Order Status Messages … Admin Change

I was approached by a long standing customer who uses the inbuilt “Order Status” system a lot (eg change from processing to delivered and so on). A nuisance of the system is that he had to copy and paste the same message multiple times per day when updating.

I know there are at least a couple of addons that can do the job, but they are all old, broken, tired, crap. So I set up to code up an integrated system that allows the shopowner to attach a message to each order status;

– took about 10 lines of code in orders_status.php file

Now when the status dropdown is changed, the system finds the relevant message and inserts into the comments box.

– 1 new block of code in orders.php

Non-invasive (although obviously as it is Admin side, there are core code changes), easy to use and solid.

Another 28 Days Of Code ?

During February 2015, some of you will remember I coded up some cool modules and released then day by day. 28 Days of Code was sort of a last minute idea which stemmed from an idea that dear old John made while in a chat with me…as it was last minute it was very stressful to get modules coded and ready each day during February.

Another 28 Days Of Code ?

To save the incredible stress of last year, I’m presently putting together some more modules and things for “Another 28 Days Of Code” ready for drip feed release in February 2016 – as of right now I am pretty much 9 days completed, and have ideas for another 2…

Sign up for “Another” Mailing List

Click here to go to the subscription form. If you were signed up for the 2015 version, perfect…you don’t need to sign up again. I guarantee no emails until February 1st 2016.

Limit Product Sales?

Today from a long standing client;

I want limit Product Sales to 1 per customer…

That seemed like a really strange question, as what shopowner in their right mind would want to limit sales? Then it became clear…this shopowner not only sells tangible items, but also intangible items such as event tickets.

Thinking further, I limit sales of some of my products to 20 (eg on my recent Responsive templates)…

My initial thought, before having an extra cup of coffee was to simply tell the shopowner to place a products_quantity of “1” on each product that he wants to limit. Absolutely dumb advice and of course no good, as the overall sales of the product is limited to one and one only…whereas this shopowner wants each customer to be limited to one purchase of a given product.

By re-using some code I had made previously, I managed to come up with a system to allow this Shopowner to easily and quickly place a limit per product, this is a whole new Admin page:


Admin Side Core Code Changes: NONE
– new admin page
– new entry in the “catalog” sidebox

Shop Side, I coded up a Header Tag module which activates on checkout_shipping.php, this HT module is a bit complicated, what does it do;

1. looks at each product in the cart and determines if there is a limit and if that limit has been reached or exceeded. If so error_message and redirect back to shopping cart to allow customer to adjust quantities
2. looks at previous orders and determines if the customer has previously ordered and reached the limit. If so error_message and redirect back to shopping cart to allow customer to adjust quantities.


Shop Side Core Code Changes: NONE
– new HT module installable via Admin

As you can see, quite a nice little system, giving you shopowners total flexibility in what you want to sell to your customers. Interested in this, or something similar – contact me at your convenience…

XML Files for Google Webmasters, Bing and others

XML sitemaps

If you have no clue what these are or how they can be good for your site, read https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/156184

I have take the time to create a better system for producing osCommerce specific sitemaps. By clicking one link in your admin area, you will produce 4 XML Sitemaps, ready for use:

1. Categories
2. Manufacturers
3. Products
4. Special Offers

You can use any or all of these to do wonderful things.

This new system has ZERO core code changes. It has been tested on a site with over 1500 categories and 23000 products – all 4 sitemaps were produced in less than a few seconds.

This new system will be made available in my next Newsletter which is due in the next week, if you have not yet signed up for the Newsletter, please do so at http://www.clubosc.com/oscommerce-news-and-updates.html

Featured XML Image courtesy of Hopstarter

osCommerce News and Updates

I’m going to be emailing once or twice month – and each mail will contain interesting news, maybe a special offer, maybe some free code that no-one else gets.

You can sign up by inserting your email address into the form below and click “subscribe”. Nice and easy.
It’s a Mailchimp list so if you subscribe, you can easily unsubscribe should you wish to.

So, if you want to learn about the possibilities that YOUR shop can bring you, sign up today and wait for the next Newsletter.

Guest Checkout? Customer Actions…

If you are running any flavour of guest checkout, it is likely that your buyers have no way to easily perform after-sale actions. Typical examples would be;

1. Contact you about the order
Of course they could do this via your contact_us form, but they would have to somehow find their order number. Or you, the shopowner would have to waste time trying to marry up and order to the customers name or email address.

2. Leave a review
Once again, they could do this via the contact_us form. Shopowner, that’s you, would have to waste more time in (a) marrying up the customer and product and (b) somehow getting it into the reviews structure on your site

3. See their Order and Order Comments
It’s really dumb not to give customer the opportunity to see their order after the order is finalised. In addition why not allow the customer to track their order via your system of order updates.

Most shopowners who use osCommerce (with guest checkout) probably have never even thought about allowing guest to perform after sale actions. WHY ?

Let’s take just one part of this argument; Reviews

What is a customer review; CONTENT
What is a customer review; WORD OF MOUTH

Next up consider that the Reviews at your shop are fully microdata’d which ALL the major search engines love…and that the review posted is going to be custom content that your site (AND ONLY YOUR SITE) has! Win, Win, WIN.

Why the hell are you shopowners not able to see the wood for the trees? Get a system into place that allows both guest customers and regular customers to easily review the product(s) they have purchased. It’s pretty damned simple…

When an order is made:

1. Give it a random token, stored in the database against the customer ID.
2. Make customer aware of the Token, perhaps by email
3. Have a new page on which;
3a. the token is inserted, this gets the customer ID, which in turn shows the order summary, order update, and a form to give a review, and so on.


Make it easy for your customers, make it easy for yourself. Let the software do the heavy lifting.

All of the above is available, now which shopowners want to see a brighter future for themselves – I’m betting not more than 2 or 3…if you are one of those few Band of Brothers, email me.

osCommerce and Mandrill

Lots of hosts have now placed rules and limits on emails, so if you are one of those shopowners having problems with emails being sent and received, maybe it’s time to use Mandrill to send and receive email…

What is Mandrill

A system that allows you to send Transactional Emails (eg; contact us, order updates and so on) via the Mandrill App, completely bypassing your hosts email system. The “from” address is still your own email address, so it is completely transparent to those who receive emails from you. Read more about Mandrill.

You can track emails.
You can resend emails direct from the MandrillApp interface.
Better uptime than your host!

There is a cost attached.
1 off cost to me: £20 for installation of the system to cover my coding time.
Ongoing to Mandrill: It is (as of todays date) $9.95 for 25000 emails per month, however the first 2000 emails are free so that you can test the system before deciding to continue with it.

Interested? Get in touch.

Working With Mailchimp – Advanced …

Some time ago, I created a Mailchimp Module that allows osCommerce and Mailchimp to work hand in hand, with some very nice features (eg, ajaxy sign up for both registered customers and non-customers). As this module is a superior approach to all the other available osc<>mailchimp efforts, I was approached to write a new version of Mailchimp that allowed the possibility of working with Groups.

In Mailchimp, Groups are used as “sub sets” of the Main List, which allows you (the list owner) to send email to one or more subsets.

Typical Example: Let’s imagine that you own a Pet Shop, where you sell products for a number of animals; Dogs, Cats, Rats, Hamsters, Gerbils

You must agree that only a very very few of your clients are interested in all 5 of those Animals. It is far more likely that a customer has 1 or 2 of those animals…

In Normal Mailchimp: You have 1 list. You have no idea what animal(s) the subscriber is interested in. You send an email to tell people about a super new offer for Gerbils. How many uninterested people will read your email ?

In the ALL NEW Grouped Mailchimp: You have 1 list with 5 subsets (each of those Animals). You can now send an email only to those on the list who have signed up to “gerbils”. 100% of your readership is now interested.

I’m certain you can think of more examples that can be applied to your own shop. Please comment if you can think of any examples that could be good for your shop…and I will update this post with your ideas (and a link to your shop if you want it)…

Here is how it looks on the Newsletter Page:


This can also (very easily) be plugged into the Account Creation page, to allow people to sign up to your Mailing List at that point.


By utilising the Groups feature in Mailchimp, you can target your customers with pinpoint accuracy – and avoid the usual scatterbomb approach. Work smart, work better.

Interested to purchase

Email me or get me on the Forum.

Summer Blowout is nearly here

Last year I ran a Summer Blowout where I sold a few pieces of code. It’s time to run another. Here’s what is in the pot so far;

Content Modules

  1. Account Logoff Link
  2. Blog Feed
  3. Customer Trust Modules
  4. Maps GeoCode


  1. MATC (popup)

Header Tags

  1. AdRoll SmartPixel
  2. Facebook Custom Audience Pixel
  3. Google Analytics
  4. Google Remarketing
  5. Member Approval
  6. SiteLinks SearchBox

Social Bookmarks

  1. Tumblr

Standalone Scripts

  1. Google Merchant Feed
  2. Image Swapping via Attributes
  3. Price Updating Suite
  4. Google Remarketing
  5. Member Approval
  6. SiteLinks SearchBox
  7. Attributes Stocktaking

More things to be added. In the coming week I’ll post more about each of these…