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Choosing an eCommerce Plugin for Your LearnDash Website II

    Tahseen Kazi
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ecommerce-site-creatorLast week I spoke about two aspects you should  consider while choosing an eCommerce plugin for your LearnDash website. While the first aspect was focussed on the features provided by the free plugin the second one was centered around payment gateways. The payment gateway angle doesn’t really come in if you are not considering selling your course (which I doubt is the case). Nevertheless, I would still recommend choosing an eCommerce plugin with a feasible payment gateway integration option for the future (just in case you change your mind about selling courses online).

Moving on…!

Today’s post will be hinged on the following points that you must keep in mind while choosing an eCommerce plugin for your LearnDash website.

  • Does the plugin support various marketing techniques?
  • Is it user-friendly?
  • Does it fit in my budget?
  • Is the plugin supported well?

So let’s take on these little affairs and dissect them well enough to arrive at an ideal solution.

Does the Plugin Support any Marketing Techniques?

Setting up a website is only half the task done. The next uphill task would be to actually get visitors to your website and convert them into enrolled students.

The old school way of doing this would be word-of-mouth. But then if you have made up your mind about taking the tech route I don’t see why you should rely on the word-of-mouth strategy for marketing.

Let’s take a look at some basic features that you should look out for to automate the Marketing Dracula for your LearnDash website.

1. Make Recommendations to Your Client

Assuming that you are able to attract visitors to your website how would you ensure that they make a purchase?

By making your products visible!

The best way to make products visible on your website would be recommending products to clients based on their search. It’s a marketing strategy used by most of the big names in the eCommerce industry and should work in the e-Learning environment too.

Incidentally, WooCommerce provides this option in the core plugin which is available for free. They call the feature ‘linked products’. On the other hand, EDD’s Cross-sell and Upsell add-on and JigoShop’s Up-sells and Cross-sells addon  provide an option to add exactly this functionality to your website.

If you want to take the game a notch higher with WooCommerce you can do so with Recommendations, an extension developed to automate the process of connecting customers with relevant products. However this add-on might turn out to be more expensive than the other options as it has been integrated with Graphflow a paid service that handles the recommendation process. Spending the extra buck is worth it though in this case. And hey, did I forget to mention about Cart Add-ons for WooCommerce? A more economical option, this extension allows you to cross-sell from the cart page.

2. Gain Visibility

My previous point was based on the assumption that your products are visible on the internet. By visible I mean that people are reaching your website through some means or another.

So, how to make your eLearning website famous?

The best way to do this would be to leverage social media. Instagram. Facebook. Google feeds. Twitter. You can leverage the power of social networking sites to market your courses, increase visibility and thereby increase course enrollments for your online learning management system.

JigoShop has not been integrated with many social networking websites. A remarkable addon that it offers though is Viral Coupon. Essentially this addon will reward users, who like or share products, with discount coupons. A similar add-on that is offered by EDD is EDD Social Discounts. Conversely, WooCommerce scores because of it’s integrations with Instagram, Facebook, and Google+.

Another interesting way to gain visibility would be to indulge in affiliate marketing. All eCommerce plugins have been integrated with some Affiliate plugin or another. So here it is really about which affiliate plugin you choose. Make your choice and you are pretty much sorted on this front.

3. Stay Put in The User’s Mind

You have gained visibility and you have lured the customer into purchasing your product. What next? Another marketing strategy that you might want to employ is reconnecting with students who are already enrolled in the courses on your website or are subscribed to your website.

How? Through relevant emails regarding latest courses, offers, and the latest on the subject of study the student is interested in.

In digital marketing terms, this is termed as eMail Marketing in which you would essentially be sending Newsletters to subscribed and enrolled students.

Through this, you will be able to constantly remain in the user’s mind. It also serves as a great avenue to market the latest courses on your website. Never forget, repeat customers have the potential to form a large portion of sales on your eLearning website.

Once you have decided on the newsletter plugin to use just type out ‘ecommerce plugin name’ + ‘newsletter plugin name’ in the google search bar to figure out if the integration exists. If it does then it’s just a matter of downloading the plugin and starting to use it.

ecommerce-plugin-for-your-learndash-website

4. Provide Discounts from Time-to-Time

People are constantly looking for deals and discounts, searching for ways to save the dollars whenever they possibly can. This customer psychology can be leveraged to increase the number of enrollments for the courses on you LearnDash e-Learning website.

The Bottom line is offer discounts whenever you can. A good day to start giving discounts would probably be International Literacy Day 🙂

You can simplify the discounting process by using add-ons such as discount code generator by EDD, JigoShop Smart Coupons, and Smart Coupons for WooCommerce  that have been developed to do just that.

So as far as discounts are concerned, you can choose any one eCommerce plugin for your LearnDash website between the plugins that have been integrated with WordPress.

5. Let Them Make Their Choices

Consider this.

You have a bunch of courses on HTML which start from a beginner level and go on to expert level. Now the likelihood of someone who has signed up for a beginner level course taking the succeeding courses is considerable. You can leverage this requirement by bundling relevant courses together in various permutations and combinations and let customers make their pick. Alternatively, you can also allow students to choose the courses they want and create a customized bundle of courses.

The Product Bundles addon by WooCommerce is ideal if you want to decide the courses that will be added to a package. If you want them to have their own pick then the Custom Product Boxes for WooCommerce will allow you to do that effectively.

If by this point you are veering towards EDD then you just got lucky as the product bundle feature is available in the core feature. So you do not have to go through the hassle of installing and setting up an extra plugin. However, this feature only allows you to create the course packages. If you want the students to decide the courses in the package then that is not happening just yet with EDD.

As for JigoShop, you can say bye-bye to the course package feature. Neither the core plugin nor the add-ons provide this feature. 🙁

Is it User-Friendly?

Due to its broad nature, figuring out if your website is user-friendly or not can be extremely daunting.

While the meaning of this term can differ from person-to-person it becomes extremely difficult to gauge exactly what you gotta do. To start with however you can introduce a subscription pricing model and an option to enquire about courses easily before making a purchase.

The benefit of the Subscriptions feature is that the likelihood of a student getting enrolled with this option is higher as the student then has an option to unsubscribe without much monetary loss. While EDD, WooCommerce and JigoShop all provide this feature as an add-on, your decision between the three for this feature will be based on the cost of the add-ons.

As for inquiry, you do not want to drive away students due to lack of information. A handy inquiry form on the course page will definitely add to a customer’s experience. In WooCommerce, this can be achieved using Product Enquiry Pro whereas in JigoShop you’ll have to set up Product Enquiry Form. Surprisingly, EDD doesn’t have any means to provide this feature just as yet.

Is it Economical?

Here’s the dynamics of the cost you might have to incur based on the eCommerce plugin you choose. I have taken the liberty to make some choices on your behalf. For example choosing the newsletter plugin, choosing a payment gateway etc.

WooCommerce

  • The Core Plugin: Free
  • Integration with 2Checkout: Add-on for $79
  • Related Products Option: Free. Inbuilt with the core plugin.
  • Integration with Affiliate WP: Add-on for $49
  • Integration with MailChimp: Free
  • Discount Coupon Generator Add-on: $99
  • Product Bundles Add-on: $59
  • Product Enquiry Feature: $37
  • Subscriptions Add-on: $199

Total: $522

Easy Digital Downloads

  • The Core Plugin: Free
  • Integration with 2Checkout: Add-on for $49
  • Related Products Option: Add-on for $49
  • Integration with Affiliate WP: Free
  • Integration with MailChimp: $29
  • Discount Coupon Generator Add-on: $29
  • Product Bundles Add-on: Free. Inbuilt with the core plugin.
  • Product Enquiry Feature: Not Available
  • Subscriptions Add-on: $83

Total: $239

JigoShop

  • The Core Plugin: Free
  • Integration with 2Checkout: Add-on for $49
  • Related Products Option: Add-on for $49
  • Integration with Affiliate Pro: Add-on for $65
  • Integration with MailChimp: $49
  • Discount Coupon Generator Add-on: $49
  • Product Bundles Add-on: Not Available
  • Product Enquiry Feature: $16
  • Subscriptions Add-on: $85

Total: $362

Final Verdict

So the final question is which eCommerce plugin to choose for your LearnDash website? Well, if you were my client here’s what I would be suggesting.

JigoShop with its $362 price tag and unavailability of many add-ons and integrations is not on my final list of an eCommerce plugin for your LearnDash website. That essentially leaves us with WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads. Now based on the cost that you will incur on the two WooCommerce seems a bit too inflated. That does not necessarily mean you should choose EDD.

So how do you choose then?

Well, if your website is based solely on selling online courses then Easy Digital Downloads is good to go with. However, if you intend to sell any physical goods right now or in the near future then my suggestion to you would be to go with WooCommerce. I strongly insist on WooCommerce here as it has a very strong shipping module developed around it – a factor absolutely essential while dealing with tangible products.

So folks, that’s all from my end!

Until the next time, Adios 🙂

You might also want to read Why WisdmLabs has chosen Easy Digital Downloads over WooCommerce.

Tahseen Kazi

Tahseen Kazi

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