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The Top 10 Free Zen Cart Modules

If you are new to the world of Zen Cart or just looking for ways to improve your website as cheaply as possible, there are a number of free modules that will greatly improve performance, conversions, and customer satisfaction from the default Zen Cart platform.

This top 10 list is in no way an exhaustive list and is based solely on my experience as a web developer of Zen Cart websites and modules.  It should be noted that every Zen Cart store is different and therefore has different needs.  Therefore, this list is focusing on general modules that most stores will find useful.

And so the list begins:

1. Google Base Feeder

Author: Numinix
Download
: https://www.numinix.com/zen-cart-modules/marketing/google-base-feeder
What does this module do?

It automatically creates a feed of all of your products and submits them to Google Product Search where customers can find the products and go to your website to complete the purchase.
Why is this one of the best mods?

FREE HIGHLY RELEVANT TRAFFIC!  This is the next best thing to regular organic traffic as it sends potential customers directly from Google search results to the product they are looking to buy.  Best of all, once you set up the module and configure a cron job to automatically create the feed, you can set Google to automatically crawl the feed on a set interval.  In other words, once you set this up, it just keeps on generating free relevant traffic day after day.  Every store should be using this module from day one of launching their store.

2. Recover Cart Sales

Author: Various
Download: http://www.zen-cart.com/index.php?main_page=product_contrib_info&products_id=100
What does this module do?

It creates an admin page where you can see all of the customer accounts that have items in their cart but have not yet completed a purchase. The admin can then select each of the customer’s and send them a follow up email to find out why the customer did not complete the purchase and possibly complete the sale.  It includes a nice little report so that you can review all of the abandoned shopping carts that were successfully recovered.
Why is this one of the best mods?

This module plays a number of very vital roles.  Firstly, it let’s you know how many customers are completing the registration process but not completing the checkout.  A high number of abandoned carts relative to your websites traffic could point to another problem than just a customer changing their mind.  Which brings us to the second reason this module is so vital, it allows you to gain valuable feedback from customers who didn’t complete their order.  If they respond to the recover cart email they may provide valuable information for fixing problems on your website or improving the customer experience on your website.  And of course, the most obvious advantage of this module is that it can help you retain sales that you normally would have lost.  I recommend including a coupon code with the email as it will increase the likelihood that the customer will return or respond with feedback.

3. Mailbeez Aftersale Email Module

Author: MailBeez
Download: http://www.mailbeez.com/
What does this module do?

It creates a framework that executes a daily cron job to send out emails automatically to customers who have previously completed a purchase.  It supports many sub-modules including the Winback Customer Reactivation module that automatically sends an email to customers after X number of days since their last purchase.
Why is this one of the best mods?

It allows you to stay in constant contact with your customers.  Every customer who orders will be sent an email after a pre-defined time has passed since their order.  For example, you could set the module to send the customer a come back offer and with a coupon code 60 days after their last purchase.  I’ve seen this email marketing system on major ecommerce websites and it is very effective.

4. Sitemaps XML

Author: Andrew Berezin
Download: http://www.zen-cart.com/index.php?main_page=product_contrib_info&products_id=544
What does this module do?

It creates an XML sitemap for easy indexing by search engines and automatically pings the major search engines (Google, Yahoo!, MSN, Live, and Ask) to let them know an updated version of the sitemap is ready for download.  The module runs on a daily cron job so that you never have to worry about it once you set it up.  The sitemap includes products, categories, EZ pages, reviews, and testimonials.
Why is this one of the best mods?

This is really a no brainer.  Anything that helps search engines better index your website is a good thing.  The fact this module runs on its own makes it even better.  Make sure to add sitemapindex.xml to your robots.txt file so that all of the other search engines will easily find the site maps when they are crawling your website.

5. Simple Google Analytics

Author: Econcepts
Download: http://www.zencartoptimization.com/downloads/
What does this module do?

It adds the Google Analytics tracking code quickly and easily to your Zen Cart store so that data can be collected and reviewed in Google Analytics.  If you don’t know what Google Analytics is, you have been missing out on one of the most important tools in web development.  Learn more about Google Analytics from Google.
Why is this one of the best mods?

Knowing how your Zen Cart store is performing page by page, customer to customer, day to day, month to month, ok you get the point.  This module connects you to Google Analytics where you can analyze all of the important data you need to make important business and marketing decisions.  Are you spending too much on a banner advertisement compared to the sales generated?  What is your top performing landing page?  Are people having problems on a certain page in your checkout process?  What is your conversion rate?  These are the simple questions that Google Analytics can answer quickly and accurately.

6. Fast and Easy Checkout

Author: Numinix
Download: https://www.numinix.com/zen-cart-modules/checkout/fast-and-easy-checkout-for-zen-cart
What does this module do?

Our most popular contribution to Zen Cart revamps the simple checkout system built into Zen Cart by combining multiple pages into a single checkout page.  This mod uses JavaScript to reload the page when the customer makes selections to shipping, uses a coupon code, etc. and displays the updated order total on the refreshed screen.  It also has a one page checkout feature where the confirmation screen is skipped and the payment is processed.
Why is this one of the best mods?

Simplifying the checkout for the customer by reducing the number of clicks and pages increases the likelihood that the customer will complete their purchase.  This module comes with many other features like changing/adding an address from right within the checkout, a checkout without account option, and the ability to accept an alternate shipping address during the registration process.  All of these features were created with the goal of increasing conversion rates, and that’s exactly what this module achieves.

7. CSS JS Loader

Author: Rubik Integration
Download: http://blog.rubikintegration.com/2009/08/08/zencart-css-javascript-loader-released/
What does this module do?

This module adds the ability to load stylesheets and JavaScript files based on rules, in a defined order, and on specific pages without having to copy the file into each individual Zen Cart page folder.   The mod also includes a minify option for compressing scripts and stylesheets.
Why is this one of the best mods?

Zen Cart mods that use this system for loading files benefit from better control and less duplicate loading of files. Combine this with the minify option and you will drastically decrease the number of objects that are downloaded on each page of the store. This means that pages load faster for the customer and there is less load on the server to serve multiple CSS and JavaScript files as it serves these files in a single “minified” file.  This is a great optimization tool that every website should be using.

8. Simple SEO URLs

Author: Rubik Integration
Download: http://simple-seo-url.com/
What does this module do?

This is a search engine friendly URL rewriter.  It takes the default PHP URLs and rewrites them using product, category, and page names.
Why is this one of the best mods?

Rewriting URLs using words instead of parameters and numbers increases keyword density for search engines, thus the reason they are called SEO URLs, and also makes URLs easier to read and remember by non-robot visitors like you and me.  The great thing about this module compared to other options is that this module is free and open source.  You can drop this mod into your website at any time and not worry about losing backlinks to your website because all of the PHP URLs will automatically forward to the new SEF URLs.

9. Image Handler 2

Author: Various
Download: http://www.zen-cart.com/index.php?main_page=product_contrib_info&products_id=117
What does this module do?

It resizes and compresses images on the fly and then caches the created images for quick retrieval.
Why is this one of the best mods?

This mod will not only drastically decrease the load on your server for serving images, it will also take away the tedious work of creating each size image and optimizing the image quality.  Adding additional images to your products is also easy through the admin interface.  Configure the module to use Image Magick for the best quality and compression.

10. Store Credit and Reward Points

Author: Numinix and Rubik Integration
Download: https://www.numinix.com/zen-cart-modules/taxes-order-totals/store-credit-and-rewards-points
What does this module do?

This module is a rewrite of the original Store Credit module with an optional reward points feature.  Store owners can give customers store credit to be used during the checkout against purchases just like cash.  Reward points can be awarded on eligible purchases and credited to the customer’s store credit account.  Store owners can set different ratios for rewards based on category and even restrict rewards from being used or collected in specific categories.  For an order to be eligible for reward points, the store owner can set rules such as a specific order status that must be met (i.e. Delivered) and a timeframe that must pass before the order is eligible (i.e. 30 days or your return policy).  Orders that are cancelled or removed are automatically removed from the pending rewards or debited from the customer’s store credit account.  This module works best on ZC 1.3.9 where bugs to the PayPal payment modules have been corrected.
Why is this one of the best mods?

Not only does this module offer store owners an alternative refund method, it also gives customers incentives for continuing to shop in your store and collect reward points.  Best of all, once you setup the reward points system and set it on a cron job for awarding the store credit, the module will run automatically in the background of your website!

And those are our top ten picks for free modules for Zen Cart that any store type can use. If you’d like to add to this list, please comment below and I will even consider extending the list to the top 20 Zen Cart modules.  Be sure to include how you use the module and your reasoning for why all stores should be using it.  Thanks for reading.

5 thoughts on “The Top 10 Free Zen Cart Modules




  1. Pingback: The Mailbeez osCommerce Customer Referral Module | MailBeez Automatic Trigger Email Marketing Campaigns

  2. Pingback: The Mailbeez Zen Cart Customer Referral Module | MailBeez Automatic Trigger Email Marketing Campaigns

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