This week, Managing eLearning features a guest post by Lauren Gray at Web Courseworks.
Everyone wants to sell their educational products, but where do we get started?
E-commerce is defined as commercial transactions conducted electronically on the internet. Today there are many benefits of online e-commerce for shoppers and retailers. Having the ability to select items online and put them in your virtual shopping cart saves time, offers a greater product selection, and allows consumers to look at pricing and deals. For retailers of online products there are also many benefits such as the ability to gain search engine visibility, enable deals, bargains, coupons, and group buying, provide abundant information, and create targeted communication to users.
With big e-commerce systems giving customers the option to choose their product, size, color, quantity, and track all of their transactions and inventory, it has become difficult to distinguish between the necessary criteria required for an educational e-commerce storefront and a standard e-commerce storefront. The truth is you do not need to pay more money and have an extensive e-commerce platform to sell your educational training products. There are other options you can choose from and ideas to scale down the requirements for your company’s e-commerce needs.
There are four options for selling online courses on the LMS.
- LMS with no e-commerce
- This type of sales is manual, cheap, and you collect the payment and information directly after the customer purchases a product. This is the most simple and least high tech option for a LMS to sell educational products
- LMS with built in e-commerce
- Tends to be limited but easy to use
- There is no beautiful storefront option, just a simple design
- LMS integrated with full e-commerce platform
- This type is less limited than number 2 but administratively complex
- Platform is more complicated and harder to use
- LMS integrated with your AMS for e-commerce
- Tends to be somewhat limited
- Can be really easy to use
To sell your educational software and training systems you need a smaller system that can encumber flexibility, is nimble and easy to use. Selling your webinars and course bundles on a LMS with a plug-in storefront could be the solution to save your company time and money when choosing your e-commerce selling options.
Here are some of the common traits to consider when setting up and e-commerce platform:
- Having the option to deliver a course for sale privately or publicly
- Offering certain types of courses to different audiences (ex: employees, external employees, members, customers)
- Having the ability to bundle courses
- Having the option to offer discounts
- Finding a plug-in that will be available on a mobile device and can convert the purchased product to fit the mobile device
- Providing certificates and badges to users who complete and pass the course purchased
- Having the shopping cart option to be integrated with your LMS
- Option to design a custom storefront or online marketplace
The e-commerce function of your LMS does not have to be complex and complicated like big e-commerce systems will offer you. The storefront can be simple and easy to use with a smart design. Selling educational courses is a lot different than selling a pair of shoes. The consumer does not need to have the right size, color, or style when selecting a course. Therefore the system they use to purchase the product does not have to be expensive and complex and offer them extra options. There also may be other options when creating an online storefront option for your LMS such as using Pay Pal as a solution for check out, but that comes with accepting the user flow of Pay Pal instead of an e-commerce system. Pay Pal could be a potential easy gateway to accept payment straight from your LMS.
When thinking of an e-commerce solution for selling your educational products and courses, save your company money and simplify!