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E-mail Settings

Introduction

E-mail is a very important part of your online store: the store administrator is notified via e-mail when a new order is placed; existing customers are kept up-to-date on the status of an order through e-mail messages; other customers that forgot their log-in information can be reminded by e-mail of their lost passwords; and more.

Read this section carefully so that you can fully take advantage of the e-mail management features that ProductCart offers you.

In particular, keeping your customers up to date regarding the status of their online orders will convey the image of a company committed to customer service, improve their overall buying experience and make them come back to your store. To help you implement this approach, ProductCart has been setup to automatically send your customers e-mail messages in a variety of scenarios.

When e-mails are sent

An e-mail message is sent to a store customer in the following circumstances:

  • When an order is placed, but is not processed in real-time (e.g. offline credit card processing, payment by check, etc.). This is also the case when a payment is authorized, but not captured by a payment gateway (see the Payment Options section for details about different order processing scenarios).

    In all of these scenarios, the order is considered Pending. ProductCart sends an “Order Received” message, which is not an order confirmation, but rather an acknowledgment that the order was received and that it will be processed. The message that is sent can be partially edited by the store administrator using the Control Panel.

  • When an order that contains back-ordered items is placed. If you allow customers to decide whether to receive their order in different shipments, an email is sent to them asking them to indicate their preference. See this section for more details.
  • When an order is processed. An order can be processed manually by the store owner using the Manage Orders section of the Control Panel (e.g. an order paid for by check may be processed only when the check is received), or automatically by the system either when the payment is processed is real-time (e.g. credit card processing through a payment gateway that is set up to capture payments, or PayPal payments), or when the payment is batch-processed after having been authorized by a payment gateway (see the Payment Options section for details).

    By default, ProductCart sends an “Order Confirmation” message, which confirms that the order was processed and will be shipped. The store administrator has the ability to manually instruct the system not to send the order confirmation email. The message that is sent can be partially edited by the store administrator: the copy can be edited through the Email Settings page, but the order details cannot as they are dynamically pulled from the store database. When the product ordered is a Downloadable Product, the order confirmation message also includes download links and product licenses (if any).

  • When an order is shipped. When the store administrator enters shipping details for an order in the Control Panel and updates the order status to ‘Shipped’, ProductCart sends an “Order Shipped” message to the customer containing those shipping details. The store administrator has the ability to manually instruct the system not to send the order shipped email. The message that is sent can be partially edited by the store administrator: the copy can be edited, but the shipping details cannot as they are dynamically pulled from the store database.
  • When an order is cancelled. There are a number of reasons why an order may have to be cancelled: the customer could contact you to cancel the order, or you may never receive payment for an order, etc. When you update the order status to ‘Cancelled’, by default ProductCart sends an “Order Cancelled” e-mail to the customer. The store administrator has the ability to manually instruct the system not to send the order cancelled email. The message that is sent can be fully edited by the store administrator.
  • When a request for a Return Authorization is approved or denied. Customers can request a Return Authorization when viewing details about a previous order in the Customer Service section of the storefront. The store administrator is notified via email, and can either approve or deny the request. In both cases, the store administrator can opt to enter comments about the decision, and send a message to the customer. The same information is also shown on the View Previous Order page.
  • When a customer forgets his/her password. The login/check out page contains a link for existing customers that have forgotten their password. The link takes them to a form where they can enter their user name (which is the e-mail address they provided when they initially Registered with your store), and receive a message via e-mail with the password.
  • When a Help Desk message is posted. ProductCart v2.6 and above include a full-featured Help Desk system that allows you to keep in touch with your customers in an organized manner. When you post a new message or reply to a customer’s posting, the customer receives a message. The message contains general information about the posting and a link to the customer service area of your store where the posting can be read. The text included in the email sent to the customer can be edited by editing the file includes/languages.asp using Notepad or your favorite HTML editor.

On the other hand, an e-mail notification is sent to the store administrator in the following cases:

  • When an order is placed.
  • When a new customer registers with the store, if the Receive email when a new customer registers feature is turned on.
  • When a customer requests a Return Authorization Number. Please see the Managing Returns section for more information.
  • When a customer contacts the store using the built-in contact form.
  • When a customer contacts the store using the Help Desk. Please see the Managing the Help Desk section for more information.
  • When a new affiliate signs up. Please see the Managing Affiliates section for more information.

An e-mail is sent to a drop-shipper when an order contains products that are associated with it:

  • Automatically when an order is placed if the payment option used for the order is configured to have order processed when they are placed, and the drop-shipper has been configured to be notified automatically.
  • Automatically when an order is processed (or batch processed) if the payment option used for the order is configured to have order remain pending when they are placed, and the drop-shipper has been configured to be notified automatically.
  • Manually if the drop-shipper has been configured not be to automatically notified. There is a link to notify the drop-shipper from the Order Details page.

Configuring the e-mail settings

Selecting an E-mail Component

Select an email component that is support by your Web server. ProductCart includes an automatic email component detection feature which can be accessed by clicking on the corresponding link. A window will pop-up and let you know which email components where detected on the server. ProductCart supports the following e-mail components:

  • ABMailer
  • CDONTS
  • CDOSYS – By default ProductCart is configured to use CDOSYS with a local SMTP server, which is the most common scenario. If you need to specify a remote server, please review the file includes/sendmail.asp and change the code as described in the comments located in the CDOSYS section of the file.
  • CDO – Note that the email component detection tool will detect both CDOSYS and CDO. If you cannot send emails with CDOSYS, or if you know that your Web hosting company supports CDO and not CDOSYS, make sure to select CDO from the drop-down. There are Web hosting companies that support CDO and not CDOSYS. Authentication is often required when using CDO, so remember to fill out the corresponding fields.
  • Jmail (version 3.7 and version 4)
  • Bamboo SMTP

Testing your email settings

Click on the link to load a simple form that will allow you to test your current email settings. Make sure you save the current settings before using this feature. If you are using a component that is not supported by your server, you will receive an error message stating so. If you do not receive any error messages, but you do not receive the test message sent by ProductCart, make sure that the SMTP server has been correctly specified (see below).

SMTP Server

This field allows you to change the name of the SMTP server used by ProductCart to send e-mails. In some cases, you will not have to change the default value, which is “localhost”. If ProductCart is not sending e-mails, however, check with your Web hosting provider to see what SMTP server you should use. For example, the SMTP server could be something like: “smtp.yourWebHostingCompany.com”, “mail.yourDomainName.com”, or something similar. Many Web hosting companies include information about this type of setting in the frequently asked questions section of their support pages.

If your SMTP server requires authentication, check the corresponding option and enter the user name and password for the mail server. This is typically information that is provided to you by your Web hosting company. Keep in mind that if you are not receiving e-mails, this could be the issue. Check with your Web hosting company if you are unsure of whether or not the SMTP server requires authentication.

Re: using Google Apps as your mail service… some customers have reported that the following SMTP server will allow ProductCart to send e-mails through Google's server:

ASPMX.L.GOOGLE.COM

http://support.google.com/a/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=33915

Troubleshooting

If you believe everything has been set correctly, and yet no emails are being sent by ProductCart, use the e-mail testing tool to try to trigger an error message. Once you know what the error is, it will be easier to troubleshoot it. Here we will add a list of common problems.

  • Unable to relay
    Please see this FAQ
  • The system cannot find the path specified
    Ask your Web hosting company for sample code for how CDO or CDOSYS should be used on their server. The file “sendmail.asp” in the “includes” folder might need to be edited to match those settings. See this FAQ for more.

Admin E-mail

This is typically the address of the person that is managing the store, or “administrator”. This address receives a notification whenever an order is placed, a request for a Return Authorization is submitted, or when a customer fills out the Contact Us form from the Customer Service area of the storefront. It also receives a notification when a customer registers with the store if the “Receive email when a new customer registers” option is checked.

From E-mail

This is the address that is used for all messages and invoices sent automatically from your store to a customer. This address shows up as the “From” address in the message that the customer receives, and is therefore also the address that replies will be sent to, if the customer were to reply to a message.

Receive email when a new customer registers

As mentioned above, the store administrator always receives an email when an order is submitted. By activating this feature you can also have ProductCart notify you whenever a customer registers with the store, regardless of whether the customer places an order.

Copy for Order Received E-mails

The text that you enter here will be the message that is automatically sent to customers after an order has been placed. It should not say that the order is confirmed or processed, but only that it has been received. For example, you could use the following copy (which uses some of the variables mentioned at the end of this section):

Dear <CUSTOMER_NAME>
Thank you for shopping at <COMPANY>.

We received your order on <TODAY_DATE>. Your order number is <ORDER_ID>.

Note that this is not an order confirmation. You will receive a detailed 
confirmation message once your order has been processed. You can check 
the status of your order by logging into your account at <COMPANY_URL>/productcart/pc/custva.asp

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Best Regards,

<COMPANY>

Additional Copy for Order Confirmation E-mails

The text that you enter here will be added to the confirmation e-mail that is automatically sent to customers after an order has been processed. It will be displayed before the order details in the body of the e-mail message. For example, you could use the following copy (which uses some of the variables mentioned at the end of this section):

Dear <CUSTOMER_NAME>

We wanted to let you know that order number <ORDER_ID> that you placed on 
<TODAY_DATE> has been processed and will be shipped soon. This is your order 
confirmation. Order details are listed below. If you have any questions, please 
do not hesitate to contact us.

Additional information can be added to the confirmation e-mail sent to a customer that has purchased one or more Downloadable Products. The additional copy can be entered on a product by product basis (e.g. special installation instructions for a certain software product) and is shown at the bottom of the confirmation e-mail, together with license information for the product (if any).

Additional Copy for Order Shipped E-mails

The text that you enter here will be added to the e-mail that is sent to customers when an order is batch-shipped. If you use the Shipping Wizard, the default message is shown to you during the Wizard, and you have the option of editing it and/or entering a custom message. You cannot edit the message when batch-shipping multiple orders at once.

The message is displayed before the shipping details in the body of the e-mail message. For example, you could use the following copy (which uses some of the variables mentioned at the end of this section):

Dear <CUSTOMER_NAME>

We thought you may like to know that your order number <ORDER_ID> has been shipped. 
Shipping details are listed below. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate 
to contact us.

Copy for Order Canceled E-mails

This text will be added to the e-mail that is automatically sent to customers after an order has been canceled. For example, you could use the following copy (which uses some of the variables mentioned at the end of this section).

This message is to inform you that order number <ORDER_ID> that you submitted 
in this store on <ORDER_DATE> has been canceled.

Variables

In all e-mail messages, you can use the following variables to pull data dynamically from your store’s database and personalize your messages.

  • Your Company Name: <COMPANY>
  • Company’s URL: <COMPANY_URL>
  • Today’s Date: <TODAY_DATE>
  • Customer’s Full Name: <CUSTOMER_NAME>
  • Order ID: <ORDER_ID>
  • Order Date: <ORDER_DATE>

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