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.
Multiple Feature Improvements
Friday, 2 June 2017
Previously, customer comments could simply be enabled or disabled globally via Configuration: Order 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 Configuration: E-Commerce 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 Configuration: E-Commerce 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 Configuration: E-Commerce 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 Configuration: Order 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 Configuration: Order 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 Configuration: Order 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.
5 More Product Custom Data Fields
Wednesday, 1 March 2017
We have added an additional 5 custom data fields for products on the Channels tab of the Product Editor.
Quick View Tweak
Wednesday, 8 February 2017
If your site uses the "single column" product list, as opposed to a grid layout, and you were disappointed that the Quick View feature was not supported, then we're happy to confirm that Quick View now works for all product layouts.
Product List Page Improvements
Friday, 3 February 2017
We are happy to announce some enhancements for the category and search results pages which use the "product list" view. The first of these is a quantity input field to go with the Add to Basket button for each product. This enables products to be ordered in the required quantity without having to click through to the product detail page first.
The quantity input field on category and search results pages can be activated via Configuration: Catalogue tab. This feature has been designed with care to work with existing templates, but if the template uses custom HTML then it may need an adjustment. In the Template Editor, on the Custom HTML tab, check whether the Product List Cell fields have any HTML inside. If they do, consult the default HTML for that field and take note of the new %product_quantity variable which will need to be added to the custom HTML in the appropriate location.
Another addition to the Template Editor can be found on the Forms tab, namely the Small Add to Basket Button section. By default, this will be configured in the same way as the standard Add to Basket button, but this is used specifically on the category and search results pages, meaning you can have smaller buttons in your product cells if your design demands it. To accompany the new buttons, the corresponding language fields can be found in the Language Editor, in the Catalogue section.
Continuing the theme of enabling customers to purchase more efficiently on your site, we have also created a new Quick View feature, similarly activated via Configuration: Catalogue tab. This will cause a Quick View button to appear when hovering the mouse over a product image in a multi-column product list on desktop browsers. When clicked, the product detail will appear in a lightbox on the same page, allowing the customer to add the product along with the relevant options or simply close the lightbox without leaving their position in the product list view.
Finally, products with multiple prices for different variants can now be displayed with a price From: Minimum instead of simply Minimum - Maximum as was previously the case. This setting can also be found via Configuration: Catalogue tab.
Wednesday, 16 November 2016
We have added a UTF-8 setting in the Export Product Data section, on the Advanced Options tab. This enables you to export a product feed in UTF-8 format, required for Bing Shopping and possibly others.
We have added the following non-standard ISO country codes in order to comply fully with EU VAT rules:
Spain (Canary Islands) [IC]
Spain (Ceuta and Melilla) [EA]
These territories are part of Spain but are exempt from VAT.
Sage Pay Server (inFrame) users will no longer see "zero surcharges" displayed anywhere within the iframe, we have also gotten rid of the vertical scrollbar that was displaying in some Windows browsers.
Our WorldPay Cardsave, PaymentSense and PayVector Transparent integrations have been updated to allow for an account-level compatibility setting which no longer applies to new customers.
Additions and Prices on Product Pages
Wednesday, 16 November 2016
Product "additions" are similar to options, in that they alter the product price, but they don't create product variants. Up until now, only options changed the product price dynamically on the product page. Now, it is possible to have additions do this also when selected.
There is a new setting in Configuration: Product tab called Addition Selection Price Update, it is turned off by default on existing sites but will become the standard on new sites.
Template Library and 30 New FREE Templates
Friday, 9 September 2016
We are excited to announce the launch of our new Template Library feature, available in all Bluepark Admin Consoles, in the Site menu. This feature has been live within the system for a few weeks now, but was soft-launched to further test and refine the feature before announcing it.
This new section brings with it 30 new FREE design templates for use on any Bluepark site. They can be viewed in the Template Library and then installed in your Template Manager as required. As they are hosted externally, they will not contribute to your file storage unless you install them. We will continue to grow our library of free templates over time, so check back regularly!
To enable this feature, a template import and export feature has been added to the Template Manager, making Bluepark templates portable for the first time.
Google Shopping Feed Image Sizes
Monday, 18 July 2016
Google have recently increased their minimum image size requirements for the Google Shopping product feed. In response to this, we have altered our system to always export the largest version of every image available.
There is no need to alter your Google export in any way, this change takes effect automatically.
Google Universal Analytics
Wednesday, 27 April 2016
We have now updated our Google Analytics code to use the latest recommended Universal Analytics version, as per the article below:
There are no changes required by customers, the work has been done and the new code is included automatically. This includes sales conversion tracking, as normal.
NetDespatch: Royal Mail Integration
Thursday, 21 April 2016
We are pleased to announce that the Business and Enterprise Park packages now support NetDespatch integration, specifically their Royal Mail service:
NetDespatch, now owned by Royal Mail, offers convenient API access to Royal Mail and other carriers, enabling us to provide carrier integration for the very first time within Bluepark. Royal Mail is the initial service we're supporting, others will be added once the integration has matured.
To get started immediately, visit the Shipping Manager and click on the Royal Mail logo at the bottom of the page. Submit the form to create a FREE NetDespatch account.
Once you have received your account details, find the NetDespatch tab within the Shipping Editor, for each of the relevant shipping methods, and enter the details you have been given.
There is a new Despatch Manager section in the Orders menu. This displays all of the currently pending/unshipped despatch notes. Each despatch note should represent ONE package to be delivered.
Processing a despatch note within the Despatch Manager enables you to check the tariff to be used, the total package weight, and to book the delivery via NetDespatch. Although the system automatically populates the tariff and weight fields, these can be altered prior to submitting the booking request.
A successful booking request assigns a tracking/consignment number to the despatch note and ships the associated products, notifying the customer via e-mail as normal. The Royal Mail 6x4 inch thermal label is then available for printing from the browser window as a PDF file.
For anyone shipping multiple packages per day via Royal Mail, our NetDespatch integration will save many hours of previously manual data entry.
Full Site HTTPS Support
Thursday, 21 April 2016
It is now possible to secure your entire site using an SSL certificate, rather than just the checkout and account sections.
The SSL Mode setting in Configuration: Payment tab now has two options. The "as required" setting is the current status quo, forcing HTTPS on just the checkout and account pages, being the pages where sensitive data is submitted.
The new "every page" setting will force HTTPS on all pages across the site. This is effectively a URL change, however our system will automatically 301 redirect all requests for the HTTP version to the HTTPS equivalent.
It's well worth reading the following Google article in full before making any changes:
Our system will automatically ensure that all resources are requested using HTTPS, but it's dependent on the site hosting the resource to have a valid certificate. This is nothing new, it's always applied to the checkout pages previously, but now it will apply to the entire site.
Bluepark Default Templates
Tuesday, 27 October 2015
We have recently released a new default template, Bluepark Flat. This modern design features several new Bluepark template system features. The template is set at a maximum width of 1200 pixels, but this gracefully responds to smaller screen resolutions and tablets. There is also the mobile version for smaller screens.
To see this in action on a Bluepark site, have a look at our demonstration site:
The desktop version of the site also features a sticky navigation bar which is always visible at the top of the page, along with a configurable fading animation and accompanying lightbox for the sub-menus.
The Bluepark Glass template has also been updated and modernised to match the new Bluepark Flat template.
This is just the beginning. In the New Year we will be launching a large number of new, downloadable, free templates for all Bluepark sites, developed by our talented in-house Bluepark team!
Admin IP Addresses to Ban
Tuesday, 27 October 2015
To accompany the IP Addresses to Ban field in Configuration: Site Options tab, there is now a new Admin IP Addresses to Ban field. This enables you to restrict access to the Admin Console only, enabling you to tighten your security.
PayPal Service Upgrades
Friday, 11 September 2015
Please ignore all correspondence from PayPal regarding their service upgrades. We receive all correspondence from PayPal and are fully aware of the changes. We are already compliant with their new systems and protocols, no action is required.
Drop Shipping and Order Management
Thursday, 2 July 2015
It has always been possible to designate a Supplier as a Drop Shipper via the Supplier Editor. The options were to Ship and Notify Automatically, or to Require Manual Shipping. The first option causes the order to be completed if all products have been shipped.
If you set Order Processing to Advanced via Configuration: Order tab, which introduces the picking stage before the shipping stage, you can now set a Drop Shipper to Pick and Notify Automatically. This will result in the item being picked, and the Drop Shipper notified, but the item will not be shipped until you do so manually.
When editing an order and committing the changes, each product in the order has always been reset to being unshipped, regardless of its previous status. It is now the case that shipped items not being changed, or not being revised below the already shipped quantity, are not unshipped when editing an order.
Attributes and Channels
Sunday, 5 April 2015
Due to the added requirements from channels such as eBay, it is more necessary than ever to manage larger sets of attributes. For this reason, it is now possible to specify which attributes are published to which channels via the Attribute Editor.
As this field did not exist before, we have automatically set all attributes to publish to all channels, unless they are already set as hidden attributes on the master site. It may be worth checking through your attributes to ensure that they are being published to the intended channels.
Friday, 3 April 2015
If you have been wanting to use eBay's new shipping and returns policies, it is now possible to do so via the Channel Editor and Channel Profile sections.
It is also possible to list bundles on eBay, as long as the bundled products don't contain variants.
Multi-Channel: eBay Inventory Management
Friday, 6 March 2015
If you sell on eBay, or if you are thinking of selling on eBay, then this feature will be of interest to you:
Your Bluepark site will need to be using the Enterprise Park package. This will be your "master" site and will be used to collect all of your eBay orders in one place, along with full stock management, synchronisation and product listing.
This, following the initial feature release for managing multiple Bluepark sites, forms the second part of the multi-channel suite we are creating, and will include support for Amazon later in the year.
EU VAT MOSS when Not VAT Registered
Friday, 2 January 2015
Following on directly from our recent update for those of you selling digital services to other EU countries, we have updated the system to account for businesses that are not VAT registered.
If you are not VAT registered, and are using the EU VAT MOSS feature, you will need to ensure that you have entered a Default VAT Rate in Configuration: E-Commerce Options, or on the Tax Rules page. Then you will need to untick the VAT Applies box for each of your products via the Product Editor, so that the products are effectively zero rated.
This will ensure that you charge VAT only to EU countries other than your own, and only on products that are recognised under the new VAT rules.
EU VAT MOSS for Digital Services
Monday, 29 December 2014
If you sell digital services or downloadable products via your Bluepark site, please read the following.
As of 1 January 2015, the place of taxation for digital services sold within the EU is determined by the location of the consumer. Sales are taxed at the VAT rate applicable in the consumer's EU member state. UK suppliers may use the HMRC VAT MOSS system for reporting and payment purposes, rather than having to register in each EU member state they supply to. Any supplies to VAT registered businesses (B2B) are not affected by the new rules.
If any of the products you sell qualify for the new system, and you sell to any EU countries, it is important that you activate this feature on or just before 1 January 2015. Go to Configuration: E-Commerce Options and select whether all intangible products, downloadable products only, or specific products should be treated as VAT MOSS digital services for EU tax purposes.
This is technically all you need to do in order to ensure that the correct VAT rate is charged for your products. If you require more granular control than simply applying the new rules to all intangible products, or all downloadable products, you can use a shipping code for this purpose instead (something that doesn't usually apply to intangible products).
Some EU countries, such as France, Luxembourg, Italy and Malta, have a reduced VAT rate for electronic books. You will see that there is also an option to identify reduced rate products via a shipping code assigned to the relevant products.
It is worth mentioning that VAT inclusive pricing may not be ideal when selling digital services to other EU countries, as the VAT component of the price will change depending on which country you're selling to. For UK businesses having prices based on 20% VAT, a possible solution would be to increase prices in order to factor in an extra 5% of VAT, to account for the countries which charge a higher rate of 25%, or switch to VAT exclusive pricing. Either of these solutions would require a manual price update.
In terms of collecting evidence to substantiate the place of consumption, it is possible to collect the customer's billing address, IP address, telephone number and fraud rating information (dependent on the payment processor being used).
Finally, if you use QuickBooks for accounting purposes, there are several considerations to make regarding the new system. Please review our QuickBooks User Guide for more information.
Payment Processing and SSL 3.0
Tuesday, 11 November 2014
You may receive an email from your payment provider warning you that they are disabling SSL 3.0 and that you need to check with Bluepark, your service provider, to ensure continuity of service. This is not necessary, Bluepark's systems are not dependent on SSL 3.0 and will automatically use an alternative secure protocol.
We disabled SSL 3.0 ourselves on 15 October 2014, within 24 hours of the Poodle bug being announced. Everyone will disable SSL 3.0 in time as it is no longer a secure protocol. Any emails you receive from your payment provider regarding SSL 3.0 and your Bluepark site can be safely ignored.
Poodle Bug Fixed
Wednesday, 15 October 2014
The Poodle bug affecting SSL 3.0, which has been announced during the last 24 hours, has been fixed on all Bluepark servers.
If you are a developer and have created any API scripts using Bluepark's PHP API client, please make sure the following two lines do NOT appear in the CURL API call request:
curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_SSLVERSION, 3);
curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_SSL_CIPHER_LIST, 'SSLv3');
These lines will cause the communication to fail as SSL 3.0 is now disabled in order to fix the Poodle bug.
Monday, 13 October 2014
If your prices include VAT, and you would prefer your invoices not to separate out the VAT from the selling price, you are now able to select a non-VAT invoice type via Configuration: Order. You are also able to specify whether you would like the VAT total to be included on the invoice or hidden altogether.
If you display your prices exclusive of VAT on your site, this option will not be available.
Shellshock / Bash Bug Squashed
Friday, 26 September 2014
You may have heard about the "Shellshock / Bash bug" which affects servers such as the ones we use for our web hosting services. We can confirm that we have already patched all of our servers to use the very latest version of Bash which fixes the bug.
Bluepark servers are not affected by this bug, absolutely no action is required by yourself or your customers.
Bluepark 0345 Telephone Numbers
Friday, 8 August 2014
Our existing telephone numbers have now changed from 0845 to 0345, providing better value for all of our customers.
By law, calls to 0345 numbers must be charged at the same rate as calls to normal landlines (those that start with 01 or 02). 0345 numbers are also included in call allowances and bundled or "free" minutes on the same basis as regular landline numbers.
Our main telephone number is now 0345 466 2666. The old 0845 number extension will continue to work for a period of time, but will be replaced with a recorded message shortly. Please update your records.
Mobile Template Testing
Wednesday, 6 August 2014
You are now able to specify whether the selected mobile template is available to all users or admin users only, via the Template Manager. This will enable you to develop a mobile template without your customers being able to see your work in progress.
Multiple Gift Vouchers per Order
Wednesday, 6 August 2014
Customers with multiple gift vouchers are now able to redeem them via the Shopping Basket.
After the initial gift voucher has been submitted, additional submissions are merged with the initial voucher and the value of that voucher is increased. The additional voucher code will cease to function. The customer is informed that this has been done.
Previously this merging activity needed to be performed manually on behalf of the customer, now they can do this themselves.
Loyalty Points for Guest Conversions
Wednesday, 6 August 2014
Guest orders do not attract loyalty points. However, customers frequently upgrade to registered users immediately after their order has been placed. Previously, no points would be credited to the order.
Now, providing the customer registers during the same browser session, the last order they placed will be credited with the number of loyalty points they would have earned as a registered customer.
This should help avoid confusion and disappointment for your customers.
Bluepark Network Status: Bluepark.net
Sunday, 3 August 2014
We are happy to release today our new Bluepark Network Status site, located at Bluepark.net:
Make sure that you bookmark this page as it is the first place you should visit if you suspect any disruption of service in the Bluepark network. There is also a link in the menu bar of your Admin Console.
The site uses a traffic light system of green, amber and red on our "cloud tree" logo to signify the severity of any detected issues. The page is updated literally every minute and is therefore always up-to-date. The data displayed on the site will update without you having to manually refresh the page.
Rather than just showing you the general status of our network as a whole, you are able to enter your site's domain name in order to see the current status of your own server. This way you can see if any issues are affecting your particular site.
Bluepark.net is hosted outside of the Bluepark network so that the page will always be available, even if our other sites are not. There is also a Twitter feed at the bottom of the page, we will use Twitter to communicate the status of any issues should they occur.
Increased Storage on All Bluepark Packages
Sunday, 3 August 2014
We are happy to announce that we have doubled the hard disk storage (web space) quotas in each of our packages. This will help with file and e-mail storage and comes at no extra charge.
SecureTrading Payment Pages Update
Monday, 28 July 2014
SecureTrading upgraded their payment processor version some months ago, requiring a new Bluepark integration for compatibility. We have now integrated the new version which can be selected via Configuration: Payment tab. The new version is called SecureTrading Payment Pages, the old version has been renamed to SecureTrading (Legacy).
The old version will continue to work as normal for now, but SecureTrading are actively looking to migrate their customers to the new version. Please contact them for more information about this, should you wish to change to the new version now.
Easy Brand Categories
Friday, 18 July 2014
If you create categories for your brands, and maintain them manually, there is now a much easier solution.
Create a new category, or remove all of the products from an existing brand-related category. In the Category Editor, on the Products tab, you can now change the Product Assignment setting to the brand of your choice.
Previously, the only options available were Manual Selection, All Products and Latest Products.
Betapark Sites and SSL Support
Monday, 23 June 2014
Our Betapark evaluation and development sites are all now covered by a Thawte SSL certificate, meaning no more annoying security warnings when building a new Bluepark site.
Friday, 13 June 2014
The dashboard of the Admin Console has been enhanced with activity graphs displaying page views and orders, which can be toggled between the last 7 and 30 days. Following on from our mobile and device tracking updates, you can now see a breakdown of which devices were used to place orders on your site.
If you happen to prefer the previously displayed "quick links" on your dashboard, simply go to the Admin Editor for your admin user account, in the Users menu, and select the Dashboard Display option you prefer.
You are also able to select "quick links only", meaning the statistical overview table can also be removed. This can be useful if you don't wish to display sensitive information to individual staff.
Thursday, 5 June 2014
Our Postcode Anywhere integration is now fully mobile compatible. All versions will now work with our mobile optimised sites, but we recommend the Capture+ V2 integration. If you're using an older version, simply visit your Postcode Anywhere account area and generate a new V2 license key.
The integration with Bluepark is now easier than ever with V2, you only need one license key and after the initial setup we handle all of the field mappings within the Bluepark code, automatically.
Also, the slideshow block is now compatible with the "swipe" event on touch screen devices.
Device Tracking and Invoice E-Mail Address
Monday, 2 June 2014
The Order Processor now reports the device type used to access the site, being desktop, tablet or mobile. If you have a mobile template assigned, it also reports the site version used by the customer. All orders before today will show as desktop. In the future, we will integrate this data into the sales statistics.
There is now an Invoice E-Mail Address field which can be activated via Configuration: Order. This is an extra e-mail address for each user account which is helpful for some of our B2B clients.
Monday, 26 May 2014
All of the passwords used to access the Admin Console and the front-end site have now been hashed using the most sophisticated means available, making even a brute force attack impractical. This means that passwords are now encrypted in such a way that they cannot be decrypted by anyone, including ourselves.
The old password recovery system has been replaced, the text used in the Language Manager has been changed accordingly. If you have previously translated any of the password-related text used on the site or on the password recovery e-mail, this will need to be done again.
Everyone will now request a password reset link to be sent to their registered e-mail address. They click on the link in the e-mail and are returned to the site, where they are able to set a new password to access the site. This is the best practice approach to password recovery.
Following on from our popular mobile update, we have added a selector on the Custom HTML tab of the Template Editor, allowing you to specify whether the custom HTML fields relate to both desktop and mobile devices, the default, or to either type individually. This is useful for disabling custom HTML where it is incompatible with mobile devices, for example.
The Product Editor now has mobile versions of both the Page and Additional Content fields. The Category Editor now has a mobile version of the Page Content (Below List) field, as well as the existing Above List field.
The Form Editor now allows you to specify the maximum number of submissions accepted by a particular form. It also allows you to specify the maximum number of submissions allowed by each individual e-mail address, great for competitions where you want to limit entries to one per user.
The Product Finder now has a Search Content field for each set of qualifying products. If you're using the Product Finder to help your customers find accessories for use with a particular product, the content field is a great way to show your customers the product that the search results relate to.
The Shipping Editor now has a field to append extra text to the despatch e-mail. This can be found on the Fulfilment tab and enables you to provide more information to your customers about a particular delivery method.
The checkout process now allows registered customers to make the delivery address being entered their default choice. If they select this option, the delivery address being used will be entered by default on the next order they place. They will still be able to enter or select another delivery address, or use none at all.
Mobile Optimisation: Responsive Templates
Wednesday, 14 May 2014
Mobile optimisation is our single most requested feature ever. For that reason, we wanted to do an exceptional job with it.
To see this in action on a Bluepark site, have a look at our demonstration site on your smartphone:
To enable this feature for your site, you technically only need to select a mobile template via the Template Manager page. However, before doing this, we recommend reading the following carefully.
You can select any template as a mobile template, but it will not necessarily look the way you want! Only the Bluepark Glass template, our default template, is purposely optimised for mobile usage at the moment. Whether your particular template will work as a mobile template depends on many factors regarding how it has been designed. It may be necessary to create a copy of your template and make some changes, or simply use our Glass template for now which is available in a range of colours. Mobile templates need to be very clean and the Glass template is exactly that.
Also, even if you use the Bluepark Glass template for mobile, you may still initially see some problems on your site. This will happen if any of your page content cannot be resized to fit the page. Because we know this will be the case for a great many of you, we have conveniently provided alternate Mobile Content fields in all of the major sections, such as the Page Editor, the Product Editor, etc. If you're using Split Screen mode in the Page Editor, break out of that mode to find the Mobile Content field.
To further customise the mobile experience, in the Layout Editor, you can now specify a specific set of blocks for your mobile customers. This means you can display completely different, or differently ordered, content to your mobile customers should you wish.
To answer some technical questions that we anticipate will need answering, our mobile solution is basically a forced responsive solution for small screens (that means mobile phones, not tablets). The pages being viewed are the same pages as on the desktop site, using the same URLs, only with different CSS and, where necessary, slightly different HTML.
Your customers can switch between mobile and desktop versions at any time via a constant link at the bottom of the page. Zooming in on product images is simply a matter of touching and holding the image. The menu is populated via the Category Manager and the Page Manager, using the active categories and pages in those respective lists.
Our goal was to create a mobile site which behaved like an app and sacrificed as little "full site" content and functionality as possible. This is what we've achieved with this update.
FAO Sage Pay users, there is one aspect of the system that we may need to give some attention to in the first 24 hours of the update. Sage Pay Server inFrame uses an iframe to display Sage Pay's default template, which is not optimised for mobile. We have enabled scrolling for the iframe, but if this proves unsuccessful then we may need to look into either forcing standard Sage Pay Server for mobile or perhaps even supplying a replacement Sage Pay template. We will discuss this further on the forums.
This is an update that we recommend everyone should try to take advantage of. If you have a significant number of customers browsing on their phones, this update should dramatically increase conversions. We hope you enjoy it.
Online Shopping Enhancements
Wednesday, 14 May 2014
As part of the huge mobile update, we have taken the opportunity to improve some areas of the front-end site which needed some attention.
Building on the icon update released for the Admin Console, we have used this technology to replace the default icons used on the front-end site to use the new retina versions. If you visit the Template Editor, you will notice that this has been updated to make the sections a little clearer. In order to use the new default icons, simply leave the icon image fields blank as needed on the Forms and Bar tabs. The icons in question include the basket and search icons, along with stock indicators, review stars, live chat buttons, etc.
Pagination within categories and searches is now much clearer, using icons to navigate forwards and backwards. Also, as has been requested for some time, sorting is now performed via a tidy drop-down rather than individual links.
The Shopping Basket has been massively improved in terms of its performance. Every action on the basket page, with the exception of "addition" form fields, is now an Ajax function, meaning the action is performed without reloading the page. This makes everything quick and seamless for the customer, and prevents unnecessary scrolling on mobile devices (which we'll come to later).
Due to popular demand, the checkout section has had a significant makeover. The new/returning customer page is clearer, and the main checkout section now has a tidy progress bar to show the customer exactly what they need to do. If you have previously put together your own progress bar solution, we recommend removing it now as ours is a permanent fixture. This also enables the customer to view their previously submitted information, great for a final check before placing an order.
The first page of checkout is now split into clearly labelled sections, differentiating billing and delivery addresses. The delivery method option is now located logically within the flow of the page, rather than at the top, and refreshes via Ajax avoiding frustration for the customer when changing their country etc.
If a returning customer checks out as a guest, they will now no longer be held to ransom until they sign in! They are free to check out as a guest using their registered e-mail address, at the end of the process the order will be added to their user account (but they will not be signed in unless they physically supply their password).
It is our intention to allow the customer to make any shipping address their default, should they wish. This will be added later in the week, it didn't quite make this update.
We expect that these enhancements will significantly improve sales conversions, this is the intention.
Bluepark Sites NOT Affected by Heartbleed
Friday, 11 April 2014
We are happy to announce that our servers do not, and have never, run the version of OpenSSL with the Heartbleed vulnerability.
Bluepark sites are completely unaffected.
Sales Statistics Profit and Margin
Thursday, 3 April 2014
For those of you who are entering cost prices for your products, you can now view profit and margin columns on the Summary tab of the Sales Statistics page.
Remember, the cost price you enter is the cost of the product excluding VAT. The profit we calculate is based on the ex-VAT price of the product, shipping is not included in the profit figure as we don't record cost prices for shipping charges.
Sage Pay: The 3rd Man
Tuesday, 1 April 2014
For users of Sage Pay, there is now an extra fraud prevention tool at your disposal. In order to make the following feature available, go to Configuration: Payment tab, to the Sage Pay sub-tab, and enter your Sage Pay account username and password.
Once this has been done, in the Order Processor for each individual order, you will now see an extra icon below the fraud indicator icon. This will either be a smiley, indifferent or sad face, indicating The 3rd Man score from Sage Pay. Clicking on the icon will display both the score and the full breakdown based on individual criteria.
This can only be viewed at individual order level, it is not possible to view this via the Order Manager due to the number of API calls this would require.
Admin Console Makeover
Saturday, 29 March 2014
Following on from the recent Bluepark rebranding and font changes, we have now completed a comprehensive makeover of the Admin Console's icons. The previous icons had been in place since 2004 and, as well as looking fairly tired, were often very poor at describing their purpose or function.
Hundreds of images have now been replaced with a single special font which provides all of the icons used throughout the Admin Console. As well as being cleaner and easier to identify, they also load much quicker as you only download one small font file - instead of hundreds of individual images. For retina displays, these appear in crisp high definition.
Now that we have more icons to play with, we have enhanced several areas of the system to make them more intuitive. The Order Manager, particularly, has benefitted in this regard.
Internet Explorer 7 and below are now no longer compatible with the Bluepark Admin Console. IE7 is an outdated and insecure browser, none of our customers should be using this anymore. Please note, this only applies to the Admin Console - your ecommerce site is unchanged and still supports IE7 and above.
Create Users from Guests
Thursday, 20 March 2014
Following on from the checkout enhancement allowing customers to easily upgrade themselves from guests to users, it is now possible for you to create users from guests yourself via the Order Processor. This is useful if you need to put on an order yourself for a guest that has ordered before.
Click on the small Edit button to edit the customer's billing details and there is a button at the bottom of the tab to Create User from Guest. This posts the customer's details directly to the User Editor, where you can specify a password for them before they are created as a new user.
Tuesday, 18 March 2014
In Configuration: Order, the User Accounts setting now has 4 selectable options:
Required (no guest checkout)
Optional (before guest checkout)
Optional (after guest checkout) *
The first option forces the customer to create a user account in order to checkout. The second option is the existing guest checkout option, giving the customer the opportunity to create an account before they opt to checkout as a guest.
The third option is new and essentially makes the choice for the customer, sending them directly to guest checkout to enter their personal information. The fourth option, automatically generating the account, existed previously.
Also, if the customer checks out as a guest, they will now have the opportunity to create an account after the purchase has been completed. There is a password field on the final page of the checkout process. If the customer chooses to create an account, any orders they placed as a guest will be assigned to their account and they will immediately view the order they just placed.
Finally, if the customer attempts a payment that fails, clicking the button to retry will now take them directly to the payment stage of the checkout process, rather than taking them back to the very beginning.
Time Zone and Date Format
Thursday, 13 March 2014
It is now possible to set the default time zone and date format for your site via Configuration: Company. This is ideal for businesses located outside the UK.
Tuesday, 11 March 2014
The Admin Console font size has been 11px since 2004, this was a time when monitor resolutions were much smaller than they are today! To improve readability, the font size has been increased to 12px.
The Admin Console displays a large number of columns in its tables, some of which you may not wish to see. You are now able to hide individual columns via the Toggle Columns selector found below the majority of the Admin Console's tables. These changes are unique to each admin user and are maintained between login sessions. You can also reset all of your columns together via the Admin Editor for your admin user account at any time.
The Order Manager now includes the ability to search by brand or supplier.