Hack 45 Hack Shopping Cart Buttons

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Change code from the PayPal Button Factory to provide flexibility for your Shopping Cart.

PayPal's Shopping Cart allows merchants to provide the ability for customers to purchase a basket of goods rather than buy one item at a time with Buy Now buttons. The Shopping Cart system is ideal for stores with many items, but it doesn't make sense to use the PayPal Button Factory to create each and every button for your store. Instead, you can create a single generic Shopping Cart button and then use the HTML code as a template for all your items.

To generate the code for a simple Shopping Cart button, follow these steps:

  1. Go to http://www.paypal.com, log into your account, and click the Merchant Tools tab.

  2. Click on the Shopping Cart link under the Website Payments section to open the PayPal Shopping Cart Button Factory, as shown in Figure 5-1.

    Figure 5-1. Using the PayPal Button Factory to create Shopping Cart buttons

  3. Create a basic Shopping Cart button by entering any information for the item name and item number.

  4. When you're done, click Create Button Now to generate the code.

The resulting code for the Add to Cart button should look like this:

<form target="paypal" action="https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr" method="post">

<input type="image" src="https://www.paypal.com/en_US/i/btn/x-click-but22.gif"

                border="0" name="submit" alt="Make payments with PayPal - it's 

                fast, free and secure!">

<input type="hidden" name="add" value="1">

<input type="hidden" name="cmd" value="_cart">

1.  <input type="hidden" name="business" value="sales@paypalhacks.com">

2.  <input type="hidden" name="item_name" value="Widget">

3.  <input type="hidden" name="item_number" value="Wid-001">

4.  <input type="hidden" name="amount" value="1.00">

<input type="hidden" name="no_note" value="1">

<input type="hidden" name="currency_code" value="USD">


Lines 2-4 contain the three variables that define the details of the individual product, such as the product name, item number, and price. All the other variables remain the same for all of your products. Make sure to specify the email address for the account you want to use on line 1, although any button you create with the PayPal Button Factory includes your email address by default.

The Button Factory also provides code for a View Cart button:

<form target="paypal" action=

                "https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr" method="post">

<input type="hidden" name="cmd" value="_cart">

<input type="hidden" name="business" value="sales@paypalhacks.com">

<input type="image" src="https://www.paypal.com/en_US/i/btn/view_cart_02.gif"

                border="0" name="submit" alt="Make payments with PayPal - it's 

                fast, free and secure!">

<input type="hidden" name="display" value="1">


Place this second block of code, as is, on all the pages of your web store to allow your customers to display the items they have added to their cart, as well as initiate the checkout process when they have finished shopping. The only variable you'll need to customize in this example is business, in which you specify your email address. Figure 5-2 shows the resulting page.

Figure 5-2. The Add to Cart and View Cart buttons: all you need to implement PayPal's Shopping Cart interface on your web site

5.2.1 Hacking the Hack

The PayPal Shopping Cart allows extensive customization using the additional variables supported by regular Buy Now buttons [Hack #28] . For example, the handling_cart variable allows you to define a cart-wide handling charge to be applied to the entire order, regardless of any individual handling charges you might have specified:

<input type="hidden" name="handling_cart" value="4.00">

The handling_cart charge takes effect when the first item is added to the cart.