Change the Add/Edit Products Process to make it simpler. Here's how:
I was thinking that there would be a very easy way to streamline the product creation process, especially for people who have many products to add. While the .CSV import process is quite flexible in a number of areas, it is not a practical option for someone looking to quickly and easily create a series of products with basic information. My thoughts were something like this:
For new products, make the new process more like a wizard. Example:
- Start with a batch image upload. This is commonly the first place that alot of merchants intuitively start at and many merchants have only a single product image per product. The user would select an option that says : All images relate to a SINGLE product - OR- Multiple images may belong to the same product. Once the upload process was finished, a grid or list display could show the images that were added. If the user selected the "all images relate to individual products" option, the customer would be presented with a GUI to provide basic product info (Product Name, Price, SKU, Short Description, Long Description, Category). There could be a checkbox to indicate that the product would need additional information configured for later**.
**The affect here would be to let the merchant input the basic information to get the products on the store, but then have the ability to "flag" which products they still needed to do edits for. This would greatly expedite the product creation process.
If the user selected - Multiple images may relate to the same product, the user would then need to designate which product images belong together. To use Goolge Places as a reference, There could be a grouping area where the user could drop the relevant images onto a graphic and "stack" them. This would group the images together without requiring a product name be attached yet. Once the images were grouped, the groupings would all be provided in a list or grid and prompt for the same basic information such as product name, price, etc. The "needs additional editing" flag option would also be present here.
From there, if categories are already present, the user would need to select the category and designate which products belong to it, similarly to the current functionality.
The Manage Products screen would need to have additional filters to show which products were flagged for editing, in addition to the search features currently presented. Some other useful filters might be: Products with no shipping, no tax, products with custom thank you pages, or whatever else might be useful. But a more flexible product search option would be preferred.
The real point of these suggestions is to make the interface more GUI focused and reduce the number of steps (pages to load) it takes to perform more basic tasks. I believe that the majority of merchants are not satisfied with the .CSV system (speaking from personal experience) and that a more GUI based system would be far superior. Also consider that editing the .CSV file either requires specialized software or knowledge of how to open such files using a web service, which many merchants may not intuitively grasp. Making the software more accessible to less tech savvy merchants would reduce potential merchant objections to the platform as well.
The interface is just plain dated. I can navigate it easily enough now that I have taken the time to learn/support it, but I think it could be made much easier and more "user-friendly". It wouldn't be terribly difficult to do either (from a coding perspective) and I'm sure there wouldn't be a security issue associated with implementing such a process. The simpler and more flexible, the better.