EasyCart Child Themes and Layouts

What is a EasyCart Child Theme and Child Layout?

Beginning in version 3 of the WP EasyCart, we offer developers the option to keep the latest theme and child files up to date automatically as the plugin upgrades without having to manually upload the latest store theme and store layout! This is a great option to help developers keep their clients’ stores up to date and functional at a single click of the button. With this great new feature we know developers still need the ability to override certain files, images, css, etc… In order to make the store customized for their specific project (a great example of this is customizing the email receipt).

This is where a child layout becomes an extremely important feature! Child themes and layouts allow you to specify a child theme or layout folder in which you can place individual files to override a specific functionality of the store, while simultaneously allowing your theme and layout to keep the latest features for the rest of store.

How Does the Store Find a Layout or Theme File?

Every file loaded from the design folder of your shopping cart system goes through the following check to find the correct file:

  1. Does the file exists in the plugins folder at wp-easycart-data/design/layout/{your selected child layout}/file.php?
  2. If not, use the latest file in the wp-easycart/design/layout/base-reponsive-v3/file.php

This applies exactly the same to the theme folder and can be useful for specifying a custom image not found file.

How to Set Up and Specify a Child Design

Setting up and specifying a child theme or child layout is quick and easy! First, add a new folder in the wp-easycart-data/design/layout/ folder (something like my-custom-layout) and repeat this for the wp-easycart-data/design/theme/ folder. Next, go to the WordPress Admin -> WP EasyCart ->  Settings -> Design area and select your newly added custom theme and/or layout folders in the drop down boxes.

That is it! Your store will now look first in your custom child theme folder and next to the latest files in the main plugin. To override any files you should first copy the file you are editing to your custom theme folder and make your corrections there (custom changes should be in the wp-easycart-data folder).

Selling Digital Downloads with EasyCart Product and Membership Pages

There are a lot of ways to sell goods these days, but EasyCart makes it easy with one location for all your retail goods, digital download goods, subscriptions and membership services and more.  With digital downloads, you can easily sell products with little to no overhead  other than building your content and product.  Once it’s operational, your downloads can be sold with little to no interaction from you on your end.  No packaging, no shipping, and no handling make this arena of e-commerce an attractive candidate for many businesses.

Selecting your Shopping Cart

There are a hundred+ e-commerce packages that can allow you to sell online digital downloads.  After looking into many of these various software packages, some are expensive and can cost $1000+ to acquire licensing and setup.  Other software packages are so limited that the management of the digital downloads is lost, tracking is lost, and the overall experience is not selling the digital download, but rather luring you into buying their software.

WP EasyCart tries to offer a low cost solution to WordPress store owners who want a powerful plugin, but also a low overhead cost.  At only $80 dollars, the plugin is low cost for sure.  Starting a business with an $80 dollar startup cost is extremely inexpensive, so you can quickly regain your costs with a few sales… Yet EasyCart offers a wide variety of methods to sell digital downloads.

Selling Individual Downloads

The easiest way EasyCart can sell downloads is to offer a single downloadable product that users can add to their shopping cart and checkout with.  This process is very easy to setup in EasyCart, since you setup the product just like a normal retail good, with the exception of adding the download ZIP package or other digital file to the product.

single_download_product

sell digital downloads with EasyCart!

EasyCart takes care of the rest for you.  Customers add the product to their cart, they checkout and pay just like any other website.  Once they purchase and the process is approved, the customer can access their account at any time to download their digital download.  Be wary of plugins that send a download link, this is often a security issue and lets customers send out that link to friends and family to also jump on and download the exposed files.

Offer Downloads on Your Server or Amazon S3 Servers

WP EasyCart also allows you to use Amazon S3 servers for storing digital content.  If you sell large files or videos, simply use their servers and connect it to the product.  This way the security and download processes are loaded on the Amazon S3 server instead of your hosted account.

amazonS3_link

Select Amazon S3 to store and deliver digital content if needed.

Added Security for Downloads

For extra security, EasyCart even gives you the option to limit how many times the download can be attempted OR a time limit, giving customers a week or so before the link in their account expires.  This can also help curb customers sending out credentials to their accounts or passing links around to files… something many low cost plugins neglect to help eliminate.

max_download_limits

Add security to your download links!

 

 

Selling Membership Downloads

Another great feature EasyCart offers that many competitors do not offer is a subscription based system.  For those selling digital downloads, it’s often a nice idea to offer a membership area on your website for subscribers to log into.  This way you can offer more than just a link to a product, but actually offer multiple download links, descriptions of the products, forms for subscribers to use, video material, all from a single page.

subscription_signup_product

EasyCart includes ability to let customers subscribe and become members!

We even use this feature at WP EasyCart to sell our premium subscribers various WordPress themes, extra plugins that we build, and even access to our live chat systems.  Whatever your needs are, the membership/subscription system is a great way to pass material to customers who pay.

The WP EasyCart subscription system is easy to use, but can take some setup time.  It utilizes the stripe.com payment processing system to link payments and subscriptions to an active system.  Customers can then cancel memberships, upgrade/downgrade subscriptions, even update their credit information directly from EasyCart.  This makes it easy for customers to maintain their accounts without the need to contact your support facilities.

 

Creating Membership Page Content

Once you are setup with stripe.com, you setup a subscription product and customers can ‘Sign-Up’ on the frontend.  As for membership pages, that is even easier… just add our membership shortcode to a wordpress page and you can enter both ‘secured’ content and ‘unsecured’ content within the shortcodes.  We usually add our membership secured content in the ‘secured’ area and links to signup or login in the ‘unsecured’ section.

members_shortcode

access easycart shortcode from WordPress page text editor!

member_alternative_content

Create secured and non-secured membership content easily!

 

Conclusion

Selling digital download and media doesn’t need to be complex.  Once you understand the workflow of what it takes to sell and manage digital downloads for your customers, picking and choosing the software can be easy.  EasyCart offers the flexibility and features to get your videos, music, sermons, pictures, and other digital downloads out to the masses.

Canada Post API Integration

canada-post-logo

We are pleased to announce the release of a new shipping integration partner, Canada Post.  EasyCart can now handle Canada Post shipping methods and allows you to set US, Canada, and International shipping codes for your products.

We have had good success from our northern neighbors and we continue to add features that are much needed, including tax structures, shipping structures, and various shopping features necessary to make a good international shopping cart.

This feature is standard and available in all future updates for our existing customers.  If you are a new customer, live shipping is only available in our Standard plugin license, not our Lite version.

 

Version 3.x Updates Important!

We have been working hard to improve the process of our plugin updates and plugin compatibility, while streamlining the overall shopping system in version 3.  It is important to stay current with any software, but with a shopping system, even more so.

New Update Processes

With V3, we have streamlined the plugin into a one click update within the regular WordPress plugins section.  In V2, you had to update  the plugin PLUS update your theme and layout files for WP EasyCart, but not anymore.

V3 brings the ability to handle child themes.  When we say child themes, we are talking about EasyCart’s system, not WordPress themes.  Since there are so many design elements in a shopping cart, we actually have our own design files and with V3 they are updated along with the plugin.

How Do You Use the New Theme Files?

To insure you are using the latest downloaded theme files, simply go to the EasyCart Admin -> Store Setup -> Design File Management area and select ‘No Child Theme’ for both layout and theme.  The system will then use the new design files that are updated with every plugin update from here forward.

How do Child themes work in EasyCart?

Just simply create a folder in the /wp-easycart-data/design/layout or theme folder and then copy the file you wish to modify from the regular /wp-easycart/design/layout or theme folder to your child theme in the wp-easycart-data folder. The go to the EasyCart Admin -> Store Setup -> Design File Management page and select the folder you created. The logic for this system works as follows: IF the EasyCart finds a child file in this /wp-easycart-data folder specified, it will use it, OTHERWISE, it will fall back to the main design files in the core plugin.

A great example is if you wanted to modify the email receipt that goes to your customers.  Simply copy that file from the /wp-easycart folder down to the /wp-easycart-data child folder you create and select your folder to be used as a child layout.  Now that one file will be used, but everything else can be used from the core plugin.  If you update the plugin, your changed file is not removed, yet the rest of the core files are updated.

Security Fixes

It’s also important to understand as we continue to update the plugin, keep your plugin version up to date so that you have the most current security fixes and modifications to work in latest WordPress version. If current on updates and design files, you are much less likely to get into trouble with compromised systems.

Earn 20% for your Reviews!

We value your opinion and we are looking for trial users and current customers to leave positive feedback.  In doing so, you can submit a link to us via our contact page, we will review the comment and send you a coupon worth 20% off the purchase of WP EasyCart products.*

Where to leave a comment?

You can submit a review, leave a comment about our shopping cart, recommend it via different social media channels, or comment via online forums of your choosing.  We recommend a few good places to leave a comment:

WordPress Plugin  Reviews
Facebook 
Twitter
WordPress Blogs (ex: http://www.wpexplorer.com or http://www.sellwithwp.com)

Where do I submit my Comment or Review?

Just send us an email through our contact page on our website:  http://www.wpeasycart.com/contact-information  — Send us the link to your review and we’ll send you a coupon code.

What’s the coupon code good for?

Obviously we are looking for positive reviews to help spread the word about the low cost and feature rich nature of the WP EasyCart.  If we review your comments and they seem objective and professional, we will send you a coupon code worth 20%*, at our discretion, and you can use it to checkout on our website.  This will apply toward the purchase of the Lite or Standard WP EasyCart plugin.

Does a Facebook like count?

No, that’s too easy 🙂  We are looking for a full 2 sentences, at least.  We do still encourage you to like our Facebook page! The only way to get access to our latest promotions is by connecting with us via social media, so what are you waiting for, like us now!

Do I have to give you 5 stars?

No, we encourage you to post your objective opinion, especially if you are a trial user or paid customer who has used the software.  We are always looking to improve and understand if things are not always perfect. The only way to let us know of issues with the plugin is through good feedback!  We will leave it to common sense and our discretion if it’s a review that has some thought and concise detail and worth a 20% coupon!*

* Discount applies to the purchase of a Lite or Standard version of the WP EasyCart plugin only.

V3 released in time for the holidays!

Just in time for the season!  We have been busy building this latest version for the past 3 months and it really shows.  The entire front end of easycart has received a major revision and updated look.  Don’t let the looks detract though, as this entire front end system now is highly configurable and will increase sales with better conversion rates and higher usability from product to checkout.

New Product Displays

Products are now highly configurable on a ‘Per Page’ basis.  Meaning you can set columns and animation for each page individually on your website.  With our new ‘On-Screen’ sidebar editor, you can setup the store  while you see it on your computer.

products---clothing

 

 

New On-Screen Editor

Logged in as an admin, you can now change store designs from pre-designed layouts to picture hover effects.  Basic color adjustments are easy as well as responsive settings for different devices.  While EasyCart is meant to make it easy for you to sell goods, it is also easy for your customers to utilize.

You can even setup how many columns best fit in your theme and on each device such as tablets and phones.

products---sidebar

 

 Preview on  Devices!

One of the great new features we have is our responsiveness to the design.  Not only can you adjust columns for the products, product details, and shopping cart for various devices, but now you can actually click our device preview and see your site in action.  Preview it on an ipad landscaped, ipad portrait, or iphone landscape and portrait.  This real time previewing will save you time as a developer or site designer and insures your work will be seen on various devices.

device-previewer

 

 

Beautiful Product Detailed Displays

The entire process was redesigned at the product detail level.  Making  for a cleaner styling and easier shopping experience for customers will convert more users into clicking that ‘Add to Cart’ button.  You can even choose to have the layout in 2 columns or 1 column for individual devices and orientations.

productdetails---watch

 

 

Upgraded Checkout Experience

We also worked out a better checkout design that is responsive and can fit into any theme.  Fitting a lot of flexible options into a checkout process is a difficult process for shopping cart makers like ourselves, but with V3, we feel we hit the nail on the head with this checkout process being flexible enough to accommodate all our features, yet streamlined and easy to look at and responsive enough for a phone.

checkout

 

 

Interested in more?

Just check out our working demos at http://www.wpeasycart.com/demos and see for yourself how easy the shopping experience can be, how vivid the design can integrate into your theme, and how you can start selling this holiday season quickly and easily with the most feature rich WordPress shopping cart solution on the market.

 

GoDaddy Shared Hosting Now an Issue

Hosted Through GoDaddy’s Inexpensive Shared Hosting Plan?

Hosting on GoDaddy and seen this lately: “Returned Fault: NetConnection.Call.Failed”? You’re not alone…

As of sometime around July 22, 2014, GoDaddy has implemented what are called “Phase 2 mod_security rules”. These rules are extreme and, according to GoDaddy, necessary to preventing brute force attacks on their WordPress installs. What is so awful about preventing these attacks? Well in this case they block any IP that accesses a script repeatedly over a short period of time. This means any application, by any company, that accesses a gateway for a phone application, web application, or AJAX application will be temporarily banned from the site. You can see this for yourself by accessing the WordPress “admin-ajax.php” file that is used to run any behind the scenes data pulls that can make your site look so fancy. It also means that the WP EasyCart admin consoles will lock up after a few clicks around, which is less than ideal.

Minimal Good News

The very little good news we can provide is that although your IP is temporarily blocked, no other users on your site will have the same experience. This means downtime for you, but not for your sales, which is a small win in this situation. That is all we can find for our shared host GoDaddy users though.

Solutions to This Issue

  • Contact GoDaddy and ask them to “white list your IP address for the mod_security on your host”. This will prevent their security measures from blocking you on your own server. You can find your IP address by typing in, “what is my IP” on Google. Keep in mind, you will need to have them white list any IP that will be accessing the site using the WP EasyCart admin tools.
  • GoDaddy suggests that you upgrade to a VPS server and this option has been verified as a solution by multiple customers.
  • Switch hosts, GoDaddy appears to have implemented this to upsell their customers from their very low priced services. Blue Host has speeds of 4-5x that of GoDaddy for WordPress installs and we highly recommend them.

Error Log Through Testing

For your reference, if you are interested in seeing what GoDaddy is doing exactly with their servers:

  • [Wed Jul 23 23:21:56 2014] [error] [client XX.XXX.XX.XX] ModSecurity: Access denied with connection close (phase 2). 1 [file “/web/httpd2/modsecurity.d/activated_rules/modsecurity_gd_07_post_guardian.conf”] [line “36”] [id “XXXXX”] [msg “BLOCKED – Bot detected! Score: 54:4:36:0:1:95”] [hostname “yoursite.com”] [uri “/wordpress/wp-content/plugins/wp-easycart/inc/amfphp/Amfphp/index.php”] [unique_id “XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX”]
  • [Wed Jul 23 23:21:56 2014] [error] [client XX.XXX.XX.XX] ModSecurity: Access denied with connection close (phase 2). 1 [file “/web/httpd2/modsecurity.d/activated_rules/modsecurity_gd_07_post_guardian.conf”] [line “25”] [id “XXXXX”] [msg “BLOCKED – Automated Attacks(cached)”] [hostname “yoursite.com”] [uri “/wordpress/wp-content/plugins/wp-easycart/inc/amfphp/Amfphp/index.php”] [unique_id “XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX”]
  • [Wed Jul 23 23:21:56 2014] [error] [client XX.XXX.XX.XX] ModSecurity: Access denied with connection close (phase 2). 1 [file “/web/httpd2/modsecurity.d/activated_rules/modsecurity_gd_07_post_guardian.conf”] [line “25”] [id “XXXXX”] [msg “BLOCKED – Automated Attacks(cached)”] [hostname “yoursite.com”] [uri “/wordpress/wp-content/plugins/wp-easycart/inc/amfphp/Amfphp/index.php”] [unique_id “XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX”]

New EasyCart Features in Administrative Console

We released a new administrative console in the recent days that includes some great new subtle features that really enhance the usability of the application.  We have been listening to customers and we have been doing usability tests ourselves, and the following are what we have completed so far… with more to come soon.

 

Quickly create, add to, and remove from Categories

We have seen a lot of customers use categories instead of menus to organize products, which is great, so we have added a new category section to the actual product editing screen.  If you visit the ‘Menu Locations’ panel in a product, you will see the ability to create new categories, add a product to multiple categories, even remove products from a specific category.

new-categories

 

 

Improved performance with saving and updating data

Before we did not allow you to continue working while a save or update was occurring.  To help speed up the process, we now allow you to continue working after a save and the application still lets you know that the application is working for you.  This provides a huge boost in performance and lets you work at a quicker pace.

saving

 

Multi-Selecting made easier!

A small detail, unless you needed it was to multi-select all the products quickly.  You will find a small checkbox in the filter bar for user accounts, orders, products, and the country/state management area.  We found the need to sometimes select all countries for deletion with one click rather than going through several hundred and single deleting them.

multi-select

 

Quicker Product creation

You can now add a manufacturer without leaving a product.  This small improvement can save a lot of time if you organize your products by manufacturers.

create-manufacturer

 

While these new improvements are sure to help improve the usability of the application, we do plan to add many more instances throughout our tools to make the process of running a store as easy and fast as possible, while still retaining flexibility.

If you need a new feature, please visit our discussion forums and post a new feature request there!

More to come!

 

 

 

Stripe Integration with Subscription Services

The latest release of 2.1.6+ of EasyCart now includes a great new and powerful payment processor that is our new favorite.  The Stripe payment gateway solution is now complete and we included a full subscription/membership system into EasyCart as well.  Now you can offer a recurring payment product to your customers and they can signup directly on your site.  All payment information is synced up with the Stripe payment processor and allows complete customer and administrative control.

Build Subscription Products

From EasyCart, creating a subscription is as easy as setting up any product.  Simply check that it is a subscription, pick how often you want the recurring payments to occur, pick a url if you like for them to access membership content (optional), and whether there is a trial period and the EasyCart system does the rest.  Customers will see the subscription product like any other product, except they will see a ‘Sing Up Now’ button instead of ‘Add to Cart’ button.

subscriptionservices

Once users sign up, information is approved by Stripe and the subscription is placed into the EasyCart subscription system along with their first order being placed.  Each recurring payment will appear as an order in your system.

Administrate Subscriptions

EasyCart administrative tools are completely integrated to communicate with Stripe and allows you to pull up subscriptions, upgrade or downgrade customers, cancel their memberships, and review all related information regarding their subscription.  You can also see a quick payment history of their subscription.

subscriptionmanagement

 

Customer Subscription Management

Customers also have access to a complete subscription management area from within their account.  Customers can quickly update their credit card information, upgrade or downgrade their subscription, change billing address information, and/or cancel their membership at anytime.  This gives you the store owner less support and interaction with members as they can do all administrative tasks directly from their account.

customermanagement

 

Membership Content

One of the great features we offer with our subscription services is an easy to setup membership area system.  Simply create a new WordPress page, apply our members only shortcode, and then only logged in subscribers can access the new content.  This makes a great way for you to feed membership content to customers who have purchased a subscription if that is required by your business.

membershipcontent

 

 

Version 2.1 EasyCart Released – New Feature List

WP EasyCart released version 2.1 update to its eCommerce plugin for 2014 and now we have some great new features to list along with several enhancements to an already feature rich product line.

Subscription Based System

subscriptions_640x415

The new subscription system allows users to build PayPal subscriptions with only a few clicks.  Add a new product to EasyCart, and you can simply designate it as a subscription and select the interval you would like subscribers to pay.

Once a customer clicks on the ‘Sign Up Now’ button, they will be taken to PayPal to handle all the particular needs of subscribing and managing that payment.  PayPal offers a full suite of management tools for the business owner to manage as well.

The subscription system will also talk back to your EasyCart installation and enter subscriptions into your administrative console.  You can see all the details of the subscription, including active status, sign-up dates, last payment dates, # payments completed and other customer information.

 

Quantity Based Shipping

shipping_quantity_640

Version 2.1 includes an additional shipping method that allows you now to build a rate table based on quantity of items in the shopping cart.  This will give more customers the flexibility to give rates to their customers and allow for more precise control over the shipping of their goods.

As with our normal policy, all shipping systems are included in our Full License version.  You get Price rate shipping, Weight rate shipping, Quantity rate shipping, Static method shipping, and live rates by UPS, FedEx, USPS, DHL, and Australian Post.  Lite License users have access to all of these except the live shipping rates.

 

DHL Shipping Calculators

Version 2.1 now includes DHL as a shipping carrier and can return live shipping rates for customers using this option.  As a popular European solution to shipping, we are sure this will be popular with the International EasyCart users!

Global Handling Fees

Version 2.1 allows you to enter a global handling fee, which will be added to whatever shipping rates you use.  We have always offered a per-product handling rate as well, but this new option will add flexibility to the system for many users.

Catalog Only EasyCart

Many customers have requested that the EasyCart system hide the ‘Add to Cart’ behavior and allow customers to simply browse their products as a catalog.  Now you have the option to do so!  Simply change a setting under the ‘Advanced Options’ to enable catalog only mode, and the customers can see all of your products and view their full details, but without the ability to add to a cart.

Internationalization Language & Currency Updates

language_640

With Version 2.1, we have integrated a new currency conversion system and language system that allows you to alter the entire shopping system quickly and easily.  If you are a user of WPML, we can now change the shop text, descriptions, titles and language elements when a WPML change is made.

So customers can adjust not only your website, but also adjust the entire shopping system and product data using the correct techniques.  We even can adjust currency using a simple currency conversion rate that you can control in the ‘Advanced Options’.

You will also notice there are new widgets available for customers to change currency in the store or change shop text translations quickly, but we find that many will want to use WPML to change the entire site globally and quickly.

We will be producing a tutorial video and demonstration website that showcases these capabilities soon!