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Free Material

bridge3196bridge3196 Member
in General edited May 2008
This might be a silly question and you'll need to excuse me as I am extremely new to the shopping cart & PayPal arena. Anyway, a non-profit I do work for produces a lot of publications that they offer to the public at no charge (state funding).

This is sort of what we're looking to do. For example: They would like to list, say, 10 articles, available in both English & Spanish, that are available. They want to give the customer the ability to specify the quantity and language. So far, I know how this can be accomplished. The question I have is that they would like the customer to be able to add these items to the shopping cart, but not have a $ value assigned, or have the value be $0.00. They want to collect the customers info (Name, mailing address, etc) BUT not have to input any credit card info. They would just like to receive the request. They do offer items that are not free and hold various conferences at all cost $, which the cart is perfect for.

I hope I am asking this question correctly. Basically, they want to add items that are free, skip the CC processing and just receive the publications order.

Many thanks.
  • brettbrett FoxyCart Team
    You know, we had discussions way back when about this need, and we built in the ability to have a cart at $0, so what you're describing is possible.

    It _should_ replace the payment info with a "no payment necessary" message as well, so go ahead and give it a try to see if it's what you need.
  • bushybushy Member
    edited May 2008
    Why would you even need to use a cart for this? Wouldn't it make more sense to make the free docs available from a downloads page that requires a user account login to access? Do that and you'll be able to accomplish everything you want: collect customer info and track who is downloading what and in what quantity. IMHO, trying to do this with a shopping cart is like using a butter knife as a screwdriver; yes, it can be made to work but it's not really the right tool for the job.
  • brettbrett FoxyCart Team
    That's actually kind of what Luke thought when we were initially discussing it. You're totally right, Bushy, but there are times when a $0 transaction does actually make sense, or when it makes sense to use existing cart infrastructure to handle free items.

    I work with a non-profit organization that does lots of conferences. Most of them have registration fees, but some are free (or start out free), so it makes sense to use the existing system to handle them, since everything's already set up (emails going to the right places, XML going to the right systems, etc.).

    That's my take on it, anyway, so we do support it. Not the best tool for every "free" job, but it certainly works for some.
  • bushybushy Member
    edited May 2008
    Brett, if supporting both free and fee transactions is not a problem for you guyz at Foxycart then I guess it's a non-issue. But on the surface at least it seems problematic ultimately. A shopping cart is an e-commerce device and free downloads are not e-commerce. As your customer base grows, how much do you want to be on the hook for supporting non-e-commerce use of your cart?

    One the other hand, maybe I'm not thinking broadly enough. That happens. I remember in 2002 when a customer came to my company (at the time) and asked about our support for hand-helds and I thought "What an idiot. Who would want to surf the web on a cell phone." Doh!
  • In this particular case, they are not downloads, there are actually printed and mailed via snail mail.

    Since the site will offer free and fee items, it makes prefect sense to keep the system as one (as Brett mentions).
  • lukeluke FoxyCart Team
    Yeah, some things are confusing at first, but when you get out there in the "real world" as Brett described, they start making sense. Since our goal is to serve our customers and give them tools to integrate with anything and everything, it actually does make sense to do funny things like this once and a while. Besides, you can have a "free" item and in the same motion upsale them to something else that isn't free (or not).

    Thanks for the comments everyone.
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