Now that we’ve discussed order processing part of the criteria for choosing an eCommerce plugin for WordPress, we’ll move on to marketing and customer management criteria.
Then we have marketing criteria for choosing the right WordPress eCommerce plugin.
Integration with Email Marketing Services
One of the marketing criteria you want to consider is whether or not it automatically integrates with one of the email marketing services like AWeber, MailChimp, Constant Contact or Get Response.
If somebody has made a purchase from your site it’s very useful to be able to automatically add them to your autoresponder list. This gives you an opportunity to continue to market to them and to send them product updates and so forth.
Sell Products from Within Emails
Again, can you sell products from within emails? So that if you send out an email, can there be a link to a purchase for the product right inside that email so that they can buy it right then and there.
Bundling for Savings
And then, can you offer product bundles so can the product bundles be combined digital and physical. Can you sell the hardcover book with the kindle version as a tool? Can you sell bundles with shipping costs adjusted properly? So if you have a bundle that includes electronic version, can you split that up? Can you sell bundles that affect inventory?
Coupons and Promotions
Can you have related product upsells? For example, if somebody is going to make a purchase and they go to the shopping cart, do related products or upsell products show up for them to make a choice from?
What kind of coupons and promotions does it offer? Does it have coupon codes? For example, does it have some kind of a system for automatic discounts? There’s all kinds of potential ways in which you can think about doing coupons and promotions and the question is, do the potential plugins support those kinds of things?
Social Networking Integration
How about social networking integration? And more to the point, for things like Facebook or Pinterest, does it correctly share the featured image when somebody says, I like this product? When they click on that “Like” where they include a link to the product, will it take the right product image as part of that link or does it fall apart and try some of the header or something like that instead?
Does it automatically include sharing buttons like Facebook like or Pinterest or Google+ or TwitPics or whatever? How well is social networking integrated into the product pages?
Here are some things to consider for product reviews:
- Does it offer the opportunity for product reviews?
- Does it automatically include product reviews?
- Can you limit product reviews to customers?
- Can you moderate product reviews so that before the reviews are actually posted, you can decide whether or not you want it to be posted?
Integrate Google Analytics and eCommerce Tracking?
Can you integrate Google analytics and Google analytics eCommerce tracking, in particular, with your products so that you can watch the sales and pages visitors land on? What were visitors processes getting to the product?
Also, can it integrate with an affiliate system? You might offer people the opportunity to put affiliate banners on their site in order for them to advertise your products.
Customer Management Criteria
Then finally, there’s this customer management criteria and most of this really centers on whether or not the customer can create an account. So does the eCommerce plugin allow customer account creation?
If the customer creates an account, does it save the shipping information or does it display all of their purchase history? Does it give them product download links and in creating this customer account, does that result in an actual WordPress user rather than some other kind of connection to the shopping cart?
Can you require a customer account in order to purchase? Now, you probably don’t want to do that but there may be some contexts in which you do want to require it. So, can you require it before they can make a purchase.
And does the shopping cart retain abandoned or expired shopping carts via a cookie? It can both be useful and irritating to have some products added to a shopping cart and then go back to it later to try to complete the purchase and have that information essentially erased because it’s either set in session data that’s too short or it didn’t save that information in the cookie?
The reverse is also the case.. maybe you think that’s intrusive. If you have to go find your credit card and you’re away from your computer long enough that the session data expires and you get back to it to have to start all over again.
The net result of this is that depending upon how complex your site is, there’s a lot to think about when you’re going to make a choice. Next week, we’re going to talk about that in the context of each of these 6 different shopping carts.
We’ll look at all of those different things that I’ve mentioned today next week. And we’ll look at a requirements checklist and decide how to break out how we feel about these kind of things, so what’s essential and what’s important. And then we’ll compare that to the actual plugin’s abilities and help you decide which of the plugins will do what you want them to do.