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How do I allow customers to enter product notes during checkout with Big Cartel?

Filed in Products & Categories

Check your theme version

If the Checkout custom options detailed in the following section are missing from your Aarcade theme, then you have an older theme version installed and you MUST upgrade if you wish to enable the Checkout notes system. Please see How do I upgrade my theme?

A note about Big Cartel’s new Stripe checkout system

Big Cartel’s new Stripe checkout system removes the tools that allow Aarcade’s “Notes at Checkout” to work. If you are using this new Stripe checkout now, please revert back to the standard PayPal checkout – via the Store > Settings > Basics > Checkout area of your Big Cartel admin – before proceeding with the following instructions.

Locating the Checkout custom options

You can allow customers to enter product notes during checkout (immediately after clicking “Checkout” at the Cart page and before reaching the PayPal payment page), with Big Cartel and your Aarcade theme, via your Checkout page Custom Options. It is therefore important that you first read and understand the article How do I use the Custom Options for my Big Cartel theme? before referring to the following details.

Once you have read and understood the article How do I use the Custom Options for my Big Cartel theme?, you will be able to confidently navigate to your Customize design > Advanced (advanced) – Checkout page and locate the custom options:

{{ CUSTOMER PRODUCT NOTES }} {{ *See Note 34 }}

{% capture customer_product_notes_intro %}
<h2>Please provide the following information before checking out</h2>
{% endcapture %}

{% capture customer_product_notes %}

{% endcapture %}

{% assign submit_button_text = 'Continue to Checkout' %}

The following sections of this article explain how to use each of these custom options.

Our example cart

All working examples in this article will be based upon a customer checking out out with the following example items:

Item Product Option Product Categories Quantity
1 Silver Bracelet With Engraving Jewelry, Jewelry - Bracelets, x Notes 1 2
2 Gold Bracelet Small Jewelry, Jewelry - Bracelets 1
3 Bronze Necklace Medium Jewelry, Jewelry - Necklaces 2
4 Bronze Necklace Medium and Pendant Jewelry, Jewelry - Necklaces 1
5 Platinum Ring With Engraving Jewelry, Jewelry - Rings, x Notes 1 3

customer_product_notes_intro

The custom option..

{% capture customer_product_notes_intro %}
<h2>Please provide the following information before checking out</h2>
{% endcapture %}

..defines the content for an introductory message displayed if customer product notes are requested during checkout. Because this is a capture-type custom option, you can enter multiple lines and HTML.

For example, adding a center aligned logo image and a line of text:

{% capture success_page_message %}
<div style="text-align:center;"><img src="http://mydropbox.com/my-little-logo.jpg" /></div>

Some of your products have custom options. Please complete the following items before proceeding to checkout.
{% endcapture %}

customer_product_notes

The custom option..

{% capture customer_product_notes %}

{% endcapture %}

..defines the input fields, and their relationship to your products, for collecting customer information during the checkout process. This custom option uses Aarcade shortcode format to allow you maximum flexibility with your notes. It is therefore recommended that you read An Introduction to Shortcodes before proceeding.

The shortcode name used for this option is “note” and a simple example of its use is:

{% capture customer_product_notes %}
[[note title="Engraving Text" category="Jewelry - Bracelets"]]
Please enter your custom engraving text below.

Important Note: Your text must be less than 60 characters.
[[/note]]
{% endcapture %}

The above example will display a note..

Engraving Text

Please enter your custom engraving text below.

Important Note: Your text must be less than 60 characters.

..once for every item in the cart that belongs to the “Jewelry – Bracelets” category. Our example cart (refer to the beginning of this article) has 2 x Gold Bracelets and 1 x Silver Bracelet belonging to the “Jewelry – Bracelets” category, so the above note will be repeated 3 times in total.

title

The title option is used to define the title for the product note. This is a required option, i.e. the note shortcode will not work without it.

Valid values are any plain text (do not use code or special characters). In our example:

[[note title="Engraving Text" category="Jewelry - Bracelets"]]
category

The category option is used to define which products the note is to be displayed for. This is a required option.

Valid values are any single category name, to be written exactly (matching case, etc.) as the category name appears in your Product edit area.

While the category option only allows a single category name, there may be cases where your existing product categories do not allow the grouping you desire. In this case you can create a hidden category – see Extended Category Controls – specifically for your note and assign any product you desire to it.

In our example we have created a hidden category named x Notes 1. So changing our category option to this value..

{% capture customer_product_notes %}
[[note title="Engraving Text" category="x Notes 1"]]
Please enter your custom engraving text below.

Important Note: Your text must be less than 60 characters.
[[/note]]
{% endcapture %}

..will result in our note being displayed once for each Silver Bracelet (x2) and once for each Platinum Ring (x3), so 5 times in total.

You can also set the category name to Cart to display a note that will be displayed once regardless of which products are in the cart. For example..

{% capture customer_product_notes %}
[[note title="Gift Wrapping Options" category="Cart"]]
Please enter your gift card message below.
[[/note]]
{% endcapture %}

…will display a single instance of the note..

Gift Wrapping Options

Please enter your gift card message below.

..when the customer checks out.

options

Where a “match” means any individual unit in the cart that belongs to the category defined for our note, this option filters the matches by product option values. Valid values are any product option names – separated by a comma and space if multiple options are entered – to be written exactly (matching case, etc.) as the product option name appears in your Product edit area.

For our example, the note shortcode..

{% capture customer_product_notes %}
[[note title="Engraving Text" category="Jewelry" options="With Engraving, Medium and Pendant"]]
Please enter your custom engraving text below.

Important Note: Your text must be less than 60 characters.
[[/note]]
{% endcapture %}

..creates a match for every item in our example cart (8 in total), since every item belongs to the “Jewelry” category. However, since we filter our matches to only those with the product option “With Engraving” or “Medium and Pendant”, our note is only displayed once for each Silver Bracelet – With Engraving (x2), once for each Bronze Necklace – Medium and Pendant (x1) and once for each Platinum Ring – With Engraving (x3), so 6 times in total.

required

Defines whether or not the customer must fill in the note before proceeding with checkout. Valid values are yes or no. If the option is not included it defaults to no.

For example:

{% capture customer_product_notes %}
[[note title="Engraving Text" category="Jewelry - Bracelets" required="yes"]]
Please enter your custom engraving text below.

Important Note: Your text must be less than 60 characters.
[[/note]]
{% endcapture %}

If the customer tries to checkout without filling in this example note a warning message will be displayed.

repeat

Defines how the note is repeated for matching products. Valid values are (remember a “match” means any individual unit in the cart that belongs to the category defined for our note):

  1. none – the note is displayed once, if there is one or more matches
  2. product – the note is displayed once for each product, if there is one or more matches found for that product
  3. option – the note is displayed once for each product – option combination, if there is one or more matches found for that product – option
  4. unit – the default value – the note is displayed once for every match

For our example, the following note shortcode with repeat set to product..

{% capture customer_product_notes %}
[[note title="Engraving Text" category="Jewelry" repeat="product"]]
Please enter your custom engraving text below.

Important Note: Your text must be less than 60 characters.
[[/note]]
{% endcapture %}

..creates a match for every item in our example cart (8 in total), since every item belongs to the “Jewelry” category. However, there are only 4 different products amongst these matches, i.e. Silver Bracelet, Gold Bracelet, Bronze Necklace and Platinum Ring. So our note is only displayed once for each of these products – 4 times in total.

If, instead, we set our repeat to option..

[[note title="Engraving Text" category="Jewelry" repeat="option"]]

..there are 5 different product – option combinations amongst our matches, i.e. Silver Bracelet – With Engraving, Gold Bracelet – Small, Bronze Necklace – Medium, Bronze Necklace – Medium and Pendant and Platinum Ring – With Engraving. So our note is displayed once for each of these – 5 times in total.

If, instead, we did not set repeat..

[[note title="Engraving Text" category="Jewelry"]]

..the value defaults to unit and so our note is displayed for every match. In this example, every unit in the cart belongs to the “Jewelry” category and is therefore a match. The note is displayed 8 times in total.

showproducts

Defines whether the matching product(s) are listed above the note or not. Valid values are yes or no. If the option is not included it defaults to no.

It is recommended that you set this value to yes when multiple notes are likely to be displayed to your customer, as this will clarify which products each note relates to.

For example:

{% capture customer_product_notes %}
[[note title="Engraving Text" category="Jewelry - Bracelets" repeat="none" showproducts="yes"]]
Please enter the custom engraving text you desire for each of the above-listed products.
[[/note]]
{% endcapture %}

Will be displayed once – because we have set repeat to “none” – for all of the cart items belonging to the category “Jewelry – Bracelets”. These matches will be displayed with the note, similar to the following..

Silver Bracelet - With Engraving (x2)
Gold Bracelet - Small (x1)

Engraving Text

Please enter the custom engraving text you desire for each of the above-listed products.

select

Defines options that, once entered correctly, results in the display of a drop down select menu containing these options instead of a text box. Valid values are any plain text (do not use code or special characters) option names – separated by a comma and space if multiple options are entered.

For our example..

{% capture customer_product_notes %}
[[note title="Engraving Symbols" category="Jewelry - Bracelets" select="Double Pyramids, Concentric Circles, Seven Stars"]]
Please select your engraving option below.
[[/note]]
{% endcapture %}

..will display a note..

Engraving Symbols

Please select your engraving option below.

Note Descriptions and Multiple Notes

From the above examples we can see that our “note” shortcodes must always be entered within the customer_product_notes custom option..

{% capture customer_product_notes %}

..enter note shortcode here..

{% endcapture %}

..and that the content between our opening and closing shortcode tag is used as the descriptive text for our note. HTML can also be used in this content, including image tags (e.g. to display swatch images relevant to your note), for example:

{% capture customer_product_notes %}
[[note title="Pillow Fabric" category="Pillow" select="Red, Yellow, Green"]]
<img src="http://mydropbox.com/my-pillow-swatches.jpg" />
[[/note]]
{% endcapture %}

You can also choose to have no description and enter a “note” shortcode without a closing tag. For example:

{% capture customer_product_notes %}
[[note title="Pillow Fabric" category="Pillow" select="Red, Yellow, Green"]]
{% endcapture %}

The “note” shortcode allows you to add multiple notes by creating new lines between each shortcode. For example:

{% capture customer_product_notes %}


[[note title="Gift Wrapping Options" category="Cart"]]
Please enter your gift card message below.
[[/note]]


[[note title="Pillow Fabric" category="Pillow" select="Red, Yellow, Green"]]


[[note title="Engraving Text" category="Jewelry" options="With Engraving, Medium and Pendant"]]
Please enter your custom engraving text below.

Important Note: Your text must be less than 60 characters.
[[/note]]


{% endcapture %}

Your notes will be displayed in the order you enter your shortcode however, if separate shortcodes find the same set of matches, then these related note fields will be grouped together.

submit_button_text

Defines the text used for the submit button, i.e. to proceed with checkout after entering notes. Valid values are any plain text (do not use code or special characters). For example:

{% assign submit_button_text = 'Submit My Notes' %}

Where are the customer notes recorded?

The customer notes are appended to your PayPal item option data. They will be viewable at the PayPal checkout page – if you hover over an item option to see the full option text – and will be displayed on the order record that is emailed to you at the time of order and is also available in your PayPal admin.

Such an item may look like:

Silver Bracelet
Item# 23806927 , Option: With Engraving , Engraving Text pu: #1 Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Aenean commodo ligula eget dolor. Aenean massa., #2 Cum sociis natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Donec q.. , Engraving Text pu cont. 1: ..uam felis, ultricies nec, pellentesque eu, pretium quis, sem. Nulla consequat massa quis enim

When a note is collected for every unit the note label is appended with pu (meaning per unit) and the note content is numbered #1, #2, etc.

Additionally if a note’s contents exceeds the maximum allowable limit of 200 characters – imposed by PayPal – then the contents will be continued in the next available option slot for the product – see the cont. 1 suffix in the example above. To read segmented notes clearly, we simply delete everything between the .. of the previous and next option. So with this excerpt from the above example:

penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Donec q.. , Engraving Text pu cont. 1: ..uam felis, ultricies nec, pellentesque eu,

We delete everything between the two .. (highlighted above) and the excerpt becomes:

penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Donec quam felis, ultricies nec, pellentesque eu,

If you chose to display a note field only once or once for each product, then the note content will be copied to each matching item in the order.

Cart note fields – i.e. category=”Cart” – will be attached to the first item in the order only.

Important Notes

It is strongly recommended that you keep your note fields to a minimum and collect the required data from your customers as efficiently as possible (i.e. encourage limited text / shorthand, use select drop downs where possible, etc.) for the following reasons:

  1. Requesting notes at checkout introduces an extra step and extra work for the customer at the point where they are committing to payment. This means an increased chance of an abandoned cart, especially if your notes fields become cumbersome.
  2. PayPal allows only 7 option fields per item in an order. Big Cartel uses one of these option fields (and may use a second in the future if multiple product options are added to their features). This leaves only 5 or 6 option fields per item for your customer notes system, each with a maximum of 200 characters. Any information your customer enters that exceeds this space / character limitation will be lost.

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