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Setting up GiftSuite ecommerce software to work with your site takes just a few easy steps:
  1. Setting up your categories
  2. Adding items to your categories
  3. Catalog system basic settings
  4. Registry system basic settings
  5. Shopping cart system setup
  6. Customization (Make it look like the rest of your site)
  7. Linking from your web site to parts of your catalog
  8. Go "LIVE" with your new ecommerce software!

STEP ONE: Setting up your categories
The first thing to do is sign in to the administrator and click "Maintain Categories" as shown here:

This will bring up the editing screen. Next, click the "Add New Top-Level Category" icon in the left icon menu as shown here:

And now, the Add Top-Level Category screen will be displayed:

Fill out this form, starting with the name of the category.

Category Name
Naming your categories well is an important part of setting up your ecommerce system. These names should be short but descriptive. Some online merchants will use general categories such as Kitchen, Bath, or Tabletop. Other merchants will use manufacturer's names such as VIETRI, Juliska, or Waterford. You may setup your category tree (categories with sub-categories, sub-categories with their own sub-categories and so forth), in any way you wish, but it is important to keep your customers in mind when doing this as they will have to navigate through all of these to find the items they want to buy. Remember that you are designing an ecommerce website and it is important to bear this in mind when setting up the categories.

Category Image
Select an image from your own computer by clicking the Browse button next to the input field. A thumbnail version of the image will be automatically generated. To change the size of the thumbnail, go to Catalog Settings in the Catalog Management panel on the administrator main menu. The Category Thumb Max Height and Max Width fields are under General Settings near the top of the settings screen. These settings limit the maximum width and height of your image, but do not affect the aspect retio. In other words, if your category image is a vertical rectangle, it will remain a vertical rectangle, and not be squeezed into a square.

Full Description
The main description of the category will be displayed if you have the Category Description Block turned on. This is a setting on the Catalog Settings page. This block is visible by default. It is important for Search Engine Optimization (vital for ecommerce) that you place all of the keywords that you will enter into the Keywords field into the Full Description Field. Orphaned keywords (those that appear in the Keywords Meta tag but not on the text of the page) count against you in search engine rankings.

Short Description
The Short Description is an important part of Search Engine Optimization. This text is used for one of the META tags on this item page. The Description Meta tag is displayed to someone when they perform a search on major search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and MSN Live. It is important to place some of your most important keywords that pertain to this category into the Short Description field. There is a maximum limit of 250 characters in the short description.

Search Engine Optimization is one of the most asked-about features of our ecommerce software. As such, the keywords that you enter into the Keywords field are extremely important to your success online. Keywords should be entered with commas separating each word or phrase that you want shoppers to use in order to find this item on the internet. Here is an example:

ceramic,ceramics,plate,plates,ceramic plates,red,brown,glazed,glazed ceramics

Note that these keywords apply to the category display pages, not to individual products. In addition, they will also be searched by GiftSuite's internal search system.

Popup Info Box
The popup info box fields pertain to a special feature of GiftSuite ecommerce software. In order to make your ecommerce system more interactive and give your customers more information, you can allow the software to create small popup windows that track with the customer's mouse as it passes over category links and images. This popup box is composed of two sections, the header or top part of the popup window and the text area or bottom part of the window. Note that these popup windows are part of the page itself and as such, they are immune to popup blockers. To see an example of these popup windows, pass your mouse over the Sample Popup image here:

You can alter the look of the popup window including font, colors, and more using style sheets. We will get to that later in this tutorial. For now, just understand that you can put additional information into this popup window and that it will appear when your customer's mouse passes over category images. Feel free to put whatever you would like into the Popup Info Box Header and Popup Info Box Text fields. You may enter up to 250 characters into the Popup Info Box Text field.

You may set the status of a category to one of two settings: Active, or Hidden. An active category is visible and the products it contains will be found in a search. A hidden one, on the other hand, is not visible and the items it contains will not appear in a search. Why set a category to "hidden"? If, for example, you sell holiday items and don't want to display them year-round, you can set them up in a set of hidden categories and display them only during the holiday season. Then, when it is over, you simply hide the category until you are ready to display it again. This way, you do not have to delete items and re-add them based on the time of year.

When you have entered all of the information into the form, click the "Add Category" button at the bottom of the page. The new category will be added and you will be returned to the main editing screen with the category tree now displaying the new category that you just entered.

Category Sort Order

At the bottom of the main category editing screen, you will see a list of your categories with a sort order field next to each one.

Using this system, you can change the order in which the categories are listed. Enter any alpha-numeric code you want into the sort order field next to each category name. A good system to use is a two digit numeric code like these: 01, 02, 03, and so forth. Enter a single code into each field. So the category that you want displayed first should be coded as 01 and the one that you want displayed second should be coded as 02.

Now that you have added a category, you may click the Preview Catalog icon back on the main menu.

Your current ecomerce catalog will appear. It won't be very pretty since we still have all of the customization to do, but you will be able to start navigating around as you setup your category tree.

Once you have your tree structure basically setup (it is likely that you will go back and make changes to the layout), it is time to start adding items to your categories.