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OpenCart for beginners – tutorial

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This guide is intended for OpenCart beginners use and presents the basics of store administration. I will describe here the basics of adding products and categories.

How do I get started?
Start with reviewing admin menu.  Main menu top bar will gives you a hint what are the main areas of online store administrator panel. If you have installed OpenCart with example products, make one purchase and see what changes in the Panel.

The main settings – System Settings
Select System settings, and then edit your shop. Here you can edit product image sizes, upload your store logo, choose one of installed templates and set-up search engine friendly links. At this point you don’t need to know what each of the setting means. You will gradually get to this.

Add category
OpenCart categories are not directories where you put the products, but they are rather like labels that you are assigning to products. This means that each category operate independently, and their assignment to a product is carried out by “Linking”. This way, products every product can be assigned to none, one or many categories. And how do you add a category?

– Click on Catalog-> Categories and you will see a list of categories. Select “Edit” on one of them, to see all of the possible fields that describe the category. You can also click the Insert button to add a new category. Category consists of following tabs:

General Tab:

Category: Category name
Meta Tag Description: Meta Tag Description  is used for SEO and it’s content may appear in Google search results. It should have up to 150 characters and clearly describe the category in one-two sentences.
Meta Keywords Tag: as Description, used to describe keywords for search engines. It isn’t taken into account now by search engines anyway, so you can left it blank.
Description: a description of the category displayed on the category page, above the list of products. You can freely edit the description by adding pictures, links or other content, but in most cases you will left it blank.

Data Tab:
Parent: The parent category, set for subcategories.
Filters: Product list filters, usually not used.
Stores: Only applicable in multiple stores. In your case, there will be only one, default store.
SEO Keyword: Despite the name, this is not a Keywords Meta Tag, but SEO friendly URL. It should consist of a category name with words separated by dashes, without special characters. For example, if you are adding category “Bags & Purses”, the name entered in this field should be “bags-purses”.
Image: You can add here the category thumbnail, visible on the list of categories. Usually you can leave this field blank.
Top: Selecting this option causes the category to appear in the top bar of store front-end in most themes. It is selected by default.
Sort order: Order in the list of categories.
Status: Category may be enabled or disabled. Disabling it will cause removing of category from front-end, so it won’t be visible for customers, but it will be still visible for you in admin panel.

Design Tab:
Here you can assign a category to the individual store layout. In standard configuration you will not be adding anything.

Adding new modules:
OpenCart modules are additional components that can be attached to individual pages or sidebars. Modules can be added on the left, right, top or bottom. For example, “Latest” module is displays last added products. Modules can be added to defined sets of pages, for example to home page, category page, product page. Module order depends on the “Sort order” function.

Adding products:
To add a Product, select Catalog -> Product, and then “Insert”. It is similar procedure as in adding categories, bu slightly more complex. Once you will add a few products you will find it very intuitively and ultimately easy to do.

General Tab:
Same as General Tab in Categories. Add product description and Meta Tags.

Data tab:

Model: internal name that identifies the product on your system. Must be different for every product and may be displayed by some themes.
SKU, UPC, EAN, JAN, ISBN and MPN are product codes in different industry standards. These fields actually aren’t useful and should be left blank.
Location: Physical product location, used for stores with multiple magazines – for a single store also leave this field blank.
Price: Product price in default currency.
Tax class: Only applies to products with defined several tax classes. Typical stores don’t use tax classes so leave this default.
Quantity: Product quantity available in stock.
Minimum quantity: You set the minimum quantity of the product that that you sell to one customer. If you don’t want to set minimums, just leave this as it is.
Subtract stock: By default it’s set to “Yes”, and that means that every purchase subtracts number of products from stock. Select “No” only when you are selling digital products, such as e-books or software that sold as downloads.
Requires Shipping: Set to “Yes” by default, which means that the product requires shipping. Select “No”, only if you are selling a digital product.
SEO Keyword: As in Categories this is not a Keywords Meta Tag, but SEO friendly URL. It should consist of a category name with words separated by dashes, without special characters.
Image: Product photo.
Dimensions, weight and size class: by default, generally unused. Most online stores provides these data in description anyways. You would use this only in case if you are charging for shipping based on one of these parameteres.
Sort order: Order in the list of products.
Status:  Product can be enabled or disabled to hide it in store front-end and make it inacessible for purchase.

Links Tab:
Here you can bind products to previously defined categories and also to manufacturers.

Attributes Tab:
You can add here the products attributes like additional features such as color. Due to the fact that the characteristics of the product are described in the description, this tab also usually remains empty. Attributes are displayed below product description on product page.

The Option Tab:
If you have products with different variants, for example clothing with different sizes chosen by customer you will define it here. Define type of product options in Catalog -> Options.

Discount and Special Tabs: These are discounts and special tabs which allows you to define Special offers and temporary lower price for selected product. It is very powerful tool for making sales.

Image tab allows you to add additional photos. Use it, if your product has more than one photo.

Bookmark Reward Points:
Allows you to assign a loyalty points to the product. If you don’t have a loyalty program in a store, leave it blank.

Design Tab:
Here you can assign a category to the individual layout. By default, don’t change anything here.


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