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E-Commerce Management Tool Question

Does anyone have any suggestions about services to manage the sale of e-products.

I’ve had a number of people recommend Ultimate Affiliate Manager which I’m toying with the idea of trying out but I’m interested to see what others have used.

Ultimately I’m in the market for a product that will deliver e-products (downloadable), collect payments, manage an affiliate program and automate as much of the process as possible. It’d also be good to have an auto-responder tool and for it to be server based.

And of course it all needs to be idiot proof so that even a non techie like me can get his head around it.

UAM seems to have all the things I’d like – but it’s Perl based and my server guy is a php/mysql guy.

Interested on people’s experiences and recommendations if you’ve used this or any other similar services.

PS: I’ve already had two other recommendations – Professional Cart Solutions and 1ShoppingCart (which I’m told are the same thing just branded differently).

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Duncan says:

    Why not just use Clickbank? Least this way you don’t have to worry about handling the payments

  2. Darren Rowse says:

    my worry with Clickbank is the reputation that it has.

    I think it is an easier option and pretty accessible – but I’m not sure I want to throw a product in amongst some of the rubbish that is there (note: not all is rubbishy).

    Quite a few of the clickbank products that I have been an affiliate for over the last few years have moved from it to systems like the ones above in the last 6 months which makes me wonder about what it offers also.

    I think in the long term if someone wants to release a range of professional products then clickbank might not be the best bet.

  3. Scott says:

    Darren, I recommend you check out Jshop Server at http://www.jshop.co.uk I am using this at the moment to develop an online grocery store at http://www.organicangels.com (not yet live) and it includes all the things you have mentioned. Their website has a demonstartion store and admin section which would be very useful in helping you decide.

  4. Garri says:

    Darren, you might want to investigate http://www.zen-cart.com . It’s php/msql based and fully customisable. It supports downloadables too.

    I’m not sure it has an affiliates function but I guess that is something you could have your guy bolt on for you.

    Best of luck…

  5. Duncan says:

    I know it doesn’t have the best rap, but it’s a cheap and reliable, and tested for that matter system. + you get the advantage that all existing members are able to promote the product, and that in itself has got to be a huge plus.

  6. Darren, your 6-fig partner Andy Wibbells has a reasonable system up on his site. From my own experience it works as well as any other I’ve used, barring Amazon.

  7. Darren Rowse says:

    yeah andy uses shoppingcart or profcartsolutions

  8. Andy Merrett says:

    Time to learn perl? :)

  9. Michael says:

    Hi Darren,

    For a locally hosted solution, X-Cart is worth considering – it handles digital goods securely, has an affiliate and newsletter module (not a full-blown autoresponder application AFAIK) and a stack of other features including couponing which may be handy.

    http://www.x-cart.com/xcart_features.html
    http://www.x-cart.com/affiliate_program.html

    X-Cart’s sister product is LiteCommerce:

    http://www.litecommerce.com

    The soft goods and affiliate modules are add-on purchases, but it still works out to be cheaper than X-Cart.

    I guess it could be a bit over the top if you’re only going to have a couple of products, but think big – there’s also the ProBlogger branded range of t-shirts, coffee mugs, mouse mats, tea-towels and licence plate frames to consider ;).

  10. I have used 1ShoppingCart since 2001 and have found it to be a great solution for all the actions you mentioned. They are continually upgrading it and have EXCELLENT support. It is easy to use and they have built in tutorials to make it even easier. I recommend it without hestitation.

  11. Peter says:

    Darren,

    For the shopping cart I don’t think you can beat osCommerce (Open Source). There is an affiliate bolt-on module available as it doesn’t provide one natively. The community support is fantastic!
    The only thing missing is the autoresponder and, as all the information is stored in a DB, it would be easy to export it into an external autoresponder; my favourite being SendStudio from Interspire:
    http://www.shareasale.com/r.cfm?B=16229&U=152045&M=4623 (aff)
    http://www.interspire.com/sendstudio/ (non-aff)
    Again, this is a PHP/MySQL product that is fully customizable and can be easily integrated with osCommerce and the guys (and gals) from Interspire are very helpful – yes, I do use this product as well as their ArticleLive CMS :)

  12. Rhonda says:

    I just purchased a downloadable PDF from PayLoadz (http://payloadz.com). I paid the with PayPal and it was really painless.

  13. Daniel Goldman says:

    Try OSCommerce, it’s the largest free and open source shopping cart management tool/website.

  14. I’d recommend X-Cart with PayPal. It will work exactly as you need. I used it for several years, with no issues.

  15. Graydon says:

    I’ve been intrigued with BitPass because of the way that they will host the content as part of their studio edition. It also includes a server installed version if you want more functions.

    Can’t see where it would do affilliates though.

    Also, the end buyer’s experience with the system can be a bit detrimental due to the long “getting in” process.

    http://marlincreek.com/content/view/60/35/

    You can see what I’m talking about at the link above.

    If they fix that and do an affilliate program, it would probably be a pretty good system.

  16. Stanley says:

    Andy’s comment “Time to learn perl?” (8) may be followed by a smiley, but I would seriously consider it, or at least consider asking your server guy to have a look at it. If you think UAM offers the functionality you are looking for, your server guy being a PHP guy should not necessarily be a show stopper.

    Perl is a scripting language just like PHP. Anyone who knows PHP should be able to learn Perl relatively fast. And let’s face it, your server guy learning Perl is not just something that benefits him for this one time, it might be helpfull in the future as well. Even better, he might enjoy learning Perl.

    I think your choice should be driven by the functionality you need, and much less by what is needed to get that functionality.

  17. Richie Carey says:

    Hi Darren,

    I too recommend ClickBank…I’ve used them VERY successfully since 2000 with great success, both as an affiliate and as a vendor.

    Good luck!

    Richie

  18. Martin says:

    If you’re serious about doing it long-term and professionally then go with Pro Cart Solutions. I’ve been using it for a while now and am very happy with it. There’s a learning curve involved, but it’s easy to catch on.

    If you need digital product delivery and an affiliate module then you’d have to go for the Pro package ($79mo or $799/per year). It’s not cheap, but if you’re serious about selling eProducts it’s a good investment.

    On the other hand, I’d stay away from ClickBank. You are right: it has a bad reputation and is mostly filled with 90% rubbish. The backend and reporting are alos very basic.

    If you want more simplicity go with a PayPal/Payloadz setup. I’ve had good success with that in selling pdf stuff.

  19. jonti says:

    Darren,

    We have been using WebMarketingMagic which is a provider of 1ShoppingCart and have had great experiences. We sell a variety of online and tangible products and discarded the idea of Clickbank early on. No regrets and we love the affiliate, autoresponder, and reporting management features included.

    We use the database feature included, but also have a script service that writes all sales and contact info to our own SQL server. Redundancy is a great thing!

  20. Garri says:

    It’s worth noting that Dreamhost has dumped osCommerce in favour of Zen-Cart and there is an affiliate manager plugin for Zen Cart.

  21. Jon Mills says:

    Avoid clickbank bro as much as you can, I find when I sell a product via clickbank vs paypal or 1shoppingcart refunds are higher.. partly because their are tons of freeloaders out there who dont think they should have to pay for anything and well they dont even need to consult you going through clickbank.. and clickbank are refund trigger happy..

  22. Kivi Miller says:

    I use 1automationwiz/1shoppingcart for my digital downloads on writing911.com and other sites. I’ve been very happy with the service overall, especially the digital download part. They produce unique URLs that expire in 24 hours. It’s an easy system for a one-person shop.

  23. George says:

    I have not tried it but paydotcom.com is what I would seriously consider if I were going to create another ebook. It offers most of what you are looking for.

    When I used clickbank I also used easyclickmate to expand clickbanks functionality. It’s too bad you have to buy another product to make clickbank do what you need it to. Otherwise, it was ok. I am not fond of their reporting, etc. Plus their product price maximum limited what I could offer as an upsell.

    All the best finding a good system.

  24. Mike Sigers says:

    1ShoppingCart is our cart of choice.

  25. I have 1shoppingcart for my instant download shed plans. Which the plans are just 8×11 pages formated in pdf. This has been the best system I have seen or used. They have the aff. program and everything setup so you only need 1 system to make this work.

    Above all they have great support and have walked me through many things. If any one wants to see it in action just email me. I will send you a test link so you can see how the downloading works from the buyers point of view.

    Thanks
    Charles

  26. Hehe, gee, I wonder what this tool could possible be for?
    Sounds like someone’s ready to go to market.

  27. Richie Carey says:

    I’m curious if any of the 1shoppingcart customers here are currently having problems with e-mail delivery?

  28. SEO Tutor© says:

    Darren,

    We’ve been grappling with the same problem as you – there are so many darn general choices, yet few for a shopping cart solution with an affiliate program (for e-products).

    We’ve moved beyond the Clickbank option – realizing it to be much less than favorable. We’ve also considered hosting our own cart and affiliate solution, though still we’d prefer more automation.

    For a hosted cart without an affiliate module, allow me to suggest this one:
    http://www.securenetshop.com/sc_features.htm
    samples > http://www.securenetshop.com/wb_samples.htm

    I understand securenetshop integrates well with most affiliate tracking solutions.

    For the do-it-yourselfer, 2checkout matched with Shareasale seems to a viable option for selling e-books.

    2checkout – $49 signup, 5.5%
    Shareasale – $350 signup, 20%

    One problem with the above scenario is that you’d need an expiring URL to prevent download abuse. This issue though can be easily resolved using Linkloc:

    http://www.vibralogix.com/linklok/
    http://www.vibralogix.com/linklokurl/

    Currently, we are negotiating with esellerate to improve upon their affiliate tracking facility. By far, esellerate has the best overall features for the money. They appeal mostly to software devs, yet their 10% – 15% FOR EVERYTHING including handling sales AND affiliate payments is very, very attractive.

    Tip: Jakob Nielsen uses esellerate to sell some of their reports.

    http://www.esellerate.net/pricing.asp

    See a live example of esellerate enabled store:
    http://www.mscorecard.com/mscorecard/index.php

    Best of luck to you.

  29. James Bird says:

    I recommend 1shopping cart. I use it and it has everything you mentioned. I like it even though the checkout page looks a bit mediocre.

    James Bird
    Life Coach

  30. Frank says:

    I would recommend looking in to Magento which is open source and free.

    Interspire I can’t recommend at all while the software is good the company policies are deceiving and misleading.

    They sold their SendStudio software including support and update plans (which in the past included all updates and upgrades) until the day they renamed the software to Email Marketer as part of a small update wanted all customers to pay again regardless whether they had active support plans or not . The support forum quickly filled with many very upset users so the threads where deleted and users banned.

    Interspire is not to be trusted!!!!!