I sell mainly palm seeds from my site in various sized packets, each species has a varying limited shelf-life and of-course the seeds come in various sizes, weights and prices.I guess the first criticism would be Why drag and drop? Well, it’s my opinion that customers to a shopping site should be able to use it just like they would in a real shop, where they put the items in the cart themselves and can always be able to glance at what they’ve got in there.Let me talk you through a few things that might not be obvious at first; Normally you would paginate the results onto 10 or so products per page to save download time. Well, I too have done it for that reason but the main reason it is necessary with this is because you really don’t want to be dragging products off the page and you also want to have the cart in view all the time.Here’s the shopping cart page to view: http://www.trebrown.com/shop/arecaceae.phpRather than have several sizes of the same product as several items I’ve made it so that the shopper can configure the packet size themselves before dropping in the cart. This means that every product item box must carry all the the different configurations with it.
The next page in the checkout process calculates the total shipping cost to the chosen destination so that customers can pay for their shopping and delivery in real time. Therefore, the weight per 1000 seeds is sent with the product information, this is then broken down into all the different weights of the packets. Each packet size has two prices (also automatically broken down from a single large packet price) The additional profit is added to the breakdown percentage of each packet price. Seeds which are fresh-in are labeled as “New” for a few days (variable per species), then they become just a line item for a few more days at that same price, but when they come within a few days of their known shelf-life they automatically go on “Sale” at a cheaper price. When they have reached the end of their shelf-life they automatically drop from stock. All I have to do is weigh 1000 seeds, decide a price for that, then tell the system the shelf-life and the total quantity of seeds I have. Everything else is done for me.
When a customer drags a product into their cart the cart tallies the total cost and the total weight. The cart also deducts that chosen amount of seeds from stock so that nobody else can buy them (useful for when there’s only a few seeds left). Any dumped cart gets all its items added back to stock for someone else to buy.
The way the cart works is via AJAX in an iframe. The cart queries the database and updates itself in real time without having to refresh the page the customer is viewing as the item is dropped in. Thus making the shopping experience seamless for the customer. And because the cart is inserted into the current page it will follow you when you jump to other pages like the cycad seeds or banana seeds pages.At the end of the day all I get is a paid for order with a packing list. The order also informs me of the packing weight and any other automatically configured information. My packers don’t need to think at all, they can get the orders made up and dispatched the same day. As you know it is the labour cost that is the real problem with running a business like this, but this saves so much labour that I can afford to sell my seeds cheaper than any other place on the web. My customers can see for themselves the quality and freshness of my seeds, and of-course they all love the speedy worldwide delivery.
I used to have a system where the currency could be switched between GBP, EUR and USD, but I decided that that is just too much complexity for the scripts and so now those currencies can be set from the link at the top of the page and the page then reloads in that chosen currency.One last thing – It’s all hand coded and is built to web standards, therefore, all standards compliant browsers can use it with no additional plugins required. But as Microsoft IE is not fully web standards compliant it works but it doesn’t work anywhere near as well as a true standards compliant browser like Firefox. Try it in several browsers.