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Online Commerce System Integration with a Product Configurator Disclosure Number: IPCOM000019215D
Original Publication Date: 2003-Sep-05
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Sep-05
Document File: 3 page(s) / 151K

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Online Commerce System Integration with a Product Configurator

  Most online commerce-systems create and manage Items (or SKUs) in their online catalog to model the merchandise that they offer for sale. The demand for a more advanced catalog that can dynamically bundle (or kit) many items together based on a shopper-specific interaction is growing. These dynamic kits of Items (also known as made-to-order products) are created relationships resulting from an interaction between an online shopper and a Product Configurator. Product Configurators are systems that create dynamic kits of online items by following a pre-defined ruleset and interacting with an online shopper. The components Items of a dynamic kit are then stored in the online catalog.

This article describes the necessary components that an online commerce system must provide to integrate with a Product Configurator, but only the external interface that it has with a commerce system and the internal components of the commerce system that facilitates this interaction. Four features of this integration are described: 1) the interface between the Product Configurator and the Commerce System,
2) the data that needs to be exchanged between a Product Configurator and a Commerce System, 3) the format of the storage of the configuration data in the Commerce System so that dynamically created kits can easily be added to an online shopping cart and 4) a mechanism to maintain inventory on the components of a dynamic kit.

The interface is between the Commerce System and the Product Configurator in the form of an XML document that can be exchanged between an online commerce system and a Product Configurator.

The following is a sample DTD describing the structure of an XML document to hold data that is described in the next section:

<!ELEMENT Configuration (ComponentList)>
<!ATTLIST Configuration ConfigurationId CDATA #REQUIRED





<!ELEMENT ComponentList (Component+)>
<!ATTLIST ComponentList Currency CDATA #IMPLIED

<!ELEMENT Component EMPTY>





The following describes each piece of data that is sent between the commerce system and the Product Configurator:

     A configuration id, that uniquely identifies the composition of a dynamically created kit. This configuration id is unique to each dynamic configuration that the configurator constructs.

     A reference dynamic kit id, that identifies the configurable product that will serve as a container for the components of the dynamically created kit. For example, a configurable product "Computer ABC" might represent a computer. The components of the computer (ex. the hard-drive, monitor, etc., are


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not specified until the computer is dynamically configured)

     A configurator locator (for example a...