July 26 Update: New and Improved DPD Cart

  • Jason@DPD
  • July 25, 2011
  • 4 Comments

Over the past few months we’ve been working on a new and improved DPD checkout experience for buyers. We went in to the project with a few key goals in mind:

  • To allow for greater customization and integration of the DPD checkout and delivery process with vendor sites
  • Lay the groundwork for more processors, including merchant accounts
  • To build a system where we could add more advanced features that vendors were asking for

Today we’ve published an update that includes the new and improved DPD Cart. This is a total cart rewrite and includes every ecommerce best practice we could cram in to it. Taking information from industry reports, case studies of global ecommerce sites, and more we’ve done our best to make this the best converting checkout experience possible for your stores.

New DPD Cart - Default Style
You can preview the default theme for the new cart here:

Add to Cart:

Demo Product ($0.00)

Add to Cart

Demo Product w/ Key ($0.99)

Add to Cart

Customization

The new DPD cart features a theme system that is 100% customizable by you to completely match the look and feel of your website. No longer do you have to load the cart in a lightbox or take your customers to a page that looks like its from a different website- checkout and delivery can be seamlessly integrated in to your website.

To show you the level of customization now possible, here is an Add to Cart button that will add a demo product to a customized template:

Customized New Cart
Demo Product ($0.00)

Add to Cart

To accomplish this, the new theme system uses a Layout Template that serves as a “wrapper” for all checkout and delivery pages. Most vendors will only need to edit this layout to match the DPD cart to their site’s design. For those who want to do more in depth customization, we’ve also provided individual page templates that you can edit to your heart’s content.

The DPD checkout and delivery process is secured by SSL as always, and the all new asset manager allows you to upload your images, stylesheets, and javascript files to DPD so that SSL errors are not thrown by files hosted elsewhere.

DPD Theme Editor
The new theme system uses the popular TWIG template language and the DPD Template Reference clearly documents all available variables and options.

Your own Sub-Domain

The new cart and checkout system is hosted on a custom, seperate sub-domain for each store. Your checkout and delivery will now take place on YOURNAME.dpdcart.com, adding another level of integration and professionalism to your store.

Hosted Product Pages

For those selling without a website, through ads, mobile apps, or just want DPD to host the product pages the new cart also includes hosted product detail pages and index view that include the product description, image, and add-to-cart button. This product detail page and index view is wrapped in the Layout Template and styled by your own custom css / images to match the rest of your checkout process. There is no requirement to use the hosted product pages- they’re completely optional and you can continue to sell with add-to-cart and buy now buttons. You can opt out of displaying your products on the cart view by deselecting the option when creating or editing your product.

We’ll be adding more features to the hosted product pages as well as other DPD generated page in the future.

Coming Features

The new cart checkout and delivery system will allow for many new features in the coming months. Our old cart, while effective, was based on older technology and limiting on the space we had to work with. With the new cart we’ll be able to add additional pages, provide for a PCI compliant checkout experience for Merchant Accounts (with Authorize.net coming soon, more later) and have more room to offer value added services, cross sales, upsales, and more.

This new cart is the groundwork for hundreds of new features that vendors have been asking for in the future.

Upgrading to the New Cart and Checkout

While we’ve thoroughly tested the new cart and checkout we’re going to require that vendors contact support to upgrade their current cart to the new system, at least for the time being. We want to work with early adopters to make sure their theme editing needs are met and get feedback for improvements before releasing the new cart to everyone.

Both the layout and theme page editors have a preview option to see your changes in real time before making them active for your buyers so there is absolutely no risk in diving in and customizing your new cart before switching it to your active checkout. If you make a mistake you can always add a new, clean version of the DPD Standard cart to your theme manager.

If you’d like to use the new and improved cart and checkout for your store, please log in to DPD and contact Support for 1-on-1 setup and assistance.

New Feature: MP3 Track Preview Player

  • Jason@DPD
  • July 14, 2011
  • 1 Comment

We’re happy to announce that today we’ve published an update to DPD that gives vendors the ability to create an embedded MP3 track preview player in their site for MP3 audio products sold and delivered through DPD. The only prerequisite to using the track preview feature is that the product file must be an MP3 audio file that is not contained in a zip or other container.

The MP3 preview player is based on the popular and easy to customize AudioPlayer flash based player. Vendors can select any segment of their MP3 product file to play in the preview player, up to 30 seconds in length. Both the player and music sample clip are delivered from DPD servers so you can use this feature on free web hosts and other limited space websites. The mp3 preview uses its own resampled mp3 track and not the actual product file so it is impossible to exploit the player to download your paid mp3.

To create a MP3 preview for your audio product in DPD, simply go to the product’s details page from your product list.

Product Details Page- Music Sample
Product Details Page- Music Sample

From there you’ll see the Music Sample section where you can set the start and end points (in seconds) to create your preview track.

Edit Music Clip Page
Edit Music Clip Page

Once you’ve saved your preview track you can grab the embed code from your details page and insert it in to your web page.

Here is an example player with no customization done:

Loading Music Player…

Full details and all the available configuration options are covered in the article Creating MP3 Samples in the DPD Knowledgebase.

Feb 24, 2011 Update: New Button Creator Pages

  • Jason@DPD
  • February 24, 2011
  • No Comments

Only minutes ago we published an update to the DPD servers that revamps the product button creation process and allows you to generate buttons for all products in a store on a single page.

We’ve never really been a fan of having to go to each product individually, open the button creator, selecting the style for each button, etc. so we’ve done our best to smooth the process out- Now all you need to do is setup your store in DPD, create your products, and click the green Button Creator link to generate button code for all your products at the same time. It’s a HUGE time saver for setting up many products at once. Pick a button style and get all the buttons for your entire website in one place!

New Button Creator link to get buttons for all your products.

The cart button creator gives you both the view cart / checkout button code and individual add-to-cart button codes for each product. You have the option of choosing between cart with lightbox (the floaty JavaScript window thing), cart without lightbox, or plain text links for integration with your own button graphics on your site.

Cart Button Creator Page

The instant checkout button creator generates instant checkout buttons (obviously) with your choice of processor if more than one is active on a storefront. You can choose from button code or plain text links like the add-to-cart buttons.

This update is fairly small but it’s paving the way for some big improvements for DPD- soon buttons will not be the only thing you can generate for your products and customizing your checkout experience is going to be more awesome than ever. 😉

DPD Loves Olark

  • Jason@DPD
  • December 8, 2010
  • No Comments

This week we added a new feature to our website- live chat through Olark. The verdict so far? We love it. We don’t often write about other services here, but we’re really pleased and think that live chat could be a powerful tool to help our vendors with their sales and conversions so we’re going to tell you our experience thus far-

Olark has a different approach to live chat than many other services- they use the common XMPP protocol for their chat servers instead of proprietary software. For those not up to date on chat protocols, the XMPP protocol is the same thing that Jabber, Google Talk, Facebook Chat, and a host of other chat services use. XMPP support is built in to every multi-protocol chat client and is a snap to set up.

Here at DPD that’s pretty important- I’m on Windows 7, Jacob is on a Mac, and Scott gets the geek badge for developing on Ubuntu. We needed something that would work on all platforms and even our Android phones- Olark fit the bill.

Installation

Olark provides you with a bit of javascript to place in the footer of your site. Thats it. It took 30 seconds to integrate Olark with DPD, and 25 of those were waiting for the editor to open.

Client Setup and Usage

Using Olark with Pidgin
Olark integrates with your chat client like any other service and gives you interesting user information
On my Windows desktop I use Pidgin to keep in contact with the other DPD guys as well as friends and family. Olark integrates with Pidgin using the XMPP protocol as you can see in the screenshot to the right. Visitors to your website are shown with some basic information- where they’re from, what page their looking at, what page referred them to the site, and how long they’ve been browsing around on DPD.

We did a little programmer magic using Olark’s API to automatically display usernames for logged in DPD users to help us be even more effective with support (the logged in visitor’s usernames are blurred in the screenshot to protect our users privacy).

When a user sends a live chat request, it broadcasts a message to all the operators who are online and not “away.” Any operator can reply and “claim” the chat, and if needed you can transfer them to someone else with a simple !transfer command in the chat window. You can also be proactive and pick someone from the list to initiate a chat from your end- you just open a chat window and start typing like you’re sending a message to your Aunt Ruth.

Customization

Olark Customization Options
Olark gives you several themes and lets you further customize them
Olark lets you customize the chat box to your hearts content. They have several pre-made themes, and you can further customize the available themes to your liking.

There are a lot of extra customization features too- You can customize your offline message (as we’ve done with a link to our knowledge base), specify what email to send offline messages to, window behavior and options, and more.

Reports, Transcripts, and More

In addition to integrating with Google Analytics, Olark has built in stats from Mixpanel that show how many visitors have been to your site while you were online, how many you missed when you were offline, and how many chats you had for a given time period. This is great for figuring out the best times to offer live support!

Olark Stats
Olark's built-in stats show engagement numbers

Olark can also optionally record transcripts and email them to a specified address, great for quality control, follow-up, and supervisory functions.

Olark’s Hatchery is their experimental playground with some neat stuff in the works- you can optionally enable an auto-translate plugin that uses Google Translate or check out some new experimental themes. It’s great to use a service that is under active development!

Support

We haven’t really had any problems with the service, but Olark has a well documented API that let Jacob add our user data to the chat widget in minutes. For the one question I had, I chatted up Olark on their site and spoke to Zach, one of the Olark founders who promptly answered my question. He seems like a pretty swell guy too 🙂

Olark does have premium email support for paid users and I expect that will be just as great as the rest of our Olark experience when we need it.

The Verdict? We love it.

There are a lot of things we like about Olark– it’s pretty awesome to see the visitors on your site, where they came from, and where they are in the world in real time. The live chat works well and the extreme ease of setting it up in our own chat clients, with no annoying software, gets bonus points in our book. We’ve generated new happy customers with the live chat feature, and thats really the bottom line.

Olark plans with unlimited conversations start at $15/mo and they even offer a free plan limited to 20 conversations a month so you can try it out and see if you like it. This is one service we wholeheartedly recommend to our vendors and we bet it will improve your conversions too.

DPD is not affiliated with Olark in any way, we’re just happy customers 🙂

Using DPD Coupons for Seasonal Promotions

  • Jason@DPD
  • November 23, 2010
  • 1 Comment

In 2009, comScore reported that online spending increased 5 percent on Cyber Monday to $887 Million. With Black Friday and Cyber Monday being the two busiest online shopping days of the year, we thought it was a great time to share with DPD vendors how to make special, limited coupons to entice sales during these spending frenzies.

DPD’s coupon controls offer a couple unique features to build excitement and offer a compelling call to action for your buyers that are especially applicable to seasonal sales like Black Friday and Cyber Monday:

Use Limits – “50% Off Only To The First 100 Customers!”

DPD coupons can be configured to only work for a specified number of uses. This is great for promotions where the first X number of people get a special deal, or to limit the total number of people that can take advantage of the offer.

Activation / Deactivation Dates – “Only valid Friday, Nov. 26th thru Monday, Nov 29th!”

Vendors can set an activation date and time as well as when a coupon automatically deactivates. This can be set down to the minute so a coupon promotion can last minutes, hours, days, or weeks.

Setting up a Limited Coupon:

In the screenshot below, we’ve set the limits for a special seasonal discount coupon that will only be valid for the first 100 customers and only from 12:01AM Black Friday (Nov. 26th) through midnight on Cyber Monday (Nov 29th). This is just an example- you can set your coupon to your own discount conditions.

DPD Coupon Discount Conditions
DPD Coupon Discount Conditions

Setting up your own limited coupon is easy- you can mix and match any of the options below:

Required Product – If you only want this coupon to apply to a specific product in your store, select it here. Otherwise, leave it on Any Product to allow them to use the coupon for any purchase.

Max Uses – If you only want to allow this coupon to be used a specific number of times, such as a limited promotion for the first 50 buyers, then set this number to the number of checkouts with the coupon you want to allow. If you want the coupon to be available to all customers then leave this blank or 0 for unlimited.

This is not a limit on the number of times a coupon can be used on one checkout. DPD never allows coupon stacking where they can apply the same coupon to one order twice.

Minimum Order Amount – If you only want this coupon to apply to a minimum order, set that amount here. For example, you might have a coupon for “20% off your order of $50 or more!” In that case, you would set your 20% off coupon minimum order amount to “50”

Minimum Quantity – If you want a coupon to only work when a set number of items are being purchased, enter that number of items here. For example, “20% off when you buy 3 items or more!”

Activation / Deactivation Date / Times – This is where you set a range of time for your coupon to be active where it can be used. This is useful for both preparing promotions beforehand as well as creating limited time offers.

DPD has a handy date picker where you can select the dates for your promotion. For those wanting down to the minute control, you can set the time of day when the coupon will activate/deactivate. All times in DPD are 24-Hour time, (UTC-05:00) Eastern Time (US & Canada), and the common city associated with the time zone is New York.

Please note, if you set a coupon for a future activation date / time then it will appear as inactive in DPD until that time, even if you set the status to active when creating the coupon. DPD will automatically activate the coupon at the set activation date/time.

With DPD coupon discount conditions a whole range of “limited” promotion opertunities are available. From “Limited Time” and “First 50 customer” call-to-action offers to upsale inducing discounts on $XX cart total or X number of items, DPD offers the controls to set a promotion up just how you want and make more sales!

New PDF Encryption Features

  • Jason@DPD
  • October 22, 2010
  • No Comments

Why does it seem like we only update on Fridays now?

This morning we released an update that brings enhanced security options to PDF products. In addition to PDF Buyer Tracking / Stamping that marks each page of the PDF with the buyer’s information to discourage sharing, DPD can now automatically encrypt your PDF documents to prevent tampering and minimize plagiarism and abuse.

Using the new feature, DPD will automatically encrypt your PDF document to lock future editing. You also have the option to prevent printing as well as prevent copying of the PDF contents (disables copying and pasting of the PDF text).

PDF Advanced Options Panel
PDF Advanced Options Panel with PDF Stamping and PDF Encryption Options

You can use the new PDF encryption feature with or without PDF Buyer Tracking / Stamping. When you use both, DPD will automatically add your tracking stamp to the pages you specify, then encrypt the PDF to prevent removal.

Like all DPD features, setting up PDF encryption is as simple as clicking a few options when configuring your product- no complicated encryption URLs or keys.

The same rules apply for PDF documents using the encryption feature as with the stamping feature- we must be able to edit your PDF document to apply the stamp so you must upload an unsecured PDF, but now we’ll lock it down tight when we’re done!

If anyone has any questions or comments on the new PDF encryption feature we’re here to help! Leave a comment here or submit a support request and we’ll do our best to answer any questions you may have!

Everyone Have a great weekend!

DPD is Moving Product Storage to S3

  • Jason@DPD
  • October 30, 2009
  • No Comments

In order to provide expanded product storage space to DPD as well as provide for faster, more reliable downloads for vendors we’re in the process of moving product storage to Amazon S3, a distributed content delivery network.

Amazon “Simple Storage Service” (S3) is a highly scalable, reliable, fast data storage and content delivery network that uses the same infrastructure Amazon uses to run its own global network of web sites.

What does this mean for DPD Vendors?

  • More reliability. Using a unqiue caching strategy DPD will maintain and sync local and S3 copies of files to prevent any network or hardware related issues. This will also reduce load on the DPD server, providing better service to DPD users.
  • More download speed. Instead of customers competing for bandwidth on the DPD servers when there is high demand, now every customer will download at the full speed of their internet connection from S3- even when there are hundreds or even thousands of other customers downloading at the same time.
  • DPD will still continue maintain backups of all products. We’ve got dedicated backup servers that maintain copies of all products in our system.
  • There will be no additional cost. S3 product storage and all the benefits that come with it are included on every DPD plan with no additional costs.
  • And most importantly, DPD vendors will not need to do anything differently when creating or selling products. Nothing changes for you except for more reliability and a better experience for your buyers!

We’re in the process of migrating batches of products to the S3 based delivery system by consumer demand and popularity. Over the next couple weeks we’ll continue to migrate all products over in a planned, staged roll-out and everyone will benefit from the enhanced reliability and speed of this new feature.

As always, if anyone has any questions or support issues the DPD developers are available to help- log in to DPD and submit a support ticket for 1-on-1 assistance.

New DPD-Cart WordPress Plugin

  • Jason@DPD
  • October 8, 2009
  • 1 Comment

We’ve just released the DPD-Cart plugin for WordPress.

The DPD-Cart plugin allows you to easily integrate a DPD Storefront with your WordPress blog. It features a View Cart / Checkout sidebar Widget and easy product insertion in to posts and pages with no copying and pasting of button code.

Get the plugin and more details from the download page: DPD-Cart Plugin

Our friends at Inspired Mag have also created a tutorial with step-by-step instructions and screenshots showing how to get up and running with the DPD-Cart plugin.

Check out: Start Selling Downloads from your WordPress Blog in 5 Minutes

How-To: PDF Buyer Tracking

  • Jason@DPD
  • September 23, 2009
  • 1 Comment

DPD offers a PDF buyer tracking feature that automatically marks PDF products with the buyer Name, Email, and Transaction ID.

This helps to prevent sharing sharing of your file because people have an aversion to mass distribution of their personally identifiable information. Well, everyone except for that LifeLock Guy and it didn’t turn out too well for him.

The best part about PDF Buyer Tracking? It’s turned on with a single checkbox during product setup!

There are only a few conditions to using the PDF Buyer Tracking feature:

  • You must have a DPD Paid account plan- this is a premium feature not available to free accounts!
  • Your product file must be a single PDF upload and not contained in a ZIP, RAR, ISO, or any other archive file.
  • Your PDF must be a Acrobat 5 compatible file.
  • Your PDF must not have an edit password set in the PDF file.
  • Your PDF file size must be less than 30 MB.

For more information on these conditions and the reasons behind them please refer to the DPD Knowledgebase documentation.

Enabling PDF Buyer tracking is ridiculously easy:

For Storefront Products:

  1. Create a new Storefront Product
  2. Check the “Enable PDF Buyer Tracking” checkbox on the first setup page
  3. Upload your product file as normal (be sure its a .pdf file)

For Standalone Products:

  1. Create a new Storefront Product
  2. Upload your product file as normal (be sure its a .pdf file)
  3. Check the “Enable PDF Buyer Tracking” checkbox on the Delivery options page after upload.

Thats it!

To test that it is working properly with your PDF you can send yourself a free delivery of the product- it will have your email address and transaction ID added to the bottom of the PDF.

Note: If the product is free for whatever reason (through a storefront coupon or a “free” standalone product) then only the transaction ID will be printed on the PDF. If you send a free delivery to a specific email address then the email you sent it to and the transaction ID will be supplied. The name is not provided for these types of transactions because we pull the buyer’s real name from their PayPal account as an added security measure, so if there is no checkout we can’t capture a real name.

New DPD Storefront Affiliate System- Affiliate Enable your entire store!

  • Jason@DPD
  • September 22, 2009
  • 1 Comment

Now entire storefronts can be affiliate enabled! Unlike standalone product affiliate programs that can be used for individual “buy now” products, the new DPD Storefront Affiliate System allows for all products sold through an affiliate enabled storefront to be tracked through the DPD affiliate system. No more individual signup links, and no changes to your current DPD “add to cart” or “checkout” button code! The new DPD Storefront Affiliate system can be enabled for any storefront by setting a few simple options for the storefront- affiliate enable your entire website in just minutes!

The storefront affiliate system is a full featured affiliate program manager for your store- Once affiliates sign up to promote your products they are given a special tracking hoplink that credits them with any sales generated by the traffic they refer.

And, because the DPD system allows for multiple storefronts on a single DPD account vendors can now run multiple affiliate enabled websites from one account!

For more information including a complete introduction to the DPD Storefront affiliate program please review the following knowledgebase article: Setting up and Managing a Storefront Affiliate Program

As always, we value your feedback- Suggestions are always welcome! Leave a comment here or send us a support ticket and we’ll respond ASAP.