Join Patrick Rauland for an in-depth discussion in this video Examining your needs, part of WordPress: Ecommerce.
- What may be an amazing checkout solution for one company, might not work at all for another company, because they need a certain feature. The first question you need to ask yourself is: What type of payment do you want to accept? Obviously, many people want to use credit cards, but you may want to accept payment from other sources as well. The most popular, non-credit card option is PayPal. Some customers don't trust PayPal and want to use credit cards, while others don't trust stores with their credit card numbers and prefer to use PayPal.
In most WordPress based Ecommerce platforms, accepting payments via PayPal is a common feature. Some customers may prefer to pay through an existing account that they have with Amazon rather than create a new account on your website. If you think that a high number of your customers use Amazon you can reduce the friction in the checkout by letting them checkout through Amazon. As a storeowner, you can have any combination of payment gateways: one that accepts credit cards, one that works with PayPal, one that works with Amazon, and possibly even more. The second question is: What country are you in, and what currencies do you need to accept? Many payment gateways only work in specific countries.
If a gateway doesn't support your currency, you can expect exchange fees on top of regular fees. The option I frequently turn to, to accept payments in the U.S. is Stripe. Stripe is very developer friendly in terms of their API, their documentation, and how easy it is to set up a test account. Their robust API makes Stripe pretty powerful, which allows you to bill people automatically, which we'll discuss in just a moment. It isn't available in all countries though, so you need to see which gateways are available to you. Another question is: How much risk are you willing to take on? Having customers enter credit card numbers on your site is riskier than someone going off site to do it.
If you don't like the risk, you can look for an off site gateway. This breaks the checkout process into two parts. First, the customer enters their billing and shipping address into your store, then they are automatically redirected off site to enter their credit card information. Once the charge has been authorized, they're redirected back to your site. This adds an extra step to the checkout process, but it can prevent a lot of security headaches because your site never sees the credit card information. Another thing to consider is that the products you are selling can limit which gateways you want to use.
Are you selling products one at a time? Or do you need recurring payments? If you need to bill people regularly, how flexible are the recurring payments? This is actually a feature that's very inconsistent across gateways. Many gateways don't support recurring payments at all. Some support them, but won't let you change the payment amount, or won't let you change the billing schedule, which can be a big problem. This could prevent a customer from upgrading to a more premium service. Some gateways charge extra money for recurring payments. Before you look at specific gateways, look at the Ecommerce platform and see what they support.
Some gateways may support recurring payments, but the platform itself may not. WooCommerce subscriptions, for example, lets you make recurring payments with WooCommerce, and it lists exactly which gateways and features work. The last question you need to ask is: Do you need a separate shopping cart, or can it be integrated with your gateway? There are some all-in-one solutions that combine a shopping cart and a gateway. Solutions like Gumroad, for example, take a bigger cut than most payment gateways, but they also let you upload products and give you reports.
If you only have a few products, you may not need a fully featured shopping cart, and an easy to set up solution like Gumroad may be a better use of your time.
To start, you need to understand the market for your product or service so you can build your website around it. So Patrick Rauland kicks off with some key questions that will help you define your audience and organize your products. He'll then help you set up a payment gateway with PayPal or Stripe, ship orders, collect taxes, and secure sensitive data. And if you weren't convinced already, Patrick reviews the benefits of WordPress ecommerce tools as well as a selection of third-party tools that integrate beautifully with WordPress. Plus, get bonus tips on marketing your new website: attracting and retaining customers and increasing the value of the average order.
- Defining your audience
- Organizing your products
- Marketing your WordPress site
- Increasing average order value
- Getting paid
- Checking out with PayPal or Stripe
- Managing and shipping orders
- Collecting tax
- Protecting sensitive data
- Using WordPress or third-party platforms for ecommerce