Direct links to Products

This enhancement will enable people with shopfronts to create share direct links to products in their shopfronts. These links can be shared on social media to help drive traffic to shops. Note that the ideal solution to this problem is a very big piece of work. Here we are looking to provide a good value solution that addresses the most immediate needs.

What is the Problem?

For most ecommerce platforms out there in internet land it is standard practice to have Product Descriptions Pages (PDPs). These pages have direct links and include all the detailed information about a product. For historical reasons within the Open Food Network we use a type of embedded window called a modal to display this information. Our modals do not have URLs and so it is impossible to link to them.

Direct links to products in the shops are very valuable for marketing reasons, allowing food enterprises to share pictures of specific products within social media feeds or newsletters to help attract people into the online shop. They are also very good for search engine optimisation (SEO), helping to boost the prevalance of the shop in search results when people are searching for food items using a search engine.

What are the benefits of solving this?

This is one of those features that people just expect to exist because it is an ecommerce standard. For many this is such an obvious way to leverage social media to drive traffic and hence can be thought of as a basic ‘hygiene’ feature.

Potential benefits include:

  • Increasing the amount of interesting content enterprises can generate in their newsletters and social media, by enabling every product in the shop to be a new and interesting potential piece of content.


  • Increasingly the network effect of this content because producers will likely also share links to their own produce.


  • Improving search engine optimisation as each shop will have many more pages that can be scanned and indexed by search engine bots, meaning that shops will land higher in web searches (as will OFN overall).


  • Easier to create campaigns that target specific groups of shoppers based on specific products or sets of products that might be of interest. A great way to target people that aren’t already engaged in your shop.

What will the solution look like?

See the image slideshow to gain an understanding of how the new feature will work.


Note that changing from modals to full PDPs is a very large piece of work that would require extensive UI and UX design. The OFN delivery team have decided that while not having direct links to product is a big problem, we have bigger priorities right now than investing in the optimal solution to this problem. So we have creatively worked out a way to solve the worst parts of the problem in only a handful of developer days. 

Also note that social media previews for these links will not be pretty and are out of scope for this piece. There will be direct links but we will need to explore another piece to improve link previews.

More information

This feature has been discussed on Discourse, here.


Help us build this feature!

Think this would be a great feature on the Open Food Network?

Great! Simply click below to pledge.

Note no money will be taken now. Instead your request will be passed to your local OFN instance partner to process your pledge. 

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