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Zen Cart is an open source online store management system. It is PHP-based, using a MySQL database and HTML components. Support is provided for several languages and currencies, and is free available under the GNU General Public License.

Zen Cart branched from ecommerce as a separate project. Beyond some aesthetic changes, the major differences between the two systems come from Zen Cart's architectural changes (e.g. a template system) and additional included features in the core. Among the modules already included is a Gift Certificate/Voucher module which allows creating, sending and managing the digital coupons. A module to sell downloads (pdf or other media files) is included as well.

Zen Cart's default installation provides everything needed to maintain a shopping cart web site, however no warranty is given that the software fulfills its purpose. Products, pricing, shipping, newsletters, sales etc. are managed by the store owner through the administration area. The shopping cart is set up to receive payments from major credit cards and several payment gateway services are also provided.
The following is a list of some of the key features of Zen Cart as stated on their website:
• multiple language support
• multiple customer modes
• unlimited category depth
• multiple sales and discounts
• multiple display modes
XHTML 1.0 compliant template system
• extra pages
• multiple ad banner controller
• multiple shipping options
• multiple payment options
newsletter manager
discount coupons
gift certificates
• featured products
• quantity discounts
phpBB integration through external module

Although Zencart improved the shop management and administration with the template system, still it suffers from the fact that editing core files for customizing is often required (no real modular structure). Therefore, in case of heavy customizing, the software is cumbersome to maintain and update.