Visualsoft technical integration guide

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1. Introduction

Poq is a commerce platform for native apps. We know that integration is extremely important for retail businesses. In this document, we give you recommendations for keeping the inventory up-to-date and posting orders back into your e-commerce infrastructure.

2. Product feed 

The product feed contains all products that will be listed for sale on the mobile platform (normally the same products as on the main e-commerce website). The feed is usually a text file with all the relevant information, such as product titles, images and SKUs.

Our platform will read this file, and compare it with the products already present on the mobile app and website. Any new products will be added to the platform, and the corresponding images will be transferred across and automatically processed and optimized for mobile viewing. This also means that changes to existing product titles, descriptions, prices, quantities and so forth will be mirrored in the platform. Finally, products that are out of stock or missing from the feed will be removed from the platform.

Using an existing Google Shopping Feed 

The Poq platform is fully compatible with a retailers’ existing feeds. From our experience, this is often a Google Shopping feed for Visualsoft clients. However, if this is not available it can also be any other existing product feed used for example for affiliate marketing networks.

If there is a Google Shopping feed that already updates automatically, no additional work is required to populate the app or mobile site with the inventory. An example of a good Google shopping feed can be found from Ash Footwear here: http://www.ashfootwear.co.uk/downloads/vs3_ashshoes.xml

Note: Based on our experience it is important to make sure that the two following areas are handled in the feed:

1, Grouping of products: In order to group products that should be shown together, e.g. different sizes for a product or different colours that should be shown together, group item ids should be added: e.g. <g:item_group_id>1034</g:item_group_id>

2. Quantity: <g:quantity>2</g:quantity> if the quantity field is missing, the default quantity inserted by the Poq Studio platform is 10.

3. Shopping cart integration 

Using Poq’s shopping cart integration for orders allows the retailer to maintain current processes and systems, and gives the consumer a seamless shopping experience across channels.

When the consumer has finished shopping within the app or mobile website and clicks checkout, we then send the contents of the shopping cart to the retailer’s current website via a secure URL. If the current website checkout process isn’t optimised for mobile, Poq can create a mobile optimised skin for the existing checkout.

Transferring the shopping cart

The contents of the shopping cart are transferred to the desktop website in an SSL-encrypted URL. The shopping cart contents can be configured to transfer to any given URL.

When writing the script to accept the shopping cart contents, please first clear the shopping cart, so that the shopper gets the exact same items in the checkout as on the cart page in the app or mobile site.

Field guide 

These are the fields that will be posted in the request. Note that the “X” below is a number, and that the fields ending with X are repeated for each item in the shopping cart, such as

item_name_1, item_name_2 etc.

  • currency – Currency for the order 
  • reference_id – unique order ID 
  • item_name_X – the product name 
  • item_quantity_X – Number of units ordered 
  • item_price_X – Total price of all the units ordered 
  • item_sku_X – SKU for the item. 
  • item_ean_X – EAN for the item 

Shopping cart URL example

https://poqstudio.com/poqcart.php?currency=GBP&reference_id=a3fc997b-eb0a-4f4d-b3edd9a08417d126&item_name_1=QUALM&item_quantity_1=1&item_price_1=59.95&item_sku_1=QUALM_TN_L_36&item_ean_1=5051645281694

Shopping cart HTML example

<form method=”GET” action=”https://poqstudio.com/poqcart.php”> 

<input type=”hidden” name=”currency” value=”GBP” />
<input type=”hidden” name=”reference_id” value=”a3fc997b-eb0a-4f4d-b3ed-d9a08417d126″ />
<input type=”hidden” name=”item_name_1″ value=”QUALM” />
<input type=”hidden” name=”item_quantity_1″ value=”1″ />
<input type=”hidden” name=”item_price_1″ value=”59.95″ />
<input type=”hidden” name=”item_sku_1″ value=”QUALM_TN_L_36″ />
<input type=”hidden” name=”item_ean_1″ value=”5051645281694″ />

</form>

4. Smart App Banners

In order to promote the app Apple recommends to use ‘Smart App Banners’. Smart App Banners vastly improve users’ browsing experience compared to other promotional methods. As banners are implemented in iOS, they will provide a consistent look and feel across the web that users will come to recognize.

If the app is already installed on a user’s device, the banner intelligently changes its action, and tapping the banner will simply open the app.

<meta name=”apple-itunes-app” content=”app-id=688976720” />

Poq will provide the app id in each case.

For further information see here Apple iOS developer homepage:

https://developer.apple.com/library/ios/documentation/AppleApplications/Reference/SafariWebContent/PromotingAppswithAppBanners/PromotingAppswithAppBanners.html

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