How can I set a price for a group of items in Zen Cart?

You have a couple of options here:

a) With Zen Cart Table Discounts, you can provide a final price for specific bulk quantities (quantity discounts) of certain items or groups of items.  It’s a good option if you have multiple specific price points for quantity purchases.

Example: Category 1: Buy 10 for $35; buy 20 for $50, buy 40 for $80.

b) With Zen Cart Free Gift Chooser, you can provide a final price on a package (a collection of items) where certain quantities of items should be chosen from specific categories. (This is sometimes called a kit discount.)

Example: Buy an item from each of category 1, category 2, and category 3, get them all for $20.  Choose any 5 items from category 1 or category 2 for $30.

Table Discounts and Free Gift Chooser do not actually lower the prices of the items; they create a discount so that the final price of the items is what you have configured.   So for example, here’s Free Gift Chooser (with the discount shown on the Shopping Cart page by Discount Preview):

(Table Discounts looks the same – the discount is a line item on the shopping cart page if you have Discount Preview, and a line item on the Checkout Payment page and the Checkout Confirmation Page.)

Zen Cart on Mobile Platforms

I wrote about this a couple of months back on my Zen Cart newsletter:

Two folks I work with have created templates which work well on mobile devices – take a look and see for yourself.

Here is Delia Wilson’s template (1.5.x version):

Here are Jose Carrillo’s templates:

Delia’s approach is to replicate the site under a separate directory so that two complete sites are maintained (one for mobile and one for the desktop).  Jose uses a single template which works on both mobile and desktop devices.  I recommend both of them.


What are the server requirements for running Zen Cart?

You’re almost always ok with the latest and greatest of each of the LAMP stack components, but someone asked me the other day about MySQL 5.6, and I had to double check.  With Zen Cart 1.5.3, has only been tested with up to MySQL 5.5.  (Some Forum users have tested with 5.6 and report no problems, which is a good sign.)

Here are all the requirements in one place:

Why is using SFTP better than FTP to manage your Zen Cart files?

If you read the page “Important Security Recommendations” under the docs folder of your Zen Cart, you’ll see that SFTP is recommended as a file transfer method over FTP.

Why is that?

The reason is simple: when you use FTP, your password is transmitted in clear text over the Internet. Which means snoopers can see it. And if you are using WiFi, particularly in a public place, snooping is really easy! So don’t do it!

What do you need to do to use SFTP? Just two things:

  1. A client for your PC that can use SFTP.  The one Zen Cart recommends, which is excellent, free and runs on Windows is WinSCP.   If you are on a Mac, look at Transmit.  If you use Linux, use gftp, which is built in to most distros.
  2. The server settings for SFTP transfer.  You may need to ask your hoster to enable sftp, and you’ll need to get the port number to use.  Although the default port for SFTP is 22, many hosters will use other ports so you’ll need to check with your hoster.

Making signup easy on your Zen Cart ecommerce site

Zen Cart’s default customer signup form comes with a number of fields for customers that you should not collect.  That’s right – turn them off and don’t collect them (unless you are required to for regulatory or other reasons).  These include:

  • Date of Birth
  • Email Salutation (Mr or Ms.)
  • Fax Number
  • Company

You can access the flags to turn these values off under Admin->Configuration->Customer Details.  Just set the values to “false,” and they will no longer appear on your account creation form.

The less information a customer is required to fill in, the less likely they are to balk at registering on your site.

The one addition to account creation that I think makes sense is asking for the email address twice, since a typo in this field might well make it impossible for the customer to login again.  This change is made simple through the Confirm Email Address Contribution, available in the Zen Cart Plugins Area.