X-Cart:First steps after installation
After you're done with the installation of your store is ready to start making online sales. Later you'll probably start the never-ending process of customization and improvement of your shopping system, trying different design schemas, templates, adding new modules etc to satisfy your needs and the needs of your customers. But a question of vital importance for a quick start is to set up the default configurable features of your shopping cart. And it's highly recommended as well to provide some details about your company and the business you're doing to present your own profile in the e-commerce industry.
Providing your company details
First of all, when customers visit your store, they often try to find a way to identify your service with some brand or a real offline company. Anonymous sellers are not usually trusted as most people look for a high quality goods and services which are mostly sold by the companies who provide some information about their physical location. Contact phone numbers (not only e-mail) is also a good way to provide more open policy of customer relations.
Let's start with filling in some of your company details. These settings are available through the 'Administration' menu, 'General settings' link, at the 'Company options' page. By default, the company title and phone numbers appear on each page of the store. As for e-mail addresses, it's not necessary to use a different address for all your departments, however, doing so may ease your feedback process as customer letters will be classified depending on the subject.
Defining the countries list
By default, X-Cart is configured to sell goods worldwide. Nevertheless, if you are going to trade only in some range of countries (for example, in US/Canada of throughout Europe) or would like to exclude some of them as your future destinations, nothing could be easier. All you have to do is configure the list of countries (classified by continents) and 'deactivate' the ones you're not going to deal with. In the 'Management' menu go to the 'Countries' page and uncheck the boxes near the undesired countries.
Setting up tax rates
Tax systems vary from one country to another, and the tax rates are a subject of constant changes. Our software is very flexible in this aspect. You can define various taxes for different destination zones, change tax priorities and use the formula editor to operate such factors as shipping cost, subtotal etc. All of this can be done through the 'Management' menu, the 'Taxing system' area. Refer to the X-Cart manual ('Administrating your store (Administrator)' -> 'Management' -> 'Defining taxes' section) for more detailed instructions.
Setting up shipping methods
X-Cart allows you to define shipping methods that should be available to your customers. In X-Cart administrative zone, in the Management menu you'll find the 'Shipping Methods' section. Go there and use the 'Edit shipping methods' form to create and edit shipping methods, activate and deactivate them.
Both shipping methods with manually defined rates and with real-time calculated rates can be used. If you want to use UPS real-time shipping rates calculation service, you need to enter the 'Administration menu' -> 'Modules' and enable the 'UPS OnLine Tools' module. Then register your UPS OnLine Tools with UPS and set up your store to work with this real-time calculation service. See the 'Administrating your store (Administrator)' -> 'Management' -> 'Defining Shipping Methods' chapter of the manual for the step-by-step instructions.
Setting up payment method
The following step is to define what payment methods your customers may choose from. X-Cart supports a great variety of methods, however, it's recommended to choose not all but several of them for not to confuse your clients by too many ways of payment.
Go to the Administration area, at the 'Administration' menu click the 'Payment methods' link and a special form will appear. Select the Active checkboxes next to the methods you want to enable for your customers. If necessary, add special instructions for each of the selected payment methods. These instructions will be shown to your customers during checkout. They can be used to pass along important information (E.g.: "Make checks payable to...").
Next, select a protocol for each of the payment methods. HTTPS is strongly recommended for the payment methods where security must be ensured (customers are highly unlikely to be delighted if you ask them to send their credit card information via HTTP protocol).
Setting up payment gateway
To use a payment gateway you need an online merchant account with one of our supported processing companies. If you don't have an account yet and need to be introduced to the payment gateway features please look through the Choosing payment gateway article available here. If you need some direct advice while making your choice, please take a look at our list of recommended gateways and at all the X-Cart supported gateways list.
Anyway, you may always choose any payment gateway depending on your own needs and preferences. Even if the gateway you want to use is not on the list you can make an order and our team of professionals will do shopping cart custom development services for you and implement payment gateway you want.
To set up a payment gateway, find the 'Administration', click on 'Payment gateways' in menu and scroll down to the 'Payment gateways' form.
Setting up product catalogue
Finally, here comes probably the most exciting part of the primary configuration: it's time to introduce the list of products you are going to offer to your visitors. To do so you should create the product catalogue, this feature is highly configurable.
First of all, the items you sell are divided into categories. The category listing appears on every page of your website so people can easily navigate through the catalogue. Moreover, you can also create subcategories of any depth level, i.e. a subcategory may be placed inside another subcategory etc. As for products, each one can be attached to any category or associated with several of them. In the 'Management' menu you'll see the 'Categories' section used to manipulate the directory structure.
The product properties dialogue allows you to define many properties, such as the icon/image associated with it, product weight, detailed description etc. Use the 'Add new product' feature to update your store with the new stuff.
If the range of goods you offer is not very wide you could add each product manually. However, sometimes manual maintenance of your current catalog in actual state turns into a very complicated task, if not into an impossible one. Imagine you'd like to offer hundreds, thousands or even more products to your visitors with some parameters (such as, for example, quantity or availability) changing daily or weekly. The possible solution in this case is to import a large list of products into X-Cart. Please refer to the X-Cart:Importing products article to find out more information regarding that subject.