TIC Webshop Self Managed

tic webshop self managed laptop

TIC Webshops Self Managed

Ecommerce Platform / PHP / MySQL / CSS / XHTML
Following on from our successful launch of TIC Webshops V2 in 2009, we found our customer base wanting the ability to customise their website design and pages themselves.

I took the best bits from our Webshop V2 platform and added options to manage both the design and the content in a user-friendly manner, these options allowed novice users to change the design via simple predetermined aspects of the template (background, colour & font styles) to advanced users who could modify the style via CSS along with editing the template HTML coding.

This package were aimed at clients with technical knowledge regarding websites, in which we offered this packaged at a lower cost, in which our role was to support the client with technical queries, email and hosting, whilst this platform had multiple templates included it allowed us to up-sell bespoke templates along with a basic template customisation service.

TIC Self Managed Webshop User Guide

Platform Features

  • Add/Edit/Manage Categories
  • Add/Edit/Manage Brands
  • Add/Edit/Manage Products
  • Product stock system
  • My Account – customers could sign up for an user account, to view orders, opt-in to newsletters and view discount codes.
  • Newsletter – customers could opt-in/out-out to receive newsletters from the shop owner.
  • Order History – View/Export order information
  • Order Export – Export order information via CSV
  • Customer Export – Customer details can be exported via CSV
  • Sitemap – automatic generated of xml sitemap
  • Product ranges – products can be grouped togther
  • Improved search engine friendly URLs
  • Departments – categories can be linked to departments
  • PayPal standard & SagePay form integration
  • Recommended products feature
  • Multiple product attributes (multiple sizes & colours)
  • Multiple product photographs
  • Detailed help section
  • Product export – products could be exported via CSV and XML
  • Google Base – products could be exported to Google base
  • Meta Information – Client can opt to input meta information (title, keywords and description)
  • Improved automated SEO engine – meta tags will be generated from keywords, categories and brand information assiocated with the product.
  • Template system – site design can be freely changed between default templates
  • Basic template customisation – basic mode allows predefined colours to be changes
  • Advance template customisation – advance mode allows CSS / HTML to be edited
  • Report generator – generate reports showing sales, amount of abondoned baskets and customer signups.

Admin Gallery

A selection of various parts of the TIC Webshop self managed control panel

Website Designs

A small selection of some of the websites / themes that were built on the TIC Webshop self managed platform.

Platform Stats

Number of clients

100+

Number of templates:

40+

My Role

I created this platform whilst working for Tourist Information Centres Ltd, this was based on feedback from our sales reps who had found that potential clients were being offered fully self-controlled ecommerce websites, for a lower monthly fee in which they get to control all aspects of the website including the creation of information pages.

Part of my job working for Tourist Information Centres Ltd was to create, support and maintain this platform, in which this was in use from the 2012 till 2015.

Planning

Researched and planned the feature set for the platform, based on the competition along with feedback from the sales reps about what features our customer base would expect and want.

One new feature was the ability to create custom information pages, but I also planned for the ability of different page types (info, gallery, map, contact, storefront) to be able to be selected.

The planning and creation of the centralised MySQL database, the tables and the required fields; making use of database normalization and ensuring the optimization and efficiently of storing the required data including the relationships between the tables and the creation of primary and foreign keys.

Planning both the administration area for where the users will manage their webshops along with planning the front end which the end users will use to browse the webshop ensuring both have a clear friendly interface. This involved researching other ecommerce websites and administration control panels, highlighting what were implemented well and what could be improved.

The administration look and function were based strongly on the TIC Webshops v2 administration panel, due to the general feedback that our clients found it clearly structured and easy to use.

Creation

The creation of the MySQL database and tables, creating multiple MySQL users for different tasks by setting the appropriate permissions. The creation of multiple MySQL scripts making use of JOINs and subqueries.

Created and coded the admin area in PHP, which included writing functions for security, logging in making use of SHA1 authentication, sessions and cookies and the creation of multiple functions including creating functions to send email, upload and resize images, export data into XML/CSV files for use within third party programs.

The creation of the template system for the front end, in which I created 12 default templates which the clients could change the theme colours, font styles etc.

This template system allowed for the templates to have a basic mode, in which a user friendly GUI was shown to the user to change the template options or a advanced mode in which the HTML coding could be changed along with the CSS.

New templates could be loaded into the system by uploading the template folder to a specified place and the system will load the template into the database, this allowed for the client to reset the templates back to default or roll back to a previous template customisation.

Training

The creation of the various user manual’s detailing step by step guides to perform set tasks, the training of staff member’s who offered support via phone/email, including the training officer who physically visited the clients to train them on the use of the platform.

As this was a self-managed system the training in person option was an additional extra, since this package was aimed at the more advanced clients, this resulted in a more detailed user guide being created.

Support/Maintenance

Ensuring the on-going support of the platform, keeping third party compatibility intact including PayPal IPN, Google Base, Sage Pay (formerly Protx). Adding new features to the platform ranging from user feedback to new technological advances, such as incorporating the Bootstrap responsive framework.