New in REC+: Module exports, instant product filter reloads & plenty more

In this release we've added a bunch of new ecommerce features as well as flexibility in transferring content and module data structures between sites. This leads into something big coming soon but more on that in a future post.

Ecommerce Improvements

  • Product filter instant results & checkbox display
    Using product filter to select and display products, can now operate faster with a better checkbox display.
    Enable live reloads when changing product filters via Ajax with Admin > Product filters app manager > Instant load results
    & display your product filters as a simpler checkbox style with Admin > Product filters app manager > add/edit block > Display type > Checkbox list
  • Group price sharing
    Prices normally have to be set up fully within each user group that is set up. So if you have two groups with identical prices you would need to enter them in each group. However, you can now simply share a group price with another group and it will reference the prices without having to enter them.
    Available in Add/Edit Groups > Share Prices from [select group]
  • Stock audits
    We now log audits for all stock updates in the system, e.g. when users buy products / options to when you make stock changes from any part of the system.
    This is automatically enabled on all our ecommerce sites to help you see what affected the flow of stock on your site.
  • Price manager changes
    We've introduced the facility to select multiple categories for updates, with a better display too.
  • Dashboard orders - now displays up to 25
    Now it shows up to 25 new and pinned orders on the dashboard instead of the previous 6.
  • Buying rule > hide message
    Buying rules add powerful conditional constraints to the checkout. By default they show a message when the condition is met, however you can now have them work silently without displaying a message, which can be useful in certain situations.
    Available in Add/edit Buying Rules > Hide the message?

Designers

  • Module export & import to transfer between sites
    This is a major new facility to help designers transfer module data from a development site to a live site.
    Manage Modules > Import Module
    Edit Module > Export Module
  • Export and import Content Blocks
    This is a major new facility to help designers transfer content blocks from a development site to a live site.
    Admin > Developer Export & Developer Import > Content Blocks area (along with userfiles, modules & forms sections)
  • Simpler form builder form exports
    Edit Form > We now show an example of pulling this into templates as well as a simpler way to export forms
  • Rivendell templates, we've now fully removed the dependancy on the admin colours system
    All new templates now use the vars.scss file which deprecates the older Admin > Edit Colours to create new designs.
    Older sites not on the Rivendell template will still be able to access this area and make changes.
  • Email tasks - sending a supplementary 'new order' email for products with downloads 
    A new option has been introduced which when ticked means a 'new order' email won't be sent unless at least one product has a download file.
    Email Tasks > Add/Edit > Only send when there are product downloads to send
    This will normally be set up in addition to a normal 'new order' email thanking the user for their order. For example, this could be after a number of hours or days to allow for delivery since the download contains installation instructions.
  • Admin error messages
    Errors to admin users will now reveal a little more detail than they do to users, e.g. if an error is to do with a 3rd party connection we'll now report what that error was back to you if previously not caught and displayed.

New in REC+: Shipping labels, Pinned orders & more order manager improvements

In this issue we've added a bunch of useful tools to help you manage orders, users and for designers we've added improvements to the templates flows, let's dive in.

Order Management Improvements

  • Shipping labels 
    You can now print simple shipping labels direct from the order manager screen. 
    This is available in order manager as well as on the new order items view.
    Want to rename shipping labels? Edit it in definitions > SHIPPING_LABEL
    The default is fairly simple but you can also change the display in the html/invoice/shipping_label.html.twig template.
    Need something more complex? Reach out to us via the support system
  • Purchase order templates
    Customise the display of your purchase orders to suit your needs.
    Though editable before they are now available as full templates in html/invoice/purchase_order.html.twig
  • Order manager products search improvement
    Previously searching for product purchases would return a different table view of orders only showing that search product. 
    Now it returns all orders with full details like the rest of  order manager for full visibility.
    Looking for more specific product details per order? Try the orders tab when editing a product.  
  • Order manager user group filter
    You can now filter order manager to show only a specific group of users orders, useful for tracking specific companies via groups or comparing trade to retail orders.  
    Available in the filters on Admin > Order Manager.
  • Customizable order status tabs in Order Manager
    The tabs at the top of Order Manager are fixed to help you find orders fast. 
    You can now add your custom statuses to these tabs in Order Statuses > Add/Edit > tick to "Show on Order Manager".
  • Buying rule quantity ranges
    You can now setup quantity based rules for when a buying rule kicks in
    New changes that come with this:
    Add/Edit product > when buying rules are setup you can now multi select them
    Add/Edit product > "Quantity in pack" under buying rules (on edit product that's on the prices tab)
    Buying Rules > Add/Edit > Quantity limits > Min/Max can now be set so the rule only triggers if the cart qty of matching products to this rule is above the max or below the min.
    Page content used in Buying Rules, now supports a products tag which can be used to list all matching items.
  • Pinned orders
    Sometimes you need to keep an eye on a few orders, pinning them brings them to the top of the list and shows them on the dashboard.
    Available via a new pin icon column on order manager. 
  • Order manager result limits
    Available in Admin > Order Manager > "Limit by" shown bottom right under the table.
    Allows: 25, 50 (default), 100, 250 & a max of 500 orders at a time, useful for batch updating & saves to a cookie to keep the setting going.

General Improvement Features

  • Collect Google Reviews from your site
    Want to collect reviews for you Google business page direct from your site or display them back on your site? Contact us to find out more
  • Add/edit user addresses
    You can manage user addresses easier when adding users, as well as access to all addresses entered via a new addresses tab on users.
    Available in Admin > Add User > Add Addresses & Edit User > New Addresses Tab
  • Switch to only send SMS alerts to UK customers
    This is currently enabled by default if you send SMS alerts to users after they place orders. 
    Untick this to support sending international, however your charges may vary based on your international setting with your SMS provider.
    Available in Admin > Settings > Leads & Alerts > Send SMS alerts only to users in the UK

Security / spam protection

  • Require Google Recaptcha on Register & Guest Checkout Registrations
    If you're getting an increase in spam accounts, requiring users to tick that they are not robots is a great protection against this. 
    Available in Site Settings > General > Registration > "Require Google Recaptcha During Registration" (requires Google Recaptcha setup in the Connect area)
  • Logout's now trigger a cache refresh using the new " clear-site-data" HTTP response header. 
    Sometimes you might try a logout to refresh a session but now we'll also reload your browsers cache for your site when you logout to help make sure everything is refreshed. 

Front end developers

  • Templates search
    When in a template folder you can now search the files to quickly find any text and then proceed to edit it, speeding up this workflow in admin for quick edits.
  • Fork, Edit, Preview & Flatten workflow
    A new simpler workflow for making changes to existing sites. 
    Forking a template lets you make changes on a preview and then "flatten" down into the live template when you're ready to go live with them.
    Read more on this optional new flow here.
  • Nicer SCSS & Twig error messages
    You'll now see more informative errors while editing templates to help point you towards any errors. 
  • Autoloading css & js for  modules now works in child templates
    Modules automatically load in their css & js, this now following through into the child templates for you. 

Thanks for reading! Do you have a new feature idea? Suggest it here and others can vote on it. 

 


New in REC+: Password strength meter, Rivendell & scss support, email manager tag improvements and more

In this issue we've been re-focusing on tools to help build new sites and helpful usability improvements for maintaining existing ones, let's dive in.

Improvements

  • Stricter password requirements & password strength meter optionally available. 
    By default we still only require passwords to be 8 characters, but you can now show a password strength meter & optionally enforce only strong passwords.
    Available in Admin > Site Settings > Security > Password
  • Addresses will now be title cased when saved.
    This happens automatically for all billing & delivery addresses when created or saved.
  • Added the ability for select inputs to have placeholders
    Available in Admin > Form Builder > Edit Form > When add/editing a select field you can now set placeholder text.
  • A few fixes arising from recent Google Search Console alerts
    Such as compare lists no longer being indexed (as they do not need to be) and product review microdata will now only come through when a product has reviews to avoid sending zeros for ratings. 
  • Google Analytics > Custom Dimensions
    Available in Admin > Connect > SEO > Google Analytics & Adwords > Custom map {} for custom dimensions and metrics e.g. {"dimension1": "ecomm_prodid"}. Example uses of this could be tracking readership by author, impact of out-of-stock products on conversion, different behaviours of loyal customers using a logged-in parameter (read more here), tracking different types of users/roles which is identified when forms are filled in.
  • Email manager multiple tags
    Available in Admin > Email Manager > When sending emails you can now select multiple user  tags per group to send to at once. (Hold shift to select multiple)
  • Featured and special product sorting
    New tabs for featured & special offer products available in Admin > Product Manager, in here you can now sort products within the featured or special offer tabs. These override the default sort orders, generally bringing these sorted products to the top of product lists. 
  • Delivery method listed in orders CSV
    Delivery & payment method names now show through in the orders CSV report, allowing you to filter columns & compare metrics of how well each method performs in excel or libre/open office.
  • Product manager sold date ranges
    New date range selection available on the Product Manager screen which shows the total quantity of products sold. 
  • International SMS sending now supported
    Both our Twilio & Textmarketer setups now allow you to send SMS updates to users anywhere in the world by automatically working out their country code.

Developer

  • Rivendell default template
    A new default responsive template, find out more in our dedicated post here
    https://github.com/ReallyEasyCart/rivendell
  • Rivendell Builder
    A series of example header, slider & footer layouts available for new site designs complete with quick instructions to add them in.
    https://design.reallyeasycart.co.uk/rivendell-components/
  • REC Design Hub refresh
    https://design.reallyeasycart.co.uk/
  • Bring forms into templates more easily with the new rec_form() twig method
    {{ rec_form('Form Name') }}
    You can even pass default options for the inputs based on the input name, e.g.
    {{ rec_form('Contact Form', { input_field_1: 'Bob Smith', input_field_33: 'Worcester' }) }}
  • SCSS/Sass to power your CSS templates
    In Rivendell templates you can now use SCSS automatically, as well as in other templates by including a file with the new scss() function, e.g. {{ scss("css/scss/site.scss") }}
  • Responsive base based blog posts now use font icons for social sharing to Facebook and Twitter instead of previous icon images.
    This should fit nicer into existing designs and can easily be changed in the blog_info.html.twig template.
  • Removing {{ page.content }} from a template now fully removes the page content ckeditor input.
    Allowing you to design layouts entirely based on content blocks. But you can still use page.content where needed and it will correctly position its input in order if it's between other content blocks. 
  • We have also switched from FontAwesome (v4.4 previously) to ForkAwesome (v1.1) https://forkaweso.me/Fork-Awesome/icons/
    It has full compatibility with our previous FontAwesome version, plus many new icons. FontAwesome v5 has changed how their icons come in, meaning we couldn't auto-upgrade to v5, but ForkAwesome is an open source project that aims to continue the great work of the old FontAwesome project. 
    Nothing should change for you, it'll work just as it did before but with a few new icons available.
    Also, if you like v5 of FontAwesome, though not officially supported, you can bring this in on a specific site though you'll need to hook up icons to use yourself. 

Brexit, Making Tax Digital & 3D Secure 2.0

There are a number of important changes affecting businesses in 2019, including Brexit, accounting changes and payment authorisation. The following information and links will help you to be understand these changes and to know what to do to handle them within the system.

Brexit - 29th March 2019 - read our full article Brexit Affect On Your REC+ Site & What To Do 

Making Tax Digital - From 1st April 2019 - read our full article Making Tax Digital (MTD) - What You Need To Know & Do

3D Secure 2.0 - From 1st September 2019 - A new stronger version of 3D secure will come into place on 1st September prompting buyers to enter extra authentication during required transactions such as a code sent in a text message or a fingerprint scan on a mobile device. This does not affect the working of the REC+ system as it is solely part of the payment processing system. However, it could lead to abandonment of orders whenever buyers forget their codes etc and so we recommend keeping a check in Order Manager on all daily orders coming in that are stuck in Payment Processing stages with registered users. 


New in REC+: User registration / activation flow & new developer capabilities

In this release we look into improvements on how you administer new user activations, as well as a focus on the new developer functionality available to help with more custom sites through modules & content blocks. Let's dive in:

Improvements

  • Turn form enquiries into registered users
    If you use forms to receive applications to register on your site but do not wish to add them as users immediately (e.g. to screen them), you can now set up the form to include an Activate Account button in the form replies emailed to the admin. By clicking this, the person who completed the form will be added as a user and their name, email address and telephone mumber will be copied into their user record. Read more here
    Add/edit form > tick 'Is this a user approval/activation form?'     
  • Add user with tags
    Quickly tag a user when adding them manually to speed up data entry, or when clicking on Activate Account as described above.
  • Password system changes
    Password minimum length is now set to 8 characters and we've modernised the input field types to make sure we better utilise keyboard layouts available for email & telephone number entry. The new password length requirement is to further encourage security best practice on sites. We'll soon be introducing a new password strength meter you can enable on your site, stay tuned for the release of this soon.  

  • Unsubscribe & subscribe email alerts
    You can now recieve email alerts when any users subscribe or unsubscribe on your site, including being able to narrow this down to specific groups of users.
    Admin > Email Notifications > User Subscribed & Unsubscribed notifications (both default to disabled)

  • Export prices by tag group
    Quickly export prices for products with a specific tag group to perform price updates. 
    Admin > Exports > Product Prices > Tag Group

  • Sage50 improvements via our SagePay support
    We now send items to SagePay in a format that means item lines can be added rather than just a summary. This is useful for Making Tax Digital.

  • Rate Limit IP Whitelisting
    Rate limiting is designed to stop bots/spammers from excessively performing actions on your site like searches. However, for larger companies with many administrators it is possible you could trigger rate limits and be forced to wait for a timeout period. To prevent this for admins, you can now whitelist your IP address to stop rate limiting applying to your own admins.
    Site Settings > Security > Rate Limiting  

Developer

  • Background image content blocks

    Allowing improved design flexibility with content blocks. E.g. using inline style

    ```
    < div class="layout-container">
        < div class="layout-container-inner" style="background-image: {{ rec_block('my background image', type="background-image") }}">
            < h1>Hello World< /h1>
        < /div>
    < /div>
    ```
    or, use a `< style>` block: (as we use url() we're also compatible with pseudo elements)

    ```
    < style>
    .myElement:before {
      content: {{ rec_block('my awesome el', type="background-image") }};
    }
    < /style>
    ```

  • Module Actions
    These allow you to expand the capabilities of modules, e.g. if you want dedicated pages inside modules such as a booking form for a module of events. 

    Add an `actions/` folder inside your modules `html/` folder and then any `{action}.html.twig` files can be accessed via the url of `/{module}/{action}`

    Actions also gain access to `{{ request }}` which contains .get, .post etc.
    e.g. `{{ request.get.event }}` will return "farmers convention" given this url: `/events/book?event=farmers+convention`

  • New template functions: `pluck` & `key_by` for working with arrays.

    * Pluck lets you grab specific parts of sub arrays into a new array.
      e.g. `{{ objects | pluck('name') | json }}` will print an array of just all the objects names.
    * Key by lets you set the keys of sub arrays so you can access them easier, it also lets you filter an array down to a specific sub value like pluck at the same time
      e.g. `{{ objects | key_by('name', 'dates') | json }}` will print an object where the keys are each name and the value will be the dates property

  • Postcode lookup API resource
    Available at /api/v1/postcode-lookup?postcode=XXXXX
    Example use: performing a postcode lookup within a form requiring addresses (and might also take Stripe or Paypal payments).

  • Template access to the users groups to allow changing content shown based on the user group allowed access.
    Available in twig with `{{ user.groups }}`

  • Purchase orders - added new template tags for user billing & delivery details:
    The following new tags are available for this on the purchase order page manager system page:
    {{ user.name }}, {{ user.email }}, {{ user.business_name }}, {{ user.tel_no }}, {{ user.billing_address }}, {{ user.shipping_address }}

Prospect Manager

  • New setting to prevent too many alerts for 'email opens' in a specified timeframe.
    This is useful when you are tracking when someone opens a quotation several times within a short period.
    Admin > Settings > Leads & Alerts > "Don't notify me if a user opens an email multiple times in" [set time in minutes]
  • Set the status used when a customer clicks the accept quote button available  in quote emails & show thanks / next steps content
    For example, 'Quote Accepted' status. You can also set the page that is displayed to the prospect once they have clicked to accept the quote.
    Admin > Settings > Leads & Alerts > "Select status to use for prospects accepted by email"  &  "Page to redirect a client to once they have accepted a quote"
  • New template tag for "email_quote" system page to add the button into the quote email
    Add {{ quote_accept_link }} into the email_quote system page. Add a hyperlink into whatever text you wish to enter to get them to click, e.g. Click here to accept quote. See how to enter this in the editor's link field.

     

Behind the scenes

  • Spammy user-agents now also have their emails sent to spam by default.
    These mostly include known web crawlers & security testing tools and should not include any real user however all spam messages as always are stored in Admin > Form Builder > Form replies > Spam, with a reason shown as to why we marked it as spam. 
  • AggregateRating microdata on product pages
    We've supported microdata on pages for a while now but we have amended this further to hopefully help your customer reviews on products to show up better in Google. The aim here is to show review stars against your product results in Google, however often this can still require use of a 3rd party such as Reviews.co.uk.

 


New in REC+: Stripe form payments & improved spam bot blocking

In this week's issue of New in REC+, we highlight the extra anti-spam layers we have introduced for combating spam bots leaving comments on forms, which has been spreading to registration, login & search forms. We have also made other improvements including adding Stripe for form payments and improving the login and re-ordering processes.

Anti-spam actions

To recap, we previously introducing Akismet's filtering system on all sites and extended our own internal blocking techniques to stop spam comments being left. We have now gone a step further by introducing the StopForumSpam.com service to identify and block known bad actors from submitting spam.

  • StopForumSpam integration
    Forms & user registrations now use the StopForumSpam.com service to help protect against known bad email & IP addresses of spammers by blocking their submissions. NB This is currently in trial and currently set to disabled by default. Once the trial has completed it will be enabled by default on all sites
    This is accessed in Admin > Connect > Utilities > StopForumSpam > Enable StopForumSpam on registrations
  • Rate limiting improvements
    The login, register, forgot password & search programs have been redesigned so our our rate limit system more extensively block bots after a number of attempts within certain timeframes. 
  • Preventing spam from being part of your mailing lists
    Our subscriber system will now block known email TLD's (top level domains) with a high probability of being fake from polluting your subscriber lists, for example submissions from .ru domains.

Payments

  • Stripe payments on forms
    You can now take Stripe payments via forms built in Form Builder. This adds to the existing PayPal Express method that is already available.
    Set this up in: Admin > Connect > Payment Processors > Stripe
    (add public & secret key from Stripe here, found in your stripe account > developer > api keys) 
    In Form Builder > Edit Form > Form payment method & Form payment mode. 
    For GDPR - Enable the Stripe Cookies & *.stripe.com domain in Cookie Manager

Process Improvements

  • Customer reorder confirmation
    When a user is repeat ordering via their user account, they will now be warned if they try to exit before completing the re-ordering process, which stops them losing their cart unintentionally.
  • Login refactoring
    We've spent a good amount of time recently reworking the login process behind the scenes to be simpler, more consistent & give better warnings back to users if there is an issue with their login attempt. It also now handles further edge cases where users switch cart sessions between mobile & desktop during the ordering process.

New in REC+: Akismet Anti-spam rollout, region based tax rules & more

Our latest issue of New in REC+ brings several new spam blocking improvements & new region-based tax settings to handle US Economic Nexus rules. Lets dive right in.

Highlights

  • Akismet, the powerhouse spam blocker, has now been rolled out greatly improving our blocking of spam form responses to your site. Whilst this is a paid service, we have included it for free in your regular subscription.
    No settings required, this is now live on all sites.
  • Region-based VAT rules, helping support US Economic Nexus laws
    You can now set individual tax rates on regions, rather than using the main tax rate in site settsings, which then applies to users in that region. This helps towards meeting the new tax laws introduced in the US. For full compliance in this complex area, contact us about using TaxJar integration.
    New VAT region rules can be enabled in: Site Settings > Prices & VAT > VAT Rates "Use region based VAT rates?"
    Go to Delivery Manager > View Delivery Region > find the region to change > Edit 
    Tick " Is this region within your VAT-able zone?"
    Set the tax rate for the region in "Override VAT Rates?" > VAT Rate field
    NB This currently calculates whether to use Billing or Delivery address based on the setting in "Calculate VAT based on Delivery Address rather than Billing Address". If you wish to apply a mix of Nexus rules using delivery AND billing addresses, please contact us.
  • Require region select now allows multiple countries
    Sometimes users forget to select their region/county/state in their billing or delivery countries which can lead to incorrect delivery rates. With this new improvement you can now require users, in any of the selected countries, to select their region. 
    Available in: Settings > General > "Force Users to Select a County for a Specific Countries" now supports selecting multiple countries.

Improvements

  • Product code search now available in the Users Making Purchases report
    Looking to see users buying or thinking about buying high value items, you can now search for multiple product codes (comma separated) when generating the users making purchases report.
    Use Case: You could use this to see which users were interested in certain products (e.g. high value products, new additions to a range, products on offer) but didn't complete the purchase (select an Order State of 'abandoned') and then you can follow this up with them.
    Available in: Admin > Reports > Users Making Purchases > Product Code(s)
  • You can now switch displays of the user ID in admin to show their membership code instead.
    Set this in SIte Settings > General > Show Membership Code instead of User ID 
  • Health checks expanded
    We've expanded our internal health checks to make sure all sites have important core settings in place such as correct email & language settings.

Developer

  • Ckeditor no longer removes blank "span" and "i" elements (e.g. allows use of FontAwesome icons)
    This allows you to enter more custom html such as FontAwesome icons, without ckeditor removing/cleaning these away.
  • Content Blocks now support template content by passing a template=true flag
    Continuing to improve our new content blocks feature, as a designer you can now reference template tags for variables etc direct from inside your content blocks. Adding to the flexibility that content blocks offer.

New in REC+: User tags renaming, prospect manager improvements, multiple delivery services integrations & a Happy New Year!

Happy New Year from the REC+ team! This latest issue of New in REC+ has a range of new features that rolled out over the holiday period. 

Highlights

  • User tags can now be renamed & nested tags are now supported via the " > " separator. 
    Useful if you have a large number of tags in a tag group & want to give them a more fine grained hierarchical structure. 
    Check this out in Admin > User Tags.
  • Quick add user within Prospect Manager
    Now when adding a prospect you can quickly add the user at the same time to streamline this process. 
  • Delivery services integration via Postmen.com  (beta)
    With Postmen you can use a wide range of delivery services such as FedEx or DPD to get their live calculated  delivery rates for orders during checkout.
    We'll be talking about this more soon in an upcoming post when it's out of beta. 

Improvements

  • Product code now included in enquiry emails
    This should be already working for you, but may require a change to the html/store/product_info/enquire_form.html.twig if this has been previously overridden. 
  • You can now switch displays of the user ID in admin to show their membership code instead.
    Useful for avoiding any confusion between Membership codes and user IDs for sites who prefer using the membership codes.
    Site Settings > Display > Show Membership Code instead of User ID
  • Order Items in the Order Confirmation Email is now templatable
    This allows you greater control over the emails that go out to your users & how items are listed in these emails.
    The new template file is available in: /html/email/order_details.html.twig
  • Form messages marked as spam now record the reason we marked them as spam. 
    Possible reasons include: blocked / Russian spam addresses, common spam message phrases & more. 
    Admin > Form Builder > Form Replies > View Spam Folder > New column showing "Spam Reason"
  • Checkout & PayPal warnings now display better to users & are fully logged on the order history.
    More descriptive warnings are now given to users if PayPal declines payment. 
    If a customer has any warning shown to them at checkout, this will now be shown in the order history.

Developer

  • Clear the cart fast in JS with REC.Cart.emptyCart()
    This allows you to programmatically refresh the cart, useful in custom add-to-cart processes to start a new cart. 

Behind the scenes

  • New security improvements
    Fixes & improvements continue to be automatically rolled out to all our sites each night. 
  • Admin side CDN fallbacks
    We use a CDN for many assets in the admin side to speed up this area, however over the holiday period the CDN we use for some assets in the admin side had some downtime, causing a couple areas in Admin to not function. 
    This new release allows us to circumvent the CDN if it is down and the admin area will continue to work without interruption. 

 


A Happy & Prosperous 2019

A Happy New Year to all our customers and a prosperous 2019!

As always, the team at Wildfire will be working diligently to improve and enhance REC+ functionality, security and performance this year and will continue to keep you posted of new features via our Updates blog page.

Getting the essentials right in 2019

Here's some of our perennial recommendations for your site to ensure you start the New Year off on a good footing:

  • Ensure your site works well on mobile devices (contact Areca Design on 01386 570360 if you want to go mobile or are looking for a refresh)
  • Run your site under HTTPS for secure transmission of data over the internet (and get a slight SEO reward from Google)
  • Comply with the GDPR (we have helped a number of clients achieve this so contact us to book yourself in)
  • Commit to ongoing conversion optimisation (see tips for online retailers) and better tracking and management reporting (tips for all sites)

Need help getting more business?

We can assist you in making improvements via our Marketing specialists, as well as running digital marketing campaigns, simply contact your account manager for more information and pricing. This includes services for ecommerce product marketing and promoting local services.

Stop Press: The Russians are at it again...

We fight an ongoing battle to stop spam getting through to your site contact forms including registration and logins. A significant volume has been coming from Russian email addresses and we have acted throughout 2018 to widen spam protection against new methods deployed by the spammers. We are now going even further and employing new systems to counter this using large scale services from Stop Forum Spam and Akisnet. Hopefully this will help keep spam to a minimum.

Best wishes and a prosperous 2019!


Christmas Support

As usual, we only provide technical support over the Christmas period, namely server and uptime monitoring, starting 4pm on Friday 21st December.
Regular advice, support and project services will be resumed at 9am on Wednesday 2nd January.

Please log any calls on our ticket system as the office will be unmanned for this period.

Merry Christmas & A Prosperous New Year!


New in REC+: Akismet Protection, Content Blocks & more.

This week's issue brings you spam protection improvements, new ways to build up blocks of content on your site & more! Let's dive in:

Highlights

  • Akismet Spam Protection  (beta)
    As part of our ongoing battle with spam, form replies can now leverage Akisment's spam blocking capabilities. 
    We'll be offering this to all sites in time but currently, we're trialling this on a few sites to be sure we resolve any false positives, please contact us if you're interested in being part of this trial. 
    Connect > Utilities > Akismet > API Key & "Enable for all Forms"
    Add/Edit Form > "Use Akismet?" (Only shows if API Key is set, overridden if "Enable for all Forms" is set)
  • Content Blocks
    Content blocks offer designers the ability to design more complex content areas using templates, whilst the content itself is easily editable within Page Manager by admins.
    Check out our video using these blocks to build up a page.
    In any template you can use the rec_block() template function to access content blocks: {{ rec_block('block name here', type="text or html or image") }} where the type is optional.
    If you add these into page layouts, it will auto-create the blocks for you in Page Manager allowing both designers & admins to manage the content itself without the risk of breaking the design.
    Admin > Edit Page > Content Block editors found in the layout templates will automatically be displayed within Page Manager in the same sequence that they appear on the web page.  
    Also, you can pass unique=true to have the block be different between each page it's used on.
    You can also manage all blocks over in Admin > Content Blocks.
  • Auto page layouts
    When designing up different html layouts for pages, you can now name the layouts so that they automatically apply to a page without needing to set it. 
    Admin > Edit Page > Auto assign layouts to pages based on "_slug_here.html.twig" in the html/layouts/ folder.

Improvements

  • Content sliders > you can now tick to remove the image associated with a slide without needing to upload a new one.
    Under slider panel images it now shows a "Remove image?" option.
  • "Users making purchases" report improved to support Manufacturer/Brand & Order State. 
    This allows you to find users that abanded carts of specific types of items) 
    Reports > Users making purchases > Manufacturer & Order State
  • New icon template function for use when CKEditor removes your icons.
    If a page content has template syntax enabled you can now bring in FontAwesome icons, e.g. {{ rec_icon('pencil') }}
  • We now block Google & other search engines crawling too many subpages of site search results. 
    This helps avoid issues where no results were found but Google crawled the many pages of featured products thinking these were part of the same result set. 
  • New switch to re-enable the "confirm complete" option to users
    We've now disabled the confirm complete option by default, preventing users from selecting this and changing the order status themselves.
    If you'd like to use this you can re-enable it in:
    Site Settings > Ecommerce > Users Previous Orders Screen > Allow users to set confirmed complete on orders (defaults to off)
  • Also you can now prevent users from selecting Return Required on their previous order
    Site Settings > Ecommerce > Users Previous Orders Screen > Allow users to set return required on orders (defaults to on)
  • Admin > Edit Page > SEO Report
    Now moved from under page content, to the top of the edit page screen to give it more focus.
  • Improved health checks to detect problem orders
    Progressively we've been introducing proactive health checks into the system to spot issues that could affect data or monitor that fixes have cured problems, especially useful for those which are not readily reproducible. 
    Should issues ever arise on your site, we'll reach out and advise of any action you need to take.

Experimental

  • We're experimenting with allowing sandboxed PHP in templates, allowing designers & developers increased flexibility within templates. 
    Ultimately our aim is to allow contributions to REC+ for 3rd party extensions such as new admin areas and workflows that are more custom to the specific site. 
    This feature is not ready for production yet but contact us if you're interested in trialling this on a dev site. 

New in REC+: Checkout improvements, Twitter Cards support, Security improvements & Chrome Dev Summit Highlights and more

Last week we had the Chrome Developer Summit, check out our rundown of the most important features here & let's dive into what's new in REC:

Highlights

  • Ability to hide the checkout delivery address if it's the same as the billing address:
    On the checkout confirm screen you can have the delivery address hidden if it's the same as the billing address.
    This is an optional display change you can use to help clean up the layout of the checkout. 
    Available in Settings > Ecommerce > Checkout > "Hide delivery address if it's the same as the billing on Checkout"
  • Twitter cards large image support:
    Similar to the social share image Facebook & other social networks use, Twitter also support sending them a larger version of the image to be used when a link to your site is shared.
    Available in Settings > Company > Site Images > Twitter Cards > "Enable Twitter Cards" switch & "Twitter Card Large Image" uploader.
  • Paypal express 'in context' buttons are now automatically tracked in Google Analytics
    Monitoring the effectiveness of buttons on your site is important and you can now automatically monitor which of your paypal buttons are clicked under Events > PayPal Buttons in Google Analytics. 
  • Addon products
    If you have products such as setup charges or similar services that you don't want showing up in best seller, latest products & other lists & you don't want them to show in the abandonment emails then this new setting can help.
    Available in: Add product > Extra > Is this an addon product? As well as on: Edit product > Prices & delivery tab > Is this an addon product?
  • Form replies source/medium tracking.
    You can now track which sources bring in the most form replies in the Form
    Available in Forms & Processes > View form replies > new Medium/Source column & there's a new Medium & Source columns in the CSV
  • Form replies improvements
    In response to your feedback we've made a few useful improvements to the Form replies area including moving the export to the top so you can get to the data faster as well as making replies now sorted by newest first instead of by unread.
  • Users API improvements
    The users API events for updates now include unsubscribes as well as supporting the GDPR "is_restricted_user" field in user api responses.

Security Improvements

  • SRI on CDN scripts
    SubResource Integrity provides a little extra protection when we reference scripts on 3rd party sites.
    This now covers all the default CDN js files we use so that if ever they were hacked and the hacker poisoned these files, the integrity check would instead request a trustworthy local version of the file instead.
    Using this method, the site still functions without using the CDN & the user is still safe.  
  • Secure & SameSite Cookies experiment
    Secure cookies make sure that they are only loaded over HTTPS, while SameSite cookies make sure they are only used when in the context of this site, adding an additional level of protection to the session cookies used on your site. 
    Available in Settings > Security > "Use Secure & SameSite Cookies - Experimental!"

Black Friday Google My Business Marketing Offer

Black Friday Offer if you require Local Marketing

If you're a service business looking to promote your services in your local area, we can help you find more customers!

Our Google My Business service will increase customer enquiries by increasing exposure in Google Maps, Reviews and Search Results pages.

What services will we deliver to you?

  • Google keyword research to determine the most important local search terms
  • Website optimisation to target agreed local search term(s)
  • Setup and completion of Google My Business information; to include a description and opening hours
  • Assistance with gaining, responding to and displaying your reviews on Google and your website
  • Post a news update into Google My Business once a month
  • Upload of clients images to Google My Business
  • Submission of company information to other local directories
  • Optimisation work within Google Maps
  • Quarterly reporting to analyse progress made on key metrics

Contact us if you wish to redeem this marketing offer at a discounted rate this Black Friday to Cyber Monday

New in REC+: Coupons that trigger free delivery, stress testing REC & more.

With Black Friday fast approaching, in this week's issue we've introduced a useful new feature to help boost your sales, as well as other tweaks and improvements to the system and some helpful hints: 

Highlights

  • Coupons can now trigger FREE DELIVERY!
    With Black Friday on the horizon, you can now offer free delivery to customers with this new type of coupon.
    You can narrow it down to just a specific delivery zone such as UK only & gain all the normal coupon controls over this including date ranges, maximum number of uses & more.
    Available in Coupon Manager > add/edit Coupon > under "How much is this coupon worth?" it now gives the a tickbox option against the question: "Or do you want this coupon to trigger Free Delivery?".
  • Stress testing REC+
    With big sales come big traffic spikes! We've been working with load testing tools more lately to stress test REC+ to it's limits to identify and optimise areas that could be affected by extremely large volumes of traffic. A deep dive article will follow on this soon. This is all part of ongoing improvements and monitoring of the core infrastructure and REC+ application performance.

Tweaks & Improvements

  • Improvements to email delivery
    Further improvements have been made so Sender & Return-Path addresses can always be the system address, which you can also now override. 
    This lets you be receive form reply emails from the visitors email, even through the sender address behind the scenes is actually still the system, which then prevents any SPF issues. 
  • Further improvements to order manager
    We have been delighted to introduce further improvements to Order Manager, after receiving a lot of useful feedback from you. Thanks.

Did you know...

  • Email marketing reports
    A somewhat hidden away feature of our Email manager system is reports on not only who read & clicked the emails, but also how many form replies & orders came from the campaign. 
    You can find these in Email Manager > View Sent Emails > Click the email you'd like to see > Check out the Ecommerce & Form Responses tabs.
  • Coupon usage reports
    From inside coupon manager you can click the Report link between Edit & Delete to find a detailed report of orders that used the coupon, top products it was used on and more. 
  • & more useful reports!
    Remember there are a number of helpful reports to assist you in measuring the success of your Black Friday campaigns, as well as planning which products & categories to run offers on. These include: Top Products Report, Top Brand/Category Report, Top Pages Report & your Revenue Sources report.
    Available in the Reports system in Admin.

New in REC+: PDF invoices, social share images, mobile touch icons, further order manager improvements & more

In this weeks issue we focus on smaller day to day improvements, let's dive in:

Highlights

  • PDF downloads for Invoices.
    You can now download order invoices directly from order manager as PDFs.
    Available in Order Manager > Orders > "PDF Invoice" button under the summary details.
    This uses the design of your print invoice which is also available to customise in Templates > select the active template > html/invoice/base.html.twig
  • Further order manager improvements.
    Continuing from last week we've made further improvements to the flow of the new order management screen based on the feedback we've had so far from you. If you've switched to the old version, please consider trialing the new order experience again to see the latest changes. Your feedback is always welcome. 
  • Mobile touch icon.
    On mobile devices this is shown when adding to favorites, bookmarks & adding to the home screen (similar to favicons)
    We automatically create scaled down versions of your mobile touch icon for the most popular different mobile browsers. 
    Available in Site Settings > Company > Company Details > Mobile Touch Icon.
    Recommended size: at least 200x200px & must be a square image.
  • Social Sharing Image.
    Ever shared your site and wondered why Facebook / Twitter / Instagram used a specific image? This change let's you have more control over this by setting a default image for sharing. This image applies to all main pages of your site, while blog & product pages still use their main images by default. 
    Available in Site Settings > Company > Company Details > Social Sharing Image
    Recommended size: 600x315px or 1200x630px.
    You can test with Facebook's Sharing Debugger tool.

Tweaks & Improvements

  • Rename delivery countries 
    Though you can rename countries in the system already, this would lead to issues with existing data in the system.
    An example of this would be renaming UK to UK Mainland to seperate out Islands for delivery rules.
    To resolve this, we've added a new "Country display name" feature to delivery regions letting you set a different name for countries to appear as. 
    When setting this, please make sure you set all the relevant regions for that country. 
    Available in Delivery Manager > View Delivery Regions > Edit delivery methods, set "Country Display Name".
  • Form sign up process now supports updating existing users
    Previously the sign up process on forms would only subscribe new users, and if a user had unsubscribed they'd need to resubscribe from their account page.
    Now existing users who have unsubscribed can resubscribe on sign up forms easily through the form they originally subscribed through. 
  • Email deliverability improvements.
    Continuing our work to prevent emails going to spam, we've made further changes to the FROM addresses we use on all admin notifications.
    Follow the full guide on better email deliverability & troubleshooting here.
  • HTTPS additional domain redirects
    Multiple domains pointed at a single IP doesn't work with HTTPS, but you can redirect to the main domain from these additional domains. 
    Previously this meant also setting up HTTPS for the other domain due to how the HTTPS connections happen prior to redirects.  
    We've now introduced a way to have HTTPS enabled redirects setup for any addition domains you might have that you want redirected to your main site.
    Please contact us if you need one of these enabled for your site with the domain name(s) you'd like to have redirected.  
  • Facebook Analytics.
    Similar to Google Analytics, Facebook offer their own form of analytics.
    Available in Connect > Social > Facebook Analytics, app id can be set here and then you can enable the js tracking too.
    You can set this up in Facebook:
    https://developers.facebook.com/apps/ > "+ Add a New App", setting the name to your domain name & any contact email.
    App ID given at the top of the screen, click to copy it and paste over in REC > Connect > Social > Facebook Insights APP ID.
    Under "Analytics" click "Set Up", then click "Web".
    Click "I already set up the Javascript SDK" & skip adding the code as REC handles this for you.
    Enter your Site URL, click Save & then Continue, then skip through the remaining steps by clicking Next on each screen.
    Last screen leaves you on there so now you can click to view your Analytics.

Designers & Developers

  • Users API can now accept delivery prices with or without VAT set
    You can set custom delivery prices (when enabled) on user records & the API can now handle this with a way to set if you're passing a VAT / non-VAT price.
    In the Users API, you can send the following against each user: "delivery_charges": {  "default": "", "free_threshold": "" },
    we assume VAT prices by default but pass the "use_non_vat_prices" URL param.
  • WebP & SVG images support.
    We now support images throughout the system for Google's WebP image format & as SVG.
    With SVG please optimize the images before uploading them to the site & when using WebP please be mindful of browser support as this is a new format. 
    Available throughout the system such as product/blog images as well as logos and all other image uploads.
  • Mailchimp Upgrade.
    Keeping up with the latest Mailchimp upgrade, all users should be able to be synced once again.
  • SMTP email debugging.
    If you're having issues sending emails through SMTP you can get full debug logs.
    This new area is available at the bottom of SMTP Settings section in Admin.

 



New in REC+: GDPR Restrict Processing Of Users

Under GDPR registered users can object to having their data processed. In REC+ this means restricting processing via Email Manager (so the user won't be included on emails) and in User Manager and Prospect Manager a red warning message is displayed when you select the user advising:

"Restricted User
This user has been restricted from processing under GDPR, please do not contact them or process their data."

To mark a user as restricted go into User Manager > select their user record > Status & Levels tab > tick the field 'Restricted User'.

 


New in REC+: Reducing Spam, GTIN Product Feed Enhancement & REC+ Version Numbering

Combating Form Spam. There has been a recent sharp increase in spam, some of which is by-passing Google Captcha, in particular from Russia. We have introduced our new Intelligent Spam Filter to help combat this. In the most obvious spam cases, when the spammer has wasted their time submitting the form we will automatically reject it without their knowledge. For other possible spam items, we will place them in the spam folder of the corresponding form in Forms & Processes.

Google Products Variation Manager. This has been renamed from 'Multi Ad Generator' and you can export your product feed data to a CSV file, modify it with any alterations you need, then import it via the Import System, selecting Google Products GTINs in step 2. The reason this change was introduced was to help the situation where products are set up with multiple options and each one needs its own GTIN (in this case for clothing that had a GTIN for each size/colour combination). 

REC+ Version Numbering. Because we are rolling out continuous product updates we will no longer be displaying version numbers in REC+. Our team works on the software every day of the week keeping it up to date with security updates, software patches and enhacements. The updates are automatically rolled out overnight to all sites, meaning your software is always on the very latest version available. NB If you are an REC user then remember to switch to REC+ for free currently in your admin console!


New In REC+: Filtering Users By Subscribers & Assigning To Groups Plus Script Finder

Filter Users By Subscriber allows you to select your users in User Manager > Filter Users by whether or not they have subscribed to your newsletters. You can then assign selected users into specific user groups (1,2,3 refer to the groups shown on a user record) which you may want to do for segmentation and emailing purposes. NB Email Manager will not send to users who are not marked as subscribed.

Filter Users who are ungrouped allows you to find users who have been entered without being assigned into a group, so you can quickly identify them and then add them into the desired group.

Script Finder is a new program which allows you to scan areas of the website to find scripts that have been embedded in the site, such as 3rd party apps or tracking which may introduce cookies and therefore you need to be able to turn off those scripts in conjunction with Cookie Manager.

View this article in full on freshdesk


New in REC+: GDPR Is Now In Force - Here's What To Do If You Still Need To Comply

GDPR Is Now Live!

Find out what you need to know to set up and implement the changes required to make your website GDPR compliant before 25th May 2018.

GDPR implementation

Features added on 22nd May include making Cookie Manager available to non-responsive design sites and allowing the Subscribe link to work with Mailgun integration and showing 3rd party domains correctly in the non-essential section of the cookie pop-up. All users are being asked to sign our latest terms and conditions which include GDPR updates mainly in the form of the new Data Processing Agreement.

Read all features and how to implement them here

You also have access to our full GDPR section which includes how to run processes that help you comply.

Do You Need Help WIth Your GDPR Website Compliance?

We are helping users to achieve compliance on their websites by performing cookie audits, form reviews and updates to cookie and privacy notices. These typically take around 3 hours and are charged at £75+VAT per hour or part thereof. Book your site in for GDPR via a freshdesk ticket.



New in REC+: Checkout User Experience Enhanced

The checkout process has been updated to enhance the user experience on the checkout page and the code has been generally improved. 

This is a notification that the change comes into effect on Wednesday 25th April 2018.


New in REC+: GDPR Update - Please Read

We have been working hard to ensure the REC platform complies with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which comes into force on 25th May 2018. This is a heads up about the changes we will be releasing next Tuesday 24th April which will enable you to take many of the necessary steps to ensure you are compliant.

New Cookie Message

A newly-worded cookie message and layout will be displayed to first-time visitors in place of the existing message. The new message will inherit the colour schemes of your site if you have adapted it.

 Cookie message

New Cookie Pop-up (for responsive design websites)

When the Cookie Settings link is cliked it will fire up a modal window giving the visitor the ability to manage which cookies they wish to allow, as required under GDPR. A version of this will be made available for non-responsive websites at a later date. 

Cookie pop up message

Positive Opt-in Consent For Newsletters / Email Campaigns

The system will cater for positive opt-in consent to newsletters where the individual will have to tick a box to be added as a newsletter subscriber, rather than it being pre-ticked for them.

Re-permissioning For Email Campaigns

A re-permissioning process has been defined to include a program for bulk unsubscribes and a new "Subscribe" field which can be added to email templates to allow people to opt-in to future marketing emails.

Form Data Collection Tips

This enables you to add some explainer text on form fields to explain why you wish to collect that particular data. 

Users Can See Their Form Submissions

Users will be able to see what forms they submitted on your site when they log in to their User Home page.

Additional Auditing

The audit log will keep a record of when users are added to the system and when there are changes to their newsletter subscription, status, level and group. This will help administrators to see what has happened historically as part of complying with individuals' rights to restrict processing or to be forgotten.

What Will You Have To Do?

We will be providing guidance on the steps you need to take to use these new features when the release is made available next week.

There will be further releases before the 25th May which are more targeted towards alerts and notifications when administrators access private data. This is part of extending the perimeter for data breach detection because many data breaches originate from inside a company rather than being external website hacks.



Paypal Upgrade Recommendation

Applies To: Ecommerce Sites Taking Standard Paypal Payments Through The Checkout Process
Does Not Apply To: Paypal Encrypted and Paypal Express methods, or Form payments

We have recently received a few reports where a small number of users paying via the standard Paypal method have had an issue completing the payment process. This does not apply to your site if you instead use the Paypal Encrypted and Paypal Express payment methods, or you are taking payments via a form rather then the normal checkout process.

This is a small, random problem which we cannot recreate and Paypal cannot offer an explanation why it has occasionally occurred. We therefore recommend you consider moving to Paypal Express which has not had any reported issues and also offers a much smoother and faster checkout process for the user as an added benefit.

How Do I Know If I Am On Standard Paypal Payments?

Go into Payment Processors Manager and see if "Paypal Or Credit Cards" is set to a Status of "on" and Mode of "live". If it is then we recommend you migrate to Paypal Express. 

How Do I Update To Paypal Express Checkout?

Follow this article on Freshdesk

Test!

Make sure you test your changes by successfully putting an order though the checkout process using the Express Checkout method you have set up.


New in REC+: Introducing the Module system for custom content

We are excited to announce the release of Version 7 and the Module system which is now available to REC+ users. This brings a new method of creating and displaying custom content and optionally displaying the data on web pages with full design control for web developers. In this way you can use a single design style to create unique pages with their own URL's and content plus tagging and filtering, all populated from a database table you define yourself.

On the fun end, you can create polls and make better looking team pages. Or maybe you want to publish web pages containing detailed recipes, technical FAQ's with lots of data fields, case studies or knowledge articles - all nicely styled the way you want. You could also store your business data in the site which only admins can view and edit, such as audit reports, project tasks, approved supplier lists, purchase authorisations and more. 

We have provided documentation on Freshdesk on how it works. Due to the bespoke nature of custom content, all implementation, support and training is chargeable time.


New in REC+: Prospect Manager Email Signatures & Tweaks

Available Tuesday 6th February 2018

You now have the ability to enter an email signature on admin user records (in this case you'd be using it for sales agents) and have this displayed within the emails you send via Prospect Manager by adding in the tag {{ email_signature }} to the "email quote" system page.

Membership number (often renamed to Account ID via site defines) now appears on the main user record and prospect activity record which saves having to look it up. 

The "value" field displayed in the email message will be suppressed if the value is zero (tip: remember to remove the preceding text which is normally just the word 'Value".


Showing 26 to 50, of 55 Blog Posts found