This is the eighth and final release of 2012. It’s a great ecommerce release. Almost every enhancement in this release improves the store management experience. The most significant enhancement is the ability to have Detail Skins on a Channel. This allows for specific Skins to display product details. These can be coupled with all the great new ecommerce Design Elements we’ve created over recent releases including the great new Recently Viewed Products DE.
It is now considerably easier to manage multiple stores on a single instance with improved Control Centre listings, searches and filters. We’ve improved product and order exports and imports and the Checkout now has new abilities to improve user profiling and gather address details.
We’ve introduced Supplier Management for the first time. This is especially useful for sites which are acting as hubs, reselling for 3rd parties. We’ve also upgraded a lot of the ecommerce management interfaces to make them more usable and effective.
It’s not just the core ecommerce capabilities that have been upgraded but a lot of associated elements for example Campaign Management which has had a major overhaul to handle high volumes of campaigns. Status updates now make for more effective promotions and the improved handling of Headings means that Affino’s SEO delivery has just gone up a notch.
All together there are around 100 improvements in this release so the experience will be improved for everyone no matter how you use Affino.
This release has a very significant update, the ability of have dedicated Detail Skins. The update should be smooth, however it is recommended that it is done during Comrz’s support hours should an issue arise which needs support.
It is essential that you run through the complete update process starting with the Affino Updater, followed by the System Update, Re-Initialise Site, Design Element Update and Skin Update; all of which are available on the Settings > Update screen. It means it is now possible to have up to 14 Skins per channel.
Detail Skin v1
This is the biggest structural change to come to Affino for some time. It will now be possible to have Main and Detail skins on each channel. The Main Skins will remain the default view for gateway, application and listing pages. The Detail Skins will display when the user is looking at detailed content, e.g. a product page, blog post or news story.
This allows for much more flexibility when designing detailed pages, especially for positioning up-sell elements on product pages.
Product Drill-down Menu v1
A great new way to navigate through products on product listings. The menu lets you filter the products by category, price and key terms. It lets users filter the products very simply so they can drill down to the exact selection they need.
Supplier Management v1
This release sees the introduction of supplier management into Affino. It allows you to manage all product inventory suppliers; tag all products with specific suppliers; and notify suppliers of purchases made - for external logistics and delivery.
Notifications can be done both via direct email and via the Webservice API.
We’ve wrapped up the Campaign Management upgrade in this release by providing much better search, filter and sorting tools when managing Campaigns and by greatly improving the reporting ability for Campaigns.
This will allow for much more professionally managed campaigns and really round out the Campaign feature set.
Carousel - carousels have had a major update, they now just load up the visible products on page load and are then ‘clicked to active’ so that only when a user clicks to navigate through the options is the rest of the carousel downloaded. This can have major usability and speed benefits for ecommerce gateway pages.
Catalogue Items - new Price Note for every price, e.g. Case of 12 or 6 Units. Great for wine retailers
Channels - Channel management has now been simplified considerably. Everything about a Channel can now be changed on the main Channel edit screen.
Checkout - new option to not automatically pre-load the user’s address. Essential for florist stores where users are typically sending flowers to someone else. Also added Member Type option for customer classification.
Community Management - Contacts, Users and Accounts now have the new improved search and filter bars; contacts can now also be filtered by Conversion Events (Badges), e.g. Top Customer, Forum Wizard etc.
Conversion Events - we now track ‘friend bought from invite’ conversion events so it is possible to reward users for inviting friends who go on to purchase on the site
Design Menus - now automatically use H2 for their titles, great for SEO
Ecommerce Component - updated to support a variety of new presentation styles
Forums - New post notices and clickable signature link make the forums just a little bit easier to use
Google Merchant Centre - greatly improved integration with automated GMC category updates and numerous other enhancements for more effective management
Inventory - great update to the inventory management screen where it is now possible to one-click turn inventory on and off for any product. Great new filtering in place as well for tracking inventory better.
Keyword Manager - it is now possible to delete Key Words, very useful and much better than simply being able to ‘obsolete’ key words
Micro Blogs - live URL shortener, paste in a URL into a status update and press space / return and it will instantly be shortened; status updates can now be up to 400 characters and are automatically shortened for Twitter. This adds up to a greatly improved experience.
Optimisations - we’ve continued the great work the team has been doing on optimising Affino. In this release newsletters and incoming feeds have been further optimised.
Orders - new Exported order status for sites using 3rd party fulfilment
Order Referral Analysis v2 - this is now much more usable, the sorts are improved, new Store columns highlights different stores, new Currency filter and improved presentation.
Payment Methods - can now be filtered by currency. This means you can use different payment gateways to handle different currencies.
Product Search - we’ve added a new container for each result aoProductSearchContainer this will allow you to apply custom CSS to them.
Recently Viewed Products DE v1 - new Design Element which allows you to show most recent products that a person has viewed.
Salesforce.com Integration Beta v2 - the integration between Affino and Salesforce.com has moved forward some very significant steps in this release. We’ve improved the User Sync Approval from Affino to Salesforce considerably; the sync from Salesforce to Affino now works reliably and consistently matches Salesforce users with Affino users; Company and Account syncing now works reliably as does the member security group syncing.
Sections - it is now much easier to restructure Affino sites as it is possible to move top level Sections. Affino will automatically also delete the Channel it was in. There are a lot of fail-safes built in so it is not possible to break your site structure which makes this a very usable update.
Shopping Basket DE - the on-page shopping basket can now also display the shipping total
Text DE - now supports custom web fonts
User Merging - now works for all account types including Newsletter accounts
Video Promotion Panel - now automatically pushes down the video details and ratings below the panel so that they are always visible.
Fixes are are elements which didn’t use to work as well as they should and have now been made to work better. Minor enhancements provide subtle improvements that most people won’t notice, but which nonetheless improve on the overall Affino experience.
The following elements now work better:
- Advanced Uploader
- Blog Highlights DE
- Campaign Themes
- Catalogue Export
- Catalogue Import
- Catalogue Item Deletion
- Control Navigator
- Engagement Panel
- Friend Invites
- Group Chat
- Incoming Feeds
- Keyword Import
- Media Library
- Media Uploader
- Newsletter Messages
- Newsletter Signup
- Order Export
- Payment Method
- Product Prices
- Product Search
- Public Profiles
- Smart Item DE
- Site Search
- Social Connectors
- User Demographic Data
- Video Promotions Panel
These are integrations which have had essential maintenance in this release:
- Google Merchant Centre
- MIGS (MasterCard) Payment Gateway
Affino benefits from some great frameworks, here are the updates we’ve rolled out for these frameworks in this release:
- JCarousel updated to v0.2.8
- JQuery updated to v1.7.1
- tinyMCE updated to v3.4.7