Selling services with Easy Digital Downloads

Solving problems for customers is the goal of every strong business. Some companies know exactly who their target customer is right from the beginning and others shift focus over time based on customer demands. Either way, customers call the shots.

Easy Digital Downloads was built to provide an easy way to sell digital products with WordPress. As much as we’d like to focus on digital products, many of our users, who have customers of their own, require another layer of problem solving capabilities that reach outside of distributing digital files.

It is not uncommon to sell services with Easy Digital Downloads instead of, or alongside, digital files. For that reason, we have a number of extensions designed to facilitate that process. In this article, we’ll discuss a few of those extensions and how they can be used.

What does it mean to sell services?

Let’s keep it simple. Selling services means customers are paying so that you will do something for them after transactions are completed. Phone consultations, video editing, software installation, and direct support are all examples of services, even if they end in the distribution of a digital file.

Many Easy Digital Downloads users sell WordPress plugins and themes and choose to offer installation services. While the sale of a plugin or theme is instant and does not require the store owner to be involved in most cases, installation services require that special attention be given to the customer.

That special attention is a service.

Extensions for selling services

Easy Digital Downloads does not provide core functionality suitable for providing services. Using a combination of the extensions that fit your needs, that functionality can change.

Downloads As Services

Downloads As Services is a free extension designed to leave much of Easy Digital Downloads the same while reducing confusion for customers.

By default, Easy Digital Downloads will assume that your products are all designed to deliver a file. If that file does not exist, its absence is noticed in two specific places:

  1. The Purchase Confirmation (receipt) page will display “No downloadable files found” below a purchased product title where you would normally see a link to the downloadable file(s).
  2. When using the {download_list} email tag in Purchase Receipt emails, it will attempt to output the title of the purchased product followed by a dash and a link to the downloadable file. When there is no linked file, the dash still appears.

Downloads As Services addresses both issues by removing the downloadable files notice on the Purchase Confirmation page as well as the dash in the Purchase Receipt email.

It will also allow you to mark individual products as services, so the rest of your store can follow the default functionality. Likewise, you can set product categories as services so that any product added to those categories will automatically be marked as services.

These simple adjustments do not provide any indication that you are selling services. They simply remove the implications that you are selling digital files, opening the door to any services you’d like to provide.

Learn More About Downloads As Services

EDD Upload File

EDD Upload File is a handy tool for allowing customers to provide files for store owners to use after a transaction. A drag & drop upload form can be added to the Checkout page or the Purchase Confirmation page with a simple setting.

This sort of functionality is perfect for store owners who sell services that require customizations specific to a customer’s needs.

For example, a t-shirt printing company may need the customer to provide the graphic that is to be printed on the shirt. The store owner has a service to provide (printing the graphic on the shirt) but the job cannot be done without the customer’s graphics. EDD Upload file is the perfect way to transfer that graphic without breaking the flow of the purchase process.

EDD Upload File also has global settings for allowed file types and max number of uploads. However, you have full control of which products will display the upload form with a setting on each product edit screen, making sure the upload form only displays when it is needed.

You can also override the global settings for allowed file types and max number of uploads on individual products.

Learn More About EDD Upload File

EDD Message

EDD Message is the newest addition to the fleet and provides much needed functionality to those selling services. In short, EDD Message introduces a complete user interface for exchanging emails directly with previous customers.

Downloads As Services does a great job of removing irrelevant terminology. EDD Upload File is perfect for its specific use cases. But EDD Message, either as a standalone extension or in conjunction with the others, is the missing link that all store owners can put to use if they are selling services or need direct contact with customers.

The email interface is more robust than the standard Easy Digital Downloads email system. For each individual email you send, it allows you to:

  • enter any customer-associated email address that should receive the email (built-in database search)
  • provide a from name, from email, reply to email, Cc, and Bcc
  • specify the email subject text
  • type your email in WordPress’ rich text editor, including the ability to upload media
  • attach an unlimited number of files to your email

EDD Message send customer an email

This interface is available as a new tab on every single customer record. It also includes a full history of past messages with that particular customer for easy reference.

While EDD Upload File will not allow you to send a modified file back to the customer, EDD Message makes it incredibly easy. For many, having the ability to communicate directly with previous customers one-on-one is the key to selling services with Easy Digital Downloads.

EDD Message integration with Frontend Submissions

Frontend Submissions is an extension that allows people to register to your site as a vendor and upload their own products to be sold through your store. Frontend Submissions is easily one of our most popular extensions.

Taking that into consideration, EDD Message is fully integrated with Frontend Submissions.

Just like customer records, all vendor records include a new tab allowing the store owner to directly email the vendor. The same controls mentioned above are available for messaging vendors whether they have ever purchased from the store or not.

What makes this integration even more special is that vendors can also message customers who have purchased their products!

Straight from the Frontend Submissions vendor dashboard, vendors can view their order history and send a message to any customer associated with an order.

EDD Message not only helps store owners run a more efficient multivendor marketplace, but also makes it easier for vendors to expand their product base by allowing direct communication with customers.

Learn More About EDD Message

Example services with Easy Digital Downloads

It would be impossible to list every type of service that could be sold with Easy Digital Downloads in one article. The possibilities are endless. We can, however, discuss just a few examples that you may be able to integrate into your business today.

Installation & configuration

Do you sell WordPress plugins, themes, or any other type of software? If so, I’m willing to bet that you’ve dealt with at least one user who needed help installing and/or configuration your software.

There are several users who will gladly pay to have it done for them rather than struggle with support while trying to do it themselves.

Consider using Downloads As Services to create a product specifically for “installation & configuration.” If you need to reach out to the customer to initiate the service after the purchase is completed, EDD Message is the perfect tool.

Consultation services

Regardless of what you sell regularly, adding a category to your store and marking it as a service category using Downloads As Services is simple and free. You could then create product entries based on consultation time or any other criteria that fits your needs.

Customers can purchase consultation services from you in the same fashion that you sell digital products. Consulting can easily begin with an email through EDD Message.

File customization

Whether you are providing professional editing services, graphic/web design services, or even video editing services, there may be a need for your customers to provide a file that you will customize or review as a service.

EDD Upload File is the perfect tool for the job, allowing customers to upload the necessary files at the time of purchase instead of in a separate, direct contact process.

Once the service is complete and you have a customized file to deliver back to the customer, EDD Message is a great way to send an email with the file attached.

The list goes on.

Things to think about

Solving problems for customers may require more than just providing a packaged, downloadable solution. Some customers have unique needs and unless you provide a way to take care of those needs, you will most likely see them expressed through customer support.

Take a few moments to re-evaluate your business and how it handles the unique needs of customers. You may already be providing services for free and missing out on well-deserved revenue.

If you have any ideas, questions, or suggestions about selling services with Easy Digital Downloads, please feel free to leave a comment below!

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