Variable Attributes and Dynamic pricing have long been the holy grail for ecommerce websites, especially Zen Cart. Having a price change in realtime, depending on user selection whilst auto-applying discounts is not something Zen Cart offers out of the box.

You can apply a discount to bulk items in Zen Cart, but this is not shown until you reach the basket or checkout. You can also display a fixed discount, with a typical strike through. You can with the use an Ajax plugin, display an updated price when you increase the quantity.

But what if you wanted to display a dynamic price for each selected attribute, whilst applying a bulk discount for the more attributes you select?

A great working example of this can be found at a UK based Van Security website.

vanlocks.co.uk sell (you guessed it) van locks and other van security devices. A typical Van has up to 5 Doors that after market van locks can be fitted to. Depending on your security requirements, you may wish to only secure the rear van doors, or front and rear, or only the passenger door, or side door etc.

Obviously this company wanted to scale the price depending on how many van locks you required, whilst giving their customers complete control of which doors they wish to secure.

Now it is possible to do this with a drop down for each option, which would look something like this:

But some vans such as the Ford Transit there are over 1000+ possible combinations, which is one hell of a drop down!!
Van Lock Website, dynamic variables example
Instead vanlocks.co.uk opted for the subtler combination of tick boxes and drop downs. Tick boxes are used where there is only one configuration possible such as drivers door, passenger door etc. Drop downs are employed where there is multiple possible configurations such as Rear double doors or Tailgate; Side door glazed, or side door panel van etc.

This setup works fantastically well. But to get it to work no doubt takes some butchery of the php scripts, and admin pages as well as some Ajax wizardry.  The result though is perfect. Dynamic prices with scalable discounts.

Unfortunately, this module is not available for download, and I suspect is actually a combination of modules and hacks. I would think significant time and effort has been put into developing this and if it were available it would have a price tag. Either way it certainly shows what is possible with zen cart and other shopping cart platforms too, with a bit of tenacity.

Van Locks UK have so far declined to comment on the actual architecture of their module, but as soon as this changes, we hope to supply code snippets etc.


Let us clarify the worth of  ‘High Page Rank Backlinks’.

Firstly, What is Pagerank?
Google have attributed a Page Rank to every website and even individual web pages which you can see in the Google Toolbar as a number.

The Scale is from 0-10, with N/A meaning it hasn’t been Ranked yet.
New websites tend to have no PR or N/A, till the next Google update, which varies in regularity with Google’s changing mood.

PR indicates the number and/or weight of links linking to a given site, so sites like twitter are a PR 10, with practically every website in the world linking to it. Whereas “Bob’s Boring Website that offends everyone and no one likes is a resounding PR 0.

It is a little more complicated than that, but if you’re interested there are thousands of articles around boring you with the guessed details.

In the past the updates have been every 3 months, but so far this year 2013 the updates have been less frequent, only one so far. Pagerank however doesn’t equal rank necessarily, nor does the pagerank you see in the google toolbar equal actual pagerank.

Real Pagerank is updated continuously, which is why we see constant movement on the SERPs instead of only every three months or so.

Why Google decide to hide “real” pagerank and only spoon feed us “toolbar” PR has been the subject of much debate, my thoughts are experiencing realtime PR improvements would more quickly allow SEO’ers to find the flaws in the Google algorithm..But that’s just my opinion.

Although Pagerank is not the most important metric when it comes to ranking a website or page, it does still give a snapshot of the weight of links linking to it. For this reason and probably a little naivety, Pagerank is still a highly regarded currency of SEO’ers, Link Sellers and Domainers alike. This will probably only change when google stop using toolbar PR, but for now its still an important factor.

High PR Blogs have been hit by numerous Google updates and are no longer what they used to be.  It seems Google have started championing content quality once again, and the days of buying 1000’s of meaningless links on high PR sites are well and truly over. Many Blog sites have been hit and the only sure fire way of continuing to rank on the SERP’s is ensuring that your site content is quality and unique, and actually worth reading. Same thing goes for all your backlinks too.

If visitors don’t find it relevant it probably will experience Googles wrath sooner or later and won’t last.

A sure fire way of ensuring that your back-links are coming from reputable sources, via rich and interesting articles is to control the whole process. Create the articles yourself and post them either on a reputable blog site or purchase your own High PR domains and create your own interesting and unique blog for your given niche.

It’s a lot more work, but coincides perfectly with Google’s vision of a content rich internet, that offers an informative positive experience for all browsers; So much much less likely to get their backs up.

Live long and prosper!!