Clickbank’s reputation as a site for selling digital products, such as eBooks, has improved recently. It certainly had teething problems at the start but most have been sorted out now. When John Chow and ShoeMoney use it to sell their online courses, you know it’s got to be good. But, what if you’re still not convinced? What are the other options for selling goods online?
Why Leave Clickbank?
I decided to look into this. I contacted other ecommerce companies that help you sell online to see if they offered better value.
What I was really looking for was a compelling reason to switch from Clickbank and move to them.
Could they persuade me to move? Let’s take a look.
Why Sell Digital Products?
I’ve sold ebooks, software, reports, online services through Clickbank for ten years.
Customers like the simplicity of the Clickbank shopping experience. It lets them get in and out with minimum hassle. For that reason, we’ve stayed with them.
But, if you’re starting out, then look at your options before making a commitment.
For me, the attraction of selling Digital Goods, such as Information Products is that there are:
- No cost to produce
- No time to deliver
- No shipping costs
- No physical production
How Much Does Clickbank Really Cost?
Clickbank charges about 7.5% commission and a small fee for every transaction.
While this is not ideal, the technical setup is now in place with Clickbank, so moving to a new system would take time, be expensive, and may not be a success with customers.
It works out at about 10% of the final sale.
But the 10% hurts. So, I decided to explore another ecommerce provider. Or, at least, look for one that would give a better deal.
My Shopping Cart Criteria
I contacted 9 companies – these quotes are from those who responded – they other didn’t get back to me or even send out an auto-responder!
My requirements were for the following:
- Delivery mechanism to sell digital products, such as ebooks, software, templates, reports and so on.
- Real-time credit card processing system.
- Ability to manage everything online.
Most websites listed their products features and fees but I wanted to know a bit more. For example, how could I move from Clickbank to them or did they have any advice on how I could save money with volume transactions.
I sent them an email and asked 2 specific questions about selling digital online products.
Here is what I wrote:
- I want to sell ‘Digital Products’ on my site and offer them as ‘Instant Downloads’ to my customers. From your site, it appears that you offer such as service.
- Can you clarify how this process works, especially if a customer buys more than one product? For example, if they buy one item, they can be directed to a download page. That I can understand, But, how would this work, if (i.e. they used a shopping cart) and downloaded two or three products.
- Do I need a Merchant Account to do this? What is the price for this service? I’m based in Europe if this makes any difference.
Note: one of the limitations of Clickbank is that it’s hard to upsell a second product automatically. You can do it but the process is rather complicated. Other ecommerce providers, such as PayLoadz and EJunkie have in-build tools for upselling.
Here are the responses (with minor edits), in no order of preference:
I contacted PayDotCom, which integrates Paypal, and got a response almost immediately.
1. PayDotCom is a marketplace where you show your products.
Customers purchase them and then are taken to a download page you have setup. All this information is input into your product setup.
PayDotCom currently does not offer a shopping cart, but I understand that is coming in the near future.
2. You do not need a merchant account. All transactions are processed through PayPal or StormPay.
While this sounds good, there is no shopping cart. Customers can only buy one item at a time, which is a limitation if customers likes your products and want to make multiple purchases.
1Shoppingcart.com is one of the most well-known ecommerce/online payment providers. It offers an incredible range of products and features, but it’s a little pricey compared with entry-level products such as eJunkie..
Here’s the reply:
1. If the client buys more then one product they will be given multiple download links on the download page. Basically they will be given a separate download link for each digital product.
2. As for the merchant account, where in Europe do you live?
Update: 1shoppingcart.com came back and said they could arrange for me to get a Merchant Account with one of their partners. I took the trial offer and have to say it’s very impressive. Hard to fault it except for the price but then you always pay for quality.
Very disappointing. Straight from auto-responder land:
“To create StormPay payment buttons for your web site, log into your StormPay account and click the “Sell” link. Next, choose the type of payment button you want to create (ie: single item, subscription, or shopping cart). After you enter the details into the form, html will be auto generated for you to paste into your web site. For advanced button codes, click the “Integration Manual” link which can be found at the bottom of any StormPay.com web page.”
Some of the answers are in here, but it is hard work. You’d think they would make a bit more effort, especially as they are competing with Paypal.
- Does Stormpay let me upsell products?
- Does Stormpay let me track and/or contact buyers via email?
- What the main advantage of using Stormpay or Clickbank?
I never heard back from them.
I’ve hosted my websites with these guys and they are great. Some glitches now and then but overall GoDaddy were able to offer instant downloads through email, much like EJunkie.com does but there were problems with the Merchant Accounts.
From GoDaddy’s email:
- They would receive an email to download the product after they have purchased it.
- To answer your second question however, we won’t offer international Merchant accounts, also if you’re planning on using this shopping cart in Europe, this would not be feasible since it’s required to be in the United States to function properly.”
In other words the: “Quick Shopping Cart is currently only designed to work with U.S. addresses.”
So, GoDaddy is an interesting option if you want to combine your web hosting and ecommerce tools and are based in the USA. If you’re in Europe or Asia, the 1ShoppingCart is a better offer.
Next, 2Checkout one of Clickbank’s main rivals.
Here is what happened:
1. Yes we do allow vendors to sell digital products and allow them a way to redirect the customer to a download url.
Unfortunately if a customer purchases multiple downloads a simple url redirect will only take the customer to the approved url for the last item they ordered.
You would have to build your own script that took the correct item paramaters from the 2co sale and populated a database that would decide what downloads would be on an active download page.
Or you could just email download links to the customers.
2. 2co charges a one time startup fee of $49.00. After that you will be charged is 5.5% of the sale and $0.45 per transaction.
There are a few problems here.
- Fee Per Transaction – While the 5.5% is less than Clickbank’s you need to factor in the setup fee and the cost per transaction.
- Customers Trust – The brand is not as well known as Clickbank, which may reduce sales. Customers buy from sites they know and trust. As 2co is a lesser known company, this could work against you when selling goods online.
- Technical Limitations – The part about “build your own script that took the correct item paramaters” is fine if you’re a programmer. I’m not so that rules them. I asked if they had a generic script I could use to get started. No response so far.
Do They Really Want Your Money?
Most answered the first question only.
My suggestion is to ask 1 question only when contacting Customer Service.
Most never addressed the second part, or, if they did, very fleetingly. Almost none addressed the question about being outside the US.
Several companies never got back to me. Maybe when they saw I was outside the US, they didn’t bother to waste the time responding. At least, these companies did, so let’s give them credit for that.
If I Had To Leave Clickbank, I’d Use…
If I had to leave Clickbank or was starting again in the morning, it would be either EJunkie.com or 1ShoppingCart.
- EJunkie.com is less than $5 per month, offers upsells, has an Affiliate Program, and is a trusted brand. If you’re selling your first goods online, then go with this.
- 1ShoppingCart.com – If you’re already selling goods online and want to scale up, for example, offer newsletters to your customers, create different auto-responders, then 1ShoppingCart is the best I’ve seen. It also has a terrific training centre with videos which explain how to use the epayment tools. And probably the simplest user interface to use. It also has an Affiliate program, which I recommend you sign up for. It’s free to be an affiliate.
As things stand, I’m staying with Clickbank though I have started to develop an alternative buying option with Paypal. More of that in the next post.
PS: Let me know if you’ve found any companies that provide these services, especially if you are also outside the USA.