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Customize and manage your TomatoCart website

Jack Wallen clues you in on where to look in the TomatoCart's admin control site to configure the open source shopping cart solution to best meet your needs.

TomatoCart is one of the most powerful free shopping cart tools you will find, but it can be overwhelming to know where to begin after it's installed and awaiting your next command. Fortunately, the developers of TomatoCart have made this fairly simple -- once you have a grasp on where to look in the admin control site. Let's start the process of getting your TomatoCart-powered eCommerce solution ready for public consumption.

Verify site information

First, you must make sure your site information is correct. We'll continue with the setup we used during the installation phase, so TomatoCart will be located in /TOMCART. Your installation may vary, so modify the address as needed.

To get to the admin panel, point your browser to http://ADDRESS_OF_SERVER/TOMCART/admin/ and log in with the credentials you created during installation. You will be greeted by the TomatoCart Dashboard (Figure A). Figure A

This is a fresh install with only the sample data. (Click the image to enlarge.)

Verify store information

Now you need to make sure your store information is correct. From the TomatoCart admin site, go to Start | Configuration | Configuration | My Store. This will open a window (Figure B) where you can manage your store information. Figure B

This information was set during installation. (Click the image to enlarge.)

If you need to change any of the My Store information, double-click an entry in the right column and make the change. There is no need to save the information -- once you make the change, the change is live.

Then, go back through the rest of the Start | Configuration | Configuration sub menu and check all of the other pieces of information to make sure they're accurate. In particular, you'll want to check Shipping/Packaging, Order Settings, Email Options, and Regulations.

Customize your site

It's time to start working with the site template. The first thing you need to do is change the logo, which is set to the TomatoCart logo by default. To change the logo, follow these steps:

  1. In the TomatoCart admin page, go to Start | Templates | Logo Upload.
  2. Click the Browse button in the upload window.
  3. After the desired file is uploaded, click Save and then click Close.

If you go to your store site (http://ADDRESS_TO_SERVER/TOMCART/, ADDRESS_TO_SERVER is the address to your server), you should see the new logo in the upper left corner.

Though the default layout is quite good, you might want or need to make layout changes. Here's how to configure your site's layout:

  1. In the TomatoCart admin page, go to Start | Templates | Templates Module Layout | Boxes.
  2. Scroll through the resulting window (Figure C) and locate the box you want to move or disable.
  3. Click the Edit icon (directly left of the Delete icon) and make the changes to the box.
  4. Click Save and then click Close.
Figure C

You can move a box, make a box page specific, or delete a box. (Click the image to enlarge.)

Here's what you can do specifically with the boxes:

  1. Specify what page will display the box.
  2. Group the page on either the left or the right side of the page.
  3. Move the box up or down the side (sort order).
You can also add a new box. To do this, click Add from the Templates Modules Layout: Boxes window and fill out the necessary information (Figure D). Click Save and click Close, and your new box should appear. Figure D

It's easy to add boxes in TomatoCart. (Click the image to enlarge.)

When creating a box, the most important thing to keep in mind is to select the correct module that will populate the box with content. From the Module drop-down, you can select from:

  • Article Categories
  • Best Sellers
  • Categories
  • Compare Products
  • Currencies
  • Information
  • Manufacturer Info
  • Manufacturers
  • Order History
  • Popular Search Terms
  • Product Notification
  • Reviews
  • Shop By Price
  • Shopping Cart
  • Specials
  • Tell a Friend
  • What's New

There are also other modules that deliver specific content at specific times that can be placed in boxes. For example, you can place a box with Also Purchased products after a customer has purchased an item. To manage these boxes, go to Start | Templates Modules Layout | Content. These are managed the same way as standard boxes.

Congratulations! Your online shopping cart is ready for products. We'll cover this in our next TR Dojo post about TomatoCart.

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

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