Selling elearning is a step that shouldnt be overlooked. It cant be underestimated in its importance as its the final step that a learner will take before interacting your SCORM-compliant LMS and taking your course. Its worth spending the time to find ecommerce software that is suitable for your needs but also easy and efficient to use. Shopping cart software that is difficult to use will also frustrate your learners. A dissapointed learner means lost revenue.
But with all of the shopping cart software available, where do you start? What features should you be looking for?
Licensed or Hosted?
The first important decision is whether you want a licensed or hosted shopping cart.
- A licensed shopping cart is software you purchase to host on your server. By purchasing software you incur lower medium and long term fees. The advantage of having a licensed store is that you have full control and customization.
- A hosted shopping cart is another option that is controlled and maintained by a third-party. By hosting, your setup cost is lower and you are able to set up your e-commerce store faster as well as receiving regular updates and maintenance. However, in the long run a hosted shopping cart is more expensive due to high monthly fees.
The Features You Need
Most shopping carts have two components. One is the storefront which is what your customers will view on your ecommerce store and the other is the administration, which allows you to manage your store. You will find both components available on the market but they will vary substantially. Its important to look for these features:
- An easy to browse storefront presenting product information that is useful and graphically pleasing.
- Search features allowing customers to quickly locate product.
- Customer service area where customers can change account info, look into orders etc.
- Stock availability for physical products like books or DVDs Search engine friendly so that it can attract new learners unfamiliar with your educational offerings.
- Modules that will create and manage product categories as well as to manage orders.
- Tools that allow you to change settings across multiple products.
- Assign options to products such as size and color also having the ability to set price changes that are dependent on the selected option.
- Multiple shipping and payment options.
- Easily set up store settings like date, currency, how you would like your products displayed etc.
- Shipping/tax calculations for local and international shipments of physical products.
- Email order confirmations so that the learner is aware of enrollments or shipments.
Processing Payments Securely
Before you can start to process credit card payments, there are a few things that you need to set up. The first of which is a merchant account number so that your shopping cart software can complete the transaction. The second is that your website needs to be secure so that any buyer information is not gathered by a malicious third-party.
The security features that the ecommerce software needs to have are:
- PCI/DSS Compliance – Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI/DSS) are regulations that safeguard payment account data security. By selling online your software and hosting needs to be PCI compliant when you are accepting credit cards.
- SSL Certification – Secure Socket Layer (SSL) technology is used to safeguard your credit card information by transmitting communications, such as credit card payments, over the internet in an encrypted form. SSL ensures that the information is securely sent to the server you intended to send it to which is the same level of encryption used by large banks to keep your information secure. By having your SSL certificate you will be able to keep important customer data secure.
Wrapping It Up
There are many different options available when setting up your online store. The best ecommerce software is one that suits your needs of you and your learners. Choosing the right software features for your shopping cart will make it more user friendly, worry free, and keep your learners happy and satisfied with their purchases. This is the bottom line to generate a smooth shopping experience from start to finish.
Image Credit: Mikl Roventine