting works for Northern Ireland also, as it respects NI's unique status. Our system recognises Northern Ireland where the country is UK and the postcode begins with "BT".
The following is a summary of the VAT rules, following the changes.
Regardless of the VAT Countries setting, Bluepark treats Northern Ireland like any other EU country. Essentially, Northern Ireland behaves like the rest of the UK did in 2020.
Gov.uk Source 1
UK to EU (Goods):
VAT is no longer charged for sales from the UK to the EU, as is the case for sales to other countries overseas.
Overseas to UK (Goods):
This scenario is the most complex. VAT is not charged for sales from overseas to the UK, EXCEPT where the total value of the goods in the consignment is less than £135.
If this is the case, then the seller must register for UK VAT and charge it at the point of sale. If the buyer is also VAT registered in the UK, and supplies a VAT number, then VAT is not charged and the reverse charge mechanism comes into play.
This new threshold system, beginning with the UK, will extend to the EU in July 2021. The work we have done has prepared Bluepark to implement these changes when they come into effect.
Gov.uk Source 1
UK to EU (Digital Services):
Bluepark continues to respect the rules for selling digital services to the EU. If you use the VAT MOSS system, you must register for the scheme in an EU member state.
Overseas to UK (Digital Services):
Bluepark similarly respects the rules for selling digital services to the UK. You must register for VAT in the UK.
For sales to other countries, Bluepark will now modify invoices with additional information, if supplied. This includes your EORI number, along with the HS Code and Country of Origin for your products.
Because of the level of complexity involved in implementing the changes required to our system, and the short amount of time we have had to make these changes, we require all clients to take some responsibility to make sure that VAT is being applied correctly to their invoices. It is important to check orders very carefully before shipping and report any anomalies or errors to us immediately.
Friday, 13 November 2020
Picking lists now include the relevant order numbers, along with the corresponding quantities, on each product line. This feature can be disabled via Settings: Orders tab, if not required.
The CSV export feature now supports up to 10 exportable attributes and options, up from the previous limit of 5.
Buy Now, Pay Later with Klarna
Tuesday, 3 November 2020
Join the thousands of online shops using Klarna, the world's leading buy now, pay later provider, to increase conversion by offering customers flexible payment and financing options that are convenient for them. Klarna is now included as standard on all Bluepark packages, just connect your account and get selling.
Klarna is easy to set up on Bluepark, you just need a Klarna account to generate your API credentials. When creating your account, you will be asked for the name of the platform you're using - please select "API Integration" to proceed.
Klarna is a secondary payment processor, so it's designed to be an additional payment option alongside your primary payment processor. You can activate Klarna on its own dedicated tab via Integrations: Payment Options.
Find out more on our dedicated Klarna page:
Form Field Accessibility for Screen Readers
Wednesday, 23 September 2020
We have added HTML <label> tags to each of our form fields for all Bluepark sites. These tags don't affect the display of your forms, but they enable customers reliant on screen readers to identify what the form fields are for and complete them correctly.
Using Coupon Codes and Voucher Codes Together
Wednesday, 23 September 2020
A long-standing limitation has been removed. It is now possible for a customer to enter both a discount coupon code and a gift voucher code into the shopping basket for the same order.
This is now the default behaviour for all Bluepark sites. If, for any reason, you don't want your customers to be able to use both a coupon code and a voucher code for the same order, you can uncheck "Coupon Use with Vouchers" in Settings: Ecommerce Options.
Search Results and Sorting
Tuesday, 1 September 2020
It is now possible to sort product search results by Top Sellers, something that was not previously possible.
You can also now change the Default Order for search results from Relevance to one of the other sorting options via Settings: Catalogue.
Turn Blocks Into Popups!
Thursday, 13 August 2020
It is now possible to create popups easily via Content Blocks. Simply create your own custom block and, on the new Popup tab, tick the box to turn it into a popup. Because it's a block, it can contain any content you like, such as text, an image, or a form.
You are able to configure the delay, in seconds, before the popup is displayed, and whether it's displayed only once per visitor session or every time the page is viewed. You can customise the width, height and padding, the colours, an optional close button, and a semi-transparent background overlay.
Simply assign the popup to any page, just as you would a regular block. Remember to use popups sparingly, as too many popups can be distracting for your customers!
Export Products for Facebook and Instagram
Friday, 31 July 2020
There is now a Facebook Catalogue feed option, similar to the Google Shopping feed option, available via the Export Products section. This new feature can enable you to set up a Facebook Shop and to sell on Instagram.
For more information about how this can be used, please have a read of the following two blog posts:
How to: Set Up a Facebook Shop
How to: Sell on Instagram
Vimeo Videos on Product Pages
Friday, 31 July 2020
The YouTube Video ID field in the Product Editor now also supports Vimeo numeric video IDs. The lightbox player on the product page now supports both formats.
Apple Pay and Google Pay via Braintree or Stripe
Tuesday, 14 July 2020
For users of the Braintree or Stripe payment processors, it is now possible to activate both Apple Pay and Google Pay via Integrations: Payment Options.
Payment Processor Rebranding
Tuesday, 30 June 2020
Please note that Sage Pay has rebranded to Opayo, and SecureTrading has rebranded to Trust Payments. We have therefore updated the name and logo for these payment processors throughout the Admin Panel.
Thursday, 25 June 2020
There is now an API Log tab in the Admin Editor section, ideal for tracking activity and troubleshooting. Similarly, there is also an API Log tab in the Channel Editor for eBay channels.
For the Navigation Bar's parent links, there is now a Maximum Lines setting. This is useful for a "mega menu" where a large number of sub-categories are automatically listed below, and you need to force the list to split into a new column.
In the Blog Post Editor, along with the Featured Image for the category page, there is now a Main Image for the blog post page.
In the Form Editor, for a form with only one field, there is now a One Line setting. This forces the form field, label and button to display on a single line, ideal for a newsletter signup form, and easy to include in a block.
In the Addition Editor, there is now a Free Product setting. This, if the addition is selected, forces the product price to ZERO (along with free shipping), useful for products where you'd like to offer a "free sample" option to your customers.
Admin Panel Searches for Orders and Users
Thursday, 11 June 2020
We have made some necessary changes to how the search function in the Admin Panel works for orders and users specifically, as these database tables tend to grow very large over a long period of time.
These changes result in faster searches, and are due to improved indexing in our database. This was particularly urgent for some of our older sites, with order databases in excess of 1 million orders, where searches were previously taking between 5 and 20 seconds to complete. With the new indexing, searches will complete in less than a second.
However, for any database indexes to be used, the search term cannot start with a "wildcard" character, as has automatically been the case up until now.
For example, in the past, a search for "blue" could return:
After the changes today, that same search will only return:
This is because our searches no longer automatically start with a wildcard character, instead they will try to match from the left.
To achieve the same results as before, i.e. to find the search term anywhere within the target, simply prefix your search with an asterisk.
So instead of searching for "blue", you could search for "*blue", which would return:
Please note, there is no need to search for "blue*" as our system always does this, automatically.
Whilst we appreciate that this does involve an extra keypress when performing some searches, it also enables the database to perform as it should, and to use its indexes whenever possible. This is far more efficient than performing a "deep" search every time, regardless of whether it is needed.
The search field now has a tooltip when you hover over it, reminding you to prefix your search with a * for a wildcard search. However, we strongly recommend that you only use this when necessary, as it is considerably slower, especially on larger sites.
Finally, if you're an eBay user and want to search for an eBay username, simply append + to the end of the search to perform an extended search.
Once again, this only affects the search field in the order and user sections.
Wednesday, 13 May 2020
Our focus during this unprecedented situation is two-fold:
Firstly, to ensure the health and safety of our staff, so that they can continue to provide the very best level of customer support.
Secondly, to ensure that our platform and servers remain fully operational, stable and secure.
At the start of lockdown, we acted swiftly and put in place systems and procedures to enable our staff to work from home, in order to maintain a continuous and reliable service.
The current Government guidelines are clear, that those who can work from home should continue to do so. We will, therefore, be continuing with remote working for the time being. Despite the additional challenges, we are working extremely hard to maintain the exceptional quality of service we are renowned for.
Currently, we are experiencing a higher volume of telephone calls, and handling them with more limited resources. At this time, we urge our customers to make use of our ticketing system where possible and thank you for your understanding:
We look forward to returning to normality as soon as we can do so safely.
Advanced Shipping for Multiple Shipping Codes
Tuesday, 21 April 2020
There is now a new Advanced Shipping feature in Settings: Ecommerce Options.
This setting toggles whether multiple shipping methods sharing the same name, but with different shipping codes assigned, can be applied simultaneously to an order, the sum total becoming the consolidated shipping charge, without the need for a catch-all shipping method.
So this means, for example, that you could create two (or more) shipping methods, both with the name "UK Shipping" (you can give each its own individual Reference, to differentiate them).
One of the UK Shipping methods could be set to apply to A shipping codes only, the other could be set to apply to B shipping codes only.
Under the previous system, if the customer had a mixed basket of both A and B products, neither of these shipping methods could apply. You would need a third "catch-all" shipping method which is capable of shipping both A and B products, leading to more complexity and less accurate shipping charges.
Under the new system, if two or more shipping methods share the same name, the shipping charge will be calculated by applying each shipping method to only the products it supports, then adding the totals together.
This means you can present a more accurate shipping charge using fewer shipping methods.
We have made this an option because we are aware that some users will prefer the previous system, therefore it will require activation. Advanced Shipping is the default for all new Bluepark sites.
Introducing the New PayPal Commerce Platform
Wednesday, 25 March 2020
We are pleased to announce the launch of the new PayPal Commerce Platform, now fully integrated and available to all Bluepark customers.
We have worked closely with PayPal to produce one of the most detailed integrations we have ever built for a payment processor, and this will be the default payment option for new customers.
The PayPal Commerce Platform can be used either as the primary payment processor, or as a secondary payment processor. For new customers, the previous PayPal integrations (Standard, Express and Pro) are being retired.
There are several reasons to consider upgrading from your existing PayPal integration. Firstly, when used as the primary payment processor, this integration supports the entry of credit and debit card information directly on your payment page, but in a way that is completely PCI compliant (SAQ-A). The implementation of 3D Secure is fully PSD2 compliant.
In addition, the PayPal payment option, available on both the shopping basket and payment pages, uses lightbox technology, ensuring that your customers never leave your site.
This integration dispenses with the old IPN payment confirmation method, delivering a tighter, ultra-reliable payment solution for yourself and your customers. It supports both instant and deferred payments, along with refunds via the Bluepark Admin Panel, plus webhooks which will update a payment's status automatically.
For PayPal Payments Pro users interested in switching, there is NO MONTHLY FEE for the PayPal Commerce Platform (currently £20 for Pro) and in most cases lower fees (starting at 1.2% + £0.30).
To find out more about the brand new PayPal Commerce Platform, please follow the link below:
The PayPal Commerce Platform is available to use now via Integrations: Payment Options, simply select it from the menu and click the Connect with PayPal button to get started.
Weathering the COVID-19 Storm
Tuesday, 24 March 2020
In times of great uncertainty, and this surely counts as one of them, all businesses are thinking about how they can adapt and change to meet the circumstances we are facing. We are all considering the best strategies to get us through this incredibly difficult time and mitigating losses. It's made all the harder when the biggest question of all, 'how long will this last', is impossible to answer.
But, with so many bricks and mortar business closures, surely online businesses are far better placed to weather this storm. This is the time to think creatively about how to tackle this problem. Check out the wide range of things you can do to make a difference:
We are with you throughout and happy to answer any questions you may have to help you get through this.
New Breadcrumb Structured Data
Wednesday, 22 January 2020
Google has removed support for the data-vocabulary.org markup which we used for our breadcrumb trails:
This structured data is important, because it improves the way your site is displayed in Google's search results.
We have immediately updated our system to use the recommended schema.org markup, these changes are live now.
Enhancements for Sage Pay, Braintree and Stripe
Friday, 15 November 2019
The payment processors Sage Pay, Braintree and Stripe all now support "proper" refunds via the Order Processor. The Refunded field has, up until now, been a purely cosmetic feature, with the refund itself having to be performed via the payment processor's website.
Sage Pay, Braintree and Stripe orders will feature a box next to the Refunded field. When ticked, this will turn the field red and will attempt to refund the customer when clicking Save Changes. You will always be warned that you are performing a refund, and the intended amount, when clicking the Save button, so there is no possibility for refunds to be given accidentally.
The amount to be refunded will always be the difference between the old value and the new value. For example, if you have refunded £10 already, and change the value to £30, then the system will prepare to refund an additional £20. If you're refunding the full amount, the system will always try to void the payment, if possible, as opposed to refunding it, to avoid unnecessary charges for you.
Because refunds are a very serious matter, they are not available to everyone by default. Admin user accounts with Global access will have refunds enabled automatically, otherwise they will need to be enabled manually per account. This safety feature is also respected via the API.
Finally, for Sage Pay and Braintree only, it is now possible to toggle whether settlement batch information should be downloaded nightly to help reconcile payments with bank deposits. This information is displayed in the Order Manager, alongside the order total. You can activate this feature via Integrations: Payment Options, on the Sage Pay or Braintree tab. The Sage Pay option will require your Sage Pay username and password, as it does for The 3rd Man fraud results.
Monday, 11 November 2019
We have made a number of changes relating to shipping, some of which are in use now, others in preparation for future updates.
We have added two fields to the Values tab of the Product Editor, these are the Commodity Code and the Country of Origin. These are also reflected on the Variants tab of the Product Editor. Together with the EORI Number field in Settings, this information will form the basis of a new commercial invoice that we intend to make available for international orders. The intention is that the standard VAT invoice is still sent the customer, but the commercial invoice can be printed via the Admin Panel for customs checks.
You are able to start populating commodity codes and the two letter ISO country codes for products immediately, if you plan to use this feature.
There is now a Safe Place field in the Shipping Editor, on the Fulfilment tab, for each shipping method. If you've previously been using the Customer Comments workaround for this purpose, deactivate this first, on the Fulfilment tab, to see the new field. The Safe Place information is reported in the Order Processor, but is ultimately intended to be passed to Royal Mail's Click & Drop integration.
We have been informed that commodity codes, the country of origin and the Safe Place field will be included in Click & Drop, for all Bluepark sites, early in the New Year.
Finally, you are now able to assign weights to Additions, in the same way that you can currently assign charges. The weight of an Addition, if selected by the customer, is added onto the weight of the product, which can affect shipping calculations.
Customer Address Book Feature
Friday, 27 September 2019
Customers who have registered on your site are now able to store multiple addresses in their user accounts. They are able to add, edit and remove saved addresses with ease, use them as billing or shipping addresses, and switch between them with just a few clicks.
This is a very powerful feature and one that significantly improves the checkout experience, particularly for returning customers.
For this reason, we recommend that everyone activates the new Address Book feature via Settings: Orders tab, under Checkout Options.
Braintree and Stripe: SCA Ready
Tuesday, 10 September 2019
The Braintree and Stripe payment processors are now ready for Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) on 14 September. The integrations have been updated, there are no changes required by Bluepark customers.
Google Product Review Feed
Monday, 5 August 2019
All Bluepark sites using the Business Park package and above now have a Google Product Review feed, which can be found in the Product Reviews section. This XML feed URL can be provided to Google for them to fetch periodically.
Listing Special Order Products on eBay
Thursday, 1 August 2019
To date, special order (SPO) products have not been exportable to eBay, as they do not have a defined quantity.
You are now able set a Special Order Quantity for eBay channels, on the Publishing Options tab of the Channel Editor (and for Channel Profiles).
This will set the number you specify as the quantity in stock for all SPO products, and will therefore include them in the export to eBay.
Free Shipping Enhancement
Thursday, 25 July 2019
In the Product Editor, on the Values tab, the Free Shipping checkbox has been changed to a drop-down selector with three options:
The new "whole order" option means that, if this product is present in the basket, it will cause all other products in the basket to be flagged as having free shipping also.
Royal Mail Click & Drop Integration
Thursday, 25 July 2019
We're delighted to inform our customers that Royal Mail's Click & Drop service has now been fully integrated with Bluepark. This integration was built by Royal Mail themselves, using our API, and enables you to book your Bluepark deliveries with ease via Click & Drop.
You can read more about the integration via the following link:
We're grateful to everyone who helped to make this happen by voting for a Bluepark integration with Royal Mail.
Drop Shipper Email Logging and Tracking
Wednesday, 24 July 2019
Drop shipping is a popular way of fulfilling orders, as it does not require holding physical stock, but it is reliant on the supplier fulfilling the order on your behalf. Bluepark's method of informing the drop shipper is to send an email, but emails are not always 100% reliable.
For this reason, the Email Log now has a selector to switch from Recent Emails to Drop Shipper Emails (if you are using this feature). These are the emails you have recently sent to your suppliers requesting order fulfilment, each email can be resent if necessary.
Drop shipper emails are also tracked, so we record when the emails were viewed (although drop shippers viewing emails as plain text, or with images disabled, will not trigger views).
As well as direct access via the Email Log, you will find links to drop shipper emails via the Order Processor and also the Supplier Editor, on the Drop Shipping tab, where they are found to exist.
Google Analytics and Facebook Pixel Tracking
Tuesday, 16 July 2019
Bluepark now fully supports both Google Analytics and Facebook Pixel tracking.
Google Analytics has always been supported, but we have expanded on the integration by adding tracking calls for "add to basket" events, initiating checkout, and progressing to the payment stage of checkout, along with recording successful purchases.
Facebook Pixel tracking is now available on the same basis, for the first time. All you need to do is enter your Facebook Pixel number via Integrations: Social Media.
Help Scout API V2 Supported
Friday, 21 June 2019
We have updated our Help Scout integration to work with their latest V2 API, as V1 is no longer supported. For existing users, no changes are necessary, our integration will generate a new access token automatically.
If you are looking for a help desk or live chat solution for your site, you can create your own Help Scout integration via Integrations: Website Plugins.
Sort Products by Quantity Reserved
Wednesday, 3 April 2019
It is now possible to sort your products by Quantity Reserved via the Product Manager, this was particularly requested for use in conjunction with the Purchase Order system.
Your New Bluepark Admin Panel
Tuesday, 5 March 2019
Welcome to your brand new Bluepark Admin Panel!
The software you use to build and manage your site has been redesigned to be more intuitive, more logically organised, easier to navigate, and more pleasurable to operate.
That being said, every section of the Admin Panel that you've been using up to this point is still here. One or two sections have been renamed to be less ambiguous.
The change to the navigation system is probably the first thing you will notice. We've introduced a left-hand vertical menu that provides easy access to all areas of the system at all times.
However, as we always do, we've enabled you to choose how you wish to navigate the Admin Panel. Simply click on the grey "Menu >>" link to switch to the horizontal menu bar you're used to using, and back again - whenever you like. We strongly encourage you to give the left-hand menu a try, on larger screens it provides better visibility of where you are within the system, along with notification badges for orders, updates and more.
We've done our best to put everything you need where you need it. For example, the Product Editor provides you with full access to categories, brands, attributes, options and more via convenient lightboxes, without ever leaving the page.
The old Configuration section has been split into Settings and Integrations, the latter of which will become our primary focus moving forward. It's important to note that payment processor configuration is now contained within Integrations, along with all other third party extensions.
Some areas of our system contain a large number of form fields. We have made these areas easier to navigate by breaking up the page into named, collapsible sections, with visible tooltips and recommended fields to be completed.
You'll notice that previewing pages and products from within the Admin Panel will open your site in a lightbox, this particular behaviour can be changed via your Admin User account, if you prefer to always open the site in a new browser tab.
All HTML editors, file selectors and similar functions now open in lightboxes instead of popup windows.
These are just some of the changes and improvements we've made, literally every area of the system has been reviewed and redesigned to some degree. Please feel free to explore the system, and we hope you enjoy the changes.
Google Analytics and Ads Upgraded to Global Site Tag
Tuesday, 13 November 2018
Google's global site tag (gtag.js) has now been implemented on all Bluepark sites automatically, replacing the previous implementation (analytics.js) which has been deprecated by Google.
The new tag is quicker to load and makes it far easier to track website users and purchases. All purchases will be tracked by Google Analytics as standard with our integration.
For Google Ads users, in Settings: Website tab, along with the Google Analytics Tracking ID, there is now also a Google Ads Conversion ID. This can be obtained via the Google Ads website when viewing their suggested conversion code and has the format AW-XXXXXXXXXX.
Adding this ID, along with their suggested Conversion Code in Settings: Orders tab, will enable you to monitor your Google Ads conversions.
All previous instances of Google Analytics code, Google AdWords conversion code, and remarketing code in your template, can now be removed, as these were all based on the previous (analytics.js) implementation.
For more information about gtag.js, please see below:
Form Label Alignment: Modernising Bluepark Forms
Wednesday, 4 July 2018
All fashions change and website design is no exception. An important component of a modern website is having modern looking forms, and Bluepark's default form style was looking dated.
Modern forms typically align the form label above the field, instead of positioning it along the left-hand side. Modern form fields are also typically larger, with more "white space" and greater font sizes.
We have provided some new options for forms, along with giving our default Bluepark Flat and Bluepark Glass templates a makeover, increasing the site width, the font size, and the spacing between each section of the page.
You can see this in action now on our demonstration site:
The new form styling, specifically, can be activated on any Bluepark site with ease. Go to the Template Manager, edit your default template and click on the Forms tab. Set "Form Label Alignment" to "Above, Including Products" (there is an option to prevent this change from affecting forms on product pages, such as additions, in case this would break existing layouts).
Along with changing the label alignment, we recommend making some other changes. You can now remove colons from the end of all form labels. We recommend setting a Form Field Width, 700px is the default value on our new templates (our forms are responsive, so this is a maximum width only). We also recommend setting a Form Field Height of 40px. These settings will give all of your forms a more modern feel.
If you have a custom-designed template, please check with your designer before you make this change.
Other form-related changes include the ability to completely disable the Customer Title field (Mr, Mrs, etc.) and the Telephone Number field via Settings: Orders tab, if they are not relevant to your business.
Finally, we have integrated Google reCAPTCHA V2 which can be used to override the default Bluepark human verification feature (adding the two numbers together). You can enter your Google reCAPTCHA V2 Site Key and Secret Key via Settings: Website tab, after obtaining them from the site below:
We will soon be releasing a blog tutorial to help you to further modernise your existing template, or to select a new one without disrupting your existing site. Many of our customers are unaware of how easy it is to change your template at any time, and this is one of Bluepark's most powerful assets!
Image Inheritance: Simplifying Bluepark Images
Wednesday, 4 July 2018
Up until today, Bluepark sites have typically stored 4 image files per product image, representing each of the following sizes:
1. The large / zoom image, being the highest quality version with the largest file size.
2. The main image, a smaller version used on the product detail page.
3. The thumbnail image, smaller still and used on product list pages such as categories and search results.
4. The basket image, the smallest version, used in the shopping basket and on email correspondence.
As Bluepark enters its 12th year, some of the reasons for certain design decisions are no longer as relevant today.
It is true that having physically smaller image files, as opposed to displaying large images with smaller dimensions set, reduces the amount of data the customer needs to download when viewing the site, speeding up the delivery of the page. However, the gains made when scaling down from the main image to the thumbnail image, and especially from the thumbnail image to the basket image, are now virtually insignificant compared to the impracticality of managing 4 separate image sizes.
Our proposal is to reduce this from 4 images to just 2, being the large image and the main image, with the smaller sizes inheriting the main image. This maintains a balance between loading times and practicality. As we're aware that some of our customers will want to continue with the existing system, we've made this change entirely optional.
You can see this in action now on our demonstration site:
To activate this feature, go to Settings: Products tab and tick the Image Inheritance box. You will notice that another box appears to unassign existing thumbnail and basket images from all products. This is recommended, otherwise nothing will effectively change.
Once your thumbnail and basket images have been unassigned, and you're happy with the site, you can then delete all of your thumbnail and basket images via the File Manager or via FTP.
If you have a custom-designed template, please check with your designer before you make this change.
Other image-related changes include the use of the largest image on the product detail page, which is great for retina displays. Finally, our image resizing function now copies across the ICC profile, preventing images with embedded colour profiles from looking "washed out" after being resized.
TLS 1.2 Enforced for PCI DSS Compliance
Tuesday, 3 July 2018
In accordance with the PCI DSS deadline of 30 June 2018, all HTTPS connections to Bluepark servers now require the TLS 1.2 protocol, meaning that TLS 1.0 and TLS 1.1 have been disabled.
For more information regarding the reason for this change, please visit the following page:
If you use the Bluepark API, please ensure that any applications generating requests are able to support TLS 1.2, all modern operating systems should support this already.
If you use the QuickBooks Web Connector, for QuickBooks Desktop, and have any connectivity issues, please upgrade to the latest Web Connector version:
GDPR Compliance Regarding Cookies
Wednesday, 23 May 2018
You can view an example now on our demonstration site:
The banner is, by default, semi-transparent with a black and white theme and therefore suitable for use on all sites, it is also fully responsive and looks great on mobile devices. The text used can be edited via the Language Manager, and the CSS can be found in the master CSS file in the Template Editor.
We opted for an informational banner rather than trying to design something which would literally disable cookies without consent. The reason for this is that ALL ecommerce sites strictly require "session" cookies in order to recognise users navigating from page to page, storing the contents of their shopping basket, and enabling them to complete the checkout flow.
To quote the ICO:
1. You must tell people if you set cookies, and clearly explain what the cookies do and why. You must also get the user's consent. Consent must be actively and clearly given.
2. There is an EXCEPTION for cookies that are essential to provide an online service at someone's request (e.g. to remember what's in their online basket).
3. This means you are unlikely to need consent for cookies used to remember the goods a user wishes to buy when they add goods to their online basket or proceed to the checkout on an internet shopping website.
Once the user has clicked on the button to close the banner, the date and time is stored in the Bluepark database and the customer will no longer see the banner on future visits (unless they change their browser, device, or delete their cookies).
Some of our competitors have elected not to provide a built-in cookie banner, there is an argument that it might not be necessary for ecommerce websites, but we wanted to give our customers the final decision in the matter. Should you require more technical information about Bluepark's cookies and how they are used, please see the forum post below:
Finally, revisiting the subject of consent, the argument has been made by some of our customers that the "follow-up" emails, namely the abandoned basket, feedback request and follow-up request emails, can be argued to fall under the banner of "legitimate interests":
We have therefore added an option, via Settings: Orders tab, to allow such emails to be sent regardless of the user's contact preference. Once again, our customers have the final decision.
GDPR Compliance Regarding Personal Information
Thursday, 17 May 2018
GDPR does not set out any specific minimum or maximum periods for retaining personal data. Instead, it says that personal information should not be kept for longer than is necessary. To this end, we have provided some additional features to manage your customers' personal information.
In the User Manager, there is now an option at the bottom of the page to bulk delete either "non-customers" or "all users" who have not visited the site since a date of your choosing. It's important to note that deleting user accounts will not affect their corresponding orders, as the billing and shipping addresses used are stored safely in the order database.
Should you wish to delete order information as well, it is possible to do this via the Order Manager. However, since VAT information should be stored for a minimum of 6 years, we are only displaying this function where you have orders that are over 6 years old. Please take care when deleting users and orders as these actions are permanent and irreversible.
It is important that the personal information accessible via the User Manager and the Order Manager is secure, this is why we have introduced a new setting for admin user accounts which can be used to disable CSV exports, this setting can be found in the Admin Editor per admin user account.
Finally, the order notification email sent to the shop owner contains the customer's personal information. This information can now be stripped via a new option in Settings: Orders tab. This will enable you to avoid storing your customers' personal information within your company email accounts.
GDPR Compliant Consent via Bluepark
Monday, 14 May 2018
GDPR compliance means that consent requires a positive opt-in. All Bluepark sites now enforce this automatically, there are no pre-ticked boxes for consent.
A more challenging facet of the new rules is that you must record evidence of consent, namely when consent was given, how it was given and what they were told.
The email newsletter feature built into Bluepark's Business and Enterprise Park packages can be used to contact recipients from a number of different sources; we will address each in detail.
1. Registered Users and Guest Customers
The User Manager includes all registered users who have previously ticked the Allow Contact box on the site, these can be a mixture of customers and non-customers.
The Order Manager includes all non-registered customers, referred to as "guests", who have previously ticked the Allow Contact box on the site when checking out.
This consent is no longer GDPR compliant, so you must send out a new email requesting them to subscribe via an included "subscribe" link. We will then record the date and time of consent, along with a reference to the email newsletter used to request consent, i.e. "what they were told". It is important that you retain the email, unmodified, for this purpose.
In future, customers ticking the Allow Contact box on the site will have the date and time of consent recorded, along with the specific line of text that was displayed alongside the box, i.e. "what they were told".
2. Newsletter Registrations via Forms
It is possible for you to import email addresses into the email newsletter feature from a form on your site which records submissions.
This consent is technically GDPR compliant, as the user opted in, the date and time were recorded, and the form represents what the customer was told. It is important that you retain the form and any block or page serving as a container for it, unmodified, for this purpose.
3. Additional Recipients via CSV
It is possible for you to import email addresses sourced externally into the email newsletter feature from a CSV file.
Whether or not GDPR compliant consent has been obtained for such email addresses is very much outside the scope of Bluepark's software and must be managed externally.
Additionally, product review requests will now observe the Allow Contact setting, rather than receiving special privileges.
In order for you to easily obtain GDPR compliant consent from your previously opted-in customers, we have created a new "Non-GDPR Compliant Users" option on the Recipients tab of the Newsletter Editor. There is also a new %subscribe variable which can be used within the body of the email, enabling your customers to click on a link and re-subscribe with ease.
To further save you time, we have created an example email which you can simply copy, paste and customise, please click the link below to visit our forums:
For our complete guide to becoming GDPR compliant with Bluepark, please click the link below to visit our blog:
Tuesday, 8 May 2018
We are pleased to announce today that we have completed a comprehensive integration of the Stripe payment processor:
This is another "next generation" payment processor, similar in function to Braintree, which includes features unavailable on many other payment systems. As with all of our supported payment solutions, you can select this as your primary payment processor via Integrations: Payment Options tab.
Simply click the Connect with Stripe button to get started.
The solution is fully PCI DSS compliant, despite the fact that the customer never leaves your site throughout the payment process.
The customer's card details appear to be entered directly into standard form fields on your site. These fields are technically "iframes", the customer's card data never reaches your site. 3D Secure (Verified by Visa and MasterCard SecureCode) is presented in a lightbox. Payments may be settled immediately or deferred until despatched.
All payment methods may be stored with Stripe for future use. This means that your customers can store any number of payment methods and manage them from their account area, including adding additional cards without making a payment, with absolutely no additional cost to yourself.
Stripe also works with our Recurring Billing feature.
QuickBooks Online Integration
Friday, 6 April 2018
Following the start of the new financial year on 1st April this week, we are pleased to announce the release of our QuickBooks Online integration. This functions in a similar manner to our existing QuickBooks Desktop integration, but enjoys all the benefits of a cloud-based solution with no additional software to install. It is provided at no additional cost to users of our Enterprise Park package.
The setup and configuration procedure has been detailed in the following guide:
The integration initially supports Sales Receipts, Invoices and Payments. Based on demand, we may expand this to include the newly introduced Purchase Orders as well.
For our customers patiently waiting for our Stripe payment processor integration, please be assured that this is nearly complete. It was delayed only to facilitate the release of our QuickBooks Online integration in time for the new financial year.
Privacy Change for GDPR
Thursday, 8 March 2018
In preparation for the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) from the EU, we have now restricted the Allow Contact feature to function on an "opt-in" basis only. This means that the Allow Contact box will be unticked by default, requiring the customer to tick the box if they wish to receive unsolicited email correspondence.
Purchase Order Enhancements
Monday, 12 February 2018
We have made some enhancements to the purchase order system following the initial feedback we've received since the feature was released.
When a product is added, you are now able to edit the default cost price, this can be useful if a supplier offers tiered pricing based on the quantity you're ordering. As before, this value and others may also be clicked and edited after the purchase order has been saved.
There is now an additional Display Quantity field on each product line. This optional field enables you to enter an alternative description of the quantity you're purchasing, in place of the numeric unit quantity that you'll be booking back into stock. This is essential if the product in question is sold in packs or by volume, rather than the individual units you sell on your site. The Display Quantity appears only on the purchase order document.
If you enter a Display Quantity, it is recommended that you update the cost price accordingly. If you enter "2 Packs" as your Display Quantity, you should enter the cost price for 1 pack, as the system will identify the numeric value and multiply the cost. If you enter "10kg" as your Display Quantity, with no space after the numeric value, then you should enter the cost price for 10kg, as the system will not multiply the cost.
Cost prices may be removed entirely from the purchase order document via the new setting in Settings: Orders tab.
The Supplier Editor now has a field for adding comments regarding the supplier. These will appear in the purchase order list, as they do against sales orders.
Finally, the currency associated with the purchase order can now be edited, along with the reference and comments.
Purchase Order System
Monday, 29 January 2018
Today we are releasing the first of this year's major features, our very own purchase order system. This feature represents the final component of our comprehensive stock management solution.
It was always our intention to build on the foundation of the Supplier Manager and create a purchase order system, this can now be found via Purchase Orders in the Orders menu, featured in our Business Park and Enterprise Park packages at no extra cost.
A purchase order is created by selecting a supplier, then adding the products and variants you require, along with the quantities you need. Having the existing stock information on-hand, along with the number of units recently sold, makes this job quicker and easier than ever before.
Once the purchase order is ready, changing the status from Unfinished to Pending gives you the option to send the PDF version to the supplier via e-mail, otherwise you are able to print a copy and send it by other means. Purchase orders may be customised in the same way that invoices and despatch notes are currently handled.
Once the order is Pending, you are able to specify an Expected Delivery Date which will automatically update the product page the customer sees, should the product be out of stock. This can be overridden per product line, if the order is likely to be fulfilled in multiple shipments. Letting the customer know when new stock is expected is far more likely to result in an order being placed, when an item is temporarily unavailable.
You are able to book products back into stock either individually or in bulk by simply completing the purchase order, in the same way that you would complete a regular sales order.
This feature is designed to help you identify which products have either low or no stock, to create and send a purchase order, to automatically inform your prospective customers, and to simplify the task of booking new stock in. We hope you will find this an invaluable and time-saving feature for your business.
Following the introduction of this feature to the Business and Enterprise packages, we have slightly rebalanced the Retail package, the details of which can be found on our website. We have also moderately redesigned the Admin Console's menu system in a more logical and intuitive format, particularly the new Promotion menu which now contains all features related to promoting your site.
PayPal Powered by Braintree + Recurring Billing
Tuesday, 1 August 2017
We are pleased to announce today that we have completed a comprehensive integration of PayPal Powered by Braintree:
We see this as a "next generation" payment processor which includes features unavailable on many other payment systems. As with all of our supported payment solutions, you can select this as your primary payment processor via Integrations: Payment Options tab.
Simply click the Connect with Braintree button to get started.
PayPal Powered by Braintree supports card payments (including Visa, MasterCard and American Express) and PayPal payments as standard. The solution is fully PCI DSS compliant, despite the fact that the customer never leaves your site throughout the payment process.
The customer's card details appear to be entered directly into standard form fields on your site. These fields are technically "iframes", the customer's card data never reaches your site. 3D Secure (Verified by Visa and MasterCard SecureCode) is presented in a lightbox, as is the PayPal payment method. Payments may be settled immediately or deferred until despatched.
All payment methods, including PayPal, may be stored in the Braintree Vault for future use. This means that your customers can store any number of payment methods and manage them from their account area, including adding additional cards without making a payment, with absolutely no additional cost to yourself.
This last feature means that we are now able to re-introduce a feature we previously discontinued. Our Recurring Billing feature is now available, at NO additional cost, throughout ALL of our ecommerce packages when using PayPal Powered by Braintree.
Finally, one of the most exciting Braintree features is its support for additional payment solutions. Watch out for the inclusion of Apple Pay, coming soon.
PayPal Powered by Braintree is now the default payment method presented to new Bluepark customers. A sandbox/test integration is currently live on our demonstration site:
Please feel free to place a test order to see the integration in action.
Multiple Feature Improvements
Friday, 2 June 2017
Previously, customer comments could simply be enabled or disabled globally via Settings: Orders tab. Now, via the Shipping Editor for each shipping method, they can be set to either follow the global setting or be forced as enabled or disabled. Setting the customer comments to be enabled on any shipping method will cause the field to be positioned directly beneath the shipping method selector during checkout. An optional line of help text and a character limit can also be set per shipping method. This enables you to create specific guidelines, and communicate them to the customer, for each shipping method.
The character limit feature, already available for product additions and forms, will now alert the customer when they keep typing beyond the enforced limit. This will prevent partial submissions from customers who were not aware that they had reached the character limit.
In the Shopping Basket, a long-standing limitation has been lifted regarding discount/voucher codes and loyalty points, with one cancelling out the other. The default behaviour is now to allow both promotional codes and loyalty points to be applied to the order simultaneously. If, for any reason, you would prefer that they continue to cancel each other out, you can disable this setting via Settings: Ecommerce Options tab.
Regarding gift vouchers, and the ability to add multiple voucher codes via the Shopping Basket, we have changed the small + symbol to an (Add More?) link which will be more noticeable for customers.
Also on the Settings: Ecommerce Options tab is a new option to add the total order weight to the Shopping Basket, displayed beneath the shipping method selector.
Expanding on the recent enhancements to the order processing system, the Order Processor will now provide an instant and visible indicator of whether any actions you're about to take will trigger an automatic e-mail. The Append to E-Mail function will now also work for Drop Shipper e-mails sent when picking products and generating despatch notes. The Activity Log feature has been further improved to include actions concerning refunds, along with the amount refunded.
Within the Supplier Editor, it is now possible to include the cost price for each item beneath the product title on despatch notes, if required, via the Drop Shipper tab. Also, via Settings: Ecommerce Options tab, it is now possible to include the internal shipping reference, if one has been provided.
Within both the User Group and User Editor sections, on the Pricing Exceptions tab, both cost prices and the MPN are included for reference, if available. For each User Group, it is now possible to enable pro forma invoices, if they are not already enabled globally.
Product Attributes, Additions and Labels can now be toggled as active or inactive, providing an easy way to toggle these features on and off without the need to update the assigned products themselves. Product Labels may also now be copied.
Customer reviews can now be ordered by Most Helpful on the product page, instead of the default Most Recent setting, via the Block Editor.
Both the Block and Form Manager sections now have a Find function for the block or form ID number, the same number that is used in the variable which can be included in custom HTML code. This makes identifying which block or form relates to which ID number much easier.
Finally, the Unsubscriptions section now supports both imports and exports via CSV files.
Order Processing Improvements
Friday, 19 May 2017
To provide more transparency and accountability for staff processing orders, the Order Processor page now includes an Activity Log link which allows you to view all significant actions taken, date-stamped with the name of the admin user making the change. This feature was previously less visible and only logged order completion, it is now far more detailed. Activities logged include picking and shipping (whether partially or fully), custom status changes, payment status changes and order edits (along with the resulting change to the order total).
The Order Processor page also details the number of product lines and the number of individual items at the bottom of the product list.
There is now an option to Defer Customer Invoices via Settings: Orders tab. Up until now, the PDF invoice has always been attached to the order confirmation e-mail sent to the customer, this suits many businesses but not others. The new option enables you to attach the PDF invoice to the order completion e-mail instead, this also allows eBay sellers an opportunity to send an invoice when completing eBay orders.
Also via Settings: Orders tab, it is now possible to show invoices as paid, displaying "INVOICE (PAID)" instead of just "INVOICE" for orders requiring no further payment. This is useful for any merchants issuing invoices to individuals within companies who might be unaware of the settlement status.
A final addition to Settings: Orders tab, it is now possible to display outstanding backordered products on despatch notes. This will result in two distinct product lists on the despatch note document, the first being items "for delivery", the second being items "to follow". Further to this, the total number of individual items is included at the bottom of each product list, as a final check for packers.
Lastly, for drop shippers, there is now an option within the Supplier Editor to display the drop shipper's address on the despatch note, in place of your own. This can be helpful to avoid returns being sent to the wrong address by customers.
Friday, 28 April 2017
The Export Product Data feature now has a File Name field which, if populated, will create a copy of the exported product CSV file in your User directory. This is particularly useful as you can create/update a Google product feed, for example, with one click. You can then provide that link to Google to fetch the file periodically. This avoids having to download the file to your machine, log into your Google account and upload the file manually, but you still have the flexibility to customise your product feed.
In addition to this, if a File Name has been set for an export, the export can now be generated via the Export Manager page, without the need to go into the export itself.
Similarly, there is now a Create Full Backup button in the Export Manager. This provides a complete product export available for download, without the need to set up an export template beforehand. This is particularly useful if you're planning on making some changes via the import feature!
The Export Manager and Data Scheduling (for Enterprise customers) sections now display a small icon where a related export file exists, along with a tooltip detailing information regarding the file. If the file is more than 24 hours old, it will be slightly faded out to indicate this.
Finally, for NetDespatch users, there is now a toggle in the Shipping Editor to enable third party alert e-mails, i.e. the e-mails that sent automatically from NetDespatch and Royal Mail to customers. By default, these are now disabled, so be sure to enable them if you wish to have them sent.
Image Verification on New Account Page
Wednesday, 19 April 2017
It has come to our attention that an increasing number of Bluepark sites are suffering from automated bots creating user accounts. In response to this, we have included the image verification feature on the New Account page.
Please note that this does not affect the New Account form presented when customers are checking out, this only affects the New Account page when accessed directly by its own link, i.e. outside of the checkout process.
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