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Migrate from Classic Commerce to Contexual Commerce

Overview

This article provides an overview of the process of upgrading from a Classic Commerce Store to a Contextual Commerce Store.

This article provides an overview of the process of upgrading from Classic Commerce to Contextual Commerce. The article consists of the following sections:

 

Benefits of Upgrading

Here are some highlights of the many benefits of Contextual Commerce.

 

Same Page Checkouts

  • Popup Storefronts allow visitors to check out right on your own webpage, without redirecting to a FastSpring store page that may be unfamiliar to them. Visitors' confidence in the security of the transaction increases. 
  • Popup Storefronts require a minimum amount of customer information, making it easier for visitors to become paying customers.
  • Using a Popup Storefront may increase your conversion rates by up to 30%.

 

Customizable Customer Experience

Using the Store Builder Library, you can display dynamic product details and real-time localized pricing (including applicable taxes) directly on your website. Create a fully-customized shopping cart, or pick and choose the types and amounts of information you want to display.

 

Account Management Portal

Customers can access order history, retrieve fulfillments, and manage subscriptions on a secure portal hosted by FastSpring, but branded and styled by you.

 

Reporting

With Contextual Commerce, you can filter and breakdown sales and subscription data.

 

APIs and Webhooks

The FastSpring API allows more integrations and connections with third-party systems, including marketing analytics tools, CRMs, DRMs, BI tools, and more.

 

Modern User Interface

The freshly revamped FastSpring App has a modern look and feel. We continue to add new features and functionality to allow for more streamlined order and account management.

 

 

Overview of the Upgrade

FastSpring features two ecommerce solutions: Classic Commerce, which is the original product offered by FastSpring, and Contextual Commerce, which is our modern solution.

With both Classic and Contextual Commerce, your account can contain as many different Stores as needed. Each Store is a separate collection of products, promotions, styling, customer-facing email content, and checkout experiences. For example, creating a product in one Store does not create the product in another Store within your same account. This arrangement allows you to maintain separate business units and separate reporting if need be.

However, it also means that when you create a new Store of either type, you must configure these settings manually in the new Store. Once FastSpring Support has created a new Contextual Commerce Store for your account, you can access the new Store via https://app.fastspring.com.  You can continue to access your original Classic Store(s) via the Springboard.

 

 

Steps to Set Up a New Contextual Commerce Store

The following is an overview of the recommended steps when migrating from a Classic Commerce Store to a Contextual Commerce Store. The steps listed in italics are optional.

 

Understanding What Historical Data Cannot Be Migrated

Since your new Contextual Store will be separate from your Classic Store, historical transaction data will remain in your original, Classic Store. Please keep the following in mind.

  • Customers' Current Subscriptions: You will continue to manage your customers' current subscriptions via Springboard. Customers cannot manage existing Classic subscriptions using the Contextual Customer-Facing Account Management site.
  • Order History: To look up order details or process returns for existing orders from before the upgrade, please continue using Springboard. All orders placed in your Contextual Store will be accessible via the FastSpring App.
  • Reporting: When you need to run sales reports for your existing order history, please use Springboard. Reporting in the FastSpring App will cover all transactions and subscriptions processed in your Contextual Store.

 

Step 1:  Request a Contextual Store

To get your new Contextual Store at no additional cost to you, please submit a support case via https://community.fastspring.com or by emailing support@fastspring.com, and include the following essential details in your request:

  • Base URL: Your Contextual Storefronts will each have a unique web address, but they will share a common subdomain. For example, in the URL https://yourexamplestore.onfastspring.com, "yourexamplestore" is the base URL. When you request a new Contextual Store, please tell us what you want the base URL for your Storefronts to be.

    Important:  The Base URL cannot be changed once it has been set. The only option would be to create a new Store. Please consider carefully what you want the Base URL to be.
     
  • Support Name: If we need to direct customers to your support team, what name should we use to refer to your support team?
  • Support Address: If we need to direct customers to your support team, what address should we tell customers to use?
  • Gross Pricing or Net?: Do you want the new Store to use Gross Pricing mode (FastSpring deducts applicable taxes from any non-USD price you configure) or Net Pricing Mode (FastSpring adds applicable taxes to any non-USD price you configure)? Click here for more details.

 

Step 2:  Update User Permissions in Your Account to Give Access to the New Store

Since your Contextual Store is separate from your Classic Store, you may want to provide some of your team members with access to log in to the new Contextual Store. Team members can log in at https://app.fastspring.com.

Users who already have the role of account Administrator or Accountant automatically receive the same level of access to the new Contextual Store. All other users (e.g., your Support team) must be granted access to the new Store via the FastSpring App.

For illustrated, step-by-step instructions on creating and administering users via the FastSpring App, please click here.

 

Step 3:  Set Up Your Storefront(s)

Your FastSpring Contextual Commerce Store comes with a Web Storefront and a Popup Storefront. You can customize these to meet your needs, and you can create additional Storefronts if need be.

 

Step 4:  Set Up Your Products

Next, create product records for each item that you sell through FastSpring. The core concept is the same as product creation and editing in Springboard. Our Knowledge Base article Products, Bundles, and Subscriptions describes a key change to the way you interact with products in your Contextual Store. For more details about each item type, use the following links:

Also, for more details about product fulfillment options (including license key generation and download hosting), please click here.

 

Step 5:  Customize Customer-Facing Email Messages

By default, FastSpring automatically sends a variety of messages to customers following events such as a purchase or a subscription cancellation. In Contextual Commerce, these messages use a unified templating system. As a result, you can brand all of these email messages at once to align with your company branding, with just a few simple tweaks.

For example, to learn how to quickly apply your company logo to all email messages sent from your Store, check out this Knowledge Base article.

Here are some other helpful references regarding customer-facing email messages:

If you want, you can completely customize and control the appearance and content of these messages. For more details, have your web developer check out these articles:

 

Step 6:  Place Test Orders

The next step is to place test orders to ensure that your Storefronts, products, and fulfillments are working as intended. You should enter your own email address as the customer's address when placing a test order so that you can see the receipt and other customer-facing email messages. For guidance on how to place test orders, see Test Orders.

 

Step 7:  Set Up Promotions (Optional)

If you want to offer discounts off the purchase of specific products or all products in an order, please see our overview article Coupons and Product Discounts. If you want everyone to receive a discount without having to enter a coupon code, the built-in product discount is the way to go. Otherwise, for information about setting up coupons, please click here.

If you want to suggest additional related items or upgrades to your customers during the checkout process, please see our articles on Cross-Sells or Upsells.

 

Step 8:  Set Up Webhooks (Optional)

The Vendor Notifications feature in Classic Commerce has been upgraded with a feature called Webhooks in Contextual Commerce. Using webhooks, you can subscribe to be notified via HTTP post when a specific type of event happens (e.g., when a customer completes an order or cancels a subscription).

For more details on setting up webhooks, please click here.

If you are interested in subscribing to webhooks, here are a few specific events to which we suggest subscribing:

If you prefer to receive notifications by email only, the Vendor Notifications feature lets you see the notifications that you have previously configured in your Classic Store(s). You can create new notifications as well.

 

Step 9:  Set Up API Integrations (Optional)

The FastSpring API for Contextual Commerce has been completely redesigned from the ground up, compared to the Classic Commerce API. There are eight different API endpoints that you can use to interact with various types of data from your Store, all without ever opening the FastSpring App.

You can use the FastSpring API to create integrations with your back-end systems, or with third-party services. As with the Classic Commerce API, all API interactions occur on the server side, so they are inherently more secure compared to anything that loads directly on your website.

Note that with the Contextual API, there is a single set of credentials associated with each Store, rather than having one or more dedicated API users. You make all API requests to https://apil.fastspring.com/{endpoint} and the username and password you supply identify your account and Store.

For more information about the FastSpring API, including examples of what you can do with it, please see About the FastSpring API.

 

Step 10:  Configure Third-Party Integrations

If you want to integrate your Contextual Commerce Store with third-party solutions such as Google AdWords or MailChimp, check out the Extensions tab in the FastSpring App. For more information on setting up these out-of-the-box integrations, please see this Knowledge Base article.

 

 

Other Helpful Resources

For complete documentation on Contextual Commerce, please see https://fastspring.com/docs.

Here are a few selected articles that may be of particular interest:

Choosing a Checkout Experience:

For Your Support Team:

For Your Developers:

 

 

Understanding the Differences Between Classic and Contextual

Contextual Commerce offers many important features and capabilities that are not available on Classic Commerce. By migrating from Classic to Contextual, you can take advantage of these new features. However, some features of Classic Commerce require a different solution in Contextual. The following is an overview of some of those differences:

Get /orders:  With the Classic API, you can retrieve order records by calling GET /company/{company}/order/{reference}. However, on Contextual, you need to call GET /orders/{order id}. The API cannot return order records based on the customer-facing order reference. However, you can obtain the order IDs for this purpose via webhook events such as order.completed or by calling GET /accounts.

Reseller stores:  Contextual Commerce does not have reseller store capabilities, but you can continue using your Classic Commerce reseller stores.

Coupons:  To generate a batch of unique coupon codes, we recommend using a third-party solution such as https://random.org. Contextual Commerce does not have a built-in coupon code generator. For complete details about Contextual coupons, please see Coupons.

Checkout:  To enable customers to navigate away from the checkout process and return to a persistent session, we recommend creating a cart using the Store Builder Library on your web pages. The optional data-continuous directive writes customers' cart contents to local storage in the web browser to allow persistent sessions. Web Storefronts do not have persistent sessions.

Backup CDs/DVDs/Flash Media:  If you would like to offer customers physical backups of your software, you can do this by setting up an account with a third-party fulfillment partner. Then, create a product with a format of Physical Shipment for the backup media. Next, configure the order.completed webhook event to post to your fulfillment partner so that the partner can receive near-real-time notifications whenever a customer orders a backup. You or your fulfillment partner must create a script to parse the webhook event data, and host the script externally. For more information about product formats, please see Products. Contextual Commerce does not offer a native backup media solution.

Store Styles:  Web Storefronts are extremely easy to customize; anyone who can use a web browser can modify the look and feel of a Web Storefront. However, Web Storefronts do not have an equivalent to the Classic Styles feature for direct control over the page contents.

Instead, the Store Builder Library offers unprecedented control over the content of your store pages because they live on your own web site. Just as with Classic styles, you may need the services of a web developer to implement the Store Builder Library.

Store-Wide Promotions:  In some cases, you may want to offer a limited-time promotional discount for all products in the Store. You can accomplish this by creating a coupon with a code that anyone can use (and which can apply to any product). Alternatively, you can configure product-level discounts with specific beginning and ending dates for each product so that customers do not have to enter a coupon code. Contextual Commerce does not have a feature to apply a single discount to everything in the Store automatically.

URL Parameters:  With Classic Stores, you can append parameters such as &coupon={code} to your store URL to affect the order flow. With Contextual Stores, you can accomplish this using custom JavaScript code together with the Store Builder Library on your own web pages. Web Storefronts cannot read URL parameters and adjust the checkout flow automatically.

Custom Fields:  If you need to collect custom data (such as a survey response) from customers, you can set this up using form fields and the Store Builder Library (or the /sessions API endpoint) on your web pages. You can pass custom data into the order using order tags or product attributes. Web Storefronts do not support custom fields.

Split Payees:  Contextual Commerce supports split payouts by product or by Store, but does not support splitting payouts by source or by coupon.

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