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VM Free/Paid Download - download a free product & track who/how many times?

  • iMbroidr
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6 months 1 week ago #3873 by iMbroidr
iMbroidr created the topic: VM Free/Paid Download - download a free product & track who/how many times?
I'm switching from Wordpress/Woocommerce to Joomla & Virtuemart due to shop size and am having a difficult time replicating features I've previously had built in. A big issue is free downloads.

It's a common practice in my industry (machine embroidery) to add free downloads that are available either always or for a limited time. In other carts, I can set the price to 0 and set the date range. The product goes to free on the start date and goes back to normal price at the end. This is done without a coupon.

The customer orders, an invoice is created, and the downloads are stored in their account for future retrieval. I can also get a count of how many freebies are downloaded and who downloaded them, which is important to me.

Of course, the downside is that there are tons of invoices cluttering up the system with a value of $0. And maybe I'm being too nice allowing them to store the temporary freebie for later retrieval.

I've installed both the the Paid download plugin and the Free one with the latter set up to require logging in.

Is there a way to track the number of downloads on a free product and by whom? Or do I just assume that accounts that have no orders attached are the freebie grabbers? I'd like to be able to track activity on accounts so I can delete ones that have had no action in a long time.

Is there a way to set the effective date range for the free download or do I have to manually go back in and change the download to the other plugin? There are around 20K files to pick through and any product may have up to 10 files associated with it. With Woocommerce & Zencart I managed sales & specials via csv import. Still trying to figure out csvi as a replacement. Some freebies are on a cycle where they show up for free each year during a given month.

Or is there some way I can set up the Paid download version to do freebies for a given time? I'd prefer not to have to create a coupon every time and then have to somehow advertise the coupon to avoid ticked off customers who had to pay for the thing.

I tried creating a rule to apply a discount but you can't even make one for 100% and when you apply one at 99.999 and get the price to go to 0, on the front end you'll get "call for price." Is there some trick I'm not getting? Plus, you can't see in the products list which products are on sale.

So here's what I need to know:
1 - how can I see who's taking the freebies and how many have been downloaded
2 - how can I easily manage setting a product to free for a short period of time and then setting it back to normal price

TIA

Lindee

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6 months 1 week ago #3874 by boggler
boggler replied the topic: VM Free/Paid Download - download a free product & track who/how many times?
You need to use the paid download plugin for this, it is designed to track who downloads what, the free (unpaid) download plugin could not do this without a lot of rewriting the code.

The plugin does not control anything to do with the pricing, it works exactly the same whether there is a positive price for the product, or a zero price. All the pricing is handled by Virtuemart so it is just a matter of configuring Virtuemart correctly.

There is an option in the Virtuemart configuration, "Show call for price, when the price is empty", you just need to disable it.

Rather than creating a discount, you can create a price override, if you set the override to 0 that seems to work.

From my own experience though it is more trouble than it is worth to track who downloads a freebie. Most have no interest in your site or making a purchase. If you ask them to register and make an order then they often give false details and just clutter up your database with nonsense (and sadly sometimes insulting) names. It is the main reason we do not do this any more.

For that reason possibly a 99% discount is a better idea. If you give something away for almost free but not quite, maybe you are more likely to get people who are serious potential customers.
The following user(s) said Thank You: iMbroidr

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6 months 1 week ago #3877 by iMbroidr
iMbroidr replied the topic: VM Free/Paid Download - download a free product & track who/how many times?
Thanks!

The problem with setting a price below about $.50 USD is the transaction fees and it could end up costing me to provide the freebie.

Turning off "Show call for price" is a good idea.

Lindee

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6 months 1 week ago #3881 by boggler
boggler replied the topic: VM Free/Paid Download - download a free product & track who/how many times?
Of course, I forgot about the transaction fees.

You might be able to find a good extension for Virtuemart that does a better job of handling discounts than the built-in one. For example there is this one in the JED: https://extensions.joomla.org/extension/awocoupon-starter/ . I haven't actually used it though, but it is free to download so might be worth trying.

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