The brief

Updated Jan 2024

Class Professional Publishing specialises in health care books and learning resources for paramedics, nurses and other health care professionals.

Class came to us with a need for a full rebuild of their ecommerce site With their old site having limitations, the main objective was to have a site with all the up to date ecommerce features like advanced discount features, product modifiers (Coming soon, Bestseller etc) and pre orders.


As Class already has a large online user base they wanted to enhance their current layout by making it more modern and user friendly whilst retaining the feel of their old website, providing a better transition for their clients.

Using the latest prototyping and design software the new homepage was designed to improve the online shopping experience and strengthen their brand identity. As the core products sold on the website are books, we wanted the covers to be the focal point, with a clean and minimalistic backdrop to retain focus on the product.

Functionality was at the forefront of the design with the focus being on the products, whilst ensuring that it could all be managed and implemented by the client moving forward. For this reason a bespoke template had to be designed to allow the client to display all the product information in an easy to read format.


The previous site was a bespoke development, so it made importing product data difficult, although importing user data was straight forward enough. The previous site data was provided in an XML format but the data was in an odd format to import straight from the XML file, as the product structure was very different to the WooCommerce data structure needed on the new site. One of the issues we had was that the old site had a different product for each product type (for example, one product for the paperback and another for the hardback version). However, Class wanted a single product with dropdown variations for each type. So for the import we had to write some PHP which ran through the XML data and then re-output this data in the XML format we needed to import.

The project was started by getting the WordPress environment setup and the homepage built from the signed off design prototype. We then built the general pages, such as Contact Us and legal pages etc. For the User Guides, About Us Meet the team section, the Authors page and the Partners page, we used custom post types. This was to enable very easy management from an admin point of view, allowing Class to easily add a user guide, a new team member and an Author without any need for coding. The custom post type was also key for the Authors as these had to be attached to products.

The events page needed simplifying from the old site, so that’s what we did. However, it was a little difficult to test with the majority of events being cancelled due to COVID-19!

Class previously had a separate WordPress website for their blog so all we did was import the posts from that site into the new site to keep it all in one place.

Once all the general pages were built, we moved on to the product pages. We first had to get the backend structure correct, so after extensive note taking to ensure we had the correct field structure, we started coding in the custom fields. WooCommerce default fields helped a lot with the build, but due to the complexity of the products, there was a lot of custom coding and field relationship work to do.

Every product is a variable product, so a lot of the custom fields were at variation level, so the correct fields need to be displayed on the product front end whenever the user changed the book type of book to to ensure the right ISBN, price etc was shown. This was handled through JavaScript. Some of these custom fields also related to third party functions which is described in more detail below.

Further development

Class required the website to integrate with their distributer and ebook provider, so part of the product setup was making sure they had all the data needed to talk to their systems. If the product type was set to ebook then we coded an integration with the provider API to create an access code upon purchase. We also coded an integration with the client’s distributer which not only sends order data to them for shipping but also the website needed to pull in stock levels from the distributor via an uploaded CSV.

Class also wanted us to work with their app CRM system, Salesforce. So we set them up an app password management system on the new website which talks directly to Class’s Salesforce records (thanks to the guys at for their help with this).

One of the vital features Class wanted was to handle pre orders. Using WooCommerces Pre Orders plug-in we were able to set this all up for Class no problem. Since going live Class has used the change release date feature to great effect as often with books they can be delayed. Since the book in question has been successfully published and all the pre orders fulfilled.

Class also wanted product modifiers so that products can (a) appear on the homepage sliders and (b) be tagged successfully on product categories pages, so users are clear if a book is a new release or is coming soon etc. Using a custom field, the modifier is selected and the tag is shown; all easily managed by Class admin team. We also built a new feature called ‘look inside’. By using a JavaScript library, an interactive book preview (a snippet of the book content) is displayed when the user looks inside.

So once all of these elements were built and thoroughly tested (which wasn’t as easy as it was to write this post), we went live! We even managed to pretty much hit the agreed go-live date, despite the disruption caused by COVID!

Since going live the new website has performed extremely well. Class are having to focus more than ever on virtual marketing due to COVID, but have found the admin area very easy to use, saying… “The backend of the website is so far proving as simple as Brad promised!” and “We are all loving the new website”.

We’d like to say a big thank you to the Class team for being such a pleasure to work with. Here’s to getting phase 2 done!

Client testimonial

I can’t recommend Blaze Concepts enough, especially the Account Manager assigned to our project, Bradley Cross. From our initial meetings with Blaze, they understood our business and what we needed from a new website, from the customer journey to the e-commerce functionality.

With over 1,000 products to import, it was no mean feat. It is very easy to communicate with Blaze. They have a can-do approach and are readily available for any support we may need. Like all websites, our website is always evolving and changing to reflect our business and we look forward to continuing to work with Blaze Concepts on maintaining and developing our website, together with other future projects.

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