In this session we discuss when to use PayPal, WP eStore or Shopp for your products. We discuss each system in detail and which is good for single products, digital products, multiple products, sales tax issues, complex shipping and ease of displaying products.
Member: Well, in general, I have 2 clients now that made a shopping cart solution. I’ve never done that before. And I understand that I could do everything with PayPal and they would take care of the SSL and the shopping cart itself and I’m curious, and I also noticed that Shopp does interact with PayPal as well. Why should I consider using Shopp? First, it’s just dumping over everything to PayPal, like what are the advantages and disadvantages? Especially, am I missing something? So that’s my first question.
Rick: Well, PayPal has Buy Now buttons and Donate buttons and Subscribe buttons and you can certainly use those. And in fact, somebody asked a question recently about a Donations plugin. You know, what would be the best way to collect donations for a non-profit. And I did suggest simply using a donations button with PayPal because there’s nothing that needs to be configured or done. As long as they’re a legitimate non-profit, all they have to do is demonstrate that to PayPal and then they could collect the money.
Rick: But if you have a single one off product and you want to just sell a single thing off of PayPal and you don’t care about whether or not it connects up to an auto responder and you don’t care about sending them out emails automatically and you don’t care about keeping track of it on your site. Then the PayPal Buy Now button could be just fine. But a shopping cart is way more than that. And so the question really, at the moment, I only have 2 answers to your question. One of them is you know, a fairly simple answer that is a fairly simple solution to a shopping cart and then the other one is a fairly complex solution to a shopping cart. And I’m looking for a middle ground answer but I don’t have it yet for you.
Rick: Because there’s no such as thing as a one size fits all shopping cart. If you are selling a digital product and you don’t have a complex sales tax or VAT tax or tax issues like that then the easiest and most robust solution that I know of is WP eStore. And if you’re selling physical products but have a fairly simple shipping and still have a simple tax structure, WP eStore still works quite well for that. And that’s the simple answer. That’s the simple solution. It’s an easy or relatively easy plugin to configure and set up. It doesn’t have a ton of customization options but it does have several different ways to display products. And it works perfectly in pretty much every theme and it works just fine in Thesis. And it contains within it the ability to refund and it collects information about the purchaser. And if you want to send them to an auto responder once they made a purchase then we can configure it so it automatically happens. And if they’ve got digital downloads, it is masterfull at secure digital content. And so there’s just all kinds of things you can do with WP eStore as long as it’s either very simple shipping and taxes or digital products.
On the complex side is Shopp and Shopp can do anything. I mean, literally anything. So if you’re in California and you have… what, 250 different taxing jurisdictions that you have to calculate taxes for, when you make a sale in California then Shopp can handle that. If you have complex shipping requirements, say for example, what we’re going to talk about today, you want to use US Postal Service and you’re shipping both between the US and internationally, Shopp can connect up directly to the US Postal Service data and can calculate in real time the shipping cost and include that in the shopping cart. And you can give them a chance to say, “Okay well, I’ll take it priority mail. I want to take it express mail.” Or “I want to take it next day air” or whatever. You can give them those choices and they can select those choices and the shipping is automatically calculated for that kind of stuff.
Rick: And it is fairly easily configured for VAT taxes in the EU or in Quebec. You know, Quebec also has very odd taxing requirements and so you’re obligated to show different taxes in different ways on inside the shopping cart. And so it can handle those kinds of things. Now the downside of it is, is that if you aren’t customizing it, it has a very vanilla-looking install. But it’s designed to be customized. So if you want a not a very vanilla-looking install, you have to take it upon yourself to add the custom templates and edit custom templates and edit CSS and all the rest of that stuff. But it can do anything or anything that I’ve heard of anybody wanted to do is possible in Shopp. It’s just not, unfortunately, at the moment it’s also not flawless. It still does have some things that don’t work perfectly. And it took me a while to figure out how to make sure that the international shipping actually worked properly which is why I’m going to present that today so that other people can follow through with it. So there are some irritating little things that don’t always work exactly as you would expect them to. It’s a highly complex plugin and those are very unusual cases when you’re run into something that doesn’t work like it should.
Member: Okay. Well that makes sense. One of my clients does have a digital download. The other one has physical products and the physical products have the potential to be shipped around the world. So I’ll look into both of them because the WP eStore… simple is great, I love that. Maybe that would be a good solution.
Rick: Well, it’s a good solution for the digital downloads.
Member: Okay and Rick, does… in doing that, WP eStore is a purchased product. That’s not a free card, I assume.
Rick: Right but it’s like $50 or $60, something like that.
Member: Alright, sure. And then it needs an SSL and a dedicated IP, is that also true?
Rick: Well, if you are using SSL, I mean, it doesn’t really need SSL. You don’t need SSL with PayPal because PayPal’s actually handling all that stuff anyway.
Member: That’s what I was thinking.
Rick: PayPal’s automatically SSL. And in fact, if you’re using another payment provider, there are some payment providers that require the site to have SSL under certain circumstances. And you can use SSL with WP eStore and with those payment providers. But if you’re using PayPal, you don’t need SSL period either Shopp or WP eStore. And the reason you don’t need it is because you’re not collecting any secure information on your site.
Member: Everything gets dumped over to PayPal and they are having a customer enter their information on their secure servers, correct?
Rick: That’s exactly right. And then PayPal does not send their secure information back to you. PayPal just sends the results of the transaction. So PayPal and your store work together so that you know that the transaction went through and your shopping cart knows that the transaction went through and all that kind of stuff. But it doesn’t say you know, here’s the name of the purchaser and here’s his social security number and here’s his credit card number and all that kind of stuff. It doesn’t say anything like that. it just passes transaction information back. So it’s entirely a secure process.
Member: Alright, that makes total sense. You said that if you have single items, PayPal works great. Isn’t there a way that you can also do multiple items on to payPal or not? Am I mistaken about that?
Rick: Well, I think you’re mistaken about that but I haven’t… you know, PayPal has come out with new products and they may have a multiple product thing but I don’t know how that would work because as soon as you hit that button, that’s going to take them back… you know, somebody’s got to log in… well, if they’re using PayPal to make the purchase, they got to log in. And if they aren’t using PayPal to make the purchase, something outside of PayPal has to maintain the transaction information. So I doubt that there is a system like that except for… there might be a system like that for people with PayPal accounts. But then you have to sign in to your PayPal account first. Although I could be entirely wrong but I haven’t seen an advertisement from PayPal for that product, an Add to cart button and the ability to maintain a shopping cart.
Member: Okay well I have just started the research this morning and I thought I saw something that talked about the PayPal shopping cart. And I was assuming that a shopping cart, kind of in it of itself means you got more than one item as a possibility. And my client definitely wants to sell
or have the option of her customers ordering more than one thing at a time. So I’ll do some more research on that. And if I find out anything, I’ll send you back an email to try to…
Rick: Well, you wouldn’t want to use PayPal for delivering secure digital content. So if that’s the one you’re talking about, if that’s the client you’re talking about, PayPal isn’t a good option anyway.
Member: And why is that when you say… what’s the difference in digital content and secure digital content?
Rick: Well, secure digital content gives the purchaser an ecrypted download link that allows them to download the product, either a specific number of times or within a specified time limit and it doesn’t allow them to share that link with somebody else. I mean, it’s not public. Nobody can find it. You know, you can’t steal the content and that’s what you want. If it’s digital content, you want it to be secure digital content.
Member: That makes sense.
Rick: Because otherwise, somebody can just come along and search, find it. I was recently looking for some information. And I searched an I found some videos on the subject and lo and behold, you’re supposed to have to pay for these videos. But not only did they show up in Google search results but they’re also just readily available as long as you weren’t going through the front page of the site. You know, if you went through the front page of the site and you paid for it then you got access to it. But if you search the site for videos, I mean, just type in you know, site colon, the site name and then video, all of these what should have been premium videos were openly and publicly available. Well, you don’t want that kind of thing to happen. I mean, that’s not really how you want to manage your premium digital content.
Member: No, of course.
Rick: And so that’s why PayPal just can’t do that for you.
Member: So if we’re not going to use PayPal for that, does that leave us with the only option of having some type of a shopping cart in WP eStore or something else hooked up to processor and a gateway so that it’s out of PayPal’s hands and somewhere else that…
Rick: No, no. WP eStore and PayPal work perfectly together. That’s what I use on my site or I use WP eStore and PayPal to manage the process of taking the money and keeping track of the subscription length and all the rest of that stuff. You need some kind of payment provider with a shopping cart with WP eStore and WP eStore supports a bunch of different shopping carts but as long as the person doesn’t hate PayPal, PayPal is the thing to use because it’s easy, it’s sophisticated. It’s well-integrated into WP eStore. It’s so easy to integrate into WP eStore that people say, “Show me how to do it because I couldn’t find it on the video.” And on the video, it was just you know, essentially add one little piece of information and it’s integrated.
Member: Alright. I said that wrong. I really meant shopping cart. I was assumging WP eStore… I keep thinking WP eStore is a shopping cart when in reality, it’s just a plugin that sort of takes the transmission over to wherever, either a shopping cart or PayPal.
Rick: No, WP eStore is the plugin that provides the shopping cart.
Rick: And the shopping cart is managed by WP eStore and you have a choice in WP eStore of using the shopping cart function or simply using Buy Now functions.
Rick: Those are all managed by WP eStore with regardless of the payment provider you’re using, whether it’s authorize.net or PayPal or whomever.
Member: Alright. However, if we’re trying to have the secure digital content, she should not be setting it up with PayPal. She should really go through…
Rick: No, no. She just shouldn’t use a PayPal “Buy Now” button. She shouldn’t use PayPal without WP eStore. Nothing wrong with using PayPal as the payment provider. It’s WP eStore that manages the secure digital downloads. So what I’m saying is, that if you got digital content, the best solution is to use WP eStore plug whatever payment provider she wants to use. And it could be PayPal and that’s what I use and PayPal’s great for that.
Member: I got you.
Rick: But that’s the answer to that question.
Member: Okay, thank you for hanging in there with me. I misunderstood and I see now. What you don’t want to do… and the WP eStore can add… you could add multiple products into that shopping cart and then when it gets a total of whatever the total is then it send it out, for example,
to PayPal to say process X dollars.
Rick: Right. And PayPal tells WP eStore back, “Okay, we’ve collected the money.” And then WP eStore says, “Okay.” And sends out an email saying you know, “Thank you for your purchase. Here are the download links for the products that you purchased.” And these links are good for whatever you know, however you set that up.
Member: Alright. And I know you have videos on Shopp on your site. Do you also have videos on WP eStore?
Rick: Yeah. I have both sets of videos. The long video series is actually on WP eStore.
Member: Oh okay.
Rick: That’s the How To Build An eCommerce Website and then we have the Shopp videos. And sometime in the not too distant future, I will probably be doing WooCommerce. But if it’s not WooCommerce, it’ll be Cart66 or something like that as a middle ground.