LaSalleMart 2.0 is my Joomla ecommerce extension for Joomla 2.5.
LM2 is my fork of a free open source Joomla ecomm extension that I grew more and more frustrated with. I decided to take this huge monolithic extension as my own to “do something” about my frustration. Best thing I ever did!
Last month, LaSalleMart 2.0 for California went live on WonderFoods.
Two New LaSalleMart 2.0 sites
This month, sweet-heart deals were made for two new LM2 sites. These sites should be live by month-end. By “sweet-heart”, I mean I am putting in free labour. This is it, no more freebies.
The second site is a client of one of the Toronto Joomla Group consultants. There’s some good user testing going on, which is very gratifying. One of the things being tested is the new layout feature developed for the first LM2 site! Without this new feature, Site#2 would be screwed. My own Knowledge Base page on my new feature helped me remember what the particulars were — plus, I realized I left something important out. Designers have a lot more control over the layouts now — including the add-to-cart form.
The third site is a very unique site. Long ago we installed Tienda 0.5, one of the first working versions of Tienda. Well, it’s not working on this site. So, we (meaning, mostly me) is doing up an entirely new Joomla 2.5 site.
Originally, I set up this third LM2 site as a dual Joomla 3.1 & Joomla 2.5 site. The 3.1 site would act as the front-end, for the purpose of utilizing the juicy mobile features. The 2.5 site would house just LaSalleMart.
The template we are using has both a 2.5 and 3.1 version, so getting a uniform look is easy (Famous Last Words).
However, in doing this set-up, the integrations between the sites to accomplish a seamless customer experience require too much work for the benefit received. Technically, no integration is necessary beyond just a link from the 3.1 product pages to the 2.5 LM product pages. So, we can always set-up a dual site in the future. However, mod_cart and the add-to-cart form are just two integrations that “trick” the buyer into thinking they are on one site.
LaSalleMart does not work in Joomla 3.1. However, perhaps instead of bringing LM2 to Joomla 3.1, we should bring Joomla 3.1 to LM2. Bring JUI or Akeeba’s “Strapper” or just plain ol’ Bootstrap into Joomla 2.5 to get juicy mobile goodness into LM today. We won’t do this with Site #3, but we are certainly mindful of it now. Setting up the dual sites was very educational — absolutely no regrets. Have to push to learn, eh!
Site #3 will sell, among other things, downloadable files.
New Mandrill Library
Wanting upcoming LaSalleMart work to take advantage of MailChimp’s Mandrill API, I created a Mandrill Library for Joomla.
Most of the ecomm action is happening on the tablets. It’s imperative that LaSalleMart provide a kick-ass customer experience on the tablets.
As well, people behave differently on different devices. On smartphones they may respond to a link in an email. People do not go through checkout on smartphones. So, your customers will order with a coupon on their phones, but they won’t consummate the sale on their phones.
People will watch videos on their tablets. A video with a link to a pre-coupon’d “buy now” button will work on the tablet. Your customers will go through checkout if the experience is easy and pleasant.
“Responsive” is not enough, because your customers behave differently on different devices. LaSalleMart has to meld with this behaviour, above and beyond the site adjusting to the “viewport” size.
Joomla has something called “CLI” (command line interface). CLI is Joomla without the site! Akeeba Backup has a CLI “app” that uses the power of Joomla, and specific Akeeba Backup functions, without launching the site — and without invoking it via the browser. This is how the automatic backups (via CRON jobs) are done.
Joomla’s CLI allows for the creation of Joomla based “Web Apps”. A “client-side” app is installed on the mobile device. A web application is accessed via a URL on a browser — nothing is installed on the mobile device. See https://developer.android.com/guide/webapps/overview.html for more info.
At the urging of wonderful client, I started building an app to cope with a two staged mobile-driven checkout: the first step is order placement; and, the second step is going through checkout later to pay for the order. I want to create a new LaSalleMart library that can access different aspects of the checkout to cope with this new mobile-based checkout flow. This new library is part of getting LaSalleMart onto Joomla 3. What was many months in the future is now a necessity to respond to the demands of mobile. The future is now, eh!
Mandrill for use with CLI became must-have, as we need to track out-bound emails with our Joomla apps.
The fact that we control the code puts us at a huge advantage to respond to mobile.
On Deck for June
On deck for development next month:
- wrapping up coupons;
- PayPal Pro;
- streamlined checkout;
- guest checkout;
On top of the new LM library (on top of the one we already have), I want to wrap up coupons, as it’s coming up in conversation now.
I am working on PayPal Pro, which prompted a new component (com_lasallemart_creditcard).
Streamlining and guest checkout are related. There are too many steps, especially at the address management.
Generic components and the Framework on Framework
I have a separate blog post about these, as long term investments are starting to pay off in terms of ability to crank out features faster. Building LM for Joomla 3.x will be ongoing as new development will be as Joomla 3.x friendly as possible. I note this again so you know Joomla 3 (and mobile) is top-of-mind.
New Home Page
I’ve not had a front page article for about a month now. Time to gather my notes together and get my new home page article together. I mention it here so you know that my site is not broken!
Bringing Club Commerce up to its 300 Members
In June, I want to do something I’ve not done yet: broadening out the tight little group that has brought LaSalleMart to life. LaSalleMart is humming on its first site, with two more upcoming. Development is primed for expansion. It’s time — finally! — to broaden our tight little group, that I call “Club Commerce”.
On May 30th, I’m putting on a Joomla ecommerce presentation at the Joomla User Group Toronto’s seminar. My presentation will be available on my LaSalleMart.com site.