Product and Service Delivery
The options are endless: Your product may be physical or digital. Or you might be offering access to a website with an ongoing membership. There are a thousand other possibilities and combinations but what they all have in common is that delivery of the “goods” after a sales transaction is often a point of confusion.
Here’s the lay of the land – common methods and situations for delivery of products and services.
Once a transaction is complete, an initial e-mail is sent automatically confirming the sale. Another email is manually sent when the product is shipped or marked as shipped in the sales system.
Delivery is typically automated with the use of a download link or code to unlock trial software.
Sales system integration typically provides e-mail delivery but be aware – download links are not necessarily provided.
Membership Site / Software as a Service [SaaS]
An ongoing product like a membership site can take many forms. A physical product can be sent monthly. Or access to a protected site with information and special capabilities is billed on an annual basis. This form of product has become increasingly popular.
Delivery is typically automated, with access being granted after purchase via a sign up process and e-mail delivery of credentials.
The sales systems necessary for a Membership Site or SaaS need more management than is required for digital or physical products so initial setup is typically more intensive [think – sign up page, payment gateway integration, account creation, login pages, protection software].
SaaS sales systems are usually custom developed since they often call for a special capability like timed social media blasts or online storage [Dropbox]. That type of sales system is not addressed here.
While there are a few robust WordPress solutions for membership platforms [Wishlist, aMember, Membership], I encourage testing the waters with a series of protected pages and one simple password e-mailed to users on purchase. Once you reach 10 sales, look to employ a more “official” membership system.
Services are one of the easiest “products” to deliver because action relies mostly on a person instead of a system after the transaction is processed. A simple e-mail sent after checkout with contact information and next steps is usually all that is necessary for a sales system to deliver.
When a service is sold, an e-mail is typically sent to the buyer and the provider. The service provider then performs the service or gets in touch with the buyer for more details, to schedule time, etc.
It’s recommended to use website forms to capture all the details needed during the checkout process. In addition, it is a good idea to use a scheduling service to automate as much of the process as possible, allowing service delivery to be scaled to a degree and if necessary, more easily delegated.
Gravity Forms is an excellent form plugin for WordPress that integrates with many sales gateways.
ScheduleOnce is an excellent scheduling system, particularly if you use a Google based calendar.