The four biggest changes in version 6.0 are:
- The new ‘Autumna 22’ theme gives storefronts a new, more contemporary look with additional options to customize font usage and the home page.
- To facilitate production planning, you can assign a customizable status to ordered products using ‘Order Item Flags’. Mark items as ‘Awaiting new file’, ‘Forwarded’, ‘Bundled shipping’ or any other label that is handy to manage production.
- The Variable Data Processing option has been extended greatly. Larger datasets can be submitted and these can now also include images. This enables a shopper to upload a single ZIP file containing an XLSX Excel file and jpeg photos with StoreFront automatically generating 300 business cards based on that content.
- The Online Editor can now be used to generate JPG or PNG images, which can be used for online advertising or social media posts.
Below is a full overview of all the new functions and improvements.
This is the name of a new style that can be applied to stores by selecting it from the Style dropdown menu in the Stores > Style tab. This theme gives storefronts a more contemporary look using flat tints, subtly rounded corners, minimalist form fields, fewer drop shadows, and extra white space. These layout changes also make stores more mobile-friendly.
Stores that use this theme are always responsive. The option to use a fixed-width layout is no longer available.
You can configure the body text size to optimize your site for a particular typeface or a specific target audience. Mobile users, for example, generally prefer a slightly larger typeface on web pages.
With Autumna 22 displaying a welcome message or other informational text in a left-hand column of the home page is no longer mandatory. You can create home pages that focus entirely on the available product range – something that is frequently done for small private B2B stores. When you do add text, it can also be positioned above or below the category and product area.
Product pages no longer show a navigation pane to the left-hand side, freeing up extra space for bigger product pictures.
When adding a product to your cart, you no longer need to close an annoying confirmation window when the add-to-cart flow is set to Stay on Product Page or Go to Home Page. A short animation informs the buyer that the product has been added to the cart.
The progress bar shown during checkout has been redesigned, and the entire process is visually more appealing.
Show products on the home page
Small shops with few products can now be configured to directly show those products on the home page, instead of displaying a single category that contains those products. This reduces clicks and speeds up ordering.
This option can be activated by clicking the Show products from one single active category on the homepage option in Stores > Product Catalog. As indicated in the text of the option, this only works if the store contains one single category or only one of its categories is active, because all the other categories are disabled or access labels render them inaccessible.
Customize the login page
For private stores, you can now customize the background of the login window. This makes adding company branding easier and gives corporate customers their own unique login experience. A full-screen image background and logo can be selected in the Stores > Pages > Login window. The logo is placed between the top and the login window. Ideally it consists of a PNG image with a transparent background.
Additional mandatory shipping address fields
When shoppers set the delivery address for an order, it must contain a name, address, postal code and city. Optionally you can now make it mandatory to also provide a company name, phone, e-mail address or tax number. Some shipping services require this information in case there are delivery issues. Defining which additional fields are mandatory is done in the Stores > Shipping window.
To compensate for fluctuating costs, you can define up to three additional fees that are applied to all the orders in a store. This could, for example, be a 3% ‘energy cost surcharge’ that is applied to all orders below 1500 euro. The surcharge will be displayed in the order summary during checkout and it is also included on invoices and in exported order data. Defining such fees is done in the Payment and Pricing section of the Stores > General window.
Create online banners
The Online Editor can now be used to customize documents that you want to make available as a PNG or JPG image. This can be handy for customers who want to create template banners on online advertising campaigns or social media posts.
To enable the creation of such images, the Downloadable PDF option window in Product Templates > Product Options has been extended and is now labelled Downloadable PDF or Image option. You can choose to offer only the image option with the ordered product being a 100 ppi (pixels per inch) PNG image, as shown in the above screenshot.
The procedure to create a customizable product that exports to PDF or PNG is similar to one for PDF output. You do need to take the required output resolution into account when creating the source InDesign file. For a 1200 x 628 image with a 100 ppi resolution, you need to start from a 12 x 6.28 inch or 304.8 x 159.512 mm InDesign file.
Similar to other customizable products, shoppers can use the Online Editor to create a custom layout. After checkout they receive an email with a download link. Clicking that link takes them to an order details page in StoreFront where they can download a ZIP file containing the requested image.
Updated Online Editor
You can now enable rulers in the Online Editor to position or align layout elements more precisely. The spellchecker and hyphenation modules have also been reactivated.
Extended Variable Data Processing
Three major improvements have been implemented for the optional VDP module:
- Next to Excel XLS files, XLSX files are now also supported.
- You can upload a much larger dataset when using the quantity setting called ‘One copy per record’. With this setting StoreFront will generate a single PDF that contains all the variable data pages and a JDF file containing just a single PartialProduct. This is ideal for print production on digital presses. We do recommend limiting the number of lines in Excel files to 1000 – more than four times what was previously allowed.
- VDP is no longer limited to text, you can now also use images as a variable. This can, for example, come in handy to generate large sets of business cards that contain a portrait of the person next to his or her name, function and contact details. A VDP Excel file can refer to images that were previously already uploaded to StoreFront. You can also combine an Excel file and images in a compressed file and upload that ZIP file to order prints.
- The Cookie notification has been updated, allowing shoppers to either accept all cookies or reject non-essential ones with a single click.
- Google will cease support for Universal Analytics on July 1, 2023. StoreFront 6.0 now also supports the newer Google Analytics 4 tag. We recommend to switch to the new service in early January so that all 2023 analytics data can be found in the new GA4 service.
- The use of a salutation is no longer mandatory. Some companies have a very casual corporate style or want to avoid any focus on gender. For them, we added a new setting in the Companies > General tab.
- Banners have a few additional navigation options.
- The revised StoreCenter Dashboard makes more efficient use of both large monitors and the smaller screens of mobile devices.
- The estimated shipping date and shipping method are now included in the Order Item details page in StoreCenter.
- E-mails to shoppers no longer end with the phrase “The <storename> team”
- To facilitate the automated order processing with the StoreFront API based on the info in the order Excel report, this report now also contains the fields: Order UidPK, Order Item UidPK and Shipment UidPK.
- Preview PDF files are no longer secured with a password when all three security settings (Allow Content Extraction, Allow Modification, Allow Printing ) are enabled.
Post-update action items
None of the changes and new features in this release require intervention from a printer administrator.