Product Key Distribution

Depending on the type of products or services you sell, you may need product keys for things like software requiring a unique registration code.

The Product Key tool can help you distribute access codes – essentially passwords containing letters, numbers, or characters – to customers who purchase licensed or access-restricted products.

Please note that customers do not need product keys to access downloadable products unless the downloadable product is locked or secured by you or the manufacturer. For non-secured downloadables, customers will be able to open/download the product regardless of whether it has a product key assigned to it.

Adding a Product Key

To get started, go to Inventory > Product Key Distribution, then follow these steps:

  1. Click Add near the top of the page.
  2. Enter the necessary values, using the table below as a guide.
  3. Click Save to finish.

Repeat this process to create as many product keys as you need.


ID The unique, auto-generated numerical value used to internally identify product keys.
PKey Email Template * From this menu, select a default email template to use for product key delivery. We recommend the generic.asp template.
PKey Key Type * Enter a basic name for each product key type. Do not enter the actual key value in this field. This is the name used to reference the product key from the product page. This value does not have to be a unique value, nor should it be unique if you are configuring a product to distribute multiple instances of the same key.
PKey Email Subject * Enter a subject line for automated emails that are sent to customers when they order a product configured with a product key.
PKey Allow Reuse Enable this option if the key can be used more than once. To configure a unique, one-time use key, leave this option deselected.
PKey Date Added Enter a date here to specify when the key was added to the system. This field is optional.
PKey Used Enabling this option will mark a product key as Used. If this option is enabled while the PKey Allow Reuse option is disabled, the product key will not be distributed to customers who purchase any product the key is assigned to.
PKey Email Body *

In this field, enter text or HTML for the email message a recipient of a key will receive when a product key is distributed to them. You must enter the actual key value of the product key into this field.

For example:"Congratulations on your purchase. Here is your key: ABC-123-XYZ"

PKey Original Order ID

When an order is generated that distributes the product key, this field will be automatically populated with the order ID number. Note that this field is only set if the product key is not configured as Reusable.

PKey Original Order Detail ID When an order is generated that distributes the product key, this field will be automatically populated with the order detail ID number. Note that this field is only set if the product key is not configured as Reusable.

*These are required fields.

Note that even if an order with a product key has been generated, the key is not emailed to the customer until payment is received and the order is marked as Shipped. This is true for all products, including downloadables.

To receive payment, you must either capture the credit card payment, or manually click Receive in the Payments & Credits section of the Order Details page. You can also click the Complete Order / Send Emails link, or manually send the product key email with the Send Emails override control.

Configuring a Product to Distribute a Product Key

Once you've set up a product key, you need to configure the system to distribute it when the associated product is purchased:

  1. Go to Inventory > Products and select the Product Code you want to add the key to.
  2. Under Advanced Info > Misc, enter the PKey KeyType type (that you configured above) in the Uses Product Key Type(s) field and click Save.

The product key will now be automatically distributed to customers when the product is ordered and the order is completed (payment is received and order is marked as Shipped). 

Distribute Multiple Keys for a Single Product

If you need to configure a single product to distribute multiple keys (e.g. a software product with an individual activation key per user) there are some special steps to follow:

  1. Create multiple versions of the same key (see below). Each key must have the same PKey Key Type value and a different PKey Date Added value per key. The date key can be any date past or future as long as it is unique.
  2. Make sure the PKey Allow Reuse check box is not selected.
  3. Enter the unique product key for each instance of the product key into the PKey Email Body field.

The PKey Date Added field is important, as the system will pick the oldest existing key in the system to distribute to customers. The one-time-use key will then be marked as used, and it will have the Order ID and Order Detail ID fields set accordingly. Used keys will be made unavailable for further distribution.

To create a single key that will be distributed multiple times for a product (e.g. the URL or password for an online meeting seminar, etc.) the configuration process is much simpler. Follow the above steps to create a product key, enable the key's PKey Allow Reuse option, and assign the reusable key to the respective product.

Shortcut for Adding Multiple Product Keys

If you need to create many different product keys, there are 2 methods to speed up this process.

Method 1 - Using the Add New Feature

  1. Go to Inventory > Product Key Distribution, click Add, and enter the information for your first key.
  2. Make sure that the Save drop-down is set to Save and Stay on This Page.
  3. Click Save.
  4. Click Add.
  5. You will be asked if you want to use all settings from the previous key. Click Sure.
  6. Adjust the PKey Date Added field and insert a new, unique product key into the PKey Email Body field.
  7. Click Save to add this key (note that a new PKey ID will be generated after the button is clicked).

Repeat the above steps to create multiple product keys.

Method 2 - Import / Export

To use this method to rapidly create a very large number of product keys at once, you need to understand how to use the Import / Export functions.

  1. Create at least one fully configured product key using the steps outlined above.
  2. Go to Inventory > Import/Export.
  3. Click Standard Export and export the Product_Keys table to a CSV file. (Click the Check All Product Keys Columns check box)
  4. Open the CSV file in a spreadsheet or file editor (for example, Microsoft Excel) and copy the full row of product key data within the CSV file.
  5. Paste the row to new lines within the file repeatedly to replicate the product key and its settings.
  6. Now, edit the PKey ID, PKey DateAdded, and PKey Email Body fields within the CSV to create multiple variations of the same product key.
  7. Be sure that each row has a unique PKey ID number.
  8. Save changes and import the CSV into your store to update the Product Keys table.

Once this process is completed, the Product Key table should now contain the multiple versions of the product key created in the CSV file.


When customers purchase products with an assigned key, they will receive an automatically generated email containing their key information once the order is processed.