The Virtual Product Store(s), and the Catalogs
"What Is The Virtual Store?"
The Virtual Product Store and the related Catalogs are two fundamental building blocks that are configured to support your specific business. The Virtual Product Store is set up regardless of what kind of stores or sales activity a particular business may actually use. The "Store" is a repository of business management information that is used with any real business.
Similarly, the Catalogs with all of the related information categories that they contain are used to capture your business information about Products, and how the business deals with them.
"Catalogs Are Management Data Repositories"
Catalogs are used for Products that you Sell, and also for Products that you Purchase. A typical business may Purchase some items for resale as their line of products, and the business may also produce or manufacture some of its own products for sale.
In performing these operations the business will purchase material for use in production, and it will purchase other materials for use in the office work or for site operations, and also as consumables for that the employees use every day. Such materials and products are defined in catalogs of reference information used in purchasing them.
Catalogs, Categories, and Products are associated with the Virtual Store(s) and defined in the system with product descriptions and data needed for sales presentation, with specifications for suppliers, costs, prices, and with many more business management information items used in the management system.
For detailed information about working with Catalogs, refer to the section:
"More About Stores"
The Virtual Product Store mirrors a physical store and represents a collection of products, grouped by catalog and categories, and sold under a set of common policies. Stores can have many catalogs, and products. Each virtual store that is defined can have its own shipping, fulfillment, notification, promotions, payment processing, and tax calculation policies. The system supports as many stores as you need. For example, you can define stores for particular customer groups, or geographic locations, or by product line offered for sale.
The Virtual Product Store is set up so that it can support all the functions of an Online E-Commerce store, making the Online Store an integral part of the business management system rather than a band-aid operation outside the main stream business system.
"The Web Store Option"
An integrated web store mechanism is included in opentaps, and the web stores can be turned on (published to the internet) or they can remain in the off state (not visible on the internet). The integrated website contains all the information for turning a Virtual Product Store into an E-Commerce Online Web Store for your target customer set. For example, it defines the internet address and ports for the web store and enables the use of standard and secured communications (http or https) protocols, as well as the geographic/political locale, the language and currency format.
"Multiple Web Store Outlets"
Multiple online marketing outlets are possible with two different approaches, as follows:
- A product store can be associated with several different websites, allowing the same products to be sold to different target customers via web sites with unique site names (domains).
- Alternatively, multiple stores, each with their own website, can be set up to allow different pricing and fulfillment procedures for different countries or different market segments (wholesale versus retail.)
"Defining The Virtual Product Store"
To access the Catalog Manager from the Main Navigation Screen, proceed as follows: Click: Catalog Icon on the main navigation screen, the Catalog Manager page opens. Point Over: [Catalog Manager Application] on the horizontal navigation bar, a menu box opens, Click: [Stores] button, the Product Store List opens. Refer to [Working With Product Store(s)] for detailed information about stores.
The “Stores” tab in the Catalog Manager is used to define all the properties of the working virtual store(s). When a company sets up multiple virtual stores each of them can have it's own warehouses, fulfillment policies, currencies, languages, promotions, and web site graphic design if desired. Thus, these virtual stores can support your physical or web-based internet stores for business-to-business use or consumer e-commerce, for internal order entry and for brick and mortar POS applications. They could even be in different countries with different locality specific shipping and taxation rules.
In a later section of this chapter of the User Guide, we will discuss the set-up and configuration of all the items discussed in this introduction.