Surprise, surprise! Wishlist and osCommerce

I really love getting stuff through the post that I have not ordered, I bet you do too! So, here is what I propose to all my readers and anyone else who uses osCommerce;

You purchase something from my Amazon Wishlist, and I will give you TRIPLE credit against any of my osCommerce eBooks (from £%, about $10). I will also give DOUBLE credit on my osCommerce Makeover service or my Discount Coupon Installation cost (usually £25, about $50). Or any combination of the above.

Example: Coupon Install + Makeover + STS eBook. Normal cost would be about £140, about $280. By purchasing from my Wishlist, you can get this for about £65 ($130)! As you can see that is a substantial saving!

My wishlist has items on it from just £2 (about $4), upto some very expensive stuff. If you are interested in saving yourself some money on my products/services and sending me a surprise, email me and I will let you know where my wishlist is located.

Cheers!
Gary

Apply a Discount Coupon Automatically

I found a really interesting question at the osCommerce forum;

Does anyone know how i would have a certain discount coupon redeem automatically (for example when the customer logs in)? So that the user does not have to manually enter it anymore at checkout and sees his discount from the moment he logs in. This would be for a site-wide discount, available to every customer during a limited period of time.

The question is actaully aimed at users of the older contribution called “Credit Class/Gift Vouchers/Discount Coupons”, I thought it might be interesting to see if it could be done in anyway using my version of Coupons…

2 minutes later, I’m pleased to say it does. A simple addition of the following lines of code in FILENAME_LOGIN (usually login.php) is all that it took:

[php]$osC_Coupon = new osC_Coupon(‘test40’);
$coupon_code = $osC_Coupon->coupon_details[‘coupon_code’];
$coupon_amount = $osC_Coupon->coupon_details[‘coupon_amount’];
$coupon_type = $osC_Coupon->coupon_details[‘coupon_type’];
$coupon_id = $osC_Coupon->coupon_details[‘coupon_id’];
tep_session_register(‘coupon_code’);
tep_session_register(‘coupon_amount’);
tep_session_register(‘coupon_type’);
tep_session_register(‘coupon_id’);[/php]

The coupon named “test40” is now automatically applied when logged in. I also had to make sure that any other coupon already entered by the customer was destroyed, so the addition of the following code:

[php]tep_session_unregister(‘coupon_code’);
tep_session_unregister(‘coupon_amount’);
tep_session_unregister(‘coupon_type’);
tep_session_unregister(‘coupon_id’);[/php]

right before sorts that out. Now the full code to enable an autoamatically applied discount coupon is:

[php]tep_session_unregister(‘coupon_code’);
tep_session_unregister(‘coupon_amount’);
tep_session_unregister(‘coupon_type’);
tep_session_unregister(‘coupon_id’);
$osC_Coupon = new osC_Coupon(‘test40’);
$coupon_code = $osC_Coupon->coupon_details[‘coupon_code’];
$coupon_amount = $osC_Coupon->coupon_details[‘coupon_amount’];
$coupon_type = $osC_Coupon->coupon_details[‘coupon_type’];
$coupon_id = $osC_Coupon->coupon_details[‘coupon_id’];
tep_session_register(‘coupon_code’);
tep_session_register(‘coupon_amount’);
tep_session_register(‘coupon_type’);
tep_session_register(‘coupon_id’);[/php]

This particular line of code would be changed depending upon which coupon you want to apply:

[php]$osC_Coupon = new osC_Coupon(‘test40’);[/php]

As you can see, in my admin area I have a couple of coupons to choose from:

So I could have used:

[php]$osC_Coupon = new osC_Coupon(‘FREEDEL’);[/php]

instead. Probably this way of doing things could be applied to other Coupon contributions, I have no idea. If you try it, please let us know.

Easy as 123.

Make Sure You Answers Enquiries

The other day I posted about a site where I was going to buy a product, but they only offered Google Checkout payment method. I emailed them to ask if they take other forms of payment – specifically Paypal.

As of yet, 4 days later, I have received no reply. Which ain’t good.

Do you have a contact us form? Email address? Postal Address? Do you get enquiries? I’m sure you do. It doesn’t make sense to offer these things if you are not going to respond.

I suggest that a MAXIMUM of 24 hours is more than enough time for a shop owner to respond. If you are away on holiday set up an auto-responder. If you can respond in less than 24 hours, so much the better.

There surely is nothing worse than an uncommunicative shop owner. It shows a lack of business acumen and a lack of respect. Don’t go there!

Allow Buyers to Pay You

It seems obvious that when you run an online shop you need to make sure that people who want to buy from you can actually pay you. Have you thought about it?

Yesterday, I came across a site and was ready to buy the product – after getting halfway thru the checkout process I see that payments on this particular site are offered only via Google Checkout. Now, I love Google as much as the next guy – I use the Google search engine loads of times per day, I use Gmail, I use Picasa, I use Google maps, I use Adsense and Adwords and so on. But I don’t want to give Google my financial details, thank you very much.

So, I emailed the site asking if they accept other forms of payment, specifically Paypal – as yet I’ve not received a reply. Online I always use Paypal – I’ve had an account for years and there is always some “spending money” in my Paypal accout. It’s quick and easy. I suspect that lots of people have Paypal accounts as it is so integrated with eBay.

So, let’s have a think about it, you need to cater for at least two sorts of buyers;

1. Paypal users. Easy – just accept Paypal payments.

2. Non Paypal users. Not so easy. I suppose that you really need to accept Cards, so you need to find a good processor. In my opinion, there are only two that are worth looking at (though I’d be happy to see comments/recommendations from anyone using any others). The two that I have used are; Worldpay and ProtX. Both these can handle Debit and Credit Cards easily.

On top of these you have loads of other 3rd party processors, I’ve already mentioned Google Checkout, how about 2checkout, iPayment, Chronopay and so on.

I suggest to you that if you don’t offer Paypal as a payment method you are losing out on a good chunk of business. I also suggest to you that if you only offer Paypal as a payment method you are losing out on a good chunk of business.

So, with this in mind, are you able to increase the payment options open to your customers? Have a think about that…

I was ready to drop a couple of hundred £ yesterday – but I didn’t. Can you afford to lose customers by not offering a suitable way for them to pay?

Quick Tip

Somewhere in your site, PLEASE list the payment options that you offer – there is nothing more annoying than going through the checkout process to find I can’t pay because you only offer a payment method I prefer not to use. If you got some icons on your site somewhere, I know immediately that I can buy from you…

Asking for One on One help

The reason I use Open Source is because most of it is Free….
Sorry but it sounds like your selling this , since it’s definitely not a 1 minite Install !!

This quote is part of a message I received today. The person had tried to install an Admin Template that I uploaded to the contributions area at osCommerce. It didn’t work due to user error (as there are loads of shops running the template without problems), so naturally, the user came to me to ask why. As I don’t give 1 on 1 help, ever, without payment, I gave my standard “I offer an installation service” reply.

There is quite a misconception about Open Source, and that is to do with money. Open Source does not mean Free of Charge. When I have to spend time hunting for a users mistake I charge for it. I wonder if this user will be giving away the products via his osCommerce shop, or whether he will be selling them 😉

Anyway, I like receiving messages like this, it confirms that osCommerce is very much still alive and kicking!

osCommerce Diary for w/c 20 October

Monday AM; install coupons for Client A
Monday PM; start makeover for Client B

Tuesday AM; finish makeover for Client B
Tuesday PM; Free

Wednesday AM; finish makeover for one of my own sites
Wednesday PM; Free

Thursday AM; Coupon & featured products install for Client C
Thursday PM; Free

Friday AM; Free
Friday PM; Free

If you need any help with your osCommerce store, contact me to book out one of my free slots. oscshops@gmail.com

Credit Crunched? Special Offer for readers of clubosc

I’ve made a special “Credit Crunch” offer over at www.oscbooks.com

BUY ONE, GET ONE (to equivalent value) FREE! Times are hard, so if I can do something to help with people getting started correctly with osCommerce then it can only be good.

My suggestion would be to go for the STS and Designing ebooks (both updated for 2008), as these take you on two separate journeys to design a good looking osCommerce site – and will give you enough knowledge and experience to make almost any design work in osCommerce. And you can now get them both for the cost of one!

In addition, as a special offer only for readers of Club osCommerce, I will also give any buyers the “localhost” package as a bonus. This is an installation of PHP, MySQL, PHPMyAdmin, osCommerce and osCommerce STS in one download, and it works on your home computer! One click and it’s all up and running…the package also includes instructions of how to get your live site mirrored onto your own computer hard drive.

OK, so if you are interested, all you need to do is get yourself along to www.oscbooks.com and purchase your chosen eBook – it’ll be an instant download. Then email me and tell me which eBook ( to equivalent value) you would like) and I will send it to you – if you also quote code clubosc001 I will send you the “localhost” package too.

What is a sponsor?

You may have noticed that I ask for Sponsors and Advertisers. I’ve had a few queries as to what this entails, so here’s the lowdown;

Sponsors

A sponsor is someone who sees me talking about code on this blog and thinks “I could use that!”. I generally come up with ideas for code and sometimes I make code in a sloppy way as proof of concept – I don’t release sloppy code like I used to, hence I ask for people to pay me for my time in making a given set of code contributable. That’s all a sponsor is – someone who is kind enough to pay me to finish up code. Sponsored code gets written much faster than code which is not sponsored.

Advertisers

I also would like to get some advertisers for this blog – payable on a monthly basis for a text link on every page of the blog. Obviously links benefit you as this blog has a largish number of readers so if you offer a service that is in anyway linked to osCommerce or eCommerce in general you could end up making some sales to visitors from this blog.

Sponsors allow me to write code faster!
Advertisers allow me to keep this blog alive!

If you can help to sponsor code, or wish to advertise your services on this blog, please feel free to email me – oscshops@gmail.com – cheers, Gary

Donate To Charity – proof of concept – osCommerce

As per my mini blog post last night, here is a working version of a different version of my “Donate To Charity” codebase.

This version is completely different to the “Charity Round Up” module which was sponsored by Lindsay – as this version allows the buyer to insert an amount to donate whilst on the shopping cart page.

Have a look at this video and see what I mean;

I made this by using “sessions” to store the donated amount, and then activating an order_total module if the session is “live”. Fairly simple.

I wanted to show that it is possible with just a little bit of coding knowledge to come up with almost anything that is needed. If anyone wants this module, it’ll need cleaning up substantially and also it will need to have a mechanism added to allow the donator to change or remove his/her donated amount before checking out. Get in touch [ oscshops@gmail.com ] if you are willing to sponsor further development and a clean up of the code.

No cash? So barter!

I would imagine that 90% of people who run stores using osCommerce are doing it as a one-man trade or a part-time adventure. This means that there is a lot of scope for getting stuff for “free”…

At the moment I am updating one of my osCommerce shops to a new design. I needed a new logo. Of course, I could have created one myself or I could have bought an already made one, or I could have paid for someone more graphically inclined than me to make one.

Instead, I bartered my services as I was aware of someone in the osCommerce forum requiring a shipping module to be made. This guy is a good graphics whiz. Match made in heaven – I code the shipping module for him, he makes me a logo. Easy as 123. And it’s already all completed. He has his mo, I have my logo. Of course, now I actually need to get on and finish up the rest of the site, but that’s a job for next week.

So, the next time that you are thinking about purchasing something, see if you can get it for no cash – it only takes an email to see if they need something which you can give instead of cash. And the worst that can happen is they say “no”.

Sometimes, it doesn’t have to mean any work on your part. If you have a popular site, why not offer some form of banner advertising or a text link advert. And so on.

The commerce world does not always have to be about money! Think on that, over the weekend.