Most e-commerce platforms let you create orders manually. That way even if you're at a conference or a potential customer calls you you can capture those orders.
While many systems let you create orders manually they don't always let you charge a credit card which kind of defeats the purpose. But even if your e-commerce platform doesn't let you process credit cards if you use Stripe you're in luck. They make processing credit cards really easy.
There I was – minding my own business buying some stock photos to make my blog posts a bit prettier. And as I went to the checkout I noticed that there was a question:
Do you have a coupon code?
Well, I didn't but the fact that they asked the question means that they exist. So I did what any person does when they see an opportunity to save a little money. I went to google and I typed in:
Shutterstock coupon code
Hoping to find a site that would give me a discount. And I did actually in the very first search result.
Just over one year ago I released the WooCommerce Cookbook and I heard from lots of store owners about how much they liked it. And after hearing the feedback I decided to create something a bit less technical and more abstract. Something that would help people understand the fundamentals of e-commerce. Several months later I'm proud to say that I published WordPress eCommerce on Lynda.com.
The course covers everything you need to think about before you build an e-commerce site for yourself or for a client:
- Understanding Your Market
- Marketing Your Site
- Selling Products
- Shipping & Orders & Taxes
- Securing Your Site
- Using WordPress for eCommerce
- Testing & Optimization
This is a video course so all of the lessons include me showing example sites and visual aids. It's over an hour long so there's plenty for you to digest before you make your first e-commerce site. Chapters 3 & 4 go into lots of detail about the types of products you can sell and the best way to do it. Ex. How can I sell a monthly subscription box? And which way is best?
Here's a sample video:
Why I Created This Course
I created this course is because e-commerce is no longer limited by technology. You aren't spending your time figuring out technical problems. The technology is relatively straight forward and as a store owner or a developer building a store for a client you have to figure out marketing & positioning problems to make sure that your product solves a need and that people can find it.
Only once you know that people really want to buy your product and you can get them to your site do you worry about the technical problems.
For those people who just want to know all about the different WordPress platforms I cover WooCommerce, Easy Digital Downloads, iThemes Exchange, & WP eCommerce.
I also cover third party platforms that can integrate in your WordPress site such as Gumroad, Clickbank, and Shopify.
If you're a store owner this course will make you ask questions about your product market fit and what you need to do to sell as many widgets as possible.
If you're a developer you will learn all of the same lessons which you can pass along to your clients and make them successful. Building a $10,000 site is great but it's even better if you can build the right site for $10,000 and get more work next year after your client's product makes a killing. 🙂
If this sounds good sign up for a free 10 day trial of Lynda.com and get access to this course and many others – or if you're already a member just watch. 🙂
If you're detail oriented you might notice that this course actually came out last summer! I held off on the announcement of this post because it came out right around the time of the WooThemes acquisition and I was quite busy with all of that. Not a good excuse I know but better late than never right?
One of the most exciting aspects of working on an open-source platform is how fast things can change. And if you want to make something happen you can just do it. This happened just last week and I couldn't be happier.
I presented the Fundamentals of eCommerce at WordCamp Milwaukee 2015.
- What are you going to sell?
- Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)
- Cost of Acquisition (CoA)
- How are you going to get traction?
- Technical hurdles
- Order fulfillment
Last week I attended a conference and Derek Sivers, founder of CD Baby back in 1998, challenged the notion that businesses need to optimize for profit. What if instead they optimized for freedom? Or something else like fame? Why can't someone choose those instead of profit? And why don't people think about this before they start a business?
I talk a lot about content because it's how I drive traffic to my site. And while it can be a highly effective medium for driving traffic for certain industries it isn't universal. There are plenty industries where it makes a lot more sense to drive traffic through more traditional means like paying for traffic.
Something I've been thinking a lot about recently is how I can help store owners succeed. WooCommerce doesn't have every imaginable feature but it is complete enough for a huge number of store owners. What I mean by that is that in terms of functionality WooCommerce is a very viable option. Newsletters – check, bundles – check, subscriptions – check, tracking numbers for shipping, check; you get the idea.
The problem for many store owners isn't a lack of features it's that they don't know how to run an e-commerce business. And that's no slight against them. Do you add intelligent recommendations or do you write blog posts to bring in more traffic?
There's no right answer and no guide that can give you all of the answers. You have to learn how to run your e-commerce business. Learning from other businesses is great but you have run your own experiments and see what works for you.
While I can't give you the perfect e-commerce quick start guide what I can do right now is tell you what not to do.
There's a big difference between people saying they'll definitely buy your product and people actually pulling out their credit card and spending some of their hard earned money. You could very easily talk to ten people who are excited about your product and then have only one of them follow through. If you're creating an online store this can be a big problem. You're investing your time and money into this venture and of course you want to know if it will work out.
So you've thought about what you want to make and who you're going to sell to. Now, how do you organize your products? Do you list every single component as a single product? Or do you package them in some way?
You can sell products individually, in bundles, as add ons, as configurable products, or even as monthly subscriptions. Each of these work under the right circumstances. If you package your products wisely you'll be able to upsell your customer without them even realizing you're doing it.