Blinds & Magento
We’ve just finished quite a lengthy job for MyBlinds.ie. This is a company that sells a wide variety of window blinds with free delivery in Ireland. In the process, we had to address a number of interesting issues in Magento relating to percentage price changes on configuarble products and an easy way to handle free product samples.
I had said this in my previous post about curtains, but the importance of custom product order forms can’t be stressed enough in some cases. When there are 6 or 7 different ordering processes, with different interdependent custom options, it becomes extremely painful very quickly if static forms aren’t used (being updated by AJAX with appropriate names/values).
Another interesting issue that cropped up in this project was the issue of percentage price changes. Custom options can have a price related to them, be it a €5 increase or a 20% decrease. Unfortunately, Magento doesn’t apply percentages in a very intuitive way in terms of configurable products. Instead of applying them to the currently chosen option, it applies the percentage to the base price. Now, the base price of configurable products is often zero, so the percentage change becomes defunct. To get around this we need to set the price of the configurable product to €1 and then do some tricky maths in the background so that it all appears as expected in the cart.
When initially faced with supplying fabric samples, it seemed like it could be done as a glorified contact form. But why lose out on the order management, shipping, etc that Magento provides by default. So we set up a product sample as a €0 virtual product. In the checkout, we can enable the Zero-Total payment method so we can skip through the necessity of payment details. So the only thing to check for is to change the “billing address” to “shipping address” if the cart subtotal is €0. I’m quite happy with how that worked out.
Finally, some online shops really are only intended for a domestic market. So we know in advance where we are going to be shipping the products. Unfortunately, Magento doesn’t provide any default indication of shipping costs in the cart – waiting until the checkout to calculate the shipping costs or for the user to generate a shipping estimate and update the quote (2 clicks). So when loading the cart we set the current shipping address country to be Ireland and automatically add into the quote the appropriate shipping amount so it shows up straight away. Nice!