Eagle eyed followers of this blog might have noticed that yesterday marked two special occasions for Guerrilla Wordfare. The first was obviously the launch of the much anticipated book three in the Rhyn Trilogy “Rhyn’s Redemption”. The second event had much less fanfare but was still significant; we launched our online store on this site.
Since day one a big part of our strategy has been to make Lizzy’s books available to readers across the world including places where Amazon doesn’t reach. India has been and likely always will be one of our biggest reader bases. Several of Lizzy’s readers have requested alternate methods of buying her books and now we have those in place. The system we use also enables Lizzy to start doing something she’s been mulling over for quite a while, an affiliate program. For these reasons and many more Lizzy has been on me to turn our site into an e-commerce site for some time but between my day job and nighttime SEO/webmaster duties it’s always been pushed down on my to-do list. We finally decided to get it out this weekend for the launch of “Rhyn’s Redemption and I’m glad we did.
I wanted a system in place that requires zero effort once setup. I want someone to click a button, buy a book, receive their book and the only notification I want is an email letting me know it happened. I started off by examining several of the different shopping cart options or other methods that we could use to deliver digital content instantly. I did quite a bit of reading and testing and ended up choosing a provider that I felt very comfortable with, E-junkie.com. In addition to low prices, the best options of any provider I found and ease of use, E-junkie.com also comes with the peace of mind of being one of the biggest providers out there. Their Alexa rank is around 3,000 and when I Googled “digital content providers” they came back as the top organic result. I don’t automatically use the biggest provider of a service (otherwise I would use Aweber instead of MailChimp for our mailing list) but it’s nice to know that your cart provider has the scalability and reliability that comes with size. We haven’t had the shop open for 24 hours yet but it’s already handled 235 transactions like a champ. I’ve been programming computers for most of my life but when it comes to keeping payment information secure, I’ll go ahead and use a professional.
There were a few things that I really wanted to make sure that the option we picked had. We’re looking at shopping cart options is not just a matter of of something will work or not it’s a matter of finding something that the buyer will feel comfortable with. There’s been several times in my life that I’ve started to buy something online but really didn’t like the look of the payment system didn’t feel comfortable giving them my info and so I ended up canceling the purchase. There’s also been a few times when I started to buy something and couldn’t complete the checkout process due to a slow loading or buggy payment system. Due to these factors I wanted a cart that kept the visitor on our page as long as possible. Several of the bigger providers like getdpd.com take you offsite every time you check your cart. Neither I nor Lizzy liked that. If you haven’t already take a second to check out our shop and try it out (it’s the “shop” option at the end of the row at the top of this site). You don’t even have to buy anything. When you add an item to the cart it doesn’t take you to an entirely new site, it just shows you what’s in your cart. Only when you go to checkout does it take you to PayPal. There are a lot of other payment options like Google checkout that we haven’t configured yet.
The second feature that I will wasn’t willing to budge on was that the card had to accept PayPal. I know not everyone loves PayPal but nearly everyone uses it. I love it because it acts as a trustworthy middle man between my payment details and the site where I’m shopping. If I’m looking at two sites to purchase something I will always choose the site which has PayPal as an option. I looked at one site (gumroad.com) that had no monthly fees, but also no options and no PayPal option. I would much rather pay a few dollars a month for a system I like than try to work with one that will frustrate me and likely cost us sales.
I only had one previous experience with E-junkie.com, which was when I purchased my Facebook ad coupon several months ago. The process was quick and painless. The more I started to dig into all of the options that becoming an E-junkie.com seller provided, the more I fell in love. Every option I could think of (discount codes with every imaginable option, affiliate programs, link expiration dates etc.) was in there. Adding items to our store was quick and easy but there is one caveat that I mentioned in the video that I must mention here.
A lot of our readers download our content on their mobile devices instead of a computer. Unless you want frustrated buyers (who usually don’t become repeat buyers) then you need to provide downloads for actual .pdf, .mobi and .epub files, not just all three combined into one .zip file. We learned this lesson the hard way. Most providers offer their content delivery services in a monthly fee which entitles you to sell a certain number of products. I originally thought I would go with getdpd.com so I emailed their tech support and asked them if I could associate three files with one product. They replied back the next day and said that I could not and had to use a workout of creating each file type as one product, and then have a fourth product which was a bundle of those three other products. Easy enough to do, but when you realize that the $16 a month 30 product plan will only handle 7 books, it becomes less attractive. As I started to look around I realized that this was a common issue and E-junkie.com is no different. So when you look at the $5 a month 10 product plan, that will only be 2 books if you use the 4 product bundle method. The good news is that the plans on E-junkie.com stay cheap. You can get a 20 product plan for $10 a month or a 40 product plan for $15 a month. I’ve included a YouTube video where I demonstrate how to create a product for each file type and then create a bundle combining all three.
I’m sure that every digital content delivery option system has their pros and cons, but E-junkie.com was a perfect fit for us and I honestly can’t think of anything I would change about it (outside of the 4 product bundle thing common to a lot of providers). I rarely place affiliate links on this site because whenever I go to a “review” site with affiliate links, you always have to question if the reviewer had an undeservedly favorable opinion. For this reason I only place affiliate links to sites that I have no problems with and recommend to my friends. I recommend hostgator.com to someone at work at least once a week. If you have had a good or bad experience with any digital content delivery system please post them here.