Sync Multichannel "NEW" Product Launch Icons
This is important because we want to identify that our new product has launched in our web store by displaying a product launch icon prior to our catalogue launch & mailing.

The obstacles one endures manipulating antiquated e-commerce software to produce the desired results is arduous. The challenge to get better is a battle and technically it forces you to rely on creative coding techniques to overcome these platform limitations. With this struggle in our work it’s onerous to progress, and therein lies the value of a challenge.

The year is 1819, I mean 2019 and we are living in a multi-channel marketing age. Yes, we want to “Omnify” and in the age of retail, synchronizing the user experience is the goal.  So said the “Print” Catalogue to the “Web” Store – and no that wasn’t a punchline!

In this example, our new catalogues launch on January 1st of every year and with it all the “NEW” products. This legacy ritual is bound by the physical mailing to customers, cast into the future, never to change, an echo of a bygone era. Thank goodness we live in a virtual world where the canvass of brand is never etched with more than the speed of the moment, as our message is always in flux. Our “NEW” products need an identity and for most modern e-commerce platforms this is easily done. What if your e-commerce platform is void of this functionality and manually modifying PDP (Product Detail Pages) main images to include these identifiers isn’t an option? I say this because when you are dealing with tens of thousands of products, automation is the only option. I hope you’re still with me here because our new product doesn’t need to launch on January 1st, does it? It can launch months or weeks prior to the new catalogue’s physical mailing and this is where e-commerce unifies the customer experience (CX) and supports the shortcomings of our printed pioneer, that’s right the catalogue.

Here’s the big question; How long can a product be called “New”? According to the FTC (Federal Trade Commission, USA) advisory opinion from 1967, it would be inclined to question any claim that a product is “new” for a period of time longer than 6 months”. Now, the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority, UK) under the CAP (Copy Advice Team) conducted research in 2006 into consumer perception of “new” and determined that as a rough rule of thumb, they advise that the word “new” is used only when the product or service has been sold for 12 months or less. Unfortunately, I was unable to determine what, if any, governing body and or legal implications surround the “new product” definition for us Canucks, eh?

If you want to be great, automate! So for all your old school B2B e-commerce websites that can’t produce a “NEW” icon for your product detail pages you’re in luck because that’s what I’m stuck with, an old school B2B e-commerce website. Hold tight I’m going to drop some scripts and a little commentary to boot…

Date/Time Based Script – Automate & Sync Icon

The PHP script below (new-2019 -product.php) provides three levels of logic allowing you to synchronize while adhering to your particular branding needs across all three stages of the new product icon display; stage one, pre-catalogue launch (display a product launch icon); stage two, catalogue launch (display a new product icon); and stage three, post catalogue launch (display nothing after 12 months). This is important because we want to identify that our new product has launched in our web store by displaying a product launch icon prior to our catalogue launch & mailing. Additionally, when the catalogue drops and consumers begin examining the pages we want that product launch icon to automatically change to display a new product icon, unifying the channels and harmonizing the experience. Finally, when our new product life-cycle ends (after 12 months) we are able to remove/hide the new product icon from our PDP satisfying the nature of the marketplace.

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<?php
// The current date
$date = time();
 
// Static new product start date.
$productStart = strtotime('2019-01-01 00:00:00');
 
// Static new product end date.
$productEnd = strtotime('2020-01-01 00:00:00');
 
if ($date < $productStart) {
// Display web first product launch icon.
echo '<img src="/www/img/product-launch.png" width="212" height="106" alt="PRODUCT LAUNCH" title="PRODUCT LAUNCH" />';
}
elseif ($productStart < $productEnd) {
// Display new product icon.
echo '<img src="/www/img/new-product.png" width="106" height="106" alt="NEW" title="NEW" />';
}
elseif ($productStart > $productEnd) {
// Display nothing.
echo '';
}
?>

DIV & AJAX Script – Display HTML Content Execute PHP

In order to bring this all together, we need a mechanism to generate and display our new-2019 -product.php script. We’ll use AJAX to dynamically change the content; in this case, our new product icon script, without the need to reload the page, thanks AJAX! As an aside, this approach works extremely well when secondary programming languages are in play i.e. by changing your DIV id naming reference to call upon language specific scripts. This can become a powerful tool that appeases language specific imagery to convey your branding message – check and check!

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<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
<head>
<script src="https://ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/jquery/3.3.1/jquery.min.js"></script>
<script>
$.ajax({url: "https://moorescode.com/www/new-2019-product.php"}).done(function( html ) {
    $("#newProduct").append(html);
});
</script>
</head>
<body>
<div id="newProduct"></div>
</body>
</html>

So there we have it! Actualizing this functionality as a selling technique not only makes sense but it improves the PDP (Product Detail Page) message and reinforces brand integrity with our loyal customers. Let’s not forget it’s going to save you a ton of data entry slogging because automating the various stages of a product’s life-cycle is the only way to be great. This will certainly make all your new product launches iconic!

David


David Moores @ NYC

About

At moorescode, our objectives are to build “first in class” digital experiences that focus on perfecting the customers’ journey.  Our strengths lie in digital analytics, metric components and the implementation of data tracking methods for mining interpretation.  These mechanisms provide the necessary insight to ensure your company’s branding message maintains a unified voice across all touch-points.  With our advanced knowledge of web server deployment, database management systems, and server-side scripting languages we’ve earned a reputation as experts in the web technology sector.