Selling Services Online Using Easy Digital Downloads

For some reason companies selling services feel like they must send out a invoice after the job is done. Sure, sometimes this can bring in more new customers, but what about being able to charge those who don't need to see the work first. Or what about past clients who know you already do good work?

Service industries get stuck with invoicing, making it more probable their clients forget, or refuse, to pay them. Most of the time this isn't fair at all, considering the average web design company or contractor is not out to scam every one of their clients.

One of the main reasons companies need functionality to sell services online is when pairing those services with products. A WordPress theme developer may have an ecommerce shop that sends file links to customers who bought themes. However, the developer may also want to sell theme installation services. Most ecommerce platforms don't provide help for this.

There's good news. Companies can configure ecommerce shops for selling services online, and it only requires a simple website with the help of a plugin called Easy Digital Downloads.

What Are Some Services You Could Sell Through an Online Store?

All services could technically be sold through Easy Digital Downloads, as long as you utilise the right plugins and extensions. However, some services come to mind that seem ripe for setting up a site and allowing customers to put those services in a shopping cart.

For example, you might consider selling services like:

  • Graphic design or web services
  • Writing services
  • Professional editing
  • Video editing
  • Consulting
  • Training
  • Speaking
  • Repairs
  • Software installation and configuration
  • Cleaning
  • Contract work

Once you decide that you'd like to sell your services online, follow the steps below to configure a beautiful, secure and user-friendly ecommerce store.

Step 1: Download and Install Easy Digital Downloads

Easy Digital Downloads is a free WordPress plugin, so we'll assume that you already have a WordPress site configured and ready for installing plugins.

The first plugin you need is Easy Digital Downloads. Remember, this plugin doesn't have the functionality needed for selling services, it's required as a base for adding other extensions that make it possible.

Therefore, go to the Easy Digital Downloads website and click on the Download button. This saves a zip file to your computer.

download-easy-digital-downloads

Go to your WordPress dashboard and click on Plugins > Add New on the left hand side toolbar.

Select the big blue Upload Plugin button at the top.

upload-plugin-button

This brings you to a page that asks you to Choose a File. Locate the Easy Digital Downloads (EDD) file you previously saved to your computer and select it.

screenshot-2016-11-16-at-45647-pm

Once it's uploaded to the site you can click on the Install Now button. Wait a few seconds, then click on the Activate Now link when it shows up. EDD is now properly installed on your website, and you should be able to see a Downloads tab in the dashboard menu.

install-now

Step 2: Create a Download That's Actually Going to Show As a Service

Go to Downloads > Add New.

downloads-add-new

This works just like a standard WordPress post or page. Although it's called a Download, you're actually filling in the details for your service. Therefore, punch in everything on the page including the service name, description and pricing.

product-deets

After you Publish the service, go over to the Download Settings module on the right. This shows a shortcode that can be copied onto any page in your site.

purchase-shortcode

Try-Shopify

It reveals anything you punched into the downloads area. All I did was generate the service name, description and Purchase button, but you can get creative with images and what not.

simple-download-button-frontend

You'll begin to see the basic functionality of EDD, where if someone clicks on the Purchase button, they get redirected to the Checkout page.

full-checkout

Step 3: Install the Downloads as Services Extension

The Downloads as Services extewnsion is free, and it pretty much leaves the majority of EDD as it was prior to installing the extension. However, if you plan on selling services, your customers are going to be confused when they see a download link that doesn't lead to anything. Or worse, no download link will be provided in the following areas:

  • The purchase confirmation page
  • The tag that you can put in your emails to show product details and the download links

Since we don't want an error appearing, the Downloads as Services plugin addresses both of these locations. First, it removes any statements about downloads, and takes away the errors that would generally show up in your email confirmations and tags.

purchase-confirmation-page

In addition, the extension lets you specify which of your products are in fact services, making it much easier for customers, and the system, to understand the differences between downloads and services. The coolest part is that you can identify categories as services, so whenever a new product is tagged in that category, all of the things we just talked about are activated.

email-receipt

Keep in mind that all of these extensions work as WordPress plugins. Therefore, you'll receive a download link in your email inbox, which you can download and install on your WordPress site. Each of the files are zip files, so it should be the exact same process you go through to install a regular plugin.

Step 4: Let Your Customers Send You Files

Some services may require your customer to send you files after the purchase. Therefore, we recommend installing the EDD Upload File extension if you require this setting. The extension starts at $29, which is a small price if you actually need to receive files from your customers. You can then open the extension and specify everything from allowed file extensions to the number of files allowed.

upload-file-settings

For example, a web design service may need certain logo files, images, website credentials and more.

upload-form-at-checkout

Step 5: Create a Nicer Communications Section

The final extension that might help you out with selling services is called EDD Message. It starts at $49 and provides an interface for sending direct messages back and forth to customers. For example, you might need to send a message or two to a client every day, asking about job specifics while also transferring more files.

messaging

This is the tool that gets that done in a more efficient and powerful manner than that of regular email and the default email form in EDD.

Over to You…

If you have any questions about selling services online using Easy Digital Downloads, let us know in the comments section below.

Catalin Zorzini

I'm a web design blogger and started this project after spending a few weeks struggling to find out which is the best ecommerce platform for myself. Check out my current top 10 ecommerce site builders.

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