May 29

Building a Kentico E-Commerce Chat Bot - Part 4

This is part 4 of my blog post series, Building a Kentico E-commerce Chat Bot. Today we will review the Language Understanding Intelligent Service (LUIS) aspect of the solution. During the review we will see how to create and train our bot to communicate with humans in a smart way.

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Mar 12

Building a Kentico E-Commerce Chat Bot - Part 3

This is the third part of my blog post series on Building a Kentico E-Commerce Chat Bot. Make sure that you have read the part 1 and part 2 of the series before continuing. The goal of this post is to get down and dirty on the Azure side of the solution. We will walk through what it takes to get started with your very own Azure Bot Service, Bot Builder Framework account, and LUIS account.

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Mar 04

Building a Kentico E-Commerce Chat Bot - Part 2

This is second part of my blog post series on Building a Kentico E-Commerce Chat Bot. Make sure that you have read the part 1 of the series before continuing. The goal of this post is to review and setup of the Kentico e-commerce side of the solution.

 

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Feb 28

Building a Kentico E-Commerce Chat Bot

Chatbots or Bots for short, seem to have been all the rage since about early 2016 according to many technology publications. Apparently these bots will take over the world someday if you really believe the hype. As a big fan of automation, I have been keeping my eye on the tech as it has matured. But recently I finally had a chance to dive into it, and see how easy or how hard it is to create a bot.

Now there are many ways to build a bot, you can do it in just about any technology stack. However, being that I am an ASP.NET developer, I chose to use the Microsoft stack for my scenario.  Not surprisingly I also chose a scenario that can be easily accomplished using the power Kentico e-commerce solution as well.

Keep reading to see how I used the Microsoft Bot Framework, Language Understanding Intelligent Service (LUIS), and Kentico to create an automated chatbot that allows you to check your recent order history, order status, and order tracking number in any Kentico e-commerce site. Oh and did I mention that some of the solution might even be using .Net Core

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Aug 14

How To Search by PO Number in Kentico E-Commerce

One of the primary strengths of the Kentico e-commerce platform is that it can be customized with relative ease. Honestly, this one of the main reasons that my team and I decided to go with Kentico in the first place. The Kentico API and provider object model is top notch, and it can be extended to do just about anything. This is especially true in the e-commerce pillar of the all-in-one solution. Do you need to integrate your Kentico e-commerce site with an ERP system, roll your own custom payment gateway implementation, or sync up with a shipping carrier's API? Have no fear, all of these tasks are totally accomplishable in Kentico.

With that being said, one of the most common requests that we get at BizStream when building a custom e-commerce site in Kentico is the ability for B2B users to make purchases via the use of a Purchase Order Number (PO Number) instead of a standard credit card payment method. That's one feature that isn't totally 100% out of the box when you have a custom checkout process. Again this task is not a tough issue, and there are many helpful links to get you started in this area if you need to.

Funny enough, we are actually currently working on a project that has this requirement in Kentico 9 (yes this is actually a Kentico MVC site too). And after demoing the working functionality to the client, we received a question of how to then look up orders in the administrative interface by a PO Number. And that is something that I didn't have an immediate answer for. After doing some quick research, it turns out that this customization is not that hard to do.

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Dec 25

Top 10 Kentico Related Posts of 2014

It's hard to believe that I am sitting here, on Christmas day, the temperature outside is above freezing, and there is no snow on the ground. A green Christmas just really isn't the same as a white one I guess. However, now that all the presents are open, stockings unhung, and my girls are happily playing with their new toys, I have some rare free time to reflect on what happened this year. 
 
It is only fitting to start with the biggest news of the year and that would be the release of Kentico 8.0. This year's major point release was a huge success. The newly redesigned user interface and reduced footprint made developers and marketers quite happy. The product has never been easier to use. Not stopping with just a single release in the year Kentico also pushed out a minor point update to 8.1. This update included a few performance upgrades and a small set of new functionality. As a result Kentico 8.0 and Kentico 8.1 topics dominated the developer community blogs, podcasts, and questions on DevNet.

2014 turned out to be another great year for many more reasons too. Keep reading to find out what else happened and which posts made it to my Top 10 Kentico related posts of 2014.

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Mar 09

2 Under-the-Radar Kentico 8 E-Commerce Improvements

Chances are that you if you are reading this, you have seen that Kentico 8 is right around the corner. Improvements to the Kentico E-commerce solution are also a part of the focus in this major point release. I’m very excited to introduce 2 under-the-radar improvements that you may not have seen yet. These 2 improvements come with the MMP3 build of Kentico 8. Kentico has listened to the community and updated the Shopping Cart engine to be even easier to work with than before. I am very excited about it. Keep reading to see how you can customize the checkout process and mobile experience on your Kentico E-commerce website.

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Mar 08

Kentico Rocks Podcast Episode 6

In this episode of Kentico Rocks, Bryan Soltis and I talk about the upcoming release of Kentico 8.0. It's been 18 months in the making, and I think that it has been totally worth the wait. Neither of us Kentico MVP's can wait for the official release date of March 31st.

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Jan 11

Kentico EMS Quick Tip: E-commerce Conversion Names

If you are using Kentico EMS to power your E-commerce shop don't forget to set the On-line Marketing related Conversion Settings. There are three sets of Conversion names and values that come built in. 

  • Registration conversion - name & value of the conversion that will be logged when a user successfully registers on the website through the checkout process.
  • Order conversion - name & value of the conversion that will be logged when a user completes an order.
  • Add to shopping cart conversion - the name & value of the conversion that will be logged when a user adds a product to the shopping cart.

These conversion settings and values are very valuable peices of data to have when measuring the activity and effectiveness of your e-commerce website. Once these values are configured, your Activities log should show them with their repsective values. 

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Dec 08

Kentico Rocks Podcast Episode 4

In this episode of Kentico Rocks, Bryan Soltis and I discuss how best to use Kentico CMS to power E-commerce websites. We talk in detail about how and why we like using the Kentico platform for building E-commerce solutions. Bryan and I have both been building Kentico E-commerce sites since Kentico 5.5 came out and share our inisights into how the platform has matured over the last few years. Any developer who is thinking about using Kentico CMS or Kentico EMS to create a new E-commerce based website should definitely listen up.

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