System-3

We appreciate that it's a strange thing to do but in fact we're going to refuse to tell you about the most impressive features of System-3. That's because it's clear to us as we look around the Internet, that we are not only doing things that other people don't know how to do, but that in some cases we are doing things that they haven't even realised are possible. Clearly we want to keep that information to ourselves for the benefit of OUR clients.

Here's some of what we are prepared to tell you:

Page Templates

System-3 works by inserting your product data (which you enter using friendly data entry screens) into templates to generate the actual web pages. The templates are very flexible, allowing a wide range of page designs to be created. A knowledge of XHTML and CSS is required in order to create or edit the templates however that's something we usually handle for our clients. It's a one off job/expense because after the templates have been set up, no programming knowledge is required to change the content that gets inserted into the templates i.e. you can add and remove products, change prices and other product information, and much more, with no programming knowledge whatsoever.

Flexible Catalogue Structure

Products are allocated to Groups which are in turn allocated to Pages. Pages may contain Groups, but may also have sub-pages. A Group may only appear on one page however a Product may be allocated to multiple groups. This allows you to create a shop structure that allows customers to find products intuitively. You can create a site where the customer does not have to guess which section a product is in because it can be listed in all relevant sections so that the customer finds it whichever route they take to find it.

TAG Codes

For the most part, Product, Group and Page data is entered as plain text however a set of 'tags' can be used to create links to other products and pages. This does away with the need to know anything complicated in order to display products to their best, and the data entry screens make it so that the shopkeeper i.e. the person who really knows the product, can create this information themselves without having to know anything about programming.

Multiple Formats

Most e-commerce systems have a single format for displaying and listing products and this is fine if all of your products can be displayed equally well with the same number of images and the same amount of space for text. However, if your shop sells everything from pencils to photocopiers, mouse mats to laptops, or pots of paint to remote control helicopters, then you'll appreciate being able to list different products in different ways. Nuts and bolts items can be presented to the customer as a simple list while the big expensive machines can have a whole page full of pictures and information, telling potential customers everything they might want to know. System-3 can also display products in a gallery view.

Stock Control

System-3 includes stock control, although you can switch this off. If you do use it then you have the option of whether or not to let customers buy things that are out of stock. If you do then System-3 can make the customer aware that their order will take a little longer to despatch (thereby giving them an opportunity to choose an alternative product - a different size or colour perhaps) or remove the problem item from their order thereby ensuring fast receipt of the things that they need quickly.

This functionality can also be used for listing rare or end-of-line items because you can set it such that customers can only by what you have and no more.

Note that this feature works on a per product basis so you can have some products that are limited while others are not.

Payments & Quote Requests

System-3 supports a number of different payment options and you can also allow, or even force, customers to request a quote. Thus you can force customers to request a quote if, for example, a special shipping calculation needs to be performed. This is also useful for items that are made to order, allowing you to accept the order before payment it taken.

Free & Allocated Stock

When stock control is used the system can distinguish between free and allocated stock. Customers buy from free stock while allocated stock is stock which is still on the premises (not despatched) but which has been allocated to an order (which may have been paid for or which may be awaiting the arrival of a cheque, confirmation that payment on account is to be allowed, etc).

Despatch Notifications

Every good Internet supplier notifies their customers when their order has been despatched and System-3 makes this simple.

ROL/ROQ

When using stock control you may set reorder level (ROL) and reorder quantity (ROQ) figures for each product. You can then run a report to generate a list of what you need to re-stock.

Multiple Shipping Cost Calculators

System-3 is able to calculate shipping costs by order value and/or by weight. 'Flags' can also be set to mark some products as postage free or as requiring a manual calculation. The system can also be set to force the customer to request a quote if certain conditions are met or thresholds exceeded. It's very flexible but can also be quite complicate... which is why this is something we set up for you as part of the package.

Article Pages

System-3 allows for the easy creation of 'article pages' which can be linked to products and vice versa. So for example you can create an article on how to use a product and have the product link to it. Or perhaps an article along the lines of "Which Product is right for you?" which explains the options and then links to the products. You can also use article pages for projects and recipes which then allow the customers to add the required items to their shopping cart.

Summary & Limitations

If you're already using an e-commerce system then what we've said above will almost certainly have made you aware of possibilities that your current system doesn't provide, and bear in mind that as we said at the start, we're not even prepared to tell you about the REALLY amazing stuff.

Despite its massive range of features however, System-3 cannot do everything; and we don't intend that it ever will. Because of its heritage, System-3 is designed to cater for a particular type of business and trying to make it cater for other types, that are already catered for by standard e-commerce systems, would turn it into a Jack of all trades and master of none. Consequently, if you're thinking that System-3 might be just what you need, you should talk to us. If System-3 won't benefit you, we'll tell you straight for one very good reason:

Leasing & Pricing

We don't sell System-3. If you want to use it then you transfer your site to our servers and pay a monthly fee, a 2% commission on the orders you take through it.

This is of course an unusual approach but the crucial thing is that rather than taking your money in exchange for our software and wishing you good luck, we're effectively going into partnership with you and whether we make any money is entirely dependent on you taking orders.

That's why you can trust us to give an honest assessment of whether or not we think you can benefit from using System-3 - to do otherwise would be a waste of our valuable time. It's also why you can be assured that we will continue to develop and enhance System-3 and do anything else that we reasonably can to improve your sales. The more you sell the more commission we get and if you don't make money out of System-3, then neither do we.