As the fastest growing content management system in the world, WordPress is the ultimate solution for a wide spectrum of web based projects.
Among the varied WordPress capabilities are things like forum sites, online business directories, video courses, online booking systems and of course, online stores.
It has been said before that WordPress is no eCommerce platform and that it is best used for its original intent- blogging. In this article we are going to re-examine that statement by taking a look at a number of WordPress eCommerce solutions and more particularly, the selling of digital goods via WordPress.
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WordPress Solutions for Digital Content
Selling digital content on WordPress can be extremely profitable, as apart from the initial content creation it requires very little investment. Digital goods may be eBooks, video courses, music, software, games and films. The big advantage of selling digital goods online is of course, saving the expenses of printing copies, storing and delivering large quantities of stock items.
WordPress is completely capable of selling digital goods in a number of different ways which are all very straightforward. This can be done with popular eCommerce plugins like WooCommerce, Easy Digital downloads and CM Download Manager, or using pay-per-post plugins that restrict access to content within your site. The problem starts when copyright protection is needed, so here are some solutions for you that may help avoid theft and copyright violation.
WordPress Digital Rights Management Plugins- DRM
Many plugins have been created to help authors protect copyrights using digital signatures and serial numbers. Some mobile e-reading applications also offer DRM by using a mobile device identification mechanism, but those tend to be expensive and difficult to set up.
PayPal Easy Digital Shop
This plugin allows users to sell all of their digital content as files and set prices for each file. With fully customizable PayPal checkout buttons, the buying process in just one step, and each customer receives an automatic email with a download link after purchase. The plugin accesses the buyer’s information from PayPal, so the entire process stays on the WordPress web page. The user can add multiple products on one page and several download attempts are allowed within one month after purchase.
FlickRocket says it’s the best e-commerce platform for content, and it’s certainly the most diverse. Videos, eBooks, audio books, CDs, DVDs, and packed content like Flash are all able to be purchased or rented through this fully integrated ecommerce store plugin. This cloud-based solution is fully compatible with WooCommerce, Magento and many other platforms. What makes it truly unique is that all content can optionally be protected by a multi-platform DRM system. Legal customer can access the content on virtually all platforms while illegal content access and sharing is blocked.
EditionGuard is an easy to use eBook selling tool built on top of an industry standard DRM system for security. it distributes securely-encrypted ePub and PDF eBooks to readers where they want them, with support for over 150 devices and mobile apps. It also includes a fully integrated payment system that works with WooCommerce.
The main advantage of EditionGuard is that is uses fixed rates, which means that you’ll never have to fork over a percentage of your profit just to use a DRM system.
WordPress Pay-Per-Post Plugins
If you want to avoid the need for DRM, file sharing, and other complex processes on the way to selling your content, a simpler way to do it is set up a pay per post functionality, whereby users are charge for viewing specific pages on your site. Here are some plugin you can do that with:
CM Pay Per Post
WooCommerce Pay per post
This is another pay per post plugin that integrates perfectly with WooCommerce, though not officially a WooCommerce product. User that haven’t paid for the restricted pages will see an “Oops” message, followed by the product as it is displayed in the catalog. Once purchased, the user is identified by the plugin and the page content becomes available for viewing.
MPL – Publisher
MPL – Publisher offers users the chance to convert WordPress posts into individual eBooks for consumers. The goal of this plugin is to help turn bloggers into published digital book authors and it supports all the major digital formats like PDFs, ePub and Mobi. Still in its early stages, the plugin allows users to select chapters, create basic information about the author and publisher, and design individual chapters.
WordPress Downloads and File Sharing Plugins
Once you’ve managed to overcome DRM issues, or if you decided that DRM isn’t important to you, it is time to start thinking about how people will access your content. The following solutions provide a good structure if you have multiple pieces of content to sell, or if you wish to allow other people to sell on your file sharing platform.
CM Download Manager
CM Download manager provides a great way to share content and protect it either with a password or by restricting access to specific users only. When integrated with CM Micropayment it can also charge and charge points for different actions performed by users. Most importantly, CM Download manager will help you create beautiful landing pages for each of your downloads, with built in support forums, file previews and other cool features.
Easy Digital Downloads
Easy Digital Downloads offers the easiest solution available for WordPress to sell your digital downloads. Simply enter your payment information and products, and you’re ready to start selling. The Plugin will provide statistic reports on sales and integrate with over 40 payment gateways if needed.
Payment Systems and Shopping Cart Solutions
WooCommerce is definitely the most popular ecommerce plugin for WordPress, and is ideal for both small and large online stores. The main benefit of WooCommerce is the vastness of product options, which were clearly inspired by eCommerce centered systems such as Magento.
With WooCommerce, you can sell, ship and track orders as well as digital goods and grouped products. Most themes are compatible with WooCommerce and some of them even enhance it with additional visual elements, such as AVADA by ThemeForest.
WP e-Commerce is also a very popular e-commerce plugin that offers various payment options for users including several PayPal options, Google Wallet, Paystation, Chronopay and more. The plugin is SEO ready and customizable with HTML and CSS. The addition of catalog management and white glove customer support makes this plugin a very good option for powering your eCommerce store.
CM MicroPayment Platform
The CM MicroPayment Platform plugin was built to minimize the need for external payment processing. Admins can create a virtual currency with which users can purchase numerous low-price products before reloading their “wallet” with new points. You can add and subtract points from users based on actions they perform, such as uploading or downloading files to a file sharing directory, or for providing excellent answers to questions raised on your Q&A forum. This plugin integrates easily with many other plugins like CM Answers or CM Download Manager.
PayPal Shopping Cart
This simple shopping cart plugin allows users to add an Add to Cart button to any page, post or sidebar. The plugin also allows for discount coupon configuration, and notifies the admin when a customer uses a coupon to purchase a product. Many WordPress themes are compatible with this plugin, which also lets users customize cart images, product images, recognize item shortcodes, and open the shopping cart in a new window if desired. Users can change item quantities easily and one click buying allows for a better sales margin.
The diverse plugins listed in this article are only some of many others that offer satisfying WordPRess ecommerce solutions for a wide variety of purposes. Each plugin has different functions and will appeal to different users depending on their business needs. These plugins will ensure customer satisfaction and exponential product growth over time, which will ultimately improve the way WordPress handles eCommerce activity now and in the future.
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