Custom Fields

The Custom Fields portion of your Admin Area lets you create custom input fields for collecting information from your customers - ask how they found out about your site, what age group they belong to, and just about anything else you need to help customize your products to your customers.

For information about displaying custom fields on your store's product pages, see Product Settings.

Contents

Getting Started

The Custom Fields page allows up to 15 different custom fields to be displayed on your storefront. These custom fields are divided into two categories: order fields and customer fields. All custom fields will be displayed to customers during the order process on the storefront checkout page. Each can be used to collect data on customers, orders, or both.

Note that custom fields can only be applied to either customer accounts or entire orders. To learn about assigning customization options to a specific product, see Product Options.

Custom Field Settings

To access the Custom Fields page, go to Settings > Custom Fields in your Admin Area.

By default, your store comes with 10 custom fields pre-programmed: five customer-based and five order-based.

Click on the ID number of any custom field you want to edit. 

You can create additional custom fields by clicking Add near the top of the page.

Each custom field contains the following settings:

Custom Field Settings

Custom Field This field contains an auto-generated number to identify the custom field by. This is a required field.
Table Name This field allows you to choose which of the two types the custom field will belong to: Customers or Orders.
Alias This text field is the label the custom field drop-down settings refer to each particular custom field as. This is a required field.
Question

This text field allows you to enter the specific question or text they want to present to visitors in relation to the each custom field. This is a required field.

Note that the Question field does not support HTML. The following characters are not valid in the Question field, and may cause errors at checkout: " > < ; '

Question SubText This is an additional text field that allows you to define a sub question or sub text to present to customers in regards to each custom field. This option only works with the textbox and check box input types.
Input Type This down-down menu allows you to specify what format the custom field input will be. Choices are textbox, check box or a drop-down menu. This is a required field.
Input Max Length If you are creating custom fields using the textbox format, this field allows you to limit the number of characters customers can enter into the textbox. This is a required field.
Placement Order If using multiple custom fields, numbers entered into this text box will determine what order the custom fields will appear (lower numbers place the custom field higher in the list order).
Is Required Enabling this option places an asterisk next to the custom field as it is displayed on the store front and requires customers to enter a value for the field.
Is Public Enabling this option will set the custom field to appear on the storefront. Disabling this option will hide the custom field from customers.
Show On Invoices Enabling this option will force the custom field and values entered into it to appear on customers' invoices.

Edit these values as needed and click Save when you're finished.

Custom Field Dropdown Value Settings

When creating or modifying a custom field, you can specify the format of the field as a drop-down menu so customers can select one of a series of values. To set up a drop-down field:

  1. Go to Settings > Custom Fields.
  2. From the Filter menu, select Custom Fields Dropdown Values.
  3. Create a drop-down value by clicking on Add near the top of the page. 

The Custom Field drop-down settings contain the following values:

Custom Fields Dropdown Values

ID This field contains an auto-generated number to identify the custom field drop-down value by. This is a required field.
Custom Fields ID This drop-down menu allows the user to define which custom field this menu option will appear in. Note: the menu options here only properly work with custom fields set to drop-down input types.
Title This text field will contain the title of the drop-down menu option as it is presented on the storefront. This is a required field.
Value This text field is the value which will be reported to the Volusion database and displays in your Admin Area when the option is chosen. This is a required field.
Placement Order Numbers entered into this text box will determine what order the custom field options will appear (lower numbers place the custom field higher in the list order).

Edit these values as need be and click Save to complete editing of any entry here.

Using Custom Fields for Orders

Below is an example of how to set up a custom field for use in your store's order process to get more information from customers about their orders.

Example

Let's say you're an online clothing retailer offering shirts with custom monogram embroidery. You need to configure the system to present a text box to customers to define what they wish to have monogrammed on their shirt. This text box is not required (customers may wish to have no monogram option) and you want to limit the field to10 characters.

  1. Go to Settings > Custom Fields
  2. Click on a custom field ID number for a custom field pre-configured for orders (by default, these are custom field IDs 6-10).  
  3. Give the field a meaningful alias such as "Monogram".
  4. The Question field should be defined to give instructions to customers. For example: "Please enter a custom monogram for your shirt."*
  5. Further instructions can be set in the Question SubText field. For example: "Max limit of 10 characters."
  6. Set the Input Type field to Textbox and set the Input MaxLength to 10.
  7. If you have multiple custom fields, insert a value here to designate the order in which they'll appear.
  8. Customers will be given the option to leave this field blank (for no monogram) so the Is Required field should be left unchecked.
  9. Select Is Public to show the option on the storefront and Show On Invoices to show the option, as entered by the customer on their invoice.
  10. Click Save.

* While the Question Subtext field supports HTML, the Question field does not. The following characters are not valid in the Question field, and may cause errors at checkout: " > < ; ' 

Customers going through the order process will be presented with this field within the checkout process when placing an order in your store.

Once these settings are configured, customers will be displayed a text box requesting the information above within the checkout portion of your storefront under the heading of Additional Information.

Please note that customers may receive an error upon checkout if the text they input into the custom field exceeds the Input Max Length character limit.

Once the order has been processed, the information that the customer has been provided in this case will be recorded within the customer's order in the Volusion Orders database table. You can view this information by clicking on Orders > Process Orders and viewing each order's details. The custom field and the value entered for each will be contained in the fields under the Custom Fields header in the yellow, Order Comments portion of the order details page.

Using Custom Fields for Customers

If you want to collect any additional information from customers when they place their first order in your store, you can set up a custom field that will be presented to customers the first time they check out - this field won't display to customers after their first visit to your store.

Example

You want to gather some information on how your customers have found out about your store. In this case, you're going to create a custom field drop-down that will ask customers to select from a menu as to how they found your site (magazine advertisement, search engine, word-of-mouth, etc). You'll need to create both a custom field drop-down and the values that will be selectable within that field.

  1. Go to Settings > Custom Fields
  2. Click on an existing custom field ID for the customer table to edit the custom field's options, or create a new custom field by clicking Add.
  3. Within the custom field settings, you will want to set a meaningful alias. For example, if the question is "How did you find us?", the alias might be something like "How Found".
  4. Enter the question to ask the customer. ("How did you find us?")
  5. Since this field is going to be configured as a drop-down list, the Question SubText and Is Required fields can be left blank.
  6. Set the Input Type option to Dropdown.
  7. Set the Input Max Length field to 20.
  8. Set the Placement Order field to 1.
  9. Make sure the Is Public check box is selected and click Save or Update to finish editing the custom field. 

Next, you'll need to create the values that will be selectable within the drop-down menu that was just created.

  1. Onthe Custom Fields Dropdown Values page, click Add to create a new drop-down value.
  2. On the Add New setup page, from the Custom Fields ID menu, select the alias of the drop-down custom field this value will show for (for example, "How Found").
  3. The title field will contain the menu option text that will be displayed to customers. In this example, you could enter something similar to, "I saw your magazine ad."
  4. In the Value text field, you will want to enter the actual value the system will report for this menu option. For example: "magazine ad".
  5. The Placement Order tab will define the order which the option will appear in the list. You can set this to one.
  6. Click the Add  button to create the menu option. It will automatically be linked to the How Found custom field drop-down menu.  
  7. You will want to repeat this process for each and every value they want selectable within the custom field drop-down menu.

Once these settings are configured, customers will be displayed a drop-down menu requesting the information above within the checkout portion of the Volusion storefront under the heading of Additional Information.

Once the order has been processed, the information that the customer has been provided in this case will be recorded within the customer's account in the Volusion Customers database table. You can view this information by going to Customers > Accounts and viewing each customer's account information. The custom field and the value entered for each will be contained in the fields under the Custom Fields header on that page.

Special Settings and Tips

Note that as stated before, you cannot create more than 15 total custom fields within the Volusion system. This limit refers to the total number of customer-based and order-based custom fields added together.

Mentioned briefly above, the major function that differs from customer-based custom fields and order-based custom fields is that customer-based custom fields are only provided once to the customer. Once those fields are recorded for a customer, they will no longer be present in the checkout process for that customer. If you are wishing to obtain regular information from customers for every order using a custom field, logically, they will want to create an order-based custom field.

For customers using drop-down custom field types, note that due to the nature of the drop-down custom field system, a value for this type of field will always be selected. Setting a custom field of field type: drop-down to be required does not create an error but the field by nature will always have a value selected, regardless of whether a customer selects something within the drop-down or not.

Note that while the Question Subtext field supports HTML, the Question field does not. The following characters are not valid in the Question field, and may cause errors at checkout: " > < ; ' 

Additionally, customers may receive an error upon checkout if the text they input into the custom field exceeds the Input Max Length character limit.

Summary

There are many more possible uses for the Custom Fields portion of the Volusion system. How or if custom fields are implemented is completely up to you. Volusion does encourage the use of the custom fields section as it can be a simple but powerful tool to gain feedback from customers and provide more information to you on how to improve and innovate your online store.