Eleven Eight Online Shopping using Neto

Eleven Eight Online Shopping is a new business selling chic fashion for women. The designs are modern featuring pleasant supple colours that are designed to look great in any situation. The website needed to represent the brand of Eleven Eight.

The Neto eCommerce platform was chosen by the client. The “Classic” theme was suitable and only a few changes were needed to give the required look.

My Neto Experience

Compared to building and hosting your own WordPress/Woo-commerce site NETO is more expensive. There is an ongoing fee of around $40 per month compared less than $100 per year if you host it yourself. Neto does include an SSL certificate, but this is only really necessary for your site if you store sensitive information like credit card details; which can be avoided completely using PayPal as the payment gateway. Neto also have their own payment gateway and the cost is reasonable.

Overall I think Neto is better suited to medium to large businesses. There are a lot of facilities relating to invoicing and payment arrangements which a small business would unlikely ever need.

Staff can be given user access with a number of security levels to chose from and you can even manage stock from two warehouses! Having experience in warehousing would probably make it easier to understand many of the menu items. There are facilities to track packing, payments, stock movements, deliveries plus many more.

There is a steep learning curve using Neto but there is lots of documentation and the staff via phone and email are prompt and helpful.

Changing the look

eleveneight-1-800pxNeto provides a seven step process to get your business online. One of the first steps allows you to change the colours and fonts using an online editor. What you can change here is limited, so it’s best to get FTP access to allow you to access the CSS and HTML files.

Most changes to CSS were made in \httpdocs\assets\themes\classic\css\app.css and \assets\themes\classic\css\style.css.

I used Netbeans so that the old files could be compared and restored if needed.

Menus

Not all menus are editable. Some are generated from the product categories and cannot be changed and some are hard coded into the template files.

The site needed all menu items relating to “Invoice” removed. This was done by removing the <li> items from \private\www\netosuite\Templates\classic\headers\template.html. I noticed a parameter that if set would omit the invoice menu items; but I was advised by Neto to edit the file. That parameter must be set somewhere!

Lookbook

The client also wanted to run a blog featuring the latest photo shoots of new clothing. Displaying the images in WordPress with a nice “lightbox” effect is easy. But with Neto there are no easy ways to display images. I tried attaching a “campaign” to the blog but it didn’t work. And campaigns only allow you to display images on a carousel (like on the home page of Eleven Eight) or a grid of your already added products.

The only way to make a neat display was to use the built in Bootstrap CSS as follows:

<div class="row">
<div class="col-sm-4"><a href="/assets/images/eleven-eight-2015-10-01.jpg"><img alt="" src="/assets/images/eleven-eight-2015-10-01_th.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 214px;" /></a></div>
<div class="col-sm-4"><a href="/assets/images/eleven-eight-2015-10-02.jpg"><img alt="" src="/assets/images/eleven-eight-2015-10-02_th.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 214px;" /></a></div>
<div class="col-sm-4"><a href="/assets/images/eleven-eight-2015-10-03.jpg"><img alt="" src="/assets/images/eleven-eight-2015-10-03_th.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 214px;" /></a></div>
</div>

This shows the thumbnails in neat rows but there is no fancy display of the main image. The other solution would be to use Bootstrap Lightbox, but this would require installing the Lightbox JavaScript and more code in the blog article. As it’s a bit of work, maybe next time there’s a blog update.

Eleven Eight, an eCommerce built with Neto and Rinet IT..

A sample of the product category page of Eleven Eight, an eCommerce built with Neto and Rinet IT.

Advantages of Neto

If you are happy with the look of the supplied templates all you need to do is add your products plus some content and that is it. We experienced some delays going live, so maybe give Neto a week’s notice and your site will be on time.

The advantages I noted of Neto, but there are probably more:

  • Easy to set up with ready made designs
  • Great support from local Australian staff
  • Ebay and other interfaces built in
  • Support for advanced stock control.
  • Built in customer payment facility
  • Fast hosting supplied
  • SEO provided (assuming you fill in all the tag fields for your products and pages)

Disadvantages of Neto

  • Ongoing cost per month.
  • Can be difficult to change the design of the layout significantly.
  • Architecture is quite different to Opencart, WordPress and Woo-commerce
  • Steep learning curve.
  • You can’t use your own hosting.
  • No built in specialised features like “lightbox” for displaying images, you have to add it yourself.

The Result

Overall Neto was good to use. Staff support made a big difference as the platform is nothing like what I have used before.

The designs are effective and neat. The supplied hosting is reliable and fast. Neto has lots of features and it interfaces well with other applications like Ebay. If these are used and your sales are doing well the monthly fee is probably worth it.

My personal preference is to have as low as possible operating costs. Neto makes eCommerce a little bit easier at the expense of operating costs.

Epilogue

During July 2016 Eleven Eight was taken offline and replaced with a new online store called Virgo and Her.

I was involved with the re launch, this time using Shopify. Learn more.

 

 

 

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