Re-imagining E-commerce in Kentico 11 - Part 2

By Michal Kadak in Kentico
·5 min read

The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the tyranny of evil calculation. We walked through the valley of the shadow of E-commerce in the first part of this series. For the second one, I will focus mainly on the feature-wise aspects of the E-commerce renaissance.

Taxes!

Teach a man to fish and he will feed himself for a lifetime.

Image 1 Source: mountainmoonvolcano.com

Calculating the right tax is always a real pain in the buttocks. Kentico can't entirely solve this part of commerce because we don't have enough brain capacity to do it and maintain it in the future. Thank God we have plugins like Avalara and similar. However, we have solved the parts that were on us from the beginning. This first feature will bring joy mostly to the hearts of our European partners and clients.

With the new release, you can configure the E-commerce solution to store and process product prices with or without tax included. Based on the configuration, the system automatically adjusts how taxes are displayed on the website and the calculation of taxes during checkout. Basically, you tell Kentico whether your SKUs have a price tax included or not and the system will behave accordingly.

The primary benefit from this update is that you no longer have to think about the consequences if your e-shop runs already taxed products. The system knows about it, and it extracts the tax summary from the discounted or otherwise calculated price when necessary.

The Most Complete Discounting Engine in the World?

The Kentico's discounting engine was pretty badass already in the last version, but it's as strong as its weakest link. Needless to say, product coupons was the frowned upon feature. Old, unmaintained and fairly limited. Enough was enough. We tore down the old-fashioned code and recreated the feature with all the bells and whistles we have in the rest of the discounts. If you are familiar with coupon codes from the previous version, please take a look at its new reincarnation. We took a tricycle and rebuilt it into an M1 Abrams battle tank.

The rest of promotions didn't stay untouched. With Kentico 11, we are introducing new categorization capabilities. Kentico now allows you to set the brand, collection, and department for every SKU and use this categorization to define the promotion. And that's not all. You can also use the product tree structure for the same goal. An example could be a catalog discounts on all electronics except for the Apple brand. The discounting engine's rules contain inclusion but also exclusion. You can quickly set up a promotion for all TVs except OLED ones, should you so desire.

The latest addition is Gift Coupons. I'm sure you can imagine what's behind this one. A bunch of voucher codes that behave as temporary bank accounts with a specific amount of money. If your customer has one, they can use it to pay for their orders till the coupon has no money left.

It was a long run, but we dealt with the weak links in our solution and we can proudly state that Kentico's discounting engine can put up a tough fight when it comes to it.

Every champion was once a contender who refused to give up.

A Very Particular Set of Skills

I will find you! That's the message the new Kentico is sending out. It may seem sinister or even a bit "Liam-y", but that's just a coincidence. The truth behind it is the built-in integration with Azure Search. Azure Search is one of many handy features in Microsoft's technology stack. When we were standing before our old nemesis named faceted search, we agreed it's time to crush it! We brought the big guns. Some may love it, and some may hate it, but Microsoft is a big player regarding cloud services. We opted for Azure Search because we are sure it's going to be widely used and updated with new capabilities at every occasion.

With this integration, your indexing and querying capabilities for your data stored in Kentico go beyond the old Lucene Search we have as an alternative. All the perks you have in Azure Search can be and will be used within Kentico. The best part is the backend integration. We managed to build it in such a way that everything should be seamless. I love the feeling when I can tell myself "Sweet! They thought about that!" We all hope you'll experience this feeling while working with the integration. The incremental update and fully automated CRUD operations with Azure Search should help with that. Enter your Azure creds and let the Kentico backend do the dirty work.

Ain't Paying a Penny

I will end this article with two features that are common, very important, yet missing in older versions. The first one is delayed payment support. Sometimes also called authorize and capture.

You should already be familiar with the concept. The customer makes an order, pays for it with a card or PayPal, but the payment is only authorized. It remains in the customer's bank account. The day comes, goods are shipped, and the merchant captures this authorized payment. Done. A simple concept but the implementation was left for ages on the shoulders of digital agencies. Fortunately, not anymore. Kentico 11 gives you the ability to enable this delayed capture mode in all payment gateways, and, of course, to create a new custom gateway with this functionality.

Make It Double

The second one, and also the last item on my bucket list, is the support for multiple coupons. It's fair to say it was awkward that we didn't have this capability. Let's forget the past and live in the present where you can enjoy the possibility to enter more than one coupon code during the checkout process and leverage every promotion at your disposal.

Conclusion

We did a lot of great work regarding the Kentico's E-commerce solution, and we are proud of it. It's always a pleasure to work with my teams and I would like to say a tremendous "Thank You!" to every single team member. I put them in front of a very tricky task but they are brave enough to withstand the pressure and fear of the unknown. We make a great team and we are eager to start with the next version. There's a lot to look forward to.

In the meantime, enjoy the work we have done in Kentico 11 and feel free to leave a comment in the section below. We would like to know if this version deserves to be codenamed "The Stallion".

By Michal Kadak in Kentico
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