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10 Reasons to Use Zen Cart

I may be biased as a software developer, but for many new e-commerce projects, especially ones where cash flow is limited, I prefer to start out with ZenCart as the initial solution and see where it goes. My main rationale for this is that I can avoid many costly fees associated with online services such as Miva Merchant or Volusion which would set me back at least $50 / month for a project I don’t even know will work in the market. I’d rather put down a couple hundred bucks on a good ZenCart theme or theme pack and play around with what works; then after the sales...
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Accessing the Admin Backend

Accessing the Admin Backend

For this example installation of ZenCart, the be (back end) and zc_install.done folders represent the original admin and zc_install folders, respectively. By renaming these folders not only are the Zen Cart warnings hidden but hacking into the site would require more effort; this is especially important considering that Zen Cart is open source software. Anyone with knowledge of PHP can look into the source code used for this eCommerce solution and look for security vulnerabilities to be used against live sites on the internet, including ours; as such, it is a good idea to...
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Template Selection

Template Selection

ZenCart expects all themes to be manually uploaded to your web host which can easily be done by uploading the theme files into the appropriate folder; in this walkthrough, the freely available FileZilla FTP client is demonstrated.   The Default ZenCart Theme   Installing a New Theme From The Web 1. Download the theme to your computer.   2. Extract the theme, usually in zip format. 7-Zip, a free archiving utility, is demonstrated here to extract contents to same location as zip archive.   3. Using your favorite FTP editor, browse on your local...
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Store Name and Address

Store Name and Address

Below is a quick overview of updating the store name, owner, zone in which business is being conducted, contact information, and address.   Updating Common Customer Facing Store Information 1. Click Configuration > My Store.   2. Check that Store Name is selected, which is the default; the selection is denoted by the play symbol, .   3. Click edit.   4. Enter the new Store Name and click update.   5. Click Store Owner.   6. Enter the name of the store, and click update.   7. Select Zone by left clicking it in the list,...
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EMail Setup

EMail Setup

There are many options for setting up EMail within ZenCart. This module focuses on getting EMail functioning using the two most popular mail options that will work in almost every scenario with minimal fuss; host provided PHP mail or an external mail provider such as Google Apps or GMail. Using this approach usually results in functional email setup regardless of the hosting situation, custom, shared, VPS, EC2, dedicated, etc.   Setting Up and Testing ZenCart EMail Functionality Within Minutes 1. Click Configuration > E-Mail Options.   2. Select the first...
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Securing the Download Folder

Securing the Download Folder

By default, there is nothing stopping web visitors from downloading digital products for sale without paying; here we’ll put an end to that.   Testing the Security of the Download Folder 1. Verify that access is forbidden to URL http://www.[your_domain_name].com/[zencart_installation_folder]/download (if confused, consult Determining the Public URL for ZenCart’s download Folder at the end of module). For the graspd.com zc ZenCart installation, things are looking good so far; no one can see the products for sale directly for download in the download...
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Products Price Manager

Products Price Manager

The Products Price Manager lists all the products available for sale in the catalog and provides convenient access to prices, tax class, quantity, and featured product setup, to name a few.   Editing Product Prices 1. Click Catalog > Products Price Manager.   2. Select a product and click display.   3. Click edit; this will enable editing for the selected product which cannot be saved in preview mode.   4. Set the product Price and click update.   5. Repeat steps 2 – 4 for each product to be edited.   Next Module:...
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Product Types

Product Types

For most scenarios such as selling EBooks, MP3s, electronic devices, paintings, or any myriad of combinations, the default product types will suffice and will require no changes.   Checking Out the Product Types 1. Access via Catalog > Product Types.   2. Displayed are the various types of products that can be sold through Zen Cart’s default installation settings. For most applications, modification of this list is unnecessary. One of the major features of product types is the ability to modify product settings across an entire type of product; this does...