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How to Make Personalised Gifts Truly Bespoke with iPages

07 May 2014 05:00

When Emma from Gracie Jacques first approached us wanting a new website with a personal hand made feel for her bespoke sign making business, we were delighted. We were in the middle of coding the customisable products module part of iPages and Emma's products with their customisable options were ideally suited to put the system through it's paces. Emma had seen the work we'd done for Little Crab and thought we'd be able to give the Gracie Jacques website the look and feel that she was after. She also knew that iPages would be able to provide a user friendly interface allowing her customers to design their own signs and gifts.

There were two solutions we had to create: 

1. A front end solution to make sure the product had maximum possibility of conversion to sales. Therefore the User Interface needed to be as easy to navigate as possible, with a clear clean layout, and the options for customisation needed to be as clear and simple as possible. 

2. A back end solution which enabled Emma to easily:

  • create text input boxes where the price could increase per letter or increase at a fixed cost for an input field. The price needed to alter on the product as the letters would be typed in so the customer is always aware of the price implications of their customisation choices.
  • create options for drop down menus also with different price options for different options - all of these needed to alter the price of the product live on screen as the options are selected by the customer.
  • create checkbox options.
  • create radio buttons with sets of options beneath them. 
  • create radio swatch buttons
  • create file upload buttons so customers could upload their own pictures to customise the product.
  • specify if a field would be required meaning that a product cannot be added to the basket unless the required field has been completed.

And of course all of the above would need to be created with an easy drag and drop interface so that Emma could build her customisable products without having to know a single line of code! Dave, our developer, laughs in the face of such development difficulties and set to work.

The product to best test out whether or not our solutions were working was the 'create your own block' as this product comes in 18 different colours with 18 different possibilities of text colour and then each side can have text or an image or a background image or a combination of text and background image and there are options for different colours of type on different sides plus the customer can upload their own image for printing on the side of the block. Phew! Don't worry if you're not keeping up. We had enough trouble ourselves!

This product definitely needed a flow chart to work out how the User Interface could be staged as we worked out there were a total of 354 options to be chosen on this product and a customer would be faced with so many choices that they would be likely to give up before they'd even begun and of those that began, a large proportion would be likely to give up before they'd finished!

Flow Chart for Gracie Jacques

We started with a flow chart to break down the choices and then showed Emma how to put in the customisation options so that some options only show once another choice has already been selected. So to start off with a customer just sees the choice of colour for the block and the choice of colour for the text plus the six questions in orange on the flow chart above. This way of leading the customer through the various options will hopefully keep Emma's conversion rates as high as possible. A great deal of thought was also given to the styling of the products and site as a whole to keep a strongly branded feel helping Emma to establish Gracie Jacques as a market leader in the bespoke hand-made sign business.

I do believe that iPages is now the most flexible eCommerce Content Management System for creating customised products. This is because even if a client has no coding knowledge, they are able to create very complicated customisable products involving multi-stage input fields with no limits on the customisation options they can offer to their customers.