Zen Cart Tutorials

Zen Cart is a great way to get your website design looking good quickly and start selling products online fast. It can sometimes be a little difficult to manage your online store once the ecommerce design is complete. To help our web development customers find their way through the countless eCommerce website maintenance options we have created tutorials to use as a guide when performing certain eCommerce website maintenance tasks. If you would however prefer to have us do it for you just contact us.

Adding categories into your web store

Log into your administration area. Select “Catalogue > Categories/Products” from the top horizontal menu. You will see a list of categories if there are categories in your online store. At the bottom of the list there is a button labelled “New Category”. Click it. There are three fields that are important. Make sure you fill these in. (The image may be used depending on your online store set up).

  • Category Name
  • Categories Description
  • Sort Order

Of the three two are straight forward, but sort is not really. So what does sort refer to? It is the order that the categories are sorted in when displayed on the design of the eCommerce website. Anyhow, once you have filled in the three main fields click “Save” and your new category will now appear on your eCommerce website pages. To add products to it just follow the “Adding products to your online store” tutorial.

Adding products to your online store

Now that your eCommerce website has been developed you are ready to go, the first thing you may find yourself needing to do is insert products into it. That is unless you have requested for Web Agent staff to insert them for you. With experience a Web Agent staff member can save you a lot of time by inserting your products into your online store for you. Just contact us to request mass product insertion and we’ll get back to you.

Enough plugs :). To add a new products into zen cart first log into the administration area. Using the top menu select: Catalogue > Categories/Products. Click on the name of the category you would like to insert products into. If no categories have been inserted into the eCommerce website you may follow the “Adding categories into your web store” tutorial to add some. Otherwise you will now see a list of all the products in that category if there are any in there. At the bottom of the list there is a “New Product” button. Click it and at minimum add the required information into the following fields:

  • Products Name
  • Products Price
  • Products Description
  • Products Model
  • Products Image

There are a lot of other options and some stores may have custom options also but for a minimum it is advised that the above items are inserted to give the customer a good chance to evaluate the product you are selling. Once you have done this click “Preview” at the bottom of the page and you will see a sample of the details you will be entering into your eCommerce website product listing. If you are happy with the information click the “Insert” button located on the lower right part of the page. In case your product has custom attributes please follow the “Adding attributes to online products” tutorial.

Creating attributes for your online products

Some products such as rings may come in man sizes so in order to enable customers to select the correct size we must create the attributes to add to the product. This is a two step process in zen cart at the time of this tutorial. If any of this is too much and you would like Web Agent staff to do it for you feel free to contact us and we’ll do it for you at a reasonable rate.

To create an attribute in the zen cart online shopping cart you will need to first create an option name then create option values for that name. First log into your administration account from the top menu select: Catalogue > Option Name Manager. Here you will see a table named “Product Options” which includes the fields required in order to add an option.

  • Option Name
  • Order
  • Option Type

Use the “Option Name” field to give the option (or attribute) a name by typing it into the field. This will also be seen by customers. The “Order” refers to the order the attribute listed in the online product’s page will be shown in. Insert a number in the “Sort” field. The “Option Type” has 6 options:

  • Drop down
  • Text
  • Radio
  • Check box
  • File
  • Read only

For simplicity we will be creating a “Drop Down” as this offers multiple options for the customer and saves space. Select the first option “Drop Down” then press the “Insert button to the right of the row you are using to insert the option properties. The option name is now ready to go. All we need to do is assign “Option Values” to this “Option Name”.

Using the top menu select Catalogue > Option Value Manager. Here you will find a table labelled “Option Values” with three columns that you need to use. They are:

  • Option Name
  • Option Value
  • Default Order

The first “Option Name” refers to the option that we just created before, so select the option name you just created from the drop down list. The “Option Value” refers to the value that will be displayed to the customer when selecting a specific attribute of the products in the online store. So for example if we are selling car tyres one attribute can be the rim size. So we would create a value for each rim size the tyre comes in. Lastly the “Default Order” controls the order the values are displayed in. So the best thing to do is to order them in an ascending or descending order. Use numbers starting from 1 for the “Default Order”. To enter each value fill in all the details and press the insert button to the right. Then repeat the procedure until you have entered all the values for that option. To attach the attribute to a product follow the instructions in the “Adding existing attributes to online products” tutorial.

Adding existing attributes to online products

Once a product has been created and the attribute exists, the attribute will need to be attached to the product. This will make the online store product attribute selectable from the online store’s product page. If there are no attributes set up you will need to set up the attribute by following the instruction on “How to create attributes for your online store products”.

Make sure you are logged into the administration section of your website select: Catalogue > Attributes Controller. This will get you to the attribute control page. If you scroll a little down the page you will notice a CATEGORIES label. Below this label there are two buttons. NEXT and PREVIOUS with a drop down list in between them. The drop down list shows all the categories in your eCommerce website. Below these you can see a list of all the products that belong to the selected category. Select the category the product belongs to. Then select the product from the list.

Click on the DISPLAY button to the right of the product list. Now scroll down the page to just below the products list where you can see the title ADDING NEW ATTRIBUTES. Below this title you will see the name of the product you have selected and two columns labelled “Option Name” and “Option Value”. Select the “Option Name” you would like to use from the list. You will immediately notice that the right column has now listed available “Option Values” for that “Option Name”.

Using your mouse select the values that you would like to have available for the products attributes. In order to select multiple values hold down the “Ctrl” key while you click on the values you need. The “Ctrl” key can be found at the bottom left of your keyboard. Once you have selected the values and they are highlighted in blue look to the right of the screen and you will see an INSERT button. Click that button and the attributes will be added to your product right away.

If you have to do this to more products from the same category you can use the next button and run through the outlined steps again to add the attribute to the next product.

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