Documentation You are here: start » v » 0.7.0 » customers

Customers: Notes and Features

Without the customer, e-commerce wouldn't be very exciting (or profitable), so a thorough understanding of the customer as treated by FoxyCart is important for any merchant or developer using FoxyCart.

How Customers Are Defined and Created

There are two ways to create a customer record in FoxyCart. The first and most common is to allow the customer record to be created automatically upon a successful transaction. The second method is to create the customer record directly via the API.

Regardless the method of creation, the single most important piece of a customer record is the email address used. The email address can be considered the unique key for the customer; there cannot be two different (non-guest) customer records with the same email address.

Guest Customers and Saved Customers

Depending on the store configuration, FoxyCart can allow customers to checkout as guests or to checkout with an account.

Guest customers:

  • Do not enter a password.
  • Can enter an email address already used by other guest or saved customer records.
  • Cannot choose to save their payment information. (This option is hidden from the checkout if in guest mode.)
  • Cannot purchase a subscription. (Guest mode as an option is hidden if a subscription is in the cart.)
  • Cannot be retrieved, created or edited via the API.
  • Cannot retrieve their information if they purchase again in the future and enter their previously used email. (Because they have no password, there'd be no way for the customer to authenticate anyway.)
  • Cannot be converted into a non-guest customer.

Non-guest customers:

  • Must have an email address unique among non-guest customers.
  • Can choose to save their payment information.
  • Can be created and edited via the API.
  • Can enter their previously used password when returning to a checkout page, or can checkout as a guest (if guest checkout is allowed by the store).
  • Cannot be converted into a guest customer.

Saved Payment Information

Customers can have one and only one saved payment method associated with their account. If a customer has a subscription associated with his or her account, the checkbox to elect to save the payment method on checkout is required to be checked, and an error explaining this is displayed if it is unchecked.

What is important to note is that if a customer has an active subscription being paid for by credit card xxxx1234 and makes another purchase in the future using card xxx5678, that new card becomes the only saved payment method for the customer, and all active subscriptions will use that new card when they run. (While this may sound problematic, in 3+ years we haven't heard of it being an issue. That said, if you have a situation where multiple separate payment methods are required please let us know.)

Synchronizing Users and Passwords

FoxyCart v0.7.1+ have significantly improved functionality in this area. Please check the latest documentation for more information.

Because FoxyCart was built from the ground up to augment and not replace external systems, it is a common occurrence that FoxyCart customer records will need to be created or updated from an external system, or that FoxyCart customers will need to automatically create users in external systems (like a CMS or CRM). Typically an integration like this will primarily use the Transaction XML Datafeed and the API to create and sync users, and Single Sign-On (SSO) to make the customer checkout experience seamless.

While the possibilities for this type of synchronization are near limitless, the single most important thing is usually the customer's password. FoxyCart customer passwords are returned by the XML datafeed and the API as hashes, and not the actual cleartext password. While the initial user creation is generally straightforward it can get tricky to maintain sync when passwords are reset, so if you tackle an advanced integration you must ensure that any and all password resetting functionality on your systems simultaneously updates the FoxyCart customer record.

FoxyCart v0.7.1+ offers significantly improved password hashing support, as well as customer-specific hashing methods. FoxyCart v0.7.0 only supports the following hashing methods (in alphabetical order, and in PHP pseudocode, using $ to denote a variable, . to denote concatenation, and a single quote to encapsulate a string) on a per-store and not per-user basis:

Method: md5($password)
Configuration: n/a
Notes: This is provided for legacy purposes, as many older systems may use unsalted MD5 hashes. It is not recommended unless you need to sync with a system that requires it.
Method: sha1($password)
Configuration: n/a
Notes: This is provided for legacy purposes, as many older systems may use unsalted MD5 hashes. It is not recommended unless you need to sync with a system that requires it.

If you need alternate hashing methods please upgrade, as FoxyCart v0.7.1 supports many more hashing methods.

Once the user creation and synchronization functionality is handled, Single Sign-On (SSO) allows a customer who's already logged into the merchant's site to continue through to checkout with their user already loaded. This prevents users from needing to log in once to a site, then again on checkout. (SSO checkouts require the CSC to be entered, in order to minimize the risk of a malicious user stealing a cookie and processing an order using saved payment information.)

Viewing Customer Transactions

While a store admin can easily view and filter transactions by a number of criteria (including by customer email) both in the store admin as well as via the API, FoxyCart does not currently provide a method for a customer to view their own order history. We have discussed adding a customer portal in a future version, so if this appeals to you please let us know.

Site Tools