How to simultaneously update several orders progress states?

This article is intended to help simplify the task of modifying progress states for a group of Actinic orders, particularly to send your customers their tracking numbers.

This operation requires several steps::

1) Creating a CSV file
2) Using the CSV data in a custom progress state.
3) Updating your order tracking with the CSV file.

Importing a CSV file lets you send custom messages to your customers by "injecting" tags using the column titles included in that file.

These tags will be automatically replaced by the corresponding values from the CSV file when updating the progress state.
 
 1) Create a CSV file

A CSV (Comma Separated Values) file is a simple text file in which values are generally separated by commas or Semicolons.

There are two simple ways of creating a CSV file::
  • by editing a simple text file (using Windows Notepad for example) that you save with a .csv extension instead of .txt.
  • using a spreadsheet like Microsoft Excel, you just need to choose CSV in the list of file formats the software offers when saving.
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When you save a CSV file in Microsoft Excel we recommend first selecting the spreadsheet's "used" cells so as to avoid saving empty cells in the file.

The only condition to making a CSV file suitable for updating your orders' progress states by Actinic, is that the file must contain a column listing the order numbers. You're free to choose that column's name. When importing, the system will ask which column contains the order numbers.

There's no limit to the number of columns in the list, nor to the content of cells in your CSV file. Each cell may contain a number, a word, a date, or even a whole sentence.

A comma is the usual separator, however, if you want to transfer certain custom instructions in the form of sentences, which could themselves contain commas, we would advise you to use a Semicolon as separator instead.

Be careful not to use any special characters for the names of column headers.
No accents, apostrophes or exotic characters like the "°"(degree sign). here are a few examples of WHAT NOT TO DO: OrderN°, Customer'sName.

Here's an example of a CSV file in simple text format:

---

OrderRef;TrackingNumber;ShippingMode;Message;ShippingDate
22334;8D00432154798;Royal Mail;;15/12/2011
22328;000123-ABC;UPS;You should receive your delivery the 17/12/2011 between 2:00 PM and 6:00PM;15/12/2011
22368;7E00452154456;Royal Mail;;15/12/2011

---
  • The separator used here is the ;

  • OrderRef refers to the Actinic order number. This is the only required column in the CSV file. All the other columns are optional. You are free to use as many as you need.
  • TrackingNumber is the package's tracking number.
  • ShippingMode designates the delivery service.
  • The Message column was created to allow additional information to be sent to customers.
  • ShippingDate the date the package was sent.

You can see here that except for the "OrderRef" column containing the order numbers, the other columns' values are optional. That's why only one cell in the "Message" column has a value.

If you edit the file in Windows Notepad, you just need to add the separator to indicate that the cell is empty, but in Excel, you can just leave cells empty.

Here's the same file in Microsoft Excel::



To get a CSV file from Excel, choose File > Save As > Save as Type: CSV (Comma Separated Values) and save.

 
 2) How to use the CSV file data with Actinic
To use the values in your CSV file, you just need to indicate the column header names, preceded and followed by the # sign.

In our example, to use the tracking numbers listed in the TrackingNumber column, we'll use the #TrackingNumber# tag.

When the progress state is updated, this tag will be automatically replaced in the comment by the corresponding value from your CSV file. Same for the shipping date which can be sent by adding #ShippingDate# in the text of your message.

The system also offers the following 2 tags independant of your CSV file:
  • #CUSTOMERNAME# The user's name
  • #ORDERID# The order number (in our example, the same as #OrderRef#)
Here's an example of a message that could use the CSV file data:

---

Dear #CUSTOMERNAME#,

Your order No. #ORDERID# was shipped the #ShippingDate# by #ShippingMode#. Your package's tracking number is #TrackingNumber#.

#Message#

Sincerely,

---

For order number22328, the message will read:

---

Dear John Doe,

Your order No. 22328 was shipped the 15/12/2011 by UPS. Your package's tracking number is 000123-ABC.

You should receive your delivery the 17/12/2011 between 2:00 PM and 6:00PM.

Sincerely,

---

This message could be written manually when importing your CSV file. However, if you think you'll be using batch processing frequently to update your order progress states, it might be a good idea to define a model State of Progress dedicated to this operation.

Click on the[Commerce\Order tracking] menu.

Click on the [States of Progress] button.

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Then click on the [Add] button, and on the [Create New State from Scratch >>] button.

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Fill in the "Names" fields then insert a comment using the tags as described above.

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Don't forget to check the Publish, Send and Update the state of progress options, define a colour, then click on [Save].

This State of Progress will be compatible with batch processing of orders and therefore with mass sending of order notifications.
 
 3) Procedure for Updating Order Tracking from a CSV file

Click on the [Commerce\Order Tracking] menu.

Displayed in the drop-down list in the control panel, choose the option :

"Import a CSV file " then click on [Execute].
Then select the CSV file on your computer and choose the appropriate Delimiter. In the example above it was Semicolon. Then click on [Configure CSV File Import>>]

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Identify the column containing the order numbers. In our example it's OrderRef, then click on [Import the CSV File ].

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Choose a State of Progress specially created for the type of file you imported, or write the message text using the instructions given above.

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Click on [Save a new State of Progress ].

All the concerned orders are automatically modified with the new State of Progress. Customers are notified by email, the States of Progress are added to the follow-up history. You customers can also consult their order with the Your Account component.
 

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