Using the Store Front Plugin
In the following section we will review how exactly this plugin works, and how it can be employed to accomplish specific tasks.
A "product" in the Store Front plugin refers to an item of some kind that a user can purchase through the system. Products consist of the following properties:
SKU: A unique ID you assign to the product. This may often refer to an identifier coming from a system external to Movable Type. This field may then help to correlate purchases to an internal tracking scheme.
Name: The short name for the product. (required)
Description: A longer, more descriptive summary of the product. (optional)
List Price: This is the list price of the item. (required)
Sale Price: This is the sale price for the item. If specified, this is the price the consumer will pay when purchasing the product. (this is used for one-time payment products only)
Inventory: The number of items on hand to sell. While a user is free to enter in any value for this property, they should keep in mind that the system may also be modifying this properties value as purchases are processed. A user can enter a specific value or select "unlimitted" to indicate that their is no limit to the number of purchases that can be made.
Payment Type: The system supports two kinds of payments: a "one time transaction" and a "subscription." A one time transaction should be assigned to those products that can outright purchased, while a subscription should be assigned to those products which refer to goods and services that are bound to items for which access is contingent upon having a valid and up-to-date subscription.
Status: Products should rarely be deleted from the system, especially after a purchase of that product has been made. Instead, a product's status should be changed to reflect its availability. Allowable values are:
- out of stock
- pre-order only
These statuses are customizable by the system administrator from the plugin's settings area.
Limit Quantity You can limit customers to one item per order. This is especially advisable for subscriptions, but may also apply to other purchases. If this box is unchecked, then the customer will be allowed to modify the quantity they will order prior to paying.
Additional Subscription fields
Subscriptions are a slightly more complex product in that they require users to enter in more data in order to properly inform the purchasing system on the payment schedule for the product. These fields are:
Period: The billing frequency for the subscription. Acceptable values are: weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly.
Start Date: A duration relative to the purchase date indicating when billing should start. For example, you may want to give users a 15 day free trial, and automatically begin charging their credit card at the end of the trial.
Recurrence:: The number of times a client should be billing on a recurring basis. This is good for establishing a one year subscription billed monthly for example.
Additional field for taxes and shipping
Tax Rate: You can apply an individual tax rate to each product in your catalog allowing you tax select items and at different rates.
Shipping Cost: You can enter in a flat shipping rate for the item. If provided this will be added to the cost of the buyer's order, if the payment gateway supports the specification of shipping costs (PayPal does).
Weight: You can enter in the weight of the item, which can be used as an alternative to a fixed rate shipping cost. If the payment gateway supports the specification of this data (PayPal does), then it will sum the total weight of the order to compute address specific shipping costs.
To create a product, select "Product" under the "Create" item in the top navbar.
You will be prompted to enter the various properties and the payment type of the product being created.
Whether you are selling merchandise or a subscription, all products are
considered to be assets in the Movable Type system and are therefore not
necessarily bound to a published entry. Hence, the mere creation of a product
does not necessarily result in the product being visible on the main web site.
The visibility of a product depends upon the nature and requirements of the theme being used by the web site in question.
Managing and Editing Products
Once a product has been created it can be viewed and edited from one of two places. First, because a product is an asset, it can be viewed in the list of all assets in the system found under the Manage > Assets area. However, because products exhibit unique properties and characteristics, a more specialized listing and management screen has been provided to make management easier. This screen can be accessed under the Manage > Products area.
It should be noted that because all products are assets, products may also managed from the Manage > Assets screen as well. However, the default "Edit Asset" screen does not permit the editing of all meta data fields associated with an asset.
On this listing screen administrators will be able to see a paginated list of all products in the system, the number of purchasers of the product, available inventory, and other vital statistics. Administrators will also be able to easily view a list of related payments and purchases for any product listed.
Payment Types: One-time Transactions and Subscriptions
While creating a product you will elect to create a product that is purchased through a single transaction, or one that is based upon a recurring payment or subscription.
Products that utilize a recurring payment system will automatically have associated with them a "subscription" for each and every purchase that is made. A subscription then provides the basis for which administrators can inspect the status of a user's access to the system, can view related payments, and take other important actions as they relate to the customer's account.
The status of a subscription can vary depending upon the client's payment history and last payment. A subscription's status can be one of the following:
- active - appears for all active and up to date subscriptions.
- cancelled - appears when the buyer or seller cancels the subscription.
- expired - appears when the duration for the subscription is valid has passed.
- pending -
- in process - this is a transient status that appears when a payment notification for a subscription has been received, but not a "create subscription" notification has been received.
To access a list of subscriptions, click the "Manage Subscriptions" menu item found under the main "Store" menu. On the resulting screen you will be able to view a list of recent new subscriptions that have been made. From there, administrators will also be able to filter subscriptions by their status and other criteria.
Managing and Viewing Payments
To view a history of all payments that have been received click on the "Manage Payments" item under the main "Store" menu. From here administrators will be able to search for a payment by reference number and be able to take simple actions as they relate to a payment, e.g. refund payment, etc.
July 25, 2011 2:13 PM
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