Like many people out there, I’m sure you have a few (ok, a lot is more like it) items lying around the house that have no value to you whatsoever anymore. However, you don’t want to throw them away because the item is either still in good condition or still functioning as a whole. Well, why not consider selling them? Not only will you get rid of the items but you’ll also make a few bucks while you’re at it! You’ve most likely heard about eBay by now. Many users have actually gotten rich and started their own business by selling items on eBay. No doubt one of the first steps they took prior to being successful was by starting small and that included selling miscellaneous items they had lying around. Well, I can’t guarantee that you’ll become rich by reading this article but I’m hoping at the very least I’ll get you to start selling your things online. If you already have your very own self-hosted WordPress blog, why not consider selling your items directly from there? It’s like opening up your very own online store!
Why on my Blog?
You might be wondering why you would want to sell your items on your very own blog instead of on a popular platform such as eBay. By selling products on your own blog, you can list and advertise them any way you want to without limitation. You don’t have to worry about any listing fees, final values and all those other terms and values that comes with selling on eBay. With that being said though, selling on eBay is still very easy for a beginner, don’t get me wrong. However, selling on your blog allows you more freedom to do what you want. For example, you can post as many pictures as you want of your product without having to pay an extra fee. The other advantage is asking yourself, “Why not?” Your WordPress blog belongs to no one but you. It’s yours. You own it. So why not add another element to your blog and try to sell some products on it? This might even boost your reputation.
Why Not to Sell?
There’s really no major disadvantage to selling things on your blog. Like I’ve said above, you are free to do whatever it is you wish with it. Whether you’ll be successful or not is an entirely different subject matter though. One thing I might want to warn you is on how you advertise your eStore on your very own site. I know you want to sell your products but if you post too many advertisement links throughout your website, you’d come off looking desperate. Also, this might put some people off and make them not visit your site ever again.
Creating your PayPal Links and Cart
As always, I wanted a simple system that I could integrate into my blog that will allow me to sell my products, whether new or used. I also knew that I wanted PayPal to handle the payment process. PayPal is widely known throughout the world as a trusted middleman when purchasing goods and services online. It didn’t take long for me to stumble upon a WordPress plugin called the WordPress Simple PayPal Shopping Cart (SPSC).You can download and read more about the Simple PayPal Shopping Cart plugin here.
This plugin is simply awesome because of how easy it works. Once installed, you can easily create “Add to cart” buttons for your products along with giving your customers a shopping cart to work with as seen on other websites. Here is how the work flow looks like once you have the plugin installed:
- List/advertise your product either on a separate page or on any of your blog post. You are able to advertise your products any way you wish to. Type as much or as little information about the product as you deem necessary.
- Use SPSC’s shortcode to place an “Add to cart” button near your product and type in that specific product’s name and price. This name and price will be reflected in the shopping cart.
- You can either place the shopping cart section either on your sidebar or have it integrated directly on the page as well. Once a user clicks on the purchase button, the product is then listed in the shopping cart.
- The customer then clicks on the PayPal button to begin the checkout process.
- You will receive an email from PayPal once the checkout process has completed. It is then your job to ship and deliver the product to your customer.
Selling a Product
If you are serious about selling online, I highly suggest that you learn about the differences between a PayPal Personal and Premier account. It is my understanding that you cannot sell online with a Personal account.
I’ll go through a quick run of how to advertise a product on your blog. The author of SPSC has created an awesome video tutorial going over how to use the plugin in more details which I’ve posted below. Click on the banner to view it.
Once installed, go to the plugin’s settings page. You get to configure some basic settings for SPSC. You’ll get to specify your PayPal email address, the currency used, base shipping cost, return URL after a successful payment (thank you page) and others. By default, SPSC is configured to work without much tweaking. You just have to be sure that your PayPal email address is entered correctly.
If you want to created a dedicated location on your blog to advertise your product, you’ll need to create a new Page. At the moment, I have two pages created. The top level page is simply called Store. Beneath it, I’ve created a page to sell my used video games. In the future, I’ll create a dedicated page to sell books, electronics, etc. It’s up to you on how you structure it. As mentioned earlier, you don’t even need to create a page. You can sell products directly within a blog post. For example, you can write a review of a product you have on hand. You can then use SPSC to create a add to cart button directly at the end of the post so that users can purchase it.
On my Used Video Games page, I simply used a picture of the video game I am selling along with a short description. It’s imperative that you mention the price and the quantity of the item being advertised. This is one disadvantage of using a simple plugin such as SPSC. There is no management system of any kind. Next, I insert just one piece of code to finish the listing. Within the SPSC plugin settings page, there are two shortcodes to call the PayPal function. The shortcode you need is this one:
Edit the PRODUCT-NAME so that it correctly reflects the name of the product you are selling. This is the name that will appear in the customer’s PayPal cart and is the sole identifier of the product. Edit the PRODUCT-PRICE so that it correctly reflects the price of the product. You do not need to enter in the $ sign. This basically is everything. If you haven’t implement the shopping cart on your sidebar, you’ll need to enter in the other shortcode for it on that page:
You only need one shopping cart per page if it’s not displayed on your sidebar. If you preview your page now, you’ll see your listing.
Let’s see what happens when a customer decides to purchase an item from your blog.
Disadvantages of Using SPSC
As you can see above, it’s very easy to integrate your own store within your blog. All you need is some integration with PayPal and you’re set. However, there’s a lot to be desired.
– One concern of mine is the inability to adjust the quantity of your product. As seen above, once a user adds an item to their cart, they can adjust the quantity. If you don’t clearly state the quantity in your listing, a customer might purchase a product that you don’t have in stock. For example, I only have 1 video game for each specific listing. If a customer adds 2 in their cart and completes the purchase, I’ll need to issue a refund, which adds complexity. Also, if a customer purchases a product in which you only have 1 quantity and another customer purchases that same item prior to you taking it down in your listing, you’ll need to do another refund for the later customer.
– SPSC is not meant to be a product management system. Therefore, you will need to manually list your items for sell and in many ways, it doesn’t look very professional unless you put time and effort into it. If you are looking for a full management system for your eStore, please take a look at the WP e-Commerce plugin. This plugin offers a lot more than SPSC but it’s also a bit more complicated to manage and configure.
Good luck in your sells!