I have previously blogged about using PayPal for receiving payments online, and E-Junkie and Practice Pay Solutions for selling and delivering digital products. A reader has requested clarification of these various services, asking “As far as Practice Pay Solutions, why would I want to use that over PayPal?”
Let me start by explaining that PayPal is merely a way to accept payments online and that it does not automatically process your orders. When someone orders a product by clicking on a Buy Now button on your website, you receive an email notification of the payment, and it’s then up to you to email the digital product to your purchaser. If you don’t sell very many products and you check your email frequently, this may be a satisfactory solution, but as your sales increase, you may find that it’s taking up time you could be putting to better use. In addition, some digital products, such as audio files, may be too large to forward by email.
It is possible to create a “thank you” page from which your customers can download the product, and to configure PayPal to automatically redirect them to that page after their payment is processed. Unfortunately, it only redirects them to the thank you page if they click on Return to Merchant after completing their payment, and people often miss this step, even if you provide instructions on your website. You will then have to respond to emails from customers saying they didn’t receive the product they paid for, some of which may be quite nasty in tone.
That is where shopping carts come in. Shopping cart software not only captures payment information, but allows you to enter your product information into a database which automatically sends the purchaser an email containing either your digital product or a link from which they can download it. This saves you the time and effort of processing orders manually, and means that your customers receive their purchases immediately, which they are sure to appreciate.
E-Junkie is a very affordable service, starting at only $5.00 per month, which includes a wide range of features, including an affiliate management system. Practice Pay Solutions includes even more options, but comes with a higher price tag. Both services offer a free trial, so you can check them out and see which one works best for you.
Please note that even with a shopping cart system, you will still need PayPal or a merchant account in order to receive online payments.