osCommerce has a few “well hidden” features that not many people are aware of. One of these is the ability for the logged in customers in your shop to sign up for product notifications (eg, when a product is back in stock, or if you add another size or colour range or whatever).
The subscribe link is in an infoBox and in a standard install looks like this:
This would subscribe the logged in customer to notifications about that particular product. Fairly straightforward so far.
How do you send a product notification email?
In the admin area, go tools > newsletter manager, then click + New Newsletter. In the following page, select product notification from the dropdown, and insert the title of the email and the email contents:
Click save. You are now back at the Newsletter page, and the new product notification Newsletter is showing in the list. You can preview the Newsletter if you wish. Click the lock button. Once locked, you now have extra options available to you. You can delete it, edit it and so on.
Press the send button. This takes you through to the page where you select the product(s) that you wish to email about (to those who have signed up for emails).
I select “courage under fire” and press the >>> button. This move the product to the selected box. Once I am happy, I press the send button and am taken to a new page where I am shown the number of customers to receive the newsletter and a preview of the newsletter itself;
If I now press “send”, the email is sent to those on the list.
As you can see, the system is workable if a little long-winded. It is also limited to registered customers within your shop, which is not ideal.