VirtueMart is absolutely huge. By some counts, it stands second in popularity amongst all eCommerce platforms.
Right now the VirtueMart team is getting ready to launch VirtueMart Version 2.0 for Joomla 1.7. So this is a great opportunity to give you an introductory tutorial.
VirtueMart comes with a lot of flexibility and there are also many additional extensions available. Get started with the following tutorial. Afterwards you can move on to more advanced features and extensions with confidence.
Getting Started with Virtuemart
VirtueMart comes with some sample data. One of the best ways to get a quick start on using VirtueMart is to set up a development site with the sample data, and start modifying it. In the process of making changes you will learn how to maneuver through the admin, and set up shop. In addition to installation, we'll cover:
VirtueMart is full of details and options. This will give you a good foundation of skills you need. Since VM 2.0 is so new, there are still many features that need to be developed, and will be available in the coming months. If you learn these basics you'll be able to take advantage of the full power of VM 2.0 as it's released.
Step 1. ACTION: Download, uncompress
To find this version from http://virtuemart.net go to Downloads > other downloads or go directly to this URL http://dev.virtuemart.net/projects/virtuemart/files.
Be sure to download the newest version which is at the bottom of the list. They are alphabetical so the order is determined by the last letter in the version name. If there is a newer version when you read this, it will be there. If 2.0 is officially released you will be able to download it from the main URL http://virtuemart.net.
Notice in the name of the VirtueMart download that it says _extract_first - after you download it you will need to uncompress the file on your local computer or your server. You will see two more zipped directories.
After you uncompress the original file, upload and install com_virtuemart.1.9.8k.zip.
Repeat the procedure for com_virtuemart_ext_aio,1.9.8k.zip
The first one is the Virtuemart shopping cart itself, the second is a bundle of extensions and modules to enhance it. The aio in the name stands for All In One Installer (AIO).
Step 2. ACTION: Install
Go to Extensions > Extension Manager > Browse for the file > Click Upload & Install
When you get to the confirmation page, it will ask if you want to install Sample Data. Install the Sample Data.
Repeat the process and upload the AIO
2a. RESULT: The installed modules
You will see these modules automatically installed and enabled in your Modules Manager.
2b. RESULT: The installed plugins
These plug-ins will be automatically installed and enabled. You don't have to go to the Module Manager unless you want to change the position of a module, configure it or disable it. You don't need to visit the plug-in manager unless you need to disable it. There are no configurable parameters for any of the plug-ins.
Step 3. ACTION: Create a Menu Item
Go to Menus > Main Menu > Add New Menu Item.
Your front page will show you a warning that you must create a menu item before the cart will be accessible. So do this first.
3a. CONFIGURE: Name and Select
3b. CONFIGURE: Complete Selection
Under Virtue Mart click VirtueMart Default Layout.
You could pick Categories Layout or Category Layout if it suits you or you are creating a specific link. The default layout will create a "Store Front".
3c. RESULT: The store front with sample data installed.
To View the store go to your home page and click the menu link you just created.
You will notice that all the modules that were installed now show on the site. You can modify and configure these in the Module Manager.
The page divisions show products and create sections on the store front.
Step 4. ACTION: Start modifyng the company information
Go to Components > Virtuemart
Step 5. CONFIGURE: Modify Vendor Information
Change the shop name and company name to yours.
The default will be set to Euros. To change the default currency, select a different one from the drop down menu.
Step 6. CONFIGURE: Modify the base currency and other accepted currencies
Use the dropdown to change the base currency.
I've changed the default currency to United States dollar, now all the prices will show with a dollar sign in the cart.
One of the modules you uploaded was a currency chooser. The user, while viewing the store, can use it to switch to any other currency you've approved. If you want to add or delete any other currencies use the List of accepted currencies field.
6a. CONFIGURE: Choose other currencies
Place the cursor in the field and a selection menu will appear. You can click the x next to the ones that were added by default to delete them, or add one by clicking on the list selection.
6b. RESULT: Your currency section should like this
For the currency selector to work, you will need to add the base currency to the list of accepted currencies. If you don't the currency selector on the front end won't show the option for the customer.
If you only are going to use one type, you can leave the List of accepted currencies field blank, and just set the main currency.
Step 7. ACTION: Change the logo image
7a. REPEAT: For thumbnail
I found I had to repeat this step to generate and replace the thumbnail.
Step 8. CONFIGURE: Change the Vendor Additional Information
The fields indicated with an asterisk and a blue background must be filled in or you will not be able to save your changes. If you were starting the store from scratch instead of using sample data, all these fields would be empty and you would need to make this the first task on your list before you could change anything on the other tabs.
Step 9. ACTION: Enable Payment Methods
On the VirtuMart Menu go to Shop > Payment Methods.
When you get there you will see a mostly blank page.
9b. CONFIGURE: Add new
9c. CONFIGURE: Choose method
REPEAT: If you are going to use PayPal in addition to VM - Payment, Standard, repeat this step and choose Paypal this time.
At this time there are only two payment methods available for VM2.0 We expect to see many more in the near future. You can get some plug-ins now from the JED for specific gateways, and several are on the road map for the VirtueMart development project, but no set release times. Eventually there will be many choices for you here.
Step 10. ACTION: Publish the payment methods
Now that they are enabled you will see them on the Payment Method List.
10a. CONFIGURATION: Switch tabs
Choose the Configuration tab.
Edit the Parameters.
Be sure to save.
If you are going to use Payment Method logos, you will need to create folder using the Media Manager, or FTP, in this location
Step 11. ACTION: Enable the shipping methods
You will see another blank page similar to the one for payment methods. The procedure for adding shipping is similar to adding payment methods.
11a. CONFIGURE: Choose method
There is only one shipping method at this time More are in the works.
11b. CONFIGURE: Configure the shipper
If you are going to use a logo, you will first need to create the folder for the images at:
The next item you could configure at this stage would be taxes.That's a big topic and deserves its own tutorial. There are sample tax structures set up now which we can use for the rest of the tutorial. We've adjusted and enabled all the basics, now let's get on to what most people want to do first. Change the way things look.
Step 12. ACTION: Modify the Store Description
When we installed the sample data a default store description was installed. We can change this to our own description.
12a. CONFIGURE: Navigate to shop
It should look familiar, we've been here before. We just need to scroll down to find it.
12b - CONFIGURE: Edit the content
You should edit the terms of service even if you aren't going to use them. Leaving this without change generates a message that you haven't yet edited the terms. The only way to stop it is to obey.
12c - RESULTS: The new introduction on the shopfront
Here's what our modified store front looks like. It has a new introduction. If you don't want to show the introduction, and you don't want all these products and sections to display on the home page, you can can modify the display in the Configuration section.
Step 13. ACTION: Modify the store front layout
The first thing you see is the Shopfront Settings. You can actually choose a template different from your default Joomla template just for the shop.
13a. CONFIGURE: Choose the layout for the home page
From the drop down you can choose:
Let's leave it at default for now. But if you want to experiment, make a choice and save the change, then preview. You can always change it back
13b. CONFIGURE: Change the visible sections
The default setting has your shopfront showing different products grouped in sections.
You can turn these on and off by selecting or un selecting the check box for each one.
13c. RESULT: the modified shopfront.
Here I am using the default layout, and only have the Featured Products enabled. I changed the number of products per column to 5 (it was 3).
The customer now sees
By choosing different combinations on the templates tab you can customize your store front within certain limits. No need for any coding or CSS.
Now that the front page is under control, let's take a look at the products.
Step 14. ACTION: Modify the products
When you look at the short listing on the shopfront, you notice right away that there is an incredibly confusing array of prices. We need to fix that. So let's go to Pricing tab in the Configuration section.
14a. CONFIGURE: Enable and disable unwanted prices
Click Pricing and you will see check boxes for showing or not showing the prices. Un check the ones you don't want to show. The Show Column controls the actual numbers. The Show Label column controls the label like "Salesprice without tax".
14c. RESULT: The modified products on the shopfront
Here are the same products with the both columns checked next to "Final salesprice" and everything else unchecked.
RESULT: Final shopfront display
So here is the final store front showing my choices.
The shopfront shows:
Shipping and payment are activated, so you should be able to place a test order at this point. There are lots of other tweaks and modifications you will want to make as you get more experienced. This tutorial was designed just to get your feet wet.
We're still waiting for some more payment and shipping modules, and there are quite few new design features that we will be discussing in future tutorials. If you have a topic you want covered, we do write tutorials on request for our active students. Just ask.
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