Id like a bit of advice before i drived in on this so i dont end up going the the wrong track.
We currently have a simple shopping site which contains products reflecting the products printed in the catalogue.
Our customers order alot of the same things therefore know the product codes.
What we were looking at doing is that the user can create a text file in notepad excel word etc as long as they save it as a tab/comma delimeted file. which would contain products for there order like so
Then they could log into the website and go to a new link "upload Order" they would then select the file on there computer which would then be displayed on screen within a form for them to confirm.
I would just like your ideas on the best way to do this.
Would i be correct that the system wouldnt be able to read the file from the users computer i would need to upload it on the server then read it into an array to print out in a form on a page??
Customer creating text file in notepad = problem
Customer uploading text file = problem
A better way:
Create a small windows application that the customer can download, a program that can do three things; 1. download an updated list with product codes and descriptions (when there is a newer version and the customer wants to update their local list), 2. help the customer create the list with order items, 3. send an "open confimation page" request to your site
I think xml is a better format than a tab/comma delimited text file
If they know the product codes, why not create a form with rows of 2 columns. One column is the product code, second column is the quantity. Have that form submit to your shopping cart handler. Call it "Quick Order" or something and have an example at the top of the page to make sure they know what they are doing.
It's the same for the user because they would have to type it into a text file or the application jofa spoke of. Plus, this alleviates problems with badly formed text files or user having to download software (which you have to maintain as well). And it keeps them on your site, using the browser UI which they are already familiar with.
I actually thought about it and depending on the number of products, you could put the codes into pull-down lists, to make sure that the user doesn't request an invalid product. Only work if you have about 20-25 products or fewer.
Originally posted by Taranis ... why not create a form with rows of 2 columns. One column is the product code, second column is the quantity. Have that form submit to your shopping cart handler. ...
That's better than my idea
I was thinking one step further; the windows application alternative is useful if the customers want a "quick order" function because they are using dial up connections and want to fill in the order forms offline
Hey guys thanks for your ideas, Jofa and Taranis i like both of your ideas. I think i'll go for the quick order form first then maybe at a later date work on a windows program that he users can download.
Another thing you can do (or maybe already have implemented) is give the customer the option to save an order as a "shopping list". If they order the same things every week, they can log in, open a list, add/remove some items or change quantities for some items, then move this list to their shopping cart.
If the customers are really lazy, you can implement some kind of subscription function; same order is confirmed automatically every week...