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.
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 Configuration: Order 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 Configuration: Site Options 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 Configuration: Product 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 Configuration: Order 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 Configuration: Order 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 Configuration: Payment 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 Configuration: Order 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 Configuration: Payment 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 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.