Hosting Tutorial & Guide

How to Build eCommerce Website Using Zen Cart

updated on Aug 05, 2015
How to Build eCommerce Website Using Zen Cart The tutorial helps people build an eCommerce website from scratch using Zen Cart step by step, without any technical knowledge and programming skills.

Zen Cart is web-based online shopping cart management software, providing the capabilities to manage product catalog, orders, vendors, customers, coupon codes, shipping, essential eCommerce operation reports, etc. Instead of signing up a store on Amazon or eBaby, you can make use of Zen Cart to build a reputation of your brand and grow the sales besides the current selling channel.

Why Build eCommerce Website?

Usually, Amazon comes into the people's mind when they talk about eCommerce. It's not realistic to get that size from scratch in a short period. Having an online store on eBay is a quicker way, but it's not your brand and improves your business impressions as eBay is a C2C market.

The branded eCommerce shall be considered as a main way to build the reputation of brand, and an alternative approach to grow the sales besides the current selling channel. There are many successful examples including the well-known retailers like Levi's, Nike, Lenovo, Life's DHA, etc.

Having an eCommerce website is not a complicated technical work right now. Many web hosts like InMotion Hosting offer eCommerce web hosting solution which includes everything required for individuals and small businesses to start selling online from scratch at an affordable price around $5/mo only. The solution includes shared web hosting, FREE eCommerce software, and a few eCommerce website templates.

As InMotion is awarded as the best business web hosting, this tutorial guides you complete the process by choosing their Launch web hosting plan at $3.49/mo. The table below includes some other good options.


Step 1. Choose Domain Name

A domain name is an identifier of website over the Internet like Amazon.com. You can name the domain by your business niche, company name, product name, service name, or business targeting region. Hope you can learn from the following domain name examples.
  1. If you intend to sell flowers in San Francisco, these may be the best domain names for you: SanFranciscoFlowerStore.com, SanFranciscoFlowerOnline.com, or SFFlowerStore.com.
  2. If you're an agent reselling PC monitors in US, these may be the best domain names for you: BestPCMonitor.us, BestLCDMonitor.us, or DiscountPCMonitor.us.
  3. If you're providing a service to help people write articles worldwide over the Internet, these may be the best domain names for you: BudgetArticleWriting.com, BestArticleWriter.com, or ArticleWriting360.com.

Read the tutorial How to Choose Domain Name for more information and ideas.

Step 2. Install & Activate Zen Cart

You will get a web hosting account and control panel access entry via email after signing up with InMotion. Log into the cPanel, find Fantastico Deluxe inner of the section Software/Services, and click Zen Cart at the left navigation menu of Fantastico DeLuxe to get the installation. The whole process is quite simple that you only need to click links and Next buttons, and fill the eCommerce website administrator username and password.

You will get a web hosting account and control panel access entry via email after signing up with InMotion. Log into the cPanel, find Fantastico Deluxe inner of the section Software/Services, and click Zen Cart at the left navigation menu of Fantastico DeLuxe to get the installation. The whole process is quite simple that you only need to click links and Next buttons, and fill the eCommerce website administrator username and password.

Eventually, you will get the eCommerce website launched with your domain and brand as the following screenshot. This is the default template of a Zen Cart website. You can customize the website by using stylish eCommerce themes.
eCommerce Website

Step 3. Online Store Management

Zen Cart administration web entry: //[Your Domain Name]/zc_admin/
Zen Cart provides a straight-forward navigation menu for people to get started easily. It includes the capabilities of managing product catalog, orders, vendors, customers, coupon codes, shipping, essential eCommerce operation reports.

Zen Cart Administration

If you like having a printed manual to help guide you, and have some extra money, take a look at this book "e-Start Your Web Store With Zen Cart" is a nice way to get started. It's written in a step-by-step manner and accompanied with numerous screen shots, resolving you speed up
  1. Organizing your product catalog clearly.
  2. Setting up different online and offline payment options to simplify purchases for customers.
  3. Setting up multiple shipping options to meet the delivery demands of customers.
  4. Using reports and statistics to measure your online store performance and stock levels.
  5. ... and much, much more.

Step 4. Customize eCommerce Website

I'm pretty sure that you don't want to keep your online store looking like the same as the default theme. Your online store can be much more beautiful than the default one, as the following screenshot of some successful websites built on Zen Cart.

Zen Cart Administration

You can find about 132 FREE Zen Cart website templates at Zen Cart official website. Alternatively, there are many design websites providing Zen Cart templates, like www.templatemela.com.