Customer Management in Joomla! and VirtueMart

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Note that all VirtueMart customers must be registered with Joomla!. However, not all Joomla! users need to be the VirtueMart customers. Within the first few sections of this article, you will have a clear concept about user management in Joomla! and VirtueMart.

Customer management

Customer management in VirtueMart includes registering customers to the VirtueMart shop, assigning them to user groups for appropriate permission levels, managing fields in the registration form, viewing and editing customer information, and managing the user groups. Let’s dive in to these activities in the following sections.

Registration/Authentication of customers

Joomla! has a very strong user registration and authentication system. One core component in Joomla! is com_users, which manages user registration and authentication in Joomla!. However, VirtueMart needs some extra information for customers. VirtueMart collects this information through its own customer registration process, and stores the information in separate tables in the database. The extra information required by VirtueMart is stored in a table named jos_vm_user_info, which is related to the jos_users table by the user id field. Usually, when a user registers to the Joomla! site, they also register with VirtueMart. This depends on some global settings. In the following sections, we are going to learn how to enable the user registration and authentication for VirtueMart.

Revisiting registration settings

We configure the registration settings from VirtueMart’s administration panel Admin | Configuration | Global screen. There is a section titled User Registration Settings, which defines how the user registration will be handled:

Joomla! E-Commerce with VirtueMart

Ensure that your VirtueMart shop has been configured as shown in the screenshot above. The first field to configure is the User Registration Type. Selecting Normal Account Creation in this field creates both a Joomla! and VirtueMart account during user registration. For our example shop, we will be using this setting.

Joomla!’s new user activation should be disabled when we are using VirtueMart. That means the Joomla! New account activation necessary? field should read No.

Enabling VirtueMart login module

There is a default module in Joomla! which is used for user registrations and login. When we are using this default Login Form (mod_login module), it does not collect information required by VirtueMart, and does not create customers in VirtueMart. By default, when published, the mod_login module looks like the following screenshot:

Joomla! E-Commerce with VirtueMart

As you see, registered users can log in to Joomla! through this form, recover their forgotten password by clicking on the Forgot your password? link, and create a new user account by clicking on the Create an account link. When a user clicks on the Create an account link, they get the form as shown in the following screenshot:

Joomla! E-Commerce with VirtueMart

We see that normal registration in Joomla! only requires four pieces of information: Name, Username, Email, and Password. It does not collect information needed in VirtueMart, such as billing and shipping address, to be a customer. Therefore, we need to disable the mod_login module and enable the mod_virtuemart_login module. We have already learned how to enable and disable a module in Joomla!. We have also learned how to install modules.

Joomla! E-Commerce with VirtueMart

By default, the mod_virtuemart_login module’s title is VirtueMart Login. You may prefer to show this title as Login only. In that case, click on the VirtueMart Login link in the Module Name column. This brings the Module:[Edit] screen:

Joomla! E-Commerce with VirtueMart

In the Title field, type Login (or any other text you want to show as the title of this module). Make sure the module is enabled and position is set to left or right. Click  on the Save icon to save your settings. Now, browse to your site’s front-page  (for example, http://localhost/bdosn/), and you will see the login form as shown in the following screenshot:

Joomla! E-Commerce with VirtueMart

As you can see, this module has the same functionalities as we saw in the mod_login module of Joomla!. Let us test the account creation in this module. Click on the Register link. It brings the following screen:

Joomla! E-Commerce with VirtueMart

The registration form has three main sections: Customer Information, Bill To Information, and Send Registration. At the end, there is the Send Registration button for submitting the form data. In the Customer Information section, type your email address, the desired username, and password. Confirm the password by typing it again in the Confirm password field. In the Bill To Information section, type the address details where bills are to be sent. In the entire form, required fields are marked with an asterisk (*). You must provide information for these required fields.

In the Send Registration section, you need to agree to the Terms of Service. Click on the Terms of Service link to read it. Then, check the I agree to the Terms of Service checkbox and click on the Send Registration button to submit the form data:

Joomla! E-Commerce with VirtueMart

If you have provided all of the required information and submitted a unique  email address, the registration will be successful. On successful completion of registration, you get the following screen notification, and will be logged in to  the shop automatically:

Joomla! E-Commerce with VirtueMart

If you scroll down to the Login module, you will see that you are logged in and greeted by the store. You also see the User Menu in this screen:

Joomla! E-Commerce with VirtueMart

Both the User Menu and the Login modules contain a Logout button. Click on either of these buttons to log out from the Joomla! site. In fact, links in the User Menu module are for Joomla! only. Let us try the link Your Details. Click on the Your Details link, and you will see the information shown in the following screenshot:

Joomla! E-Commerce with VirtueMart

As you see in the screenshot above, you can change your full name, email, password, frontend language, and time zone. You cannot view any information regarding billing address, or other information of the customer. In fact, this information is for regular Joomla! users. We can only get full customer information by clicking on the Account Maintenance link in the Login module. Let us try it. Click on the Account Maintenance link, and it shows the following screenshot:

Joomla! E-Commerce with VirtueMart

The Account Maintenance screen has three sections: Account Information, Shipping Information, and Order Information. Click on the Account Information link to see what happens. It shows the following screen:

Joomla! E-Commerce with VirtueMart

This shows Customer Information and Bill To Information, which have been entered during user registration. The last section on this screen is the Bank Information, from where the customer can add bank account information. This section looks like the following screenshot:

Joomla! E-Commerce with VirtueMart

As you can see, from the Bank Account Info section, the customers can enter their bank account information including the account holder’s name, account number, bank’s sorting code number, bank’s name, account type, and IBAN (International Bank Account Number). Entering this information is important when you are using  a Bank Account Debit payment method.

Now, let us go back to the Account Maintenance screen and see the other sections. Click on the Shipping Information link, and you get the following screen:

Joomla! E-Commerce with VirtueMart

There is one default shipping address, which is the same as the billing address. The customers can create additional shipping addresses. For creating a new shipping address, click on the Add Address link. It shows the following screen:

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