Thanks to one of my authors, Cindy Kennedy, who sells amazing gluten free cakes at http://oraravalleycakes.com.au/, for making me aware of Ecwid.
Ecwid is a shopping cart software that works with physical and digital goods, like ebooks, and is very simple to use. It has both free and paid versions, but the free version should be good enough for most any author. Ultimately, it works a bit differently to the way I describe using PayPal to send a customer to a download page after purchase. With Ecwid you may upload the ebook file (pdf for example) and have its link be attached to the purchase confirmation email to the customer. Might need to explain ahead of time that’s how they will receive their book, but not a problem. Another nice feature, it has a shopping cart appearance and is so easy to use–works in just minutes–plus the appearance can be customized in many ways. You can see Cindy Kennedy’s use of Ecwid at her website’s Store. Just click on any of the items to see pricing and checkout.
For many authors, it might be easier to use Ecwid than creating a download page and a PayPal button with customized features for being sent to the product after purchase. Ecwid does look nice and requires less work for set up. Of course, when sales happen your small percentage to PayPal will still be the same, so it’s great that the free version of Ecwid doesn’t skim anymore of the profits from the author. It’s easy to use, fast, free and set up for mobile devices–works with any web browser. (If PayPal is not your choice of online bankers, it also works with Google Checkout, Authorize.net and 2CheckOut.)
Authors can add their ebooks and paperbacks to the Ecwid Control Panel through their Catalog Menu and Add New Product. For digital goods you’ll select the File tab and follow the prompts to name the product and select its image, description, price, as well as upload it. Then you can include the file’s link in the purchase confirmation. For paperbacks, the author would need to send the book to the buyer after purchase.
They also have a Facebook application, which allows you to integrate the shopping cart items to Facebook pages. That seems pretty cool. There’s not much customer support since it’s so user-friendly. From their site; There is no manual, nor will there be one in the future. We believe that if a product requires a user manual, then it’s not user-friendly enough already. We want Ecwid to be obvious to the user. So if you have found something complicated and need information, please ask a question on the Community Forums or search our Knowledge Base.
Will I make the change to Ecwid from how my present system is set up? Probably not since I can’t say one method beats the other, more of a preference thing. But I will use it as an example. I must admit, it does have a nice look to it. Maybe aesthetics will make a convert out of me. It also would be ideal for new sites… if I make any more.
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