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Lesson 1 – Part 1 – Choosing the Right Plugin

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Today, we are going to be taking a look at setting up a simple store that sells digital products with WP eStore. If you have not already watched the whole series on How to Choose the Right WordPress Shopping Cart, then I strongly recommend that you do so. The methodology that we’re going to be using here today is based in that seminar and I’ll be demonstrating that here again today. So, I strongly suggest that if you aren’t familiar with that seminar, you take a look.

Today’s seminar is actually the first lesson in a new course which is entitled Sell Your Digital Products with WP eStore and you can get to that course here. This course is now essentially set up in the same way that all of our other courses are where each course has individual lessons. Today is going to be Lesson 1, next week will be Lesson 2 and so on and so forth, just like everything else that we do.

Today’s lesson is to set up a simple store that sells digital products. You’ll find the videos here and most importantly, there are links to the resources that are used in this lesson. You’ll see me refer to the resources as we work our way through this.

If you get benefit out of this, I sure would appreciate it if you +1 this or like this or tweet about it. It’ll help us quite a bit to have Google know that people appreciate the material that’s taught here. So if you get a chance, please do that. With that, we’re just going to dive right into the first part of the lesson which is choosing the right plugin.

Choosing the Plugin Based on Store Needs

When you start off by saying you want to choose the right plugin, you actually have to start off with understanding what it is you’re going to create. We’re going to take a look at this in more detail but in the broader view we’re creating a simple store with 3 products today.

The store does not have a product catalog; it doesn’t need one. It doesn’t have any custom product display and it sells digital downloads. There are some critical things about digital downloads that we will cover in detail.

Criteria we will use to Choose the Shopping Cart Plugin

First, digital downloads are automatic so once somebody makes a purchase, they have access to the downloads. Secondly, that it’s secure and by secure, I mean that the content is delivered via encrypted links and automatically expiring links. That means that the links can’t really be shared around and if they are shared, they expire so that they are only good for a limited period of time. This is the criteria that we’re going to use for judging or for choosing the plugin.

The Store Plan

Now that we have our criteria we’re going to go through our store plan. I introduced the store plan in that seminar on How to Choose the Right Plugin and we’re going to just follow through with that plan here.

Type of Store

As we said before, the type of store is just a small store with 3 digital products. Remember there are 6 types of stores, small stores and large stores that either sell digital products, physical products or physical and digital products. This is the first type of store, a small store with just a few digital products.

Store Description

Let’s start with our product definitions. Essentially we’re going to sell digital products and the digital products we’re going to sell are PDF copies of books and kindle or Apple versions of those same books.

We’re not going to need any customer input and at the moment, we’re not going to do any variations although we’ll add variations to these products as we refine it next week.

Product Display

In terms of product display, there’s not going to be any product catalogs. We don’t have any criteria associated with that and there aren’t going to be automatically generated product pages either. We’re just going to use a plain old ordinary simple WordPress page for our products and for product descriptions and all the rest of it.

Order Processing and Fulfillment

Now, in terms of order processing, we’re going to use PayPal. In terms of order fulfillment criteria, we want to deliver digital content from Amazon S3. We want it to be automatically delivered, we want to use encrypted download links and expiring download links. We also want a download page where people are automatically directed plus we want to include download links in the email that they receive.

Marketing and Customer Management

In terms of marketing, we’re not going to add or deal with any marketing components in this session and the same thing is true with customer management, we don’t need any type of customer management associated with this. All we really need is to take their money and when their money is collected, we get their name and email address from PayPal and that is all we need for customer management so it’s a very simple store in terms of our overall description.

Apply the Store Plan to the Shopping Cart Checklist

We’re going to take that simple plan and we’re going to apply it to this Shopping Cart Plugin Checklist. You can see why we’ve chosen to use WP eStore in the first place so we are going to say that digital downloadable products are essential, physical products aren’t. In this case, subscription isn’t important, serial numbers, license keys aren’t, donations, ticket vouchers and intangible products, none of those things matter.

In this situation, we’re going to include product variations but they won’t affect the price so no product variations that affect price, no product variations that affect shipping and none that affect inventory. However, we definitely need, in this case, digital variations but we don’t need digital and physical variations.

In terms of product organization, really none of this is necessary, we don’t need product categories, subcategories, tags or custom taxonomies. We don’t need product attributes, we don’t need a long description or a short description, we don’t need a product image, we don’t need multiple product images and we don’t need any buyer input. But we actually are going to ultimately want free products so we’ll put that in there although for today, we won’t be doing anything with free products.

In terms of a product catalog, really, we don’t have any aspects of product catalog so we can essentially say that for all of these elements. We don’t need an automatically created product page. In fact, we don’t really need any of this stuff, we don’t care about any of these aspects.

In terms of payment gateways, we want to use PayPal payment standard. At the moment, we don’t care about subscription support but we definitely care about “Buy Now” buttons because that’s how we’re going to do it.

There’s no such thing as “Out of Stock”, we don’t have any kinds of shipping, we’re going to discuss taxes a little bit so I’m going to put that there but really in our case, we don’t have any taxes.

Under order fulfillment, it’s essential that it integrates with Amazon S3 or another CDN, that the download links are expiring, that the download links are encrypted, that there are download limits, that the link is delivered via email and that there’s also auto-direction to a download page. And the bundled products are individual files and links. It’d be nice to have “Resend New Download Links”. In this case, well, we’re not going to be doing pay per view so it doesn’t matter and we also aren’t going to be doing any PDF security stamping.

In terms of physical products obviously, there aren’t any so we can just go ahead and X through all of those including inventory control and customer related input. None of that stuff is important. Customer management really, none of that is important as well so that’s not going to be a driving criteria. The same thing is true with marketing. We are going to talk about marketing in a later lesson so I’m going to put that under “would be nice”.

Sell products from HTML links, that would be nice, we want to sell bundled products although none of this product bundle information matters to us and it would be nice to be able to do coupon codes and automatic discounts.

At the moment, we’re not going to do any social networking integration and we’re not going to do any product reviews. This does need to be compatible both with Thesis and with Genesis because we’re going to be demonstrating it in both.

WP eStore is the Right Plugin for our Store

So there’s our checklist completed and now what we’re going to do is compare that to our plugins. Now, we know we’re going to use WP eStore because that’s what the lesson’s about but we’re choosing WP eStore because it does digital downloadable content, it does have digital product variations and it does have free products.

We don’t care at all about the product catalog or any of those things. It does have PayPal payment standard, it does have “Buy Now” buttons, it does not do any tax calculation except offsite.

In terms of order fulfillment, it does integrate with Amazon S3, it does have expiring download links, encrypted download links, download limits, automatic redirection of download page, bundled products’ individual files. It does have the “Resend the New Download Links”.

We don’t care about the physical products, inventory controls or product specific instructions, we don’t care about customer management.

It does have integration with AWeber and MailChimp, it does allow you to sell products from within emails with HTML links, it does have product bundles, it does add both coupon codes and automatic discounts. It is compatible with Thesis 1.8.5, Thesis 2 and Genesis although it doesn’t have any Genesis specific templates and of course, that’s not necessary. WP eStore is the choice that we’re making and we’re making it because of all of the store plan criteria are met.

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