Zen Cart Enable or Disable The Product Notification System

In Zen Cart, the product notification system allows customers to add items in your store to an alert list. When an update is made to a product(i.e., the product info is modified, the price adjusted, or the product is put on sale, etc.), the customer will receive an email notifying them of the changes.

Enabling and disabling the Product Notification System is very easy. To do so, open your zen cart admin, and navigate to Configuration-> Customer Details. Locate the ‘Customer Product Notification Status’ option, and set it to ‘on’ or ‘off’, depending on your preference.

How do customers sign up for these notifications?

If you have enabled the product notification system, then customers will be able to sign up to it while browsing products. After the activation of this feature, a notification sidebox will become visible on product pages which will allow customers to opt into this notification system. Extra checkboxes will also be shown after checkout, along with the products purchased. If customers have an account on your website, and are signed in, then checking the boxes and clicking the submit button will opt them in to the notification newsletter for that product.

It should be noted that zen cart’s product notification system is not automated. It is up to you to make sure that notices go out to the people who have opted into this service. To do this, go to your zen cart Admin area, and navigate to Tools-> Newsletter/Notification Manager.
From here, you will be able to create a newsletter/notice. Before saving, be sure to select ‘product-notification’ as the newsletter type. When sending, you will be asked which products your notice applies to. Choose the proper products, and press send.

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Zen Cart Create Music Products With Audio Previews – Part Two

This zen cart tutorial is last in a two part series which aims to teach zen cart users and store owners how to create music products, and setup audio previews for them. In the last segment, we left off after instructing you on how to upload the audio clips which will constitute the previews.

Now, with your desired media collection still selected, find the “Assign to Products” button. Click through, and choose the category and product you want to associate the media collection with from the drop down menu. In Zen Cart, Media collections can be assigned to more than one category and/or product.

It should be noted that you MUST select product type ‘product-music’ when assigning media collections, or the preview clips will not appear on the front end of your store. The drop down menu lists all products/categories, regardless of whether they are the correct product type, so you will need to be a little careful when selecting the product/category assignment.

The last thing you will need to do is visit the front end of your zen cart website to make sure that everything is in working order. On the product info pages to which you assigned a media collection, you should be able to listen to a free audio preview of the product. While the length and content of the clips is left to your discretion for the most part, it is recommended that you keep previews around thirty seconds to a minute long. While there are plenty of exceptions to this rule, it is generally a good length for most four to ten minute music tracks, as it is long enough to capture a customer’s interest, and short enough to foil pirating attempts.

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Zen Cart Create Music Products With Audio Previews – Part One

If you are the owner and/or operator of a zen cart store that sells music, or other audio products, you will probably want to provide your customers with clips, or previews of these items. This Zen Cart tutorial will teach you how to do this. Make sure that you have already created your Music Genres, Record Companies, and Recording Artists. You will also need to set your Media Types, which will define the allowed file-extensions for files uploaded to your server.

Create a test product in your zen cart store. Select the product type “Product-Music” from the pulldown menu during the creation process. Then, fill out all the product details. At this point, you will be able to select the Record Artist, Record Company, Genre, etc. for the product.

Next, you will need to compile your media collections using Media Manager. These are like albums/mixes of songs which can be attached to your products. To do this, click “Insert”, which will allow you to create a media collection. Enter the name of the collection, and then click “Save”.

After this, select “Edit” to add media clips to the collection. Click the “Browse” button to upload a file from your computer of the preset media type. The file should be uploaded to the Media Directory which is selected by default in the pulldown menu. You can choose to place this file elsewhere, but this is not recommended, as it will make more work for you down the line. After you have upoaded the file, you can clicked “Edit” again to upload more. If you accidentally upload the wrong clip, or duplicate a clip, you should delete the file right away to avoid confusion later on.

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Zen Cart Customer’s Downloads Did Not Activate

This Zen Cart tutorial is meant to help zen cart users and store owners better understand the process behind the purchase and activation of downloadable products, since it is actually not as straight forward as one might think. It is still a very simple process, but on occasion, you might have that one confused customer who pays for a downloadable product, and does not get access to the activation link immediately afterward.

First of all, it is important for you to know that in zen cart stores that have been set up properly, download links are not made available to your customers until you have received payment for the product. Most payment modules commonly used with zen cart are configured so that new orders which contain downloadable products are automatically marked as ‘Orders Status: Pending’. In a nutshell, this means that your zen cart store will assume that you have not received your payment, and therefore, it should not give out the download link to the customer, until you tell it differently.

After you have verified through your payment gateway that the money has been safely transferred, you can activate the download links for your customer. This is very easy do do. Just log in to your zen cart admin area, and select the correct order. Click on Edit, and scroll down to the bottom of the page. Here, you will find a menu, where you can change the order’s status from ‘pending’ to ‘processing’. This tells your zen cart that you have received your payment, and it is okay to let the customer download the product. They will now be able to do this by navigating to their ‘My Account’ page and selecting the order.

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Zen Cart Why Are My Product Titles Showing Twice?

In Zen Cart, product pages are among the most important on your entire ecommerce site. It is critical that these pages look good, and function properly, because this is where customers will make the decision to purchase an item, or not. As with the rest of your zen cart site, there are many, many ways to break these pages, or cause them to display bugs and glitches. In this tutorial, we will take a look at a very specific problem which can be encountered on this page. Namely, a slight bug whereby the product name shows twice, in different places on the page.

In this scenario, let’s say you are viewing a product info page on your website. You would see the product title at the top of the page, where it is supposed to be, but it would also display in place of the product image thumbnail.

The cause behind this glitch is actually very simple. In Zen Cart, many images include an ALT tag in the html which calls them. Most often, this ALT tag is just the product name, or maybe a few relevant keywords. When the images being called are not found in your zen cart directories, the ALT text will show alone in place of the image. This can make it look like the product name is duplicating itself on the page.

Just as the reason for this glitch is simple, so is the solution. All you need to do is find the name of the missing image which is being called, and create an image using that name. Save this image to the appropriate folder in your zen cart, and reload the page to see the new image!

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Zen Cart Set Products To Be Both Physical And Virtual

In Zen Cart, it is possible to configure products so that they are categorized as both physical/shippable and virtual/downloadable products. There are very few instances in which this functionality is useful, but if you happen to find yourself needing to set a product up this way, look no further! In this Zen Cart tutorial, we will teach you how to properly configure a product in this manner.

The first thing you should do is to check and see if your products are set to ‘Always Free Shipping’ or ‘0 weight’. If this is the case, go check Admin–>Configuration–>Shipping/Packaging, and make sure that these settings match those of your products.

The main difference between a product that is only physical or virtual, and one that is a combination of the two(Sometimes called a ‘combo’ product) has to do with the weight attribute assigned to any given product type. Unlike a physical or virtual product, combo products can have their Weight added to the Product and/or the Attribute. Which one you choose to add it to is not really all that critical.

To actually create a combo product, mark it as’Product is Virtual: No, Shipping Address Required’, and ‘Always Free Shipping: Special’ .

Since Physical/Virtual combo products require a shipping address by default, zen cart will automatically calculate the weight as it usually would for a product which does not require a shipping address. This allows the shipping to function properly, despite the fact that the product is also marked as downloadable.

After marking the product in this manner, simply go on to configure it with the Special and Shippable/Download Combo, including the weight on the product and/or Attribute(s) for shipping. You can add additional attributes to the download as needed.

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Zen Cart How To Create Downloadable Products – Part Five

This Zen Cart tutorial is the fifth and final installment in a series dedicated to teaching zen cart users and store owners how they can create downloadable products. In this last segment, we end the series with a few tips about how you can fine tune your download process

First of all, it is good to note that there aren’t any shipping costs automatically, because the name of the download file has been added to an Attribute. This means that downloads should not be marked as ‘Always Free Shipping’, or ‘Virtual Products’. Also be sure to set up the product so that the shipping address is not required at checkout.

You should also make sure that all of the files for download (all the files located in the ‘download’ directory of your zen cart) are set to read-only(644 should do the trick here). In contrast, the ‘download’ folder itself will, by default, be set to 755. For download-by-redirect procedures, however, your ‘pub’ directory will need to be set to read-write as well. 777 is a good permissions setting for this purpose, though it should be noted that a lower setting like 755 is required by some web hosting companies. This does not apply to Windows servers, however, since you do not use the ‘pub’ directory because symlinks typically don’t work on Windows servers. On most windows servers, Redirect is turned off, as Redirect requires symlink support, which windows does not provide.

Zip up the download files for the best results. Also ensure that you do not use any special characters, spaces, etc. in the filenames.

After you have added your downloadable products, it is a good idea to check them over to make sure that they all work right.

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Zen Cart How To Create Downloadable Products – Part Four

This Zen Cart tutorial is the fourth installment in a series dedicated to teaching zen cart users and store owners how to create downloadable products in their ecommerce shops. Before we wrap things up in the next few segments, we will take a quick look at an alternate method that you can use to create downloadable products.

Using this alternative method, the first thing you need to do is open your zen cart admin area and navigate to the ‘Option Name’ screen. Once here, add an option name, and set the ‘Option Type’ to either ‘radiobutton’ or ‘Dropdown’.

Next, go to the option values manager, and add an option value. Typically, it will look something like this:


Option Name: Downloads (from dropdown)
Option Value: PDF
Default Sort Order: 10

Then go to the ‘Attributes Controller’ area. Find the Product you wish to affect, and enter the correct information:


Pick from Option Name dropdown: Downloads
Pick from Option Value dropdown: PDF [DOWNLOAD]
Enter the filename: yourfilename.zip
Enter the number of days
Enter the number of download attempts
Set as Default 
Set Sort Order (if needed or after adding you can run the Update Sort Orders)

After this, all you need to do is click ‘insert’ to put the changes into effect on your website. Before you check the download on your storefront, however, you should take a moment to ensure that there is a green dot next to the name of the file which is to be downloaded. If the green dot is not there, it means the file is absent from your server, and you will need to upload it to the correct directory. While this can be done after the product is set up, it is better to do it beforehand to avoid confusion.

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Zen Cart How To Create Downloadable Products – Part Three

This Zen Cart tutorial is the third in a series which aims to teach zen cart users and store owners how they can create downloadable products. In this segment, we will discuss how you can add products using the ‘Attributes Controller’ located in the zen cart admin area.

In the last segment of this series, we talked about enabling multiple downloads per product. One of the things we will show you how to do here is make the Attribute read correctly based on the download number.

The first thing you need to do is open your zen cart admin. Navigate to Catalog==> Attributes Controller. Add your information into this area, in this format:


Option Name: Download 1
Option Value: of 5 [Download 1]
Download filename of file already uploaded to the /download folder.
Number of Days and Downloads

Option Name: Download 2
Option Value: of 5 [Download 2]
Download filename of file already uploaded to the /download folder.
Number of Days and Downloads

Option Name: Download 3
Option Value: of 5 [Download 3]
Download filename of file already uploaded to the /download folder.
Number of Days and Downloads

Option Name: Download 4
Option Value: of 5 [Download 4]
Download filename of file already uploaded to the /download folder.
Number of Days and Downloads

Option Name: Download 5
Option Value: of 5 [Download 5]
Download filename of file already uploaded to the /download folder.
Number of Days and Downloads

It should be noted that you do not need to worry about modifying the ‘sort order’ numbers. If you recall, you set these way back when you first created the downloadable products for which you are now adding information. Just make sure that after you add all your download information, you click the ‘update sort order’ button.

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Zen Cart How To Create Downloadable Products – Part Two

This Zen Cart tutorial is the second installment in a series which aims to teach zen cart users and store owners how to create downloadable products. In this segment, we will deal with enabling multiple download options for one product. Enabling multiple downloads on a product is most useful in cases where the file to be downloaded is so large that it must be broken into multiple segments to make downloading and accessing it easier, and safer.

Each download item must have an option name, and for each option name, you will need to add the appropriate number of option values. This figure is determined by the choices you wish to present your customers with on the product info page. For example, let’s say you have five downloads on one product. In this case, you would need five Option Names, each with one Option Value assigned to them. This configuration should look something like this:


'Option Names:
Download 1 Option Type: Radiobutton,  Sort Order 10
Download 2 Option Type: Radiobutton,  Sort Order 20
Download 3 Option Type: Radiobutton,  Sort Order 30
Download 4 Option Type: Radiobutton,  Sort Order 40
Download 5 Option Type: Radiobutton,  Sort Order 50'

So, create your option names, and then create one option value per option name.

If your store has a lot of multiple download products, and(for example) every product has five downloads, you can create a pattern of sorts, so that the names are easier to read and understand when displayed on a screen. This way, instead of a jumbled, indecipherable mess, you would see something like this:


Download 1 of 5
Download 2 of 5
Download 3 of 5
Download 4 of 5
Download 5 of 5

Obviously, the information displayed will vary depending on how many downloads you actually have in your store, but it will all be displayed in this same basic format.

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