ECT Hosted Store > Getting acquainted with the control panel in the ECT Hosted Store

The store control panel in the ECT Hosted Store

The store control panel is where you will administer all the functions of your store and we recommend reading through the summary here of each page and how it works before diving into the individual pages to make changes.

Store admin

Orders admin

Product admin

Shipping admin

Store admin

The location of your admin control panel is "vsadmin/admin.php". So for instance if your store is at...
...your control panel will be at...

The default login for the store control panel is...

User: mystore
Password: changeme

You can change that at any time under Store Admin > Change Password


The dashboard provides a summary of the sales and sign ups on your store. It will highlight the number of sales in the current day as well as new gift certificate purchases, affiliate sign ups, reviews submitted, new client login accounts created and mailing list sign up from the past two weeks. There is also a summary of the last 30 days of order stats, best sellers in that time period and highest spending customers.

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Main settings

This is one of the key admin pages where you can stipulate some key information regarding the functionality of the store.

The country setting will also correspond to the currency used on the store so UK users for example choosing United Kingdom will automatically show pricing in Pounds Sterling. You can set the number of products per page on your product store display as well as choosing a default ordering. Sect when you would like to receive email notifications and which email these should be sent to.

The product filter bar at the top of the products page is optional. Choose your shipping and handling preferences and whether you want to enable stock management. If you want to display alternative currencies as a guide to exchange rate prices, choose those here and if you want to turn off your store, use the Vacation setting.

More information is available in the main settings help page.

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Store design

The store design admin page is where you can set the theme that you want to use on the store, this can be changed at any time. You can also add your own logo here as well as formatting the menus and colors to be used in the design. There is also the opportunity to add a mini cart and / or mini login box in the left hand sidebar. You can define which elements and in which order you want items to appear on the product, detail. quick buy and cross selling displays. This is also where you can add new non-store pages as well as editing ones that already exist.

More information is available in the admin design help page.

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Store parameters

This is the page you would want to visit to fine tune the settings on your store. From design and display tweaks to shipping and tax settings, check through all the available features here to get the most out of your store.

More information is available in the admin parameters help page.

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Change password

If you need to change the password to the store admin, this is where you would carry that out. You can also set up extra store admin user accounts by clicking on the button "New Secondary Login". Provide the user with a user name and password and then grant permissions for which admin pages that user will be able to view and make changes to.

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The affiliate program allows your affiliates to link to your store and receive commission on the sales generated. To turn on the feature first of all you will need to enable the affiliate page in the admin parameters area. This will enable the affiliate page on your site where people can sign in, create an account and view their affiliate generated sales. The amount you decide to pay out as commission is completely up to you as is the payment method.

The affiliate would need to set up a link pointing to any of your store pages in the format

When somebody clicks on the link a cookie is set which is valid for thirty days. If a purchase is made within that time period the affiliate will receive notification and the sale amount is recorded in the admin affiliate page and there will be an affiliate id registered in the orders admin page.

You may want to set up an extra page outlining the benefits, terms and procedures for setting up an affiliate account on your store.

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Email messages

All emails automatically sent out by the store are editable here. You can also edit the header and footer of the confirmation thanks page and the packing slip and invoice footers and headers.

The fields will accept HTML so you can format the displays how you like. There is also dynamic replacement text so you can choose to show things like the customer name, order id, order date etc depending on the type of email.

More information is available in the admin email messages help page.

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Mailing list

This is the admin page for the store mailing list feature. To turn on the ability for customers to sign up to your newsletter go to the admin parameters page and make sure the box is unchecked for "Remove the mailing list option from checkout and new account signups.". When a new customer signs up you will see that highlighted in the dashboard. If you have a Mailchimp account you can synch the mailing lists between your store database and MailChimp.

More information is available in the admin mailing list help page.

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IP blocking

If you need to block someone using a particular or range of IP numbers then you can set them up here. Use this function sparingly so as not to block legitimate users. Visitors who are blocked will not be able to complete the checkout process.

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Orders admin

View orders

The admin orders page allows you to view, filter and manage the orders as they come in. The main page will display the day's orders, and you can use the date picker to choose a different date range. You can also download the orders to a csv file which can be opened up in a program like Excel if you need to. Orders showing in red are incomplete orders and you shouldn't ship until at the very least you have checked with your payment provider just in case payment did go through but the customer experienced some sort of difficulty in getting back to your store. There is an abandoned cart feature where you can contact users who didn't complete the checkout process.

You can change the order status from the drop down menu on the right of the screen and choose to notify users by email when the status changes by checking the box next to the Update button and then changing the status. In that drop down you can also add a tracking number and / or invoice number rather than having to open up each order individually.

From this screen you can also manually create a new order or edit an existing one.

More information is available in the admin orders help page.

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Payment providers

You can enable one or more payment provider from the list here. Customers can choose on checkout how they want to pay. The Email and Email 2 options are typically used for methods such as bank transfer, cash on demand or account payments. No actual payment processing takes effect so it's up to you and the customer to decide how the payment will be made. Each payment provider has an editable header and footer so you can add any specific information to the mail email they receive from the store on purchase.

You can put most payment providers in demo mode and they will then show in red in the list. If you are offering multiple payment options you can set the order they should appear on checkout by using the drop down numbering under the Order column.

This is the list of available payment providers with a link to their respective help pages.

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Client login

To turn on the client login feature you will need to go to the admin parameters page and select "Do you want to enable the customer login system, enabling customers to create accounts." You can then choose in the same location whether you want to force people to log into their account to check out or whether they can create their own account or not.

The customer account mean that clients can log into their account to check their past orders, manage their address preferences and pass through checkout without having to enter their billing / shipping preferences. A store owner can optionally provide wholesale pricing for logged in customers, percentage discounts as well as free shipping or tax exempt options. It is also possible to restrict the viewing of particular categories depending on their login level or enable a particular payment provider.

Customers with an account can also use the wish list / gift registry feature if that has been enabled in the admin parameters page as well as the ability to redeem loyalty points accrued from previous purchases.

More information is available in the admin client login help page.

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Order status

When an order comes in it will logically be displayed with the status of "new order" in the admin orders page. As it goes through processing you can modify the order status, and optionally notify the customer of any changes in that status. The email sent to customers when the status changes can be edited in the email messaging admin page. Customers can also view the status of their order online by visiting the orderstatus page and entering their order id and email address.

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Gift certificates

To turn on the gift certificate feature you will need to go to the admin parameters page and that will enable the gift certificate form on your site for you to link to.

When a customer purchases a gift certificate the recipient receives an email with their unique code that can be redeemed on checkout. If the purchase amount is less than the value of the gift certificate, the remaining balance will be still be recorded and redeemable - if it greater they will only be charged the difference. It is also possible to set up gift certificates manually via the gift certificate admin page.

More information is available in the admin gift certificate help page.

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Order stats

The order stats page is where you can view and filter your store's performance over time. Choose to filter by time, category, payment method, product id, product name, affiliate, state and country. The results can be shown as raw totals or with graphical representations.

More information is available in the admin order stats help page.

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Product admin


The product admin page is where you can add all the product information as well as the ability to download csv file of your inventory.

The initial install comes with some sample products so you can view how those are set up before getting started yourself. The only required fields are the product reference, product name, price and section. For that reason it's probably a good idea to set up some categories before adding products.

The product name will be used in the URL of the product detail page so choose that carefully and it is probably best to avoid non alpha-numeric characters. You can have as many product images per product as you like. The small image will appear on the product page, the large image on the detail page and the giant image in a gallery format linked from those pages.

Use the Quick Entry drop down menu to update the product characteristics without having to go page by page.

You can add title and meta description content on a page by page basis or use the dynamic feature in the admin parameters page.

More information is available in the admin products help page.

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Product options

These are like product modifiers so typically where a product has various variables like color, size or whatever they can be defined here and then assigned to the product via the product admin page.

Product options can be displayed as drop down menus or radio buttons. You can also have a text entry input, including a calendar pop up as well as a multiple purchase options where you can specify the number of each option that should be bought as part of the product.

Options can vary the price or weight of the final product. You can also charge per character or as a multiplier if you are selling by the length of an item for example..

More information is available in the admin product options help page.

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Categories or sections allow you to classify or group your products together. There are basically two types of category, those that can contain sub-categories and those that can contain products. You can assign an image and description to each category as well as defining a header to introduce the section.

You can add title and meta description content on a category by category basis or use the dynamic feature in the admin parameters page.

More information is available in the admin categories help page.

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This is where you can define the discounts and coupons you want to share with your orders. Discounts or coupons can be set globally, per product / category and with an optional threshold of amount spent or quantity purchased. They can be a fixed rate or a percentage and can be set to repeat with every "x" bought. You can set how many are available and how many days the offer is available for. They can be set only for customers with a particular log in level from the customer account feature.

Please note that free shipping is also a discount (or coupon) and it would need setting up here before defining which countries / shipping methods it should apply to. It is a global setting but individual products can be made free shipping exempt.

More information is available in the admin discounts help page.

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Product attributes

Product attributes are a way of grouping products together depending on the criteria you define. These attributes are available in the product filter bar and search page so customers can choose to filter by the attribute they are interested in. You may for example want to group products by their condition - used, new etc or by color. This is also where you can set up the manufacturers or brands.

The attributes are assigned to products in the product admin page and you can turn on the filtering in the main admin settings page.

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Quantity pricing

Quantity or tiered pricing allows you to provide special pricing depending on the number of the same item purchased. So for example you might offer widgets for sale at $10 each but if they buy five or more the price drops to $8 each. You can set a fixed price for quantity or a percentage price.

If you want to display this special pricing on the product or detail pages, select Quantity Pricing in the Page Elements section of the admin design page.

You can also enter the quantity pricing in the admin products page.

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Ratings & reviews

You can display customer reviews by selecting that option in the Product Detail section of the Page Elements in the admin design page. It is also possible to show the ratings on the product page. In the admin parameters page you can stipulate that only logged in customers can leave a review and rating.

Once a review has been submitted it will need to be approved (or deleted) via the admin page.

More information is available in the admin reviews help page.

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CSV file upload

On this page you can upload a comma delimited file of your products and product images. Choose "Add to database" if you are adding new products or "Modify database" if you are uploading existing products which have been changed. Don't mix the two. The only required field is the product id and to obtain a full list of all the columns available go to the product admin page and choose "Product Inventory" from the Select Action drop down menu. This will give you a csv file of all the products on your store which can be opened up in Excel or similar programs.

It is advisable to keep the csv files relatively small ie up to around 5000 products

More information is available in the admin csv file upload help page.

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Shipping admin


If you open the admin states page you'll see the list of states / counties / provinces that correspond to the country in your main admin settings page. You can disable any states that you don't want to ship to. You can also set a tax rate per state if applicable. The FSA column is for free shipping (FSA = Free Shipping Applies) and is used in conjunction with the free shipping discount in the admin discounts page.

You can choose to display states from other countries you ship to when that country is selected on checkout. Choose yes to "Load States" to enable that feature.

More information is available in the admin states help page.

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This is where you can define which countries you ship to and will therefore be those that appear on checkout. Again you can set any tax rates here that apply to particular countries as well as if free shipping is available (FSA). The Postal Zones column is used in conjunction with weight / price based shipping - it can be ignored if you are using online carriers like USPS, UPS, FedEx, DHL, Canada Post or Australia Post. If using weight / price based shipping assign the zones you defined in the admin zones page to the countries in the list.

More information is available in the admin countries help page.

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Postal zones

The settings in the postal zones admin page only apply to your own weight or price based shipping - they are not used by any of the online carriers. You can choose the split the zones by State if required. Define a zone, eg USA and then click on Edit Rules. Set the number of shipping methods you want to support eg Next Day, Standard, Express or whatever and then set values that correspond to the weight or price of the order and how much the shipping should cost. When you have finished setting up your rules, remember to go the admin countries / admin sates page and assign the zones there in the Postal Zones column.

More information is available in the admin postal zones help page.

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Shipping methods

This is where you can configure the shipping methods you defined for your store in the main admin settings page. If you are using one of the online carriers you will need to register with them and then choose Shipping Method to select which of their shipping services you want to support on your store.

Remember it is possible to support more than one shipping carrier and there are some settings and tweaks available in the admin parameters page.

More information is available in the admin shipping help page.

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Drop shippers

The drop shipper feature allows you to send email notification to a manufacturer, designer, dropshipper or whoever you need to notify of an order. The email is sent automatically for authorized orders and can be formatted in the email messaging page. Once you have set up your drop shippers you can assign them to particular products in the product admin page.

More information is available in the admin drop shipping help page.

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