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Cooking with OXID

Finally, I brought myself to start blogging!

From now on, every now and then, I am going to talk a bit about anecdotes,
stories, experiences, unbelievable occurrences or just nice things from my daily
OXID life. April 1st is probably the right date for it to begin. 🙂

When our office first got the request by our partner TWT concerning one
client, I was pretty surprised and had to look up what they actually offer
besides the known range of products. Through a bit of labyrinthine ways, I
finally found their assortment. Unfortunately, I can purchase single bags only
as a product package, but the idea of ordering „fix & frisch Chili con
Carne“ online is awesome! Things granny and grandpa had in their kitchen boards
can be found online in the category „pure nostalgia“. My personal preference is
the „kid’s node spoon“ – no wonder if your offspring is at the age of five
🙂

Webshops going mobile at last?

It’s been a while since people were actually discussing mCommerce as a true hype and latest trend in digital media. Yet slowly but surely the use of mobile devices and services grew more and more intense and today, as the mobile internet is quite popular, almost everybody involved in digital business has at least heard of mobile commerce.

 

The necessary hardware is wide-spread nowadays as a great variety of PDAs and smartphones has been brought to market within the last years and months. Especially in business context a smartphone has become a true essential: there are only very few managers left without a mobile inbox and 24/7 WLAN access – thanks to network operators’ special interest in premium customers, as well as their flexible flat rate contracts, and probably some peer group dynamics…

 

The Blackberry was for a long time the most common mobile internet device until summer 2008, when Apple’s iPhone 3G hit the market. With new conceptions of mobile internet and cell phone usability suddenly present in any kind of media (virtually and literally): the new age of mobile digital lifestyle was finally publicly acknowledged – … and iPhone declared its king by the large community of Apple fans.

 

Looking back today with some months’ distance it has to be admitted that, certainly, there was some kind of hype around the iPhone, marvellously staged by a yet another ingenious Apple marketing campaign. But it is equally true that the iPhone’s new navigation and display capabilities and many genuinely interactive applications in the ever flourishing Apple AppStore introduced some new standards in technology and customers enthusiasm to the mass market. This set the bar very high for any competitor attempting to follow and fuelled competition for new standards in usability and convenience for surfing the internet.

 

T-Mobile G1, launched about 5 months ago, still is the most promising competitor to the iPhone today. According to some recent announcements the soon to be launched Palm Pré might become the strongest rival to the iPhone, as Palm seems to be accepting the challenge to offer something entirely new to early adopters.

Any appraisal or disbelief today being premature, nevertheless this recent development can already be rated something clearly positive for the evolving market: As competition is always good for business, users might be so lucky as to experience some more competitive pricing and a shift in quality soon.

But -of course- the simple purchase of a mobile-internet capable device is by no means an indicator of its actual use.
Some voices claim mobile internet and mobile commerce are broadly used already. But seen up close there are still more surveys on mCommerce being conducted than reliable survey results being published. (some random survey on mobile ticketing, a special form of mCommerce)

But rumour has it that Google web search already detects a considerable percentage of queries stemming from mobile devices. (no recent figures confirmed though)
And those who are frequently checking their twitter account cannot help but notice an increasing number of entries submitted via some mobile application.

 

Departing from this data basis -knowing that there are suitable devices at hand and also a considerable user base willing to actively engage in mobile internet usage- there is still one premise missing to provide the condition of possibility to mCommerce:

Do the duly equipped mCommerce prospects find some adequate content to deal with?
Are there shops (and products) to entice people to actually engage in mCommerce?

 

This might be boiled down to e.g. the following three (to name only few):

  • Is the shop’s search field visible at first glance? (Mobile shoppers mostly prefer the quick way to shop as they are usually perfectly aware of what they are looking for.)
  • Does the shop offer appropriate payment methods and delivery conditions to guarantee a smooth shopping experience?
  • And finally did the merchant take all security precautions required and (very importantly!) did she choose the appropriate means of communication to make their mobile shop visitors feel safe to shop regardless of whether they are browsing via cell phone display or laptop screen?

 

OXID eShop’s standard templates were made to fit some basic mobile commerce needs, but of course only very few OXID eShops out there left it at that and instead succeeded in creating a vast variety of individual front end designs. And just like that: payment, security, and most of the other key success factors for mCommerce are up to the merchant’s individual business model.

In business development at OXID we have been evaluating several options to truly embrace mCommerce and we started working on some specific ideas since beginning of last year already.
With long term partner and well-known usability expert Shoplupe we are now taking the next step to further this topic!

This morning Shoplupe launched a new consulting product: iPhone expert report:
an overall shop usability to check your online shop for iPhone compatibility. There is a two weeks special offer exclusive for OXID eShop merchants that any OXID owner attempting to approach mCommerce should not leave unexploited.

Read more about the offer at OXID Forum and shoplupe.com.

And also don’t miss the interview with mCommerce authority Robert Rieser (Mobilemojo), whose customers include German mail-order house Quelle GmbH: http://blog.shoplupe.com/.

I hope for feedback and lively community discussion in our OXID forum. Share your know-how and individual mCommerce experiences with all of us.

27th – 29th January: meet OXID at OSMB 2009

These first days of January passed so quickly and the first huge Open Source Meeting in 2009 is very close now!

This year – for the first time – also OXID is getting ready to attend Open Source Meets Business conference and we are all very excited and happy to meet the international open source scene which OSMB is so well-known for.

The speakers invited, the variety of topics, just the entire program is absolutely amazing. (See for yourself)

And it is my pleasure to announce that there will be three OXID talks contributing to the conference program, too! 🙂

Tuesday afternoon (27th of January) Andrea (Executive Board, Marketing Director) and Erik (Head of Technical Development) present OXID’s 4th generation shop-software and new OXID eShop Community Edition.
(Neu als Open Source – Shop-Software OXID eSales, panel T01 Business Intelligence, Content Management, room: Zürich, CCN West 2, 16:30 – 17:00 o’clock).

As we also participated in this year’s Open Source Business Award, right afterwards Roland (OXID CEO) is giving a 30 minutes talk on OXID’s new commercial open source strategy.
(OXID Partnerprogramm und Community Management, panel I01 Start-ups, room: Mailand, CCN Mitte, 17:00 – 17:30 o’clock).

Mind that you will have to be quick to shift rooms! 😉

And finally, Wednesday afternoon, don’t miss Holger Schuldt (www.deicke-kirchenbedarf.de) as he will tell all on what running an online shop really is about, why online church retailers are sorely needed, and why he chose OXID eShop to run his business.
(OXID eShop im Einsatz bei Deicke Kirchenbedarf, panel E03 Handel, room: Dublin, CCN West 2, 16:30 – 17:00 o’clock).

Apart from the speakers there will also be Ralf (Manager Technical Products), Community Guide Marco, and myself attending this event.

If you plan to attend the conference and haven’t registered yet: here’s the link to heise registration form (very convenient online registration, I have to say!).

And be sure to have a look at heise’s smart program planning device “Programmplaner” – this will make your scheduling a lot easier!

We are very much looking forward to see you all.

OXID releases results of 4th annual market survey on Christmas Sales.

In spite of many market segments suffering from the effects of the financial crisis German online retailers recorded strong Christmas Sales in 2008!

By the end of 2008 more than 75 percent of surveyed online retailers were satisfied with their overall sales performance during the months of november and december, thereof a third is even very or extremely satisfied with this year’s Christmas Sales.
Surprisingly 54 percent even record an increased turnover compared to 2007’s Holiday Sales. For 33 percent this growth turns out to be quite significant as they record an increase of more than 10 percent compared to the same period in the previous year.
Download a summary of the survey results here.

OXID releases minor update 4.0.0.2 of eCommerce software

Here is the second patch of the OXID eShop. You may download the free Community Edition here:
http://www.oxid-esales.com/en/download/open-source-ecommerce-solution-oxid-eshop-community-edition

Alternatively, you may want to patch your existing system from a former revision to the new version:
http://support.oxid-esales.com/versions/

How to find out the revision number of your shop?
Fire up your browser and call http://www.your_shop.com/pkg.rev. If you do not get a number there, you have revision number 13895.

You will find installation instructions within the package you download. The regular update manual available at our website will not cover all necessary steps this time, because the encryption of the user passwords has changed (see below). Please make sure you read the file named INSTALL contained in the package carefully.

So what’s new?
We fixed some minor bugs, amongst them:

0000441: [Files & Source code & Database] Variant prices are not inherited from father articles
0000418: [Order processing] if user registers via option 1 (2nd order step), payments displayed for him in order step3 are not correct
0000429: [Order processing] Total amonts are not recalculated when Shipping is changed for order in the admin
0000450: [Admin area] Price alert information mail sent to cust contains wrong regular price
0000426: [Admin area] Title is missing for option SHOP_SYSTEM_SHOP_LOCATION
0000458: [Files & Source code & Database] Start page doesn’t contain meta informations if big bargain offer is disabled.
0000456: [GUI & Navigation & Sorting] Tags are displayed even if assigned products are not active
0000457: [Products] It is not possible to buy variants
0000444: [Ratings & Reviews] rating doesn’t work
0000445: [Users] oxUser::getActiveUser is not overrideable

Please find the complete list in our bug tracking system:
https://bugs.oxid-esales.com/changelog_page.php

Furthermore, we changed some methods:

  • oxUser::getActiveUser() and oxUser::getAdminUser() static methods are deprecated, please use loadActiveUser() and loadAdminUser() instead.
  • Changes in password encryption: We consistently use md5 hashes including SALT from now on. For conversion of old passwords, it is important to execute update.php!
  • License key handling has been changed. It might necessary to re-generate your serial number. You can do so by deleting and inserting your serial number in admin area again. In case you have more than one serial number, please delete and insert only the last one (lowest)

Of course, we already work on the next update. For more information,
please visit our blog and our forums.

And now, have fun with your new installation of OXID eShop 4.0.0.2!

Yours,
Marco

OXID releases minor release 4.0.0.1 of eCommerce software

German online retailers are very satisfied with 2008 Christmas sales.

We proudly come up with the new release 4.0.0.1 of the OXID eShop. You may download the free Community Edition here:

http://www.oxid-esales.com/en/download/open-source-ecommerce-solution-oxid-eshop-community-edition.

Alternatively, you may want to patch your existing system from every revision of 4.0.0.0 we released yet to the new 4.0.0.1 version:

http://support.oxid-esales.com/versions/

How to find the revision number you installed?

Fire up your browser and call http://www.your_shop.com/pkg.rev. If you do not get a number there, you have revision number 13895.

You will find an installation instruction here:

http://www.oxid-esales.com/en/resources/help-faq/faq/how-update-one-release-another

So what’s new?

With your help, we found and fixed some bugs that you might be interested in. Furthermore, we fixed some typos and „cosmetical“ stuff and removed unneeded code.

0000419: [Order processing] eShop doesn’t send emails via SMTP

0000379: [Admin area] Promotions cannot be de-activated

0000405: [Order processing] Registration email is sent although the user purchased without a registration

0000382: [PDF invoice] Wrong VAT in PDF-invoice for shipping costs

0000368: [VAT] Vat rates using decimals are not displyed correctly

0000386: [Admin area] Alternative templates for categories do not work

0000389: [Admin area] Horizontal scroll bar missing on variant editing

0000383: [Admin area] When „Automatic Save when changing Tabs“ is ON – user is loged out after tried to save settings in Admin

0000366: [Admin area] Upload of manufacturer icon does not work

0000412: [AJAX lists] if option for bidirectional crossselling is on, ajax list with assigned crossselling articles is displayed empty

0000397: [Order processing] Not possible to switch off gift wrapping

Please find the complete list in our bugtracking system which will be publically available from monday, Dec 8th on:

http://bugs.oxid-esales.com/changelog_page.php

Furthermore, we added a couple of new features:

Custom language files: Now you can add custom files next to the lang.php file, name pattern is *lang.php and define $aLang array inside the file. This array will be included to general translation array.

Password generation has been refactored. Works with md5-hashes, including SALT encryption now.

Added missing SEO functionality for article admin part, where you can customize article SEO data for each category

Added unsubscribe from newsletter on newsletter subscription page.

Of course, we already work on the next update. For more information, please visit our blog and our forums.

And now, have fun with your new installation of OXID eShop 4.0.0.1!

Yours,

Marco