For selling things online – whether physical goods, digital downloads, or services – you really can’t get much simpler than PayPal. Create a button, copy the code, paste it on your sales page, and you’re done.
But if you want to do anything fancy, such as offer coupons, protect your downloadable files, or truly automate delivery of the product, you need a more robust solution.
Shopping Carts Add Functionality
If you want more sophisticated options, then, your next step is to integrate a shopping cart with your site. There are dozens to choose from.
The trouble with most of the shopping carts I’ve tested is that they try to do too much. The developers want to appeal to the largest possible audience, so they add functionality for subscriptions and mailing lists and memberships and product sizes and colors and the list goes on. For the website owner who only wants to sell a couple of ebooks, this is overkill. Not only is it a waste of space and server resources, but it’s complicated and confusing to set up and manage.
Easy Digital Downloads
This cart was recommended by a friend, and while it’s not perfect, it does have two things going for it:d
- It’s easy to use
- It’s easily expandable
Easy Digital Downloads is a WordPress plugin that does exactly what it says: It makes selling digital stuff easy.
When you install it, EDD automatically creates the checkout, download, and failed transaction pages for you. All you have to do to start using it is to enter your PayPal email in the settings page.
The plugin also creates a custom post type called “Downloads” which doubles as a sales page. Click “Add New” from the “Downloads” menu, include some sales copy, set a price, and upload your product right through the familiar WordPress media uploader, and you’re done. EDD creates the buy button, handles sending customers off to PayPal and then bringing them back to your site for the download (no IPN to mess with) and also sends them an email with a direct – and expiring – download link.
Of course, it does have some limitations. You can’t, for example, automatically add your buyer to a mailing list, sell subscription products, or take payments via Authorize.net or 2CO. But Easy Digital Downloads has a solution for that as well, with a huge library of add-ons that allow you to handle all that and more. Think of them as plugins for your plugin.
If you have a need for a simple shopping cart and don’t want to spend a lot of money or waste a lot of time on set up, Easy Digital Downloads is a good choice. Just be aware that adding a few of these add-ons will quickly increase the cost, maybe even to the point that you could have purchased a better, more well-established cart instead.
Still, if you or your client are just getting started selling digital goods, this one looks to be a great option. If you want an in-depth look at how it works and how to set it up, consider joining me and Christine Cobb on November 15 for Easy Product Funnel, a 90-minute webinar that walks you through selling products online from start to finish.