How to optimize Zen Cart templates to increase sales from your store

Written by  May 7, 2007


After looking high and low for what seemed to be “an eternity”, for an open source e-commerce shopping cart that was not only reliable, but offered enough flexibility to allow change, ZenCart was the hands down winner.

I have been working with this cart for over 2 years now, and through that short time, have seen it go through a number of alterations. Each revision progressivly built upon the last, and each made the cart stronger from a “technical” standpoint. Currently the most recent release as of this post is 1.3.x.

Zen Cart alone (what I call “out-of-the-box” Zen) is one extremely powerful cart – from a structural and technological perspective. “Out-of-the-box”, Zen Cart by itself, can produce some ok results (I’m talking sales here).

However, to REALLY get Zen to perform (from a sales perspective), the focus also has to be on the “Customer Experience” side of the equation (not just the “technical” side which is already solid). To get Zen Cart to “sell” you need to answer the question: “How do my customers perceive my site when they arrive, and how can I implement proven best practices to give them “what they want”, “when they want it”, and “get them out the door easily” (complete the entire checkout process). Sounds easy enough right? WRONG!

Read my previous post titled “The Online Customer Experience” to learn more about the various parts that make up a website that “works”, and how they all tie together to ultimately make your site produce more sales.

There is a lot that goes into actually applying these principles. Starting with multiple tracking systems that need to be in place (you ARE measuring your website’s conversion aren’t you! If not, don’t worry, I’ll show you why you NEED to measure it in order to put Zen on “steroids”) from follow-up newsletters and autoresponders, to proper navigation, to ease of use, to customer retention systems, and more…

I’ll continually post new and proven tactics (including samples) to this blog which will all revolve around “How you can transform Zen Cart into not only one of the most powerful open source e-commerce shopping carts today, but how that transformation will produce superior sales results for your business“.

From the “must have” 3rd party add-on modules (modules that actually can increase your sales) to the best “layouts” for achieving optimal sales performance.
Stay tuned ….

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