So, planning to start an online store? Well, we have written about various WordPress eCommerce plugins that you might need to create an online store. But remember, what’s best for your store will depend upon what you are selling, and the functionalities you will need for your store.
For instance, if you are planning to sell only digital goods, many eCommerce plugins may sound ‘too-much’ according to your requirements. Unlike selling physical products, you won’t need intricate shipping options or the ability to create complex products in the case of a digital downloads store. You may not even need tax capabilities.
Now, don’t get confused by the term ‘Digital downloads store’. It is an online platform where you can sell eBooks, videos, music to bookings, orders, reservations, etc. If this is the case, a plugin that concentrates on selling digital files may be a great choice for you.
In terms of eComrce plugins that help you to start a digital downloads store, Easy Digital Downloads is the best plugin that is right up there. By integrating this free plugin on a WordPress website you can immediately start listing your products or digital downloads for sale, along with the option to collect payments. If you are familiar with the process of creating a WordPress online store, then you could publish your product online and it will be available for purchase within minutes.
The Easy Digital Downloads plugin is the eventual solution for all your ‘digital goods store’ requirements. It is a plain, performant, and feasible plugin. Rather than trying to provide every feature in effect, Easy Digital Downloads makes selling digital goods simple and faultless by giving just the features you need.
The plugin is free to download, and its performance can be enhanced by many free and premium add-ons. While they go along with any WordPress themes, it also has its own gorgeous themes that are built precisely for the plugin. The basic version of EDD is easy to use which is suited for selling digital files on your website and accepting payments.
What does the EDD offer?
The free version of Easy Digital Downloads offers basic tools you need in order to sell digital products on your WordPress website. With this plugin, you can upload digital files such as graphics, themes, templates, and much more irrespective of their file format. A shortcode is provided to help you insert your products into posts and pages.
PayPal Standard and Amazon Payments are the payment methods offered in the free version. But through extensions, you can add other payment gateways such as PayPal Pro, Stripe, etc. It also enables buyers to see their entire shopping history with your store through their personal accounts. In the back end, website owners can create reports for earnings, downloads, payment methods, and download these reports. Your digital files can be categorized and have tags assigned to them so that both you and your customers can find products easily.
Now let’s take a closer look at the reasons for considering Easy Digital Downloads as the perfect plugin for your digital downloads store.
As we discussed, the first and foremost reason that attracts any user towards EDD is that it certainly fits into anyone’s budget. The absence of a price tag doesn’t mean that EDD is less efficient or active. It is a plugin that offers regular updates and security patches to provide an intact shopping experience. Also, there are many free add-ons and extensions available directly from EDD as well as from third parties on WordPress.org.
2. Simple and easy
Another huge advantage of Easy Digital Downloads from a user’s point of view is that it is very easy to use. All the steps of implementing the plugin to your site are self-explanatory and can be understood even by beginners. Even if you ignore the documentation you can get the plugin activated and run quite rapidly. The interface and options are all very direct and settings for the plugin are distinctly labeled. EDD also has a big team behind it which is devoted to WordPress coding standards, ensuring that making changes to the codebase is transparent and effortless.
EDD doesn’t offer a large number of product options built-in like other e-commerce plugins. This makes the plugin a less devastating option when getting started with your store, but it also means that there are boundless possibilities for developers who are aiming to extend the plugin. With fewer options to style, developers can concentrate on the features they want to add or focus to create truly custom stores.
When the user wants to extend the functionality of the plugin, that is where you will have expenses with Easy Digital Downloads (apart from the payment processing fees). Even if there are some free add-ons for Easy Digital Downloads, you will probably need a few paid add-ons to finish the store setup. EDD is also expandable with custom code and plugins. Since the plugin is downloaded and run on your servers, you can adjust or add to it as required.
4. The multi-purpose shopping cart
Easy Digital Downloads provides a Shopping Cart functionality which is used to add various, downloadable products from your website. The ‘Add to Cart’ and ‘Buy Now’ options can be displayed voluntarily on the download page, the format of both being fully personalised. Carts can be saved by customers and you can take a stand on whether the checkout has to be as a registered user or the customer can continue as a guest. It also has a built-in customer access area where customers can smoothly access the files they paid for and keep records of their purchases. If they ever accidentally lose or delete a file they downloaded, customers can sign in to their account and re-download it.
5. Unified Payment Gateways
EDD has fixed payment gateway integrations for PayPal, Amazon, and your own payment processor. They also provide payment gateways as add-ons such as PayPal Pro, Stripe, Braintree, and much more. Anyhow, you have the freedom to regulate how you want to process payments, and can even cater to several payment methods.
For certain gateways, you can also accept recurring payments with Easy Digital Downloads which recur daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly. The checkout process is also quick and streamlined which helps in quick transactions and fewer halfway-customers.
6. Codes and Discounts
Another out of the box feature of EDD is the ability to create discounts and promotional codes. It helps you to make your existing buyers happy and captivate new customers to purchase different products from your digital store.
Discounts can be given as a percentage of the base price and can have an auto-expiration date. You can even set a minimum purchase limit to avail of the discount or a maximum discount limit that can be availed of! All these features will be available to you in a matter of a few clicks.
7. All-inclusive Customer management
Keeping customer records at the backend is a piece of cake with Easy Digital Downloads. Each member and consumer has a separate profile on your website that contains the entire sales and contact details of him/her. The customer lifetime period is also visible here, i.e. how much net gain can be acquired from the given customer, in the future.
These customer records can be connected with customer profiles and are an extensive database of the date and time when the download was completed, where the file was downloaded, and the payment details of the transaction.
8. Infinite Customizations
EDD is totally flexible in terms of customization. You can enable simple as well as variable pricing for products, create or download widgets, and add them onto your posts or pages. One can even customize purchase receipts and the emails to be sent, using various templates. Products can be availed as single downloads or as clusters that can be confined to particular users, with download limits and link expiration per download. EDD is consistent with most WordPress themes out there, though there might be a few exceptions.
9. Data Analytics
Easy Digital Downloads provides a data analyzer as one of its core features, that checks your income daily, weekly, fortnightly, monthly, or for any specific period of time. Reports can be separated by product or product category and compared externally using line graphs, with the present and predicted earnings for the specified time period. These reports can also be exported as CSV files for future reference.
EDD has different support resources to offer to its users. You can quickly ask for help on the WordPress support forums. They have helpful how-to videos, guides, and a very comprehensive and well-documented knowledgebase. The Basic support is free, but you can also opt for priority support, which is either $39 per month, or $129 per year.
All said and done, if you are a company looking to sell digital products on WordPress, Easy Digital Downloads is definitely the best choice! You can create your first eBook or eCourse or anything which is digitally downloadable and start making money. So much for the theory, now let’s try out some of the above-mentioned features practically and set up a store using EDD!