Online stores have become a lot more than just a list of products and a checkout page. Successful online retailers are merging content, products, imagery, video, social, personalization and mobile to create a holistic shopping experience that customers just can’t get enough of.

The problem is, to a large extent, what’s making these retailers successful is only available to big brands with even bigger budgets.

Most eCommerce platforms are like mass production factories, churning out boring and ineffective online stores that only cover the most basic use cases: display products, add product to cart, checkout with said product. These online stores look identical to 5000 others and offer little to no reason for consumers to buy from them rather than a lower priced competitor. That’s the danger of false claims like “launch a store in minutes“.

[Tweet “Most eCommerce platforms are like mass production factories, churning out boring stores”]

Your customers demand more, and so should you. This is a huge opportunity to stand out.

At LemonStand we have very bright people helping brands realize this opportunity every single day. We’re focused on making LemonStand the go-to platform for eCommerce brands and the entrepreneurs behind them that want to challenge the status quo, and reap the rewards.

Introducing Content Blocks

We’re excited to announce a brand new feature that’ll help you make your LemonStand powered eCommerce website unique: Content Blocks.

This flexible CMS features allows you to set up content on your website any way you like, then easily edit it whenever you want. You can use it to manage the content on pages like About Us, Contact and more. You could even use it to manage more complex content like lookbooks or a list of product distributors.

editor-contentblock

How It Works

Really simply. In your theme, you define where you want some editable content to go with a simple Twig tag. Here’s an example:

{{ content_block("home-1") }}

You then go to Editor > Content, and add a new content block. That’s it!

Each content block that you add represents a file that is now part of your theme. These files exist inside a /content directory for your theme. The file representing the content block above would be called home-1.htm. A developer could alternatively create these content block files directly, instead of adding them through the interface.

You can find documentation for content blocks here: https://docs.lemonstand.com/themes/content-blocks

Note: Once content blocks are set up, you won’t have to actually add them to your site. Our themes will come with some set up by default. All you’d do is edit the text, then grab yourself a refreshing glass of lemonade!

Use content blocks in pages, partials and templates

One interesting note is that you can use them throughout your theme. Let’s say you had a partial for your footer that was used on every page of your website. You could reference a content block from the footer, and that content block would contain text for your copyright notice. Now a single content block would be repeated across every page of your LemonStand website, and you have a simple interface to update the copyright notice in one place!

You can use as many content blocks as you want. For example, your homepage could have 1 content block, or 22.

Developers can distribute themes with content

Because content blocks represent files that are part of themes, developers can set them up in themes beforehand. This means developers can make it super easy for their clients to edit website content.

Related posts:  LemonStand Expands Payments Support to 95+ Gateways Worldwide

We will be adding content blocks to all of our existing themes out of the box, as well as all new upcoming themes! (there are a bunch of new free themes coming, by the way)

Bonus: Twig inside Twig inside Twig

It’s a little like Inception (without the gun fights), but theme developers and other savvy folk are going to like this: you can use Twig code inside of content blocks.

Using the copyright notice example above, you could put something like this inside of the content block:

lemonstand twig copyright year

The example Twig tag would output the current year for your copyright notice text.

How cool is that!? This gets even more exciting. Read on below to see more examples.

Example Use Case: Encourage Customers To Spend More

Let’s say your store offers free shipping for customers that spend over $50. Sure, you can display a message somewhere on your homepage mentioning it, but wouldn’t it be more powerful if you could dynamically encourage customers to spend more and make it visible on every page?

You can do that with some simple Twig code, and a content block. A picture says a thousands words:

LemonStand content block twig code

This code would go in your theme’s main template. What it’s doing is checking to see if the cart subtotal is over $0 but less than $50. If it is, the yellow bar in the example website would display alerting customers of free shipping, and the text comes from a content block.

Let’s Take This A Bit Further

The message above is dynamic in that it displays the promo bar once someone has anything in their cart for under $50. But, the text is static in that it always says “Spend $50 with us and get free shipping!”.

But, you could take this a step further and write some Twig code that would calculate the dollar amount difference between $50 and the cart’s subtotal and assign this value to a variable called “freeship”. You can then reference this value from a content block. Here’s an example:

content-block-shipamount

The beauty here is that this message is dynamic, and easy enough for anyone to edit whenever they want.

Click. Boom. Amazing!

Example Use Case: Manage Content On Homepage

Here’s an example using our basic Zest theme. Let’s say you wanted to make the 3 columns of content at the bottom easy for anyone to edit using content blocks.

Step 1) Add references to the content blocks in Zest’s home page like this:

zest-contentblocks

2) Add these content blocks from Editor > Content. After doing that, you could quickly pull them up for easy editing by using search. Here’s an example screenshot:

contentblock-search

Searching through list of content blocks

 

Let’s click on the first one:

content-editblock

Editing a content block in LemonStand

 

That’s it! Your homepage might look something like this:

zest-homecontentblocks

PS: Do you want to buy one of my lightsabers?

Content Blocks Will Be Built Into All Themes

We will be adding content blocks to all of our eCommerce themes very soon. In addition to that, we’ll be releasing a bunch of new themes that will also use content blocks!

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