Making Downloadable Products in Zen Cart

Selling music? eBooks? Digital Scrapbooking Materials? Here's how to set up downloadable products with Zen Cart. This tutorial is written with version 1.3.7 in mind, but it should work with all the 1.2.x and 1.3.x series as well.

Product Attributes

The product attributes features of Zen Cart (and osCommerce) have confused many store owners, and are vital to setting up downloads. I'll try to keep this as painless as possible.

  1. First of all, upload all your downloadable product files to the 'download' directory of Zen Cart. This directory is inaccessible to web browsers, so people can't steal the files within.

  2. Log into the admin area of your store and head for the Option Name Manager under Catalog.

    Create a new Product Option:

    1 column, vertically centred Zen Cart layout.
    Option Name
    The name of the option. I'm calling it 'Downloadable' for now.
    Order
    Sets the sort order of this option. It only matters if a product will have multiple options
    Option Type
    How the option is displayed. Pick 'radio' or 'dropdown' in this case.

    Click Insert to add it to the store.

  3. Next, go to the Option Value Manager. Create a new Option Value.

    1 column, vertically centred Zen Cart layout.
    Option Name
    This is the name of the option that this value will fall under. Choose 'Downloadable' or whatever Option Name you just made from this dropdown.
    Option Value
    This is the name of the value you are creating right now. I'm calling mine 'URL' for now.
    Order
    If this Option Name will have multiple values, is this the 0th, 1st, 2nd, 3rd... leave it at 0 for now.

    Click Insert to add the Option Value to Zen Cart's database.

  4. Go to the Attributes controller (also under Catalog). This is the screen where the Options that were just set up will be added to a product.

    Choose the product you want to be downloadable:

    1 column, vertically centred Zen Cart layout.

    Scroll down and select the Option Name and Option Value you just created:

    1 column, vertically centred Zen Cart layout.

    Scroll down and set the downloads settings:

    1 column, vertically centred Zen Cart layout.
    Filename
    The file to be downloaded. Zen Cart will look for this file name in the download directory.
    Expiry Days
    How many days the download is available to the customer.
    Maximum Download Count
    How many times the product can be downloaded before disappearing from the download page.

    Also set 'Default Attribute to be Marked Selected' (orange background) to 'Yes'.

    Click Insert to add this new attribute to the product.

  5. Take a look at the product in the Zen Cart store:

    1 column, vertically centred Zen Cart layout.

    Feel free to rename the Option Name and Option Value to something that makes more sense, or hide the attributes through the Product Info template or CSS.

    If everything seems to be working so far, make a test purchase of the item. Make sure the order's status to anything but Pending, otherwise the file can't be downloaded.

The Customer's Point of View

  1. Once the purchase has been completed, check the My Account page to see your last order. Click the View button to bring up more details:

  2. Victory! The product can now be downloaded from the order's details page.