Ecwid v9.0 Has Been Released

Jul 28, 2011 by Qetzal, Head of Product
Posted Jul 28, 2011 by Qetzal, Head of Product

Ecwid v9.0

We’re happy to announce the next major release of Ecwid, version 9.0. All users have been upgraded automatically.

So what new features have our developers implemented during the last couple of months?

Category descriptions

Now it’s possible to add a description to any category or an entire store. This feature is extremely useful if you want to make your category pages more appealing, which can lead to more sales : -)

For example you can add a general description of a categories products or a graphic banner, promoting a special product or highlight some featured products (two products below the “This Weeks Featured Specials” header are added using a category description). Using this feature your category pages will look better than ever.

Good news for Ecwid developers: 4 new APIs have been added

We’ve added 4 new great APIs. Now Ecwid is even more flexible and can be integrated with different 3rd party applications and extended using custom modules! Let’s describe these APIs:

  • JavaScript API
    This API is intended for JavaScript ninjas who want to integrate their own JS codes with Ecwid. This API allows you to attach your custom JavaScript functions to Ecwid events and access Ecwid internal variables (such as information about a logged in customer). For example this API can be used if you want to dynamically update the site page based on some Ecwid states and events: “show a special banner, if a customer is eligible for free shipping”. JavaScript is a very powerful language, so the number of possible mods and tweaks using this API is pretty vast.
  • Single Sign-On API
    Single sign-on (SSO) is a user authentication process that permits a user to enter one login and password in order to access multiple applications. For example if your site already has the ability to create accounts and you are using Ecwid your customers may find it rather inconvenient that they have to log in to your site and store separately. No more inconveniencing your customers! This API allows your customers to sign into your site and fully use your store without having to sign into Ecwid. I.e. if a customer is logged in to your site, he/she is logged in to your store automatically, even if he/she didn’t have an account in your store before. This API will be extremely helpful for sites with an existing user base, who wants to make checkout process more transparent and easy for their customers.
  • Order API
    Using this secure API, authorized apps and services can get information about orders in your store. It should be used for integrations with accounting applications(such as QuickBooks), CRM systems and affiliate systems; syncing orders with your other stores or creating custom reports, invoices and shipping labels.
  • Instant Order Notifications API
    Now Ecwid can notify another application in a real-time about important events happened in your store: “new order placed” and “order status changed”. A developer can use this API to extend and customize your checkout process. For example send a custom e-mail notification, inform your supplier about a sale or generate a pin code or a license for a sold software.

All developers are welcome to create custom services and modules (free or paid ones) for Ecwid users with these APIs. We’ll be glad to help you to promote them and place them in our “Goodies” section!

Social tools

Ecwid has always been a social shopping cart. Using its free Facebook shopping cart application it is possible to start selling on Facebook in minutes. Now each Ecwid merchant has more social tools, which can be enabled with a single click: Facebook comments and Facebook Like buttons.

  • Facebook comments are a good choice if you want to make your product reviews truly social. They have two important features:
    1. Social Relevance: Facebook Comments Box uses social signals to surface the highest quality comments for each user. Comments are ordered to show users the most relevant comments from friends, friends of friends, and the most liked or active discussion threads.
    2. Distribution: Comments are easily shared with friends on Facebook, meaning more people who know about your online store. If a user posts a comment, a story appears on their friends’ News Feed indicating that they’ve made a comment on your website, which will also link back to your site.
    Friends can then respond to the discussion by liking or replying to the comment directly in the News Feed on Facebook or in the Comments Box on your site. Threads stay synced across Facebook and on the Comments Box on your site regardless of where the comment was made.
  • Facebook Like buttons
    Using these buttons a customer can quickly share a product in the News Feed with a link to your site, so all his/her friends will notice that he/she liked it and will be able to check your product too. Nowadays Like buttons are a serious traffic source for websites.
    These buttons also have the other purpose: they’re modern equivalent of old-school “1-5 star” reviews. The more “Likes” a product has, the more popular it is. Since Ecwid displays Likes on category pages also, it’s easy to see what products are most preferred by customers.

And the greatest part of Facebook Comments and Likes is that they’re made by real people with real Facebook accounts. So your store visitors will trust them, which leads to more sales for you.

All images have been moved to Amazon S3

Geeky tech news: Ecwid now uses the “Amazon S3” service to host all category and product images. Almost 6 millions existing images have been moved transparently for our users from Ecwid’s Amazon servers to Amazon S3. All old links of course work without problems, however all stores are using new image links now.

Two main reasons why S3 is great for Ecwid users:

  • Amazon S3 provides a highly durable storage infrastructure designed for mission-critical data storage. Objects are redundantly stored on multiple devices across multiple facilities, so S3 provides 99.999999999% durability and 99.99% availability of all objects. It means that your images are always safe and will never be lost. This enterprise technology is available for all our customers free of charge.
  • Since images are served from Amazon S3 directly, Ecwid works faster now.
    For example check the screen-shot of one of our internal graphs which shows a load of one of our servers. As you see the load is twice as low after moving images to S3!

As you know Ecwid is designed to be a fast shopping cart. However we constantly look to improve performance. Our goal is to implement new performance improvements in each major release, so Ecwid will be the fastest shopping cart available.

2 new payment gateways

Ecwid supports two more payment methods: the South African “Virtual Card Services” and  Russian “PayOnline System” payment gateways.
This will allow our South African and Russian users, who were previously not able to accept credit cards, the ability to begin accepting them.

Also

  • It is possible now to force a storefront language selection regardless of a customer’s browser settings. This feature is useful when you want to have a separate site page per each store language.
  • New optional currency setting has been added. Ecwid now can hide the fractional part of a price, if a price is integer. E.g. $55.00 will be displayed as $55.
  • If you import your products via CSV file and some image URLs in that file aren’t valid, Ecwid will not stop the whole import process anymore. It will import all products and valid images except the invalid ones and then show on an import report warnings and links to corrupted/incorrect images, so you could upload them manually. So importing is now faster and even more convenient.
  • Ecwid HTML code has additional CSS classes now which dynamically change depending on a current Ecwid page, enabled language or opened product/category. It allows to apply very flexible CSS rules, which will work on specific pages or products. So for example, if you want to hide breadcrumbs for some categories only or increase a font size when a specific storefront translation is active, it’s now possible.

Feel free to use and enjoy these great new features. Our team is already working on the next version, which will add more interesting things. Stay tuned and subscribe to our blog, Facebook page and Twitter for updates and news : -)

About The Author
Qetzal is Head of Product at Ecwid. He loves to create new things to make people's lives easier.

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