All-in-one content management systems made it possible for any seller to not only build a professionally looking website, but also get all the necessary features needed to securely sell one’s digital products online. No knowledge of HTML or CSS is required, in general, as most CMS solutions have a simple, user-friendly drag-and-drop interface. There are plenty of free options out there to start with, although if you want to add features such as affiliate management, ticketing system, premium plugins and scripts, the majority of them will come at a fee. Even then, it is likely to cost you a lot less than keeping a Web designer or hiring an external design firm to do it for you. Read on for the list of all-in-one solutions that are most popular among digital product sellers.
WordPress is currently the most popular publishing platform, and while it was designed primarily as a blogging platform turned into a content management system, it quickly added the functionality needed for any successful ecommerce website, with many vendors using it as a platform for their online stores these days. The free version of the CMS comes with a lot of features, and everything it doesn’t have can be either downloaded for free or purchased in a form of a template, theme, plugin or script.
Plugins like WP Easy PayPal Payment or Donation Accept, and WooCommerce are just some of the solutions you can install to be able to accept various forms of payments through your WP store. For easy digital product delivery, you might want to consider a plugin like WordPress eStore. It will allow you to send an encrypted download link to the buyer as soon as the payment is processed, limit the amount of downloads per link or allow your buyers to re-download the product, among other features.
The Affiliates plugin will help you run your affiliate marketing program, providing such features as automated affiliate registration and management. It also allows for seamless integration with popular ecommerce platforms, such as WooCommerce, Jigoshop and eShop. The WordPress Advanced Ticket System provides several useful methods for your customers to submit tickets. GC Testimonials plugin lets you collect and display client testimonials on your WP website. Multiple forum solutions, such as bbPress, vBulletin and ForumPress are also available.
Shopify is another popular option among people selling their digital products online. A combination of a full-featured ecommerce platform and a content management system, Shopify has a multitude of features allowing anyone to run a successful online store. Similarly to WordPress, it has many apps to add any functionality you might possibly think of. Unlike WP, though, Shopify is a paid platform, running from $29 to $179 per month. The advantage is that you are getting a platform designed specifically for sellers, rather than a CMS system with vendor features.
Some of the popular apps include Shopify POS for inventory management, Customer Pricing for setting multiple pricing levels and Product Discount for sales management. For customer feedback and testimonials, you might want to try Grapevine Reviews, which gives you the freedom to automatically publish new reviews or manually review each one before it is displayed. You can also customize the look of the reviews to match your website’s design. Another option that serves the same purpose is a Testimonial Show-Off Slider, which allows you to automatically rotate different reviews on your site, displaying clients’ names, photos and quotes. Try the Digital Downloads app to simplify the delivery of your digital goods to customers. For affiliate management, check out Refersion or Omnistar Affiliate software.
When choosing the best platform for selling your digital products, you might also want to consider Bigcommerce. Just like Shopify, it provides a variety of ecommerce tools combined with CMS features. Besides selling your products, you can also host your website here, get a domain name and set up email accounts. The pricing ranges from $25 to $300 per month.
Bigcommerce users enjoy more than 60 pre-integrated payment getaways, meaning that you do not need to install anything extra to be able to accept payments from your buyers. Features such as product reviews and comments, integration with popular email marketing solutions and single-page checkout come as part of the package, along with hundreds of other functions.
For digital product delivery, you can try FetchApp, which is also available for Shopify and WP. While it doesn’t provide any affiliate management program to start with, Bigcommerce supports affiliate tracking codes, which you can get from third-party tracking and management services, such as Commission Junction, and integrate with your Bigcommerce site. No helpdesk or ticketing system is built in either, but third-party apps can be used, including Smarterticket, or Comm100 for live-chat support.
If you find that WordPress emphasizes too much on content management, and the other popular ecommerce solutions are too pricey, you might want to give OpenCart a try. This ecommerce platform is open-source, which makes it a great choice for sellers who are also developers, or simply those who are looking for a free solution.
While OpenCart doesn’t cost anything, it is still a powerful selling platform. The ability to offer downloadable products is integrated, although it’s relatively basic. If you want to add extra features to it, such as ability to offer free samples, show order history and other advanced functions, you can purchase one of the extensions for OpenCart, such as eGoods. Product review and product rating features are built-in as well.
For advanced testimonials publishing capabilities you can go with one of the free extensions, such as Wiwitness Testimonials or My Customer Testimonials, or you can choose a more feature-loaded paid option like Advanced Product Review. Forum extensions are also available, from the free FlatForum to the inexpensive EOS Nation Simple Forum. Sellers can choose from various ticketing system extensions like Advanced Support Ticket OpenCart Module, although most of them are paid options.
OpenCart has built-in affiliate functionality, notifying you each time an affiliate makes a sale and transferring a percentage to their accounts. Many other useful functions come integrated with OpenCart, including multi-language and multi-currency support, discount coupon system and more. While OpenCart is free and so are many of its basic extensions, the website encourages donations, code contributions and word-of-mouth advertising.
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