The web store is segmented into two different access areas. Site visitors and customers access the Store Front to do their shopping or manage their personal accounts. Store owners (also known as administrators) access the Admin Console to add products to the store’s catalog and configure other business rules.
A Typical Shopping Flow
To help you understand how the application works, we shall go through a typical set of activities that customers perform when doing their online shopping. This entire process constitutes a workflow and enables you to visualize which part of your store will be affected when you start configuring your own online store. For simplicity’s sake, the illustrated workflow is shown in sequence. In actual fact, customers can opt to skip to certain pages without having to follow the sequence. Store owners can also alter the standard shopping flow to suit their business needs.
A customer learns about your site through a marketing campaign (Search Engine, Gift Certificate, etc) you have implemented. She picks up your site’s web address and types it into her web browser to reach your Store Front. The first page she encounters is known as the Home Page (which is also known as the Index Page or Main Page).
The customer browses through your store’s products via the Categories side-box. If your store sells documents, she may see a Documents side-box as well. Optionally, she can perform a search for a product she is interested in.
As the customer clicks through the list of products, she will ultimately reach the Product Info page which details the price, weight, discounts and any other information related to the product.
Once she decides to purchase the product, she enters the desired quantity into the “Add to Cart” text box and then clicks the “add this to my cart” button to proceed to the Shopping Cart page.
On the Shopping Cart page, the number of items that the customer has purchased and the price breakdown for all items will be displayed. Products can be removed and the quantity of items changed by clicking the relevant icons on the screen.
Once the customer is satisfied with her purchase, she can click the “go to checkout” button to begin the checkout process.
Before the customer enters the checkout process, she will be redirected to the Login page if she has not logged in to her account. If she does not have an account, she will need to sign up for an account at the same page.
The system is smart enough to make sure that items in the customer’s shopping cart will not be lost even if she transitions from an anonymous visitor to a logged in customer.
Once the customer is logged in, she will automatically be redirected to the Delivery Information page.
The customer will choose her desired shipping option and confirm her delivery addresses. After making her selection, she will click on the “continue checkout” button to proceed to the Payment Information page.
At the Payment Information page, the customer will choose her desired payment option and confirm her billing addresses.
The customer can also use the monetary values contained in her discount coupons or gift certificates to offset a portion of the order amount. After she is satisfied with her selection, she will click on the “continue checkout” button to proceed to the Order Confirmation page.
At the Order Confirmation page, all applicable costs (shipping charges, sales taxes, etc) for the customer’s order are tallied and displayed. Previously selected values for the Delivery Information page and Payment Information page will also be displayed.
Once the customer is satisfied with the details of her order, she will click on the “confirm the order” button. After the order is processed by the system (send out order confirmation emails, set order status to Pending, save order in database, etc), the customer will be redirected to the Checkout Success page.
At the Checkout Success Page, the customer will be given an opportunity to opt-in to receive any email updates for the products she just purchased.
If the customer has purchased gift certificates from your store or received gift certificates from her friends, the balance in her gift certificate account will also be displayed. This brings an end to the shopping flow.
Optionally, if the customer wants to view her order history, she can click the My Account hyperlink to proceed to the My Account Information page.
At the My Account Information page, the customer will be able to view her order history and check on each order status.
Sourced from e-Start Your Web Store with Zen Cart book.