When we set out to create an eCommerce engine, we built on the rest of the Vae platform. Actions are initiated through VaeML tags and items are just entries in a Collection. You can even statically define items in your VaeML. If you’re already familiar with creating websites using Vae, setting up the eCommerce portion of your site should be easy. In fact, there are not any special eCommerce structures that you need to learn about.
In this chapter, we will cover all aspects of the Vae eCommerce system, which is a complete system that includes a shopping cart, real-time payment acceptance, and a powerful backstage interface for fulfilling orders and viewing analytics. We begin with the actual implementation of the store, and then discuss settings and third-party integration.
Creating the Structures for a Typical Store
One of the coolest part about eCommerce on Vae is that designers have extreme flexibility to build the store data structures in a way that makes sense for each specific website. With that said, we have to do some sort of tutorial, so we will go through how a typical store on Vae is structured. This is by no means the only way, and we will show you later how you can get crazy.
Your Items Structure, the place where information about the items that are for sale in your store is stored, should be a fairly simple Collection Structure. Each entry in your collection will hold information about one item that will be available in your store. A clothing store might have each entry of their Items Collection store the name of the item, the item’s weight, a picture, a price, and a description. Here’s a screenshot of what a drilldown might look like for the Items Structure in a store:
With any field that necessitates a numeric value be entered, such as price, weight, or inventory (described below), it is best practice to check the Require a Numeric Value? Checkbox when creating the Structure. This will prevent future bugs that you might find puzzling.
In order to keep track of how many items are available for sale in your store, Vae gives you the ability to update how many items you have in stock, while automatically decrementing that number everytime an item is sold. When structuring your website in the Backstage, you simply need to create a text field, where you will input then input the amount of items in stock.
But what are you to do if you are selling several that come in different configurations? For example, if we were to be selling t-shirts, we might have to account for different sizes or colors. One option would be to create each possible configuration as an entry in the Items Collection. However, this might be confusing to maintain. A more organized method of dealing with this situation is by making a Styles Structure. Styles (you can call it whatever you want) is a Collection under the Item Structure that holds possible configurations for an item.
Since each configuration will have it’s own inventory, make sure you put your Inventory structure under the Styles Structure, and not directly under the Items Structure, if you are using styles.