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Introducing MMv4: An Overview of What's New
Converting to MMv4: Custom scripts and templates MMv4: Changes to Admin Home Page
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Introducing MMv4: An Overview of What's New

This section of the knowledge base contains overviews of the major changes to each section of the Modular Merchant shopping cart software. The last time I'd checked, we'd counted over 100 substantial improvements that will be introduced in Modular Merchant version 4 (MMv4). Some of these improvements are just cosmetic (such as changing all references of Manufacturer to Vendor) and some are quite substantial (such as the new Event Engine that powers promotions, discounts and coupons).

MMv4 Release Date
MMv4 was made available for new accounts on September 6th, 2011. The conversion of v3 accounts to MMv4 began on October 13th, 2011. Clients running version 3 are being converted to MMv4 in waves. Refer to this forum article about more details on converting from v3 to MMv4.

Want to discuss MMv4?
This knowledge base's comment system will become available after the release of MMv4. In the meantime, we welcome you to discuss this article on Modular Merchant's Facebook page.

And now, here's what's new...
Below is a brief list of most of the major improvements introduced in MMv4. Over the upcoming weeks, articles detailing each of the sections below will be published.

Checklist of What's New and Different in MMv4

GENERAL Changes - (See details...)
  • "Scheduled Orders" are now called "Subscriptions".
  • "Manufacturers" are now called "Vendors".
  • Links to new KB, Videos and other Docs.
  • An entirely new knowledge base. (This one that you're reading now!)
  • Custom fields can now also be: radio buttons, select menus, list menus, or checkboxes.
  • New engine for installing software updates.
  • Refined & standardized the search tools for admin pages, to make them consistent between all admin pages.
  • Added reseller options for rebranding the store administration area.
  • Added a "super search" to every administration page, which searches many things (customers, orders, subscriptions, etc.) all at once.
  • The entire administration area  has been redesigned from scratch.
  • The Navigation Menu in the administration area can be customized.
  • The columns on some administration pages can be customized. Display only the columns that are relevant to you.
  • A series of APIs are available for programmers, simplifying the interaction with your store database.
  • Improvements have been made to the store's database and variable structures.
  • The structure of the SEO-friendly URLs generated by the shopping cart have been improved, making them even friendlier to search engines.
    For example:
    will now be:
    The new SEO-friendly URLs create the product pages within the same directory as the website, instead of being nested down into three subdirectories. The higher up in the directory structure the pages are, the more important the search engines consider them to be.
    The URLs for category and vendor pages have also received the same treatment.
    MMv4 will remain backwards-compatible with the old URLs too. So, any links that still use the old URL structure to point to your website will still work.
    It should be noted, however, that the paths in HTML tags for images, javascript, css and flash content may need to be updated. Since the new URL structure doesn't include nested subdirectories, any paths that reference the nested directory structure will need to be updated.

ADMIN HOME PAGE - (See details...)

  • Added a drag and drop editor to change the layout of the admin home page.
  • Added summary of new & return customers.
  • Added Email Queue summary.
  • Added WYSIWYG editor for the whiteboard.
  • Added links to recently viewed administration page.
  • Added list of recent admin logins.
  • Added links to common help resources.
  • The separate Admin Home pages for different admin types have been replaced with a single Admin Home page and admin-specific permission levels.
  • The Calendar dates now link to a Daily Snapshot report for that date.

HOME - (See details...)

  • The Getting Started Checklist has been revamped.
  • Added an Account Setup Wizard to help new clients get started.

ADMIN - (See details...)

  • Added admin-specific permission levels.
  • Attributes can be assigned to admins.
  • A centralized Import/Export Wizard allows more things to be imported/exported, including taxes.


  • Attributes can be assigned to customers.
  • The number of possible customer fields has been increased from ten to unlimited.
  • The Customer Groups engine has been rebuilt from scratch to handle very large customer databases (100,000+ records) much more efficiently.
  • Email address is now the only required customer field. Passwords are optional; if excluded, the customer account will enter "passive" account mode.
  • The Place an Order tool has been completely redesigned from scratch.


  • All store emails can be customized using a WYSIWYG interface.
  • Added a WYSIWYG editor for store templates.
  • New QuickCode Tag engine replaces many redundant QuickCode Tags with a single "smart" version of the tag.
  • Built a new QuickCode Tag glossary containing more info, instruction, examples and source code.
  • Added a WYSIWYG editor for custom QuickCode Tags.
  • Custom Web Pages may now have a template assigned to them.
  • Added a WYSIWYG editor for custom Web Pages.
  • New "Universal Template" system allows a a single template's design to be applied to every page of the storefront. (The option to create a unique template for each of the 30+ storefront pages still exists too.)
  • Stores may now have an unlimited number of Customer Account Area pages.
  • Stores may now have an unlimited number of Checkout pages. (The default is a single-page checkout, but the checkout process can be split into as many individual pages as you like.)


  • The Hosting Setup Checklist has been rebuilt and greatly improved.
  • New pricing options for hosting and bandwidth will be introduced with MMv4.


  • Twitter: New Twitter Search module allows you to display Twitter search results for one or more phrases in your store's Administration Area. It's a great way to keep tabs on what people are tweeting about your company and/or brand.
  • Facebook: A {FACEBOOK-COMMENTS} QuickCode Tags for adding a Facebook "Comments" field to any storefront page is now available. The QuickCode Tag can also accept additional parameters to customize the comment area's width and to control how many recent comments are displayed.
  • Facebook: A {FACEBOOK-SHARE-BUTTON} QuickCode Tags for adding a Facebook "Share" button to any storefront page is now available.
  • Facebook: A {FACEBOOK-LIKE-BUTTON} QuickCode Tags for adding a Facebook "Like" button to any storefront page is now available.This QuickCode Tag can also accept additional parameters, allowing you to turn an additional "Send" button on or off, set its width, and toggle an option to display the avatars of the Facebook users who have liked the page.
  • Facebook: Add a fully-functional copy of your store to your Facebook page, including shopping, search, customer account and checkout areas. Read the tutorial on adding your shopping cart to your Facebook page.

AFFILIATES module - (See details...)

  • The affiliate commission system is now multi-tiered. Affiliates that have a "parent affiliate" assigned to them will have a percentage of their commissions credited to the parent.
  • Added a search & replace tool for bulk-updating Tracking ID landing pages.
  • Users may assign a set of default Tracking ID landing pages, which will be provided to new Affiliates when they sign up.
  • When making payments, the type of payment can be selected. (Not locked in to "check" type.)
  • The Search Affiliates page has been improved.
  • Affiliate payments, commissions and tracking IDs are all now searchable.
  • Affiliates are no longer a separate type of user in the system. Affiliates are now simply customers that have an "affiliate" flag assigned to them.
  • The "Tracking ID Stats" report in the storefront's Affiliate Account Area has been improved with additional information and graphs to display the traffic and sales attributed to the Tracking ID.
  • Each product's commission levels and max commission value can be bulk edited on the Search Products page.
  • CHANGE: If a product's "Max Commission" value is zero (or left blank) it will be ignored. Previously, affiliates would not be able to earn any commissions on products with a Commission Max of zero.
  • REMOVED: The separate "commission value" rules that were created separately and then assigned to products are obsolete and have been removed. Now commission levels are applied directly to each product, without the need for first creating a "commission rule".
  • REMOVED:: The Commission-Value-to-Product association screen is obsolete and has been removed.
  • REMOVED: The "bonus" option is removed, due to lack of interest and confusion.
  • REMOVED: The "is open" option, for whether affiliates can earn commissions on a product, is obsolete and has been removed. Now, affiliates will earn commissions on a product simply if the product's "Commission Value" is greater than zero.
  • REMOVED: The "affiliate marketing resources" option in the Product Editor has been removed due to confusion, lack of interest, and the fact that the current storefront template system, introduced back in v3, makes this option obsolete.
  • REMOVED: The QuickCode Tag, {LIST-AFFILIATE-RESOURCES}, which was used to display the contents of the "affiliate marketing resources", has also been deprecated for the reasons stated above.
  • (Under consideration.) The value of the commission earned for each product can now be set on an affiliate-by-affiliate basis.
  • (Under consideration.) Affiliate Performance report to show a breakdown of commissions earned by affiliates for a specified time period.
  • (Under consideration.) Affiliate Traffic report to show a breakdown of traffic generated by affiliates for a specified time period.

COUPONS module

  • Coupons are now powered by the Event Engine. Coupons can now do everything Promotions could do, and much more.


  • Digital Objects now have a Display Order, so the order in which they are displayed in the store's download area can be controlled.
  • Added more IP-based security options.
  • Downloads can now be set to never expire.
  • Pagination has been added to the store's download page.
  • Digital Objects can have a release date in the future, allowing you to set them up now, and the store will distribute them over time to your customers automatically.
  • Added support for playing flash video files securely in a popup video player in the store's download area.
  • Added optional geographic zone restrictions, allowing specified Digital Objects to be inaccessible to customers in certain countries, states or zip codes.
  • CHANGE: A Digital Object's "shelf life" (ie: allowed number of hours and/or access attempts it will be available for) now overrides the default values set in the module's settings. In version 3, the Digital Object's shelf life was treated as an extension to the values set in the module options. The new approach is easier to manage and allows Digital Objects to optionally be set to "never expire".
  • Selling ebooks? Added support to send ebooks directly to Kindle/Nook devices.


  • Coupons, promotions and discounts are now powered by a central Event Engine. This means that anything that a coupon can do, a promotion can also do, and vice-versa.
  • Many new "triggers" and "results" for Events have been introduced.


  • Customers earn "loyalty points" towards when they purchase certain products. Loyalty points can be redeemed as a coupon by customers in the storefront.


  • Customize "tell a friend" messages for category, products, vendor and miscellaneous store pages.


  • Subscribers whose emails bounce X times will be automatically removed from your mailing lists.
  • Emails may have file attachments.
  • Added a WYSIWYG editor for HTML emails.


  • After a customer places an order, they will be shown an upsell page for another product instead of a receipt page.
  • They can place an order for the PTCS product with one click.
  • After the customer has either purchased or passed on all PTCS products, they will be shown a receipt page listing both their original order and all PTCS orders they have just placed.

PRODUCT REVIEWS module - (See details...)

  • Customers can write reviews, and rank products on a variety of criteria that you specify.
  • Automatically approve submissions from repeat reviewers.
  • Allow users to vote on whether a review was helpful to them or not.
  • Optionally restrict reviews to those customers that have purchased the product.
  • Completely control the layout and design of your reviews with QuickCode Tags.
  • Create a set of criteria for each product that can be ranked by customers. For example, cars could have their Fuel Economy, Suspension, Reliability and How Fun to Drive each ranked on a scale of one to ten, one to five stars, etc.


  • The "Cross-Sell/Up-Sell" module has been renamed the "Related Products" module.
  • Redesigned the user interface for creating and managing Related Product rules.
  • Related Products can now have a display order, allowing you to control the order in which they are shown in the storefront.


  • All references to "scheduled orders" have been changed to "subscriptions".
  • Added a built-in sample Remote Subscription Validation (RSV) and setup wizard. (Under consideration.)
  • A date to automatically take subscriptions off "hold" can now be set. Previously, items would remain "on hold" forever, until manually taken "off hold".
  • Subscriptions can be set to have a price override that will be used instead of the product's regular price.
  • The customer's ship address can be set per-product in their subscription.
  • The shipping method can be set per-product in a customer's subscription.
  • Added more options to control when subscriptions rebill. (Every X days, X day of month, anniversary date, etc.)
  • Added an option that will attempt to automatically update the expiration date of expired credit cards.
  • Customers can now be given the option cancel their subscription on their next bill date, instead of cancelling it immediately.
  • A system to allow subscriptions to be paid for with an off-site payment gateway, such as PayPal Standard, has been developed.


  • Customers can add products to a Wish List.
  • Customers can edit their Wish Lists in their Customer Account area.
  • Customers can give friends an access code to view their Wish List.


  • Added an RMA system to track product instances. (Useful when managing returns.)
  • Admins may process partial/full order refunds from within administration area. ( only.)
  • Admins may void orders from within administration area. ( only.)
  • The number of possible checkout/order fields increased from ten to unlimited.


  • Products can have multiple stock levels, which can also be shared.
  • A product's additional shipping fees can be applied to all shipping methods or differently to each shipping method.
  • Users may assign a different dropshipper to every product.
  • Attributes can be assigned to products.
  • Users may customize products' availability status, and add their own. (ie: Out of stock, Will become available on Thursday, etc.)
  • Improved the engine and interface for product fields.
  • Added the option to hide a product from the storefront.
  • Products can be assigned to multiple vendors.
  • Products can be restricted to specific ship method(s).
  • Products can be set to ship solo, requiring a separate shipping method to be selected for them during checkout.
  • Added a WYSIWYG editors for short and long descriptions.
  • Added new product fields: Width, Height and Length. (Used when calculating shipping.)
  • Assigning a product to a category is now optional.
  • Assigning a product to a vendor is now optional.
  • REMOVED: The option to assign a "default category" to a product has been removed from the Product Editor. Instead, a product's default category is determined by evaluating all of the active categories that the product belongs to, then selecting the category with the lowest SID (System ID) number.
  • Products may have an unlimited number of images. (Increased from four images in version 3.)
  • CHANGE: In version 3, a specific image file needed to be specified for the "basket", "small" and "medium" versions of each image. Each of the images used for these sizes could actually be a different image than the "large" version of the image. In MMv4, this is no longer the case, because the ability to have an unlimited number of images assigned to a product makes it obsolete. In MMv4, the "basket", "small" and "medium" versions of each image are simply resized versions of the "large" image's file.
  • CHANGE: Product Modifiers, and the "pseudo-products" they create, have been replaced by Product Groups. Each product variation created by Modifiers is now a complete product in MMv4. This means that all of the variations of the product created by modifiers (now a Product Group) can now have their own weight, images, shipping rules, etc.


  • Attributes can be assigned to categories.


  • FedEx: Automated the creation of FedEx shipments, labels, tracking IDs and cancellations.
  • UPS: Automated the creation of UPS shipments, labels, tracking IDs and cancellations.
  • Admins may create multiple dropshippers.
  • Automatically email fulfillment reports to dropshippers at specified times of day.


  • Added real-time graphs to many reports.
  • The Traffic Statistics report has been revamped.
  • The Declined Orders report is able to capture transaction data from more types of failed orders than before.
  • New Daily Snapshot report provides an overview of store activity for a specific date range.
  • New System Logs report tracks notices, warnings and errors.
  • New Customer Acquisition report compares the number of new vs. return customers within a specified date range.
  • New Projected Revenue report displays your store's estimated future gross revenue based on historical performance.


  • Considering adding multiple currency selection & real-time exchange rate estimator. (Under consideration.)
  • Multiple shipping addresses can be created prior to the creation of a customer account. Greatly simplifies the creation and management of multiple shipping addresses.
  • An unlimited number of customer account pages can now be created.
  • Added a WYSIWYG editor for all store-generated email messages.
  • Selecting a shipping method in the store's checkout area will automatically update the order "Grand Total" displayed on the page.
  • CHANGE: In v3, the customer had a choice to checkout as a "guest". When checking out as a guest, the password fields would be removed from the checkout process. In MMv4, guest checkout is obsolete. Now, the password fields are simply optional. If the customer does not enter a password, then they are treated as if they are checking out as a guest. New templates, that are designed specifically for MMv4, have instructions added next to the password fields explaining that they are optional and why. For more information on this topic, see our introduction to customer accounts.


  • Attributes can be assigned to vendors.

— Last Edited - 01/14/2014 10:16am PST
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Other articles in this category...

Converting to MMv4: Custom scripts and templates

Introducing MMv4: An Overview of What's New

MMv4: Changes to Admin Home Page

MMv4: General Changes

MMv4: New tools for managing Admins

MMv4: New Tools to Help You Get Started