Pilot Web Connect™

Amazon.com, ebay.com, homedepot.com, costco.com, walmart.com. These companies were pioneers in developing the familiar shopping experience you enjoy on the internet.

They reach customers. They offer detailed product information in real time, with powerful searching, filtering and sorting abilities. Most importantly, they sell their merchandise 24 hours a day, everywhere the internet is. Their investments in technology have been repaid many times over in increased profits.

Countless businesses would like to sell their products in a similar way. Maybe your business, or businesses whose websites you maintain. Most businesses already have a website, but all too often, shoppers can’t buy anything directly, or the website inventory is managed separately and manually, not integrated with the order processing system that manages in-house sales.

Ideally, your in-house inventory and order processing system would communicate so seamlessly with your website that the data for your website wouldn’t need to be managed and maintained outside of Pilot. When a shopper buys products on your website, the purchase would occur in your in-house system, not in a separate database on a remote web server. When you put a new product in your in-house inventory, adjust a description, add a photo or sell out of an item, shoppers would see the change reflected instantly in their browsers.

Larger businesses have incurred enormous initial cost and ongoing maintenance expense to achieve these capabilities, far beyond what most small companies can afford. But things have changed.

Pacifica Research is pleased to introduce Pilot Web Connect, the integrated, real-time technology to extend live shopping cart capability to your website, directly from Pilot.

Here’s how Pilot Web Connect works
In any browser on a computer or mobile device, a shopper on your website uses a familiar item search and shopping cart. With Pilot Web Connect, the searching, filtering and selling all take place directly in Pilot, in your in-house Pilot database, instantly in real time. The inventory you use in-house is the inventory the website uses. Not a copy and not a separate website database. When a web shopper buys something, the invoice is instantly created in Pilot.

Here’s how Pilot Web Connect does this, and how it’s implemented through Pilot.
Pilot Web Connect is software in three parts:

  1. The web interface
    A web framework with a tiny interface is installed in one or more pages of your website, having control features that the web developer uses to install or connect to a shopping cart, customer account management, shipping, credit card, sales tax and other API’s, visually modifiable to suit the business. The framework is developed using nothing but JavaScript, CSS and standard HTML tags. Any HTML editor may be used to modify it.
  2. A high-performance pipeline interface connecting the web server to the Pilot server
  3. Pilot inventory, order entry and customer management, running on the Pilot server
    The Pilot server should ideally be hosted in the cloud for maximum up-time and availability, and it’s where your business manages its inventory, fulfills orders and performs other accounting activities.

We’ve met these design goals for Pilot Web Connect:

  • Connect Pilot to an existing website seamlessly, or build a website with Pilot Web Connect components.
  • Provide the features and performance you appreciate on big company sites.
  • Use responsive styling techniques, to run on any platform and current browser, including mobile devices.
  • Install the smallest and simplest app possible on the web server.
  • Store no data on the web server, with the exception of media content such as photos.
  • Give developers a component API to easily integrate Pilot into existing websites.
  • Make a simple programmer interface to easily enable the desired features and appearance.
  • Use only standard HTML, CSS and JavaScript to fit any web development environment.
  • Incorporate SEO best practices design into the component API to assist with web placement optimization.

The typical Pilot to website integration permits web shoppers to do various tasks:

  • Create a new customer with login, password, contact and shipping information.
  • Edit their own customer contact information and password.
  • Retrieve their own lost logins and passwords.
  • View their shopping cart contents, past purchases, history, and statements.
  • Print selected reports designed explicitly for the website.
  • Set up and edit their PayPal® or credit card payment options.
  • Select and categorize inventory items to browse and purchase.
  • Add items to their shopping cart, edit quantities, remove items from cart.
  • Optionally, maintain multiple open shopping carts.
  • View a completed order with extended prices and purchase the order.
  • Pilot automatically controls the website in these key areas: Stores web login, contact and shopping cart information in a Pilot customer record.
  • Validates and logs login attempts and connections.
  • Allows a customer with valid credentials to edit their contact and shopping cart information.
  • Supplies inventory information, including photos, detailed description, price and availability, based on inventory category, customer and customer type.
  • Updates inventory quantities and availability in real time based on sales to other customers.
  • Provides keyword search, filtering and sorting on categories that you set up.
  • When a customer purchases the shopping cart items, Pilot creates an order or invoice, computes tax and shipping, accepts payment through a PayPal interface, prints in-house stock-picking, packing, shipping and label documents and emails confirmation and tracking information to the customer.

You determine, within Pilot, what your website displays and how it behaves. You can:

  • Set the price level (discount from list or markup from cost) for each customer.
  • Disable a customer account, reset the password, edit contact information and shopping cart.
  • Give or revoke in-house credit terms and credit limit for any customer.
  • Create categories for web inventory. The category determines which inventory data fields are visible, which fields are filtered, which filters have priority, and how the data is sorted. An item only appears on the website if you place it in a category and set its visibility.
  • Add photos, lengthy descriptions and website prices to any inventory item, while also using the same item for in-house order processing.
  • Examine, print and edit the details of all invoice and payment activity for a customer.

While Pilot communicates with and controls the website, shoppers on the website cannot gain access to, or control Pilot in any way, except as listed above. Specifically, web shoppers can never:

  • Access any menu, screen, program, report or data within Pilot.
  • See account information, credit card information, activity or history of any other customer.
  • No credit card information or PIN numbers of any kind are stored anywhere in Pilot.
  • See any inventory product that you don’t specifically include for web display.
  • Change the price of, or otherwise edit, any inventory product.
  • Change their own or any order or invoice after it has been purchased.
  • Delete their customer account, inventory items, finalized orders, invoices or history.

Pilot Web Connect is designed to support a number of website configurations. Typically, one website and one Pilot order entry system are connected together, with Pilot Web Connect supplying the shopping cart, product lookup and connections to shipping and sales tax calculators and credit card processing.

Your website may already have a shopping cart and product database that you intend to continue using. Pilot can be connected to it similar to a back end database, provided that the shopping cart or web server database makes the necessary data available to Pilot through a standard API that conforms to Pilot schema. In this case, the shopping cart may not support a live connection, and invoices and inventory updates may be batched to Pilot periodically.

Multiple websites can connect to one Pilot system. Some reasons for doing this are:

  • Separate websites may be directed at different markets, industries or customer bases. The websites can be entirely different in appearance and design, so they may be localized to appeal to a particular customer demographic.
  • If the same item is sold on multiple websites, the price, descriptions and photos can be different for each website. Pilot manages the data behind all of the websites at once, so there isn’t a lot of additional support.

Multiple Pilot order entry systems can participate in a single website:

  • If several companies in a related industry each have only a few items to sell, they can dramatically increase their reach by cooperating in one website. A purchase by an on-line shopper results in a single order for the shopper, but a separate invoice to each seller.
  • A company can operate their own website and, in addition, offer selected products on a separate co-operative website with little extra effort.

Your goal is to reach more customers and sell more products, on every connected device on the web. Your solution is Pilot Web Connect!