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Adding a New Product

Adding and Editing Individual Products

ProductCart includes many ways to add and edit multiple products at once, such the Product Import Wizard and the Global Changes features. Of course, you can also add and edit individual products, and that's what this section of the ProductCart WIKI focuses on.

Below you will find a description of each of the settings that can be found on the Add/Modify Product pages. To get started, select Products > Add New Product from the Control Panel navigation.

New Tabbed Layout

ProductCart v3.5 and above include a new layout for the add/modify product pages. All the information has been reorganized in easy-to-navigate sections controlled by tabs organized vertically on the left side of the page.

New tab-based layout for the Add and Modify Product pages

Choosing a Category

The first step in adding a new product to your database is choosing the category that the product belongs to. ProductCart supports unlimited category assignments for any products, but here you need to specify the first category that the product will belong to. You can add others later.

You can…

  • Add a new category “on the fly”
  • Select from a list of existing categories

You can add a new category on the fly when adding a new product

When you add a new category, the list of existing categories will be instantly refreshed to list the newly added category. Select it from there and move on to the next section.

Name and Descriptions

SKU (which stands for Stock-Keeping Unit and is also referred to as the Part Number), Name and Description are required fields. The Short Description is not required. Product Notes is a new field in ProductCart version 3.5, and is for administrative purposes only (e.g. you can leave a note for another store administrator: “The product descriptions need to be updated”).

Stock-Keeping Unit (SKU)

Enter the product SKU or Part Number, which typically is a combination of letters and numbers. Note that the database will also automatically add to each product a unique Item Number, which is not displayed on this form. The Item Number uniquely identifies the product in ProductCart's database. The SKU, instead, is your own product identifier.

The maximum number of characters that can be entered in this field is 50 for stores powered by an Access database, and 100 for stores powered by a SQL database (alphanumeric characters).

ProductCart does not enforce unique SKUs. However, if you enter a SKU that has already been assigned to another product, the system will notify you. It is then up to you to decide whether to modify the product and replace the SKU with a unique one or keep the existing one. We recommend that you use unique SKUs for several reasons. Among them:

  • The SKU is used to match a product to an existing one when products are updated via the Product Import Wizard
  • The SKU is often used as unique product identifier when exporting to other systems (e.g. comparison shopping engines)

Product Name

Enter the product name. The maximum number of characters that can be entered in this field is 100 (alphanumeric characters). We recommend that you do not use any HTML in the product name. If you want to style the way product names are shown in the storefront, use the CSS file “pcStorefront.css”, which contains several styles that affect the way product information is shown (see the comments inside the file itself for more information).

Description

Enter a description for the product. This is the description that will be displayed to your store visitors when they opt to receive more details on a certain product. For example, if they run a product search, the shopping cart will return N items on the search results page. If they click on More Details next to any of the items, they will be shown a page that displays the product description that you are entering here (together with the general image and other product information).

The database allows an unlimited number of characters for this field (both Access and SQL).

If you enter a Short Description for the product, the long description is shown at the very bottom of the product details page. The short description is shown at the top of the product details page, and a text link to the long description is added automatically at the end of it.

HTML Editor

You can use any HTML tag to format the text in this field. For example, you can use the <b>word</b> tag to make a word bold. This also allows you to link to other pages on your Web site, display additional product images, etc. To enter an HTML description, click on the Use HTML Editor button. You can then either paste your own HTML code or use the built-in HTML editor.

When using the HTML editor, make sure to save your work by clicking on the Save button in the HTML editor window. You will be returned to the Add New Product page, where you can continue configuring the rest of the product settings.

Generally speaking, you should avoid pasting complex HTML code into the product description field because it could generate conflicts with the rest of the code generated by ProductCart.

Using JavaScript and ASP in the Description

  • JavaScript: advanced users can use JavaScript in the description. It typically works correctly in the storefront. Make sure you add any needed functions to <HEAD> section of header.asp
  • ASP: you cannot use any ASP code in the product description. It will not be rendered correctly.

Short Description

The short product description is an optional field that can help customers more easily browse the store. As mentioned in the Display Settings section of this User Guide, the short product description is shown in many of the browse & search pages. It is also displayed at the top of the product details page, with a link to the long description. This ensures that all relevant buttons (e.g. Add to Cart, Add to Wish List), menus, and fields (e.g. option menus and custom input fields) are displayed at the top of the page.

If the short description is not present, the long description is shown at the top of the page, and no product description is shown on the browse/search pages.

Although you can use HTML tags in the short description, you should not use complex HTML tags there because of the location of the short description throughout the store and the conflicts that it could create with the surrounding code. In fact, if possible, you should limit the use of HTML code to basic, font-formatting tags such as <strong>, <em>, and alike.

Product Notes

Product Notes is a new field that was added to the Add/Modify Product pages in version 3.5 of ProductCart. It is strictly for administrative purposes. Its content is never shown in the storefront. For example, it can be used to leave a note for another person contributing to updating the same products.

Product Prices

Main Price Fields

In ProductCart you can specify multiple prices for a product. In the image shown below, you can see how this product has several different price levels associated with it. The first 3 apply to any product. They are:

  • On-line price
    Enter the price you will be charging your retail customers. The online price is a required field.
  • List price
    Enter the list price for the product. This is an optional, but very useful field. If you enter a price here, then you can use the Show Savings feature described below. Note: make sure the list price is higher than the on-line price.
  • Show savings
    If you check the Show Savings option, your store will show your price, the list price (stricken through), and display the difference between them after the words “Online Savings:”. Prices are displayed below the product description.
  • Wholesale Price
    This is also an optional field. The field defines the price that is displayed to wholesale customers and used to calculate their order totals. You can define which store visitors are wholesale customers when you add or edit a customer. See the section of this user guide dedicated to that topic for more details. Wholesale customers are automatically shown the wholesale price.
  • Cost
    Another optional field that can help you calculate prices based on its value (using the Global Changes feature) and keep an eye on the profitability of your sales.

You can use the Global Changes feature to quickly assign wholesale prices to multiple products if the wholesale price is a function of the online or the list price. You can also use the same feature to recalculate the online price based on a function that uses the list price, wholesale price, or the product cost.

ProductCart supports unlimited pricing levels

Additional Product Prices

ProductCart allows you to add unlimited other pricing levels to your store through a feature called Pricing Categories. Please refer to the Pricing Categories section of this User Guide for details on how to create and manage a pricing category.

Here we want to draw your attention to the fact that can override the default prices for a pricing category at the product level, as shown in the picture above.

  • Leave the price field associated with any pricing category to 0.00 if you want to use the default price for the pricing category, which will be shown after you save your new product (that's because ProductCart doesn’t know the price of the product yet when you are creating a new product).
  • Enter a value in the field if you want to override the default value for the pricing category. When you are using an Across the Board pricing category, the price for a product is set based on the settings that you have specified for the pricing category (e.g. 10% off the retail price). You can change the price at the product level using this field.

Categories

The Categories tab is only available when you are editing an existing product. If you are adding a new product to your e-commerce store, the tab will not be shown as you are choosing a category at the top of the page, as described above.

To give you maximum flexibility, ProductCart allows you to assign a product to multiple categories. This means that you can create multiple “category trees” to allow your customers to browse the store in a variety of ways. For example, a toy store could create several different category trees based on the idea that customers may want to browse the store “by age”, “by occasion”, “by type of toy”, etc.

A product can belong to unlimited categories, but it must belong to at least one. To select more than one category, press the CTRL key on your keyboard as you select categories using your mouse. To manage categories and subcategories, see Create and Modify Product Categories.

Once you have added the product to the store, the quickest way to assign it to multiple categories is to modify the product by selecting Details after locating the product in your catalog. On the page that is displayed, scroll down to the middle of the page where the category assignment is shown, then click on Edit Category Assignment. A pop-up window will allow you to easily check or uncheck the categories that the selected product should be assigned to or removed from. When you are done, click on Update and you will be returned to the product details page.

Note about hidden categories: typically, if you assign a product to a hidden category, the product will not be shown in the storefront (even if you later assign it to a visible category). However, if you assign the same product first to a visible category, and then to a hidden category, the product will be visible.

Images

Overview

ProductCart supports unlimited product images. New in ProductCart v3.5 is the integration of a popular set of image display tools for better handling image galley display (HighslideJS).

There are three “main” images. The Thumbnail Image image is used in product searches, when you browse the store by category and in other pages where a small product image is shown, unless you choose a display setting that does not use product images. The General Image is shown on the product details page. The Detailed View Image is opened in a separate window to provide a closer look at the product.

  • Thumbnail image
    Recommended size: smaller than 100 x 100 pixels. Enter the thumbnail image file name and extension. Do not enter any directory path, just the file name (e.g. “myimage.gif”).
  • General image
    Recommended size: smaller than 200 x 200 pixels. Enter the file name for the product’s general image. Where the image is shown on the product details page (left, right, center) depends on the Display Settings that you have chosen for the page. These are set store-wide, at the category level, or even at the product level.
  • Detailed view image
    Enter the file name for the product’s detailed view image. If you specify a Detailed View Image, a zoom button is shown on the product details page, below the General Image. When a customer clicks on it a new window pops up and resizes itself automatically to properly display the new image. In ProductCart version 3.5 the pop-up has been replaced with a modal window that uses the Web 2.0 effects provided by HighslideJS.

How to upload images

ProductCart assumes that all images used for products and categories are uploaded (or will be uploaded) to the directory pc/catalog on your Web server. There are three ways to upload an image to your store:

  1. Upload previously edited images via the Upload Images feature.
    Refer to Getting Ready to Add Products for details about image sizes and formats. If you haven’t already uploaded images to your server, you can do so by using ProductCart's automatic upload component, accessible either by selecting Upload Images from the Settings menu, or directly from the Add New Product form, through the text link next to the image fields.

    To upload images using this component, Browse your computer until you locate the file(s). You can repeat this task for up to 6 images at the same time. When you are done locating the file(s), click on Upload to automatically move them to the right directory on your Web server. You will receive a confirmation message indicating that the upload was successful. For security reasons, you cannot upload any files other than JPEG and GIF images. If you attempt to upload any other files, you will receive an error message.

  2. Upload previously edited images via FTP. To upload images to your server you can also use any FTP program. This is the recommended method if you are planning to upload a large number of images at the same time (or if you are uploading large image files).

    Many FTP programs are available in the market, some of them free of charge. In addition, your Web hosting service provider may have some for you to download as well. For a list of good FTP programs available for download - for instance - you could run a search for “ftp” on a Web site such as http://www.download.com

  3. Upload unedited images via the Upload & Resize feature, described below.

The Upload & Resize Feature

The Upload & Resize feature allows you to take one image, and automatically create the thumbnail, standard, and detail view images for your products (it also works with category images). This feature can save you a significant amount of time when adding new products and categories to your store. It’s one the most popular features among ProductCart users

The Upload & Resize feature is only available when your Web server has the software components that are needed for it to work. Please review the ProductCart System Requirements for more information. Also, if your site is hosted on a server running a 64-bit Operating System, your host will need to install and register the 32-bit components in the WOW64 Directory and assign the necessary permissions. We have been told that it is also necessary to place your site in a 32-bit Application Pool as well, but check with your individual host for more details.

When adding, cloning, or editing a product, select the upload & resize text link to load a window where you can enter settings specific to the task.

  • Enter the width for the thumbnail image (100 pixels or less recommended)
  • Enter the width for the general image (200 pixels or less recommended)
  • Enter the width for the detail view image (any size). Note that if the source file's physical width is smaller than the width you enter in this window, your entry will be ignored and the image will not be resized.
  • Select an image file (GIF, JPG, JPEG, JPE) on your system using the Browse button. If your server has AspImage installed, GIF files are not supported.
  • Select whether or not you would like to sharpen the image after resizing it.
  • Click on the Upload button to start the upload & resize process.

A progress bar will show you the file being uploaded to the server. When the process has ended, you will be shown the three new image file names, hyperlinked to the images themselves. Click on any of the links to see the images. At the same time, ProductCart has also populated the three image input fields on the page with the newly created file names. Close the window to return to the Add/Modify Product page.

Behind the scene, the upload & resize utility performs the following tasks.

  1. Uploads the source image to a temporary directory in the includes folder called uploadresize. The source file is automatically deleted from this folder after these tasks are completed.
  2. Creates the three files mentioned above, adding a descriptive suffix to the file name to differentiate them. The files are then saved to the pc/catalog folder.
  3. Copies the file names to the input fields on the page from which the utility was launched (i.e. add/clone/modify product pages).

Common problems: If you are having problems with this feature, errors might be occurring, but they might be hidden by ProductCart’s “error trapping” code. A very common source of problems is the fact that the license of the components used for this feature has expired. Please ask you Web hosting company to confirm that the licenses for the image components are current. See the note below about which image components are necessary. Another common source of problems is that folder permissions are not properly set.

Locating an existing image

If you know that the image that you would like to use for any of the image fields shown on the add/modify product page is already on the Web server (e.g. you already used it for another product, or you transferred all of your graphics already via FTP), click on the search icon to graphically browse through the images in a pop-up window.

ProductCart includes an advanced image search feature that allows you to quickly locate an image file that was previously uploaded to the pc/catalog folder. This feature is especially useful if you transfer your images to the Web server using an FTP program. You might be uploading hundreds of images that way. How will you find the image you need when you add or edit a product? ProductCart will help you quickly locate the image you are looking for.

Searching for an image requires that you first index your image directory (the pc/catalog folder). You should perform this task every time you have uploaded new images to the store. If you cannot find an image that you know is there, try running the indexing feature again. Depending on how many images are stored there, indexing may take from a few seconds to over a minute.

Click on the Index Now button to create a searchable index of all the images contained in the folder. Once your pc/catalog folder has been indexed, the image search feature will allow you to easily locate images in the folder. Use any of the filters on the page to narrow your search.

An AJAX-driven search preview tool will tell you how many results your search will return, so you can adjust your filters before actually performing the search.

On the search results page, click on an image or image name to view its actual size. Images are automatically resized to better fit into this window, and therefore may appear distorted. Click on the Select button to copy the image file name to the image field that was next to the search icon that you originally clicked on to start the search.

Additional Product Views

Additional Product Views allow you to showcase additional product images to help your customers get a better idea of how a product looks. You can upload an unlimited number of images. The additional images are shown on the product details page (pc/viewPrd.asp), as shown in the image below.

Additional product views is a useful feature to let customers learn more about your products

Number of Thumbnails

A thumbnail for each additional image is shown below the main product image. Three thumbnails are shown per row. This value is hardcoded into the ASP source code of the pages pc/viewPrdCode.asp and pc/viewPrd.asp. The code change to alter this setting is the following (change the number 3 with another integer):

if pcv_intProdImage_Columns="" then
 pcv_intProdImage_Columns = 3
end if

Size of the Thumbnails

The size of the thumbnail is set using CSS. This means that you do not need to create and upload a thumbnail for the Additional Product Views: the browser will automatically resize the General Image to the width and height defined in the main ProductCart CSS file.

Specifically, the CSS document pc/pcStorefront.css contains the following code (the height was not defined before ProductCart version 3.5 and pcStorefront.css is not included in ProductCart updates since it is often customized):

#pcMain .pcShowAdditional img {
 width: 50px;
 height: 50px;
 border: 1px solid #cccccc;
 margin-bottom: 6px;
}
  • Remove both the width and the height to show the General Size image without any resizing
  • Remove either the width or the height to have the browser resize the image proportionally based on the value entered for either the width or the height.
  • Leave “as is” to force all thumbnails to be of the same width and height, based on the number entered in the CSS document

General and Detail Views

  • The general image is shown on the product details page in place of the standard product image when you mouse over the corresponding thumbnail.
  • If you click on any of the thumbnails, a modal window will be displayed, showcasing Detail View images in a slide show.

When the height of the additional views is different, there is an interface issue on the product details page. That is: the section of the page that contains the thumbnails “jumps” to accommodate the taller or shorter images above it. On FireFox, this also creates flickering on the thumbnail views. Here is a solution.

Slideshow and Enhanced Views

Starting with ProductCart version 3.5 all image pop-ups have been replaced with modal windows. Modal windows are a Web 2.0 approach to pop-up windows in that they offer many advantages over the old style pop-up windows. The images are displayed within the active window avoiding complications with pop-up blockers. The windows have a toolbar that allows the shopper to view product images and additional product views as a slide show.

The modal windows in ProductCart are built on top of the popular Highslide framework. The framework is enabled by default in ProductCart version 3.5. You may turn the framework off and revert to using the old style pop-ups with one small code change.

To use the old pop-ups, do the following:

  1. Go to the pc directory via FTP and download the file viewPrdCode.asp
  2. Open the file in Notepad or with your favorite HTML editor
  3. Locate the following string: (around line 20)
    pcv_strUseEnhancedViews = True

  4. Replace with

    pcv_strUseEnhancedViews = False

  5. Save the file and re-upload it to the Web server.

The Highslide slideshow feature is not currently available with Apparel products. The slideshow buttons will be hidden in the Apparel product's image.

Image Magnifier (MojoZoom)

ProductCart now supports an image magnifier (built using MojoZoom). The feature allows the customer to zoom into an image by simply mousing over the regular size product image. The tool automatically adjusts itself depending on whether the product image is on the left or right side of the page. You can activate this feature by checking the corresponding checkbox in the Images section of the add/modify product page.

For example, you can see it at work on one of the ProductCart demo stores:

MojoZoom image magnifier with product image on the right

Limitation of MojoZoom feature: This feature is only supported on a Standard Product's Details Page, and is not supported on a BTO Product's Configuration Page.

Inventory Settings

Inventory Status

ProductCart contains a number of inventory-related features. Use the Store Settings page to set general inventory settings, such as whether or not inventory levels should be shown on the product details page, whether out of stock merchandise can be purchased or not, and whether an out of stock message should be displayed.

When inventory is tracked (products that are out of stock are not available for sale), there are three inventory statuses that a product can be in:

  • In stock: the product is available for purchase. The inventory level may or may not be shown on the product details page, depending on how the corresponding store setting has been set.
  • Out of stock: the product is not available for purchase because it is not currently in stock.
  • Out of stock, but back-ordered: the product is available for purchase even if it's not currently in stock because this is a product that is regularly restocked. The storefront shows how frequently the product is typically re-stocked (see image below).

How back-ordering information is shown in the storefront

For example, if you setup a product with 18 units in stock, allowing back-ordering, indicating that it is typically restocked every 7 days, and setting a low inventory notification at 10 units, then your ProductCart-powered e-commerce store would behave as follows:

  • The product would be available for purchase as there are 18 units in stock.
  • The administrator would be notified via e-mail when inventory drops under 10 units.
  • When the product becomes out of stock, customers that visit the store will still be able to purchase it, but they will shown a message that indicates that the product Typically Ships in 5 Days (see picture above).

The three inventory statuses listed above become irrelevant when:

  • The entire store has been set to allow the purchase of out of stock items. This setting is located on the Store Settings > Order & Customer Related tab.
  • The product itself has been set to disregard stock (e.g. a service, for which there is no inventory).

Product-specific Inventory Settings

Let’s review each of the settings that are located in this area of the Add/Edit product page:

  • Disregard Stock
    Check this option if the item can be purchased even when out of stock or if it's not an inventory item (e.g. downloadable software). All other inventory-related settings are ignored when Disregard Stock is checked.
  • Stock
    Enter the current stock level for this product. This is an optional field, which can help you manage your inventory. If a product is out of stock and you have selected the Show Out of Stock option under Store Settings > Miscellaneous, then the product details page on your store will display an Out of stock message unless the product allows back-ordering. If back-ordering is allowed, the message is replaced with Typically Ships in .. Days.

    You can use the Import Wizard or the Update Inventory Levels feature to update the stock count for multiple products at once.

    When a customer tries to order more than the quantity in stock, a message is shown indicating that only N units of that product can be ordered. For example, if there are 5 units in stock for product XYZ, the customers enters 6 in the quantity field, and tries to add the product to the cart, a message will notify him/her that there are only 5 units in stock. This is true both when the product is added to the cart and when the quantity is updated on the View Shopping Cart page. These features prevent a customer from checking out with a quantity that exceeds the current inventory levels. The inventory levels are updated immediately after an order has been placed (even if the order is still Pending).

  • Minimum Quantity to Buy
    Enter a number if you want to set a minimum purchase quantity for the product. The quantity field on the product details page, which normally contains a “1”, will automatically be set to the selected quantity. Validation is performed throughout the storefront to ensure that the customer can only purchase the product in an amount that equals or is higher than the number of units you specify here.
  • Force purchase of multiples of minimum
    This setting tells ProductCart that the product can only be purchased in set quantities, and that those quantities can only be a multiple of the minimum purchase amount. For example, if you were to sell “business cards”, you would probably not sell customers 4 business cards, but rather require that they purchase at least a few hundreds. In addition, you will not want a customer to order 302 business cards, but rather a more easily manageable multiple of, let's say, 50 (i.e. 300, 350, 400, etc.). In this scenario you would want to enable this option and enter 50 in the Minimum Quantity to Buy field.
  • Allow back-ordering
    When you allow back-ordering, you are telling your customers that even if a product is out of stock, you expect the product to be back in stock within N days, and you will ship their orders then. It’s up to your customers to decide whether they still wish to order the item or not.
  • When back-ordered, typically ships within [ ] days
    This is the number of days that it typically takes for the product to be back in stock. This number is shown to customers in the storefront. It should be an average of the time it takes for that product to be restocked. The actual message shown in the storefront can be edited by changing the corresponding text string in the file includes/languages.asp. Customers are used to seeing this type of message as it is used by many, leading e-commerce Web sites.
  • Low inventory notification
    You can configure ProductCart so that the system notifies you via e-mail when inventory drops below the Reorder Level. NOTE re: Apparel Sub Products: the Low Inventory Notification E-mail is the setting for Apparel Parent Product only, and the notification e-mail is only sent only when the inventory level of all sub-products is lower than the Reorder Level.

Weight and Shipping

Supplier and Drop-Shipping

  • Supplier
    You can associate a product with a supplier. Select from a list of available Suppliers. You can add/edit suppliers using the Manage Suppliers feature. This feature is currently useful only for reporting purposes. In the future, we plan to expand it so that suppliers can be given the ability to manage their own products through a special administration area (to upload new product images and descriptions, for example).
  • Drop-shipping
    You can specify whether the product is drop-shipped and choose the drop-shipper. The drop-shipper menu is inactive until you specify that the product is drop-shipped.

Weight

  • Weight
    Enter the product's weight, in pounds and ounces (kilograms and grams if you store is setup to use Kg). The weight can be used for dynamically calculating shipping charges. For information about configuring shipping options see Shipping Options. If you set the weight to zero, then customers will not be prompted to select a shipping option during the check out process (except for custom shipping options that are not based on the order weight). Technically speaking, the weight is saved to the database in one field, as ounces or grams. If you are importing or exporting product data, you will only see one value associated with the product weight.
  • Units to make 1 lb (or 1 Kg)
    If a product weighs less than one ounce or less than one gram, use this field to specify how many units of this product it takes to weigh 1 pound or 1 kilogram. This feature allows you to properly calculate the order weight when a single unit of the product weighs less that the lowest weight unit accepted by ProductCart, which is 1 ounce or 1 gram.

    For example: how heavy is a business card? There are many products that have a weight that is smaller than an ounce or a gram.

    In the field, enter the number of units of the product that will weigh one pound or one kilogram. For example, assume that 250 business cards weigh 1 pound. You would enter 250 in the field. When a customer orders 2,000 business cards, ProductCart will know that the total order weight is 2,000 : 250 = 8 lbs.

    Use this feature in conjunction with the Minimum Quantity to Buy setting to ensure that customers order at least N units of the product.

Oversized Settings

Setting a product as Oversized makes ProductCart replace the default package size with the package dimensions entered here. Please see the Shipping Options section for more information about entering default package dimensions for your shipments. For now, note that “length” should always be the longest dimension.

In some cases (e.g. UPS), oversized items incur extra shipping charges. However, if you set a product as Oversized, but the actual package weight and size do not fall into the oversized category, the shipping provider will return the correct rate.

Another consequence of enabling the Oversized option is that when you set an item as oversized, it will automatically be handled as a separate package when calculating shipping charges. ProductCart allows you to handle multiple package shipments to more accurately calculate shipping rates on your orders.

Shipping Surcharge (v4 Only)

You can specify that a shipping surcharge be added to the total shipping charges for an order.

  • First Unit Surcharge
    When customers purchase the product, the shipping surcharge is added to the shipping charges shown in the storefront.
  • Additional Unit(s) Surcharge
    When customers purchase more than 1 unit of the product, the shipping surcharge specified in this second field is used on all units beyond the first one.
    • If you only want a surcharge on the first unit, leave this second field set to 0.
    • If you want the same surcharge on all units, enter the same value in both fields
    • If you want a different surcharge on all units following the first one, enter that amount here. Remember that the amount is multiplied by the total number of units purchased (of this product), minus the first unit (for which the “First Unit Surcharge” is used).

Current feature limitations:

  • Amount is always added to the Shipping Charge (not shown as a separate line item)
  • These two fields cannot be imported
  • These two fields cannot be exported
  • These two fields cannot be edited through Global Changes

Other Settings

  • Brand
    If you are using brands on your store, here you can assign the selected product to a brand by choosing a brand name from the drop down menu. If no brands have been setup on the store, this field will not be displayed. The best way to assign multiple products to a brand is by using the Manage Brands feature under the Products menu.
  • Active
    All products are active by default. If you uncheck this option, the product becomes inactive, and will not be shown in your store. It will still show up in the Control Panel (so that you may reactivate it at any time), but it will stop being displayed in any search and/or catalog page. Make sure that you have not placed hard-coded links to this particular product on any other page of your Web site.
  • Special
    You can set any item in your product catalog as a Special. This gives you the ability to promote certain products in your on-line store. All Specials are displayed in a special page that you can link to from any other page on your Web site. For example, many Web stores link to the Specials page right from their home page. For more information about how to link to the Specials page from any other page on your Web site, see the Generate Links feature under the Marketing menu. To set multiple products as Specials see Manage Specials under the same menu.
  • Reward Points
    Enter the number of Reward Points associated with this product. You can easily assign Reward Points to multiple products at once using the Reward Points feature, which is described in the Marketing section. This field may have a different name if you have renamed Reward Points to something else (e.g. My Store Miles).
  • Featured Products
    Featured products are shown on a special Featured Products page on your store, and can also be shown on the store’s default home page. See the Manage Home Page section for details about ProductCart’s default home page.
  • Page Layout
    You can override the store-wide or category-wide display setting for the product details page. If you don’t specify a layout, the storewide or category setting is used (the category setting has priority over the store-wide setting). For more information about the different options, see the Display Settings section.
  • Non-taxable
    If you check this option, taxes will not be calculated on sales of this product or service. Taxes will still be added to the total of the order if the shopping cart contains other, taxable products. This is very useful, for example, in a scenario in which your online store sells both products and services (e.g. training material and training seminars). You’ll need to charge taxes on the product sales, but not on the services. Typically, digitally delivered products are non-taxable, so you will likely want to check this option if you are adding a Downloadable Product to the store.
  • No Shipping
    If you check this option, the product will be considered a non-shipping item. If this is the only product in the shopping cart, the shipping rates selection page will not be shown.

    If this option is unchecked, but the product’s weight is set to zero, shipping charges that are based on the order weight will also not be shown during checkout. Note that this setting applies to all shipping charges based on the product’s weight. If you would like to configure individual shipping services for “free shipping”, please consult the Shipping Options section.

    If the product that you are adding to the catalog is a Downloadable Product, delivered only electronically, then you should check this option so that the shipping rate selection page is skipped during checkout.

  • Display No Shipping Text
    Related to the feature described above, this option allows you to display a text string on the product details page that indicates that no shipping charges will be applied to the purchase of this product since this is a non-shipping item. The message displayed on the page can be edited by modifying the corresponding text string as explained under Editing Text in your Storefront.
  • Hide SKU on the product details page
    Check this option if you don't want to show the product part number on the product details page in the storefront. The part number remains visible in other areas of the storefront (e.g. shopping cart content, product details within an order, etc.).
  • Not for Sale
    That are many reasons why you may want to display a product in your catalog, but not allow store customers to order it. For example, the product could be “Coming Soon”, or “Discontinued”, or available for sale only through telephone orders. Check this option if your product falls in these or similar categories.

    When this option is checked, the “Add to Cart” button will not be displayed. In addition, ProductCart will not show product options, custom input text fields, and the quantity field. Instead, the text that you enter in the “Display Text” input field will be displayed (e.g. “Call us to order this product”, or “Coming Soon”, etc.).

    The difference between a “Not for Sale” product and one that is “Inactive” is that an inactive product will not be displayed at all in the catalog, but “Not for Sale” products will.

    New in ProductCart v4.1 is the ability to override the “Not for Sale” property at the ”Customer Pricing Category” level, which allows you to implement creative business models such as creating a ”Private Shopping Club”. You can also hide prices when products are Not For Sale.

Downloadable Settings

Digital Products and Security Issues

ProductCart has the ability to flexibly handle the sale of electronically delivered products. We refer to these products as Downloadable Products or Digital Products (DP). What is common among all downloadable products is that a download link must be delivered to the customer once an order has been processed.

Publishers of digital products are typically concerned about delivering the download URL to the customer due to the fact that the link can be easily provided to other, unauthorized users.

Companies often protect themselves from the unauthorized download of a digital product by adding barriers to the use of the product after it has been downloaded. For example, many software applications require the user to enter a valid License Key or Serial Number upon installation.

ProductCart attempts to address both security concerns (unauthorized download and unauthorized use after the download has taken place), through the following features:

  • Hidden URL
    ProductCart uses server-side file buffering to hold the file in a virtual, temporary location while it is being downloaded. Because the file is not downloaded from its actual location, the location of the file on the Web server is completely hidden. When the download begins, a pop-up window will be shown, which will allow the customer to save the file to their computer. The file name is also shown, but the physical location of the file on the server is not provided.

Limited Applicability of Hidden URL feature. The latest versions of Microsoft® Internet Information Service (IIS 6 and IIS 7) contains a structural limitation to server-side file buffering. Only files that are smaller than 4 MB in size can be buffered. This limits the applicability of the Hidden URL feature only to files that are smaller than 4 MB on servers that use IIS 6 or 7. If your Web store is hosted on a Web server that runs IIS 6 or 7, you have two options: (1) contact the hosting company about the possibility of changing this limitation to a larger file size; (2) enter a HTTP location for the downloadable file, rather than a physical location: when you do so, ProductCart automatically ignores the Hidden URL feature when generating the download link. If you enter a physical path to a file larger than 4 MB on a server running IIS 6, when you click on the download link a 0 K file will be downloaded (the file was not buffered).

  • Expiring URL
    The download link provided to customers (e.g. thru confirmation emails, pages containing details about previous orders, etc.) never points to a file. Rather, it contains code that allows ProductCart to locate the file that needs to be downloaded, and check whether or not the customer’s eligibility to download the file has expired. In other words, you can set the download URL provided to a customer to expire after N days (each download URL provided to any customer is unique). .. If a customer clicks on a link that has expired, the file download process is never started. So regardless of whether or not the Hidden URL feature mentioned above is in use on the store, the file location cannot be determined. This security measure attempts to limit the damage that a digital product publisher would suffer in scenarios such us a URL being illegally sent to multiple individuals via e-mail or posted on a Web page without authorization. Even if the URL is posted on a Web page without authorization, it would be rendered useless after the N days have passed.
  • Requiring Login
    The download link provided to customers requires the user to be logged into the account that was used to purchase the digital content. This reduces the likelihood of users e-mailing the link to friends, or posting it on a forum somewhere for others to see and download the content.
  • License Delivery
    A license containing up to 5 pieces of information can be delivered to the customer with the purchase of a Downloadable Product. Many publishers of digital goods protect the unauthorized use of their products by requiring that the customer enter some type of unique license upon installation (e.g. software) or fruition of the product.

.. Since the type of license needed to unlock/use a digital product varies dramatically from product to product, and from publisher to publisher, the Downloadable Products Module (DPM) within ProductCart was engineered to be as flexible as possible with regard to how license information is generated.

  • If more than one Downloadable Product is included in an order, a license is separately generated for each item and included in the order confirmation e-mail (e.g. an order for two different software applications).
  • If more than one unit of the same Downloadable Products is included in an order, a license for each unit of the product is generated and included in the order confirmation e-mail (e.g. three licenses of the same software application). Technical information about how a license is generated.

Adding and Editing a Downloadable Product

To add a Downloadable Product to your store, select the Downloadable Settings tab on the Add/Edit Product page. A radio button toggles the setting on and off. Select “Yes” next to the “This is a downloadable product” radio button and a number of new fields will appear. Here is a description of each of them:

  • Downloadable file location. You have two options:
    • Enter the full physical path to the file (e.g. M:\downloads\downloadfile.zip)
      This option uses the Hidden URL feature. On Web servers running IIS 6 or above, this feature only works with files that are less than 4 MB in size, as mentioned earlier in this section. To help you determine what the full path to the downloadable file may be, ProductCart shows the current physical path to the root directory where the Web site is located on the Web server.
    • Enter the full HTTP path to the file (e.g. http://www.myStore.com/downloads/downloadfile.zip)
      This option does not use the Hidden URL feature. There is no limitation on the file size, regardless of the version of IIS used on the Web server. The URL to the file is never included in confirmation e-mails or on the page that contains previous order information. Rather, an encoded download link is used, in conjunction with the URL expiration feature. However, if the URL has not expired, when customers click on that link and the download process is started, some browsers do show the full HTTP path to the file, which can represent a security concern for some online stores. For example, Internet Explorer does not show the full URL to the file, but Netscape and Opera do. Use the Verify Download URL button located at the end of the page to verify that the file location you just entered is correct.
  • Make download URL expire
    As mentioned above, you can decide whether or not the URL delivered to the customer will expire after a certain number of days. If you leave the check box set to No, the URL will never expire. Enter the number of days (positive integer) in the following input text field, labeled URL will expire after.
  • Deliver license with order confirmation
    Is a license required for installation and/or use of the product? If the answer is yes, ProductCart can assist you in delivering license information to your customers. Please refer to Appendix A for a technical overview of how this is achieved. Here, you can set the system to deliver or not deliver a license when this Downloadable Product is purchased, and indicate where the license file is located.
  • Use local license generator
    Enter the file name of the ASP file to be used to create a license for this file (e.g. myLicense.asp). The file must be located in the pcadmin/licenses folder. ProductCart refers to this file as the License Generator (see generating a license for a downloadable product for technical details).
  • Use remote license generator
    The license generating ASP page can also reside on another server. If that is the case, enter the full URL, starting with HTTP:// (e.g. http://www.myWeb.com/myLicense.asp).
  • License Field Descriptions
    Your license generator can return to ProductCart up to five variables. Please refer to Appendix A for a technical overview of how this is achieved. Here you can enter descriptive names for those variables. These are the names that will be associated with the variables’ values when the license information is delivered to the customer (e.g. order confirmation email, previous order details page, etc.). Leave the field(s) blank if you do not plan to use it.

    For example, if your product license is made of three pieces of information (e.g. Serial Number, User Name, and Password), you would enter the corresponding descriptions in the first 3 fields, and leave the other 2 blank.

    • License Field (1): Serial Number
    • License Field (2): User Name
    • License Field (3): Password
    • License Field (4):
    • License Field (5):
  • Additional copy for confirmation e-mail
    Here you can enter information that may be useful to your customers to install/activate/use the Downloadable Product that they have just purchased. The information is displayed at the bottom of the order confirmation e-mail sent to the customer when the order is processed, below the license(s), if any, delivered with the product download URL. Do not use HTML tags in the copy. If you need to place a hyperlink in the copy, simply enter the full URL and most e-mail clients will reformat it to a hyperlink automatically. The same is true for e-mail addresses.

Digital Products and Other Product Settings

Please note the following about how other product settings are affected by a specific product being a downloadable product.

  • Weight
    The weight is typically set to zero since a physical product is not shipped to the customer. You can certainly specify a weight other than 0, and leave the No Shipping Charge option unchecked if you are adding to the store a product that will be made available to customers BOTH via electronic delivery (download URL), and through the shipment of a physical good, and you therefore need the customer to select a shipping option and shipping charges to be added to the order.
  • Disregard Stock
    There is typically no inventory on a digital product. Check this option to ensure that the product is available for sale even if the stock level is 0 or negative. If the product is also shipped to the customer (e.g. software program that is also shipped in a box), and you want to prevent the purchase of out of stock item, then you will need to leave this option unchecked.
  • Stock
    You do not need to specify an inventory level for the Downloadable Product unless the product is also physically shipped to the customer and you want to track inventory for it.
  • Non-taxable
    Products that are delivered electronically are typically non-taxable. Please check with your local tax authority to confirm that this is indeed the case in your tax jurisdiction. If the product is also shipped to the customer (e.g. software program that is also shipped in a box), then this option should be left unchecked as the product is likely taxable.
  • No Shipping Charge
    This option is typically checked so that the shipping rates page is not shown during checkout. See the note above for the scenario in which the product is also shipped to the customer (e.g. software program that is also shipped in a box).
  • Display No Shipping Text
    This is typically not needed. If you check this option, make sure the corresponding text shown in the storefront says something like “No shipping required” rather than “Free shipping”.

Gift Certificate Settings

Custom Search Fields

This section, new in ProductCart version 3.5, allows you to quickly associate Custom Search Fields with the product that you are adding or editing. See Managing Custom Search Fields for more information.

Product-specific Meta Tags

ProductCart allows you to enter product- and category-specific Meta Tags to provide search engines with more accurate information on what is found on the page. Although they are no longer the main element used by search engines to rank Web sites, well written Title and Description meta tags can certainly contribute to good search engine rankings. The “Keywords” meta tag is less frequently used.

The Meta Tags that you enter when adding/editing a product or a category will be written to the corresponding category or product page in your storefront only if the file include-metatags.asp is used in pc/header.asp. Make sure that pc/header.asp does not contain hardcoded meta tags (or you will end up with duplicate tags), and refer to the section that talks about integrating ProductCart with your Web site for more information.

If someone else created the file header.asp for you, you can check whether ProductCart is able to writing meta tags dynamically to the page by simply visiting your storefront and moving from one product page to another: does the title of the browser window change? That’s the text at the very top of your browser window. If the title changes, then header.asp has been properly configured.

If you have a large number of products and/or categories and cannot write Meta Tags for each for them, don't worry. ProductCart will dynamically create the Meta Tags for you by using the product name for the Title tag and a portion of the product description for the Description tag.

Learn more about how ProductCart handles Meta Tags.


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