Many website owners make money on the internet by selling products.
To do this, you’ll need to have a means of taking and confirming orders, collecting money and delivering the product.
If you plan to sell lots of different products, you’ll probably want to select and install an eCommerce Theme. There are also many eCommerce WordPress plugins available to help you sell products on your site, such as woocommerce and MarketPlace. Or if you only plan to sell a few items, especially digital products, there are shopping cart services that can simplify the process for you.
The most popular WordPress eCommerce plugin is woocommerce-excelling eCommerce. When you install woocommerce, it creates several pages on your site, for instance a Cart Page, Checkout Page, Pay Page, Thanks Page, My Account Page, and pages to Edit Address, View Order, Change Password, Logout and find a Lost Password. It provides Tax and Shipping Options, Payment Gateways, email autoresponder and coupon options. Woocommerce makes this basic plugin available free and then supplements it with several paid extensions (and some free ones, too).
Whether you use a plugin to create your sales process or a shopping cart solution such as the ones described below, you’ll need a way to accept payments. The easiest way to get started is to take payments via Paypal.
With a PayPal Payments Standard account, you can accept credit card and PayPal payments on your website with a link to PayPal. There is no monthly fee, just a $.30 per transaction fee plus 2.9% of the sale. (For international sales, the rate is 3.9%, plus a fixed fee based on currency received. PayPal does discount their rates for eligible nonprofits and high volume accounts.). Under this plan, you follow PayPal’s directions to add a button to your site with a few lines of code. When your customer clicks Checkout, they go to PayPal, and then return to your site after completing the transaction.
If you want the customer to be able to check out directly on your website, rather than link to PayPal, there is an “Advanced” plan for $5/month (plus fees) that works with many shopping cart platforms and also includes a “Bill me later option”. (You get paid right away.)
Note: PayPal also now makes it possible to accept payments in person with their PayPal Here mobile app. You download and launch the app from their site to apply for a free card reader. Then, for a 2.7% flat fee, you can swipe your buyers card through the card reader.
Shopping Cart Solutions for Digital Product Sales
Many shopping cart services are available. I’ll just mention a couple here that are particularly suited to simplifing digital product sales online.
E-junkie allows you to paste “Buy Now” and “Shopping Cart” buttons into your site to sell either tangible or digital items. For digital product sales, the buyer is redirected to the instant download of your product after a successful payment. Their secure link expires after the maximum number of download attempts and hours you designate for the product. The product PDF is stamped with their name, email address and unique transaction ID to discourage unauthorized sharing. E-junkie provides multiple payment choices, built-in shipping, sales tax and VAT calculators and discount code options. You can also add an autoresponder (ex. a thank you email with instructions) and even create your own affiliate program. E-junkie charges $5/month. (Note: This would be in addition to your PayPal fees.)
For digital product sales, gumroad is an interesting new option. Gumroad allows you to sell and accept all major credit cards (but not PayPal) for your digital products, such as e-books, music, comics, software, or film, on your site or through a link. You upload your product to Gumroad and they handle the secure delivery of it. Their total fee is 5% plus a $.25 transaction fee.
When promoting products online, be sure to follow FTC rules regarding product endorsements-relationships must be disclosed- and advertising results – results presented must be “typical”.