WordPress Ecommerce Integration

Doing a WordPress ecommerce integration isn’t as scary as it might seem. As long as you select the right tools for the job, ecommerce is a breeze to setup. If you want to start selling things on your WordPress site, you don’t have to totally rebuild your site. You don’t even need to change themes. With Cart66 you simply install the plugin and start selling. You don’t need to worry about of the technical details surrounding a traditional WordPress ecommerce integration because Cart66 comes with a suite of secure, connected services to handle things like PCI compliance and connecting to your payment gateway.  Everything is taken care of for you. You don’t even need your own SSL certificate. In this article, we will discuss why Cart66 is the easiest and most secure WordPress ecommerce integration and how it is different from other WordPress ecommerce plugins.

Traditional WordPress Ecommerce Plugins

There are many WordPress ecommerce plugins available today. There are plugins for digital products, physical products, memberships, and subscriptions. Many WordPress ecommerce plugins are free to install and then you buy add-ons for the features you need. Sometimes these add-ons are developed by the same company / person that made the plugin. Sometimes 3rd party developers make add-ons for certain ecommerce plugins.

The Problem With Traditional Ecommerce Plugins

No matter what kinds of products the plugins are designed to help you sell, there is one fundamental limitation on all traditional WordPress ecommerce plugins. The problem is, there are some things you just can’t do in a plugin alone. For example, some of the things you can’t do with a plugin alone are:

  • can’t send emails through a verified, business class SMTP server
  • can’t be a content delivery network for your digital products
  • can’t store credit card data
  • can’t make your website PCI compliant

WordPress Plugin Limitations

When you’re doing a WordPress ecommerce integration, there are many things you need to consider in order to see the full picture of what’s involved in the project. Of course, some of the more obvious things include how you want to process payments, how you want to organize and display your products, shipping rates, collecting taxes, offering coupons, etc. There are other more subtle things to consider as well.

  • How do you make sure the emails you send to your customers don’t get caught by spam filters?
  • How do you control access to digital products?
  • How do you make sure download speeds are fast if you sell large digital files?
  • Which payment gateways are supported?
  • Can you do recurring billing?
  • What is PCI compliance and what do you need to do to accept payments securely?

Normally it is up to you, or your WordPress ecommerce integration team, to solve each of these problems on your own. This often means buying a collection of add-ons developed by an assortment of 3rd party developers. Managing the mashup of all the plugins you need can get messy.

Managing Various Renewal Dates

Generally, plugins and add-ons for your WordPress ecommerce integration will be sold with an annual license. If you don’t buy all of your add-ons on the same day, then different features of your ecommerce integration will be expiring at different times throughout the year.

Support From 3rd Party Developers

Another problem is support. If your WordPress ecommerce integration is composed of an ecommerce plugin with a mashup of 3rd party add-ons to get the features you need, finding the right person for support can be a challenge. Depending on which feature you need help with, you may have to go to a different support site and development team.

It’s Better Together

Complete WordPress Ecommerce Integration

Fortunately, Cart66 brings everything together. Cart66 gives you all the features for a complete WordPress ecommerce integration. Everything is developed by the same company and works seamlessly together. In addition to that, Cart66 provides more than just a plugin. The suite of secure, connected services enables Cart66 to solve a comprehensive set of problems that can’t be achieved by a plugin alone. Let’s take a look at the connected services and how they work together to provide you with a complete, secure WordPress ecommerce integration for your business.

Secure Connected Services

We developed Cart66 to solve all of these issues for you. All of the features you need for your store are all included. Everything is developed by our team so that it works seamlessly together. There is just one plugin to install, not a mashup of lots of plugins and add-ons from various developers.

In addition, Cart66 comes with a suite of secure, connected services that go beyond what you can do with a plugin alone. Here are some examples of things you don’t have to worry about with Cart66.

Payment Gateways and PCI Compliance

Cart66 has built-in support for over 100 payment gateways representing over 100 different countries. That means you don’t have to pay extra for payment gateway add-ons and you can use just about any payment gateway you can think of.  You also get a hosted payment page that looks exactly like your WordPress site to make sure your payments are secure and your WordPress ecommerce integration in PCI compliant.

The hosted payment page is the only page of your WordPress ecommerce site that we host for you. This one page is hosted on our PCI compliant cloud servers, protected by our rock solid ecommerce security. You don’t even need an SSL certificate because all of the credit card data collection and transmission happens in the secure cloud.

Your hosted payment page will look exactly like your WordPress site because we skin the hosted payment page with your WordPress theme. This provides a seamless experience for your customer because every page of your site looks consistent, including the secure hosted payment page.

There are other 3rd party payment pages available. For example, PayPal is one that may come to mind first. Everyone is familiar we bopping over to PayPal to make a payment. The PayPal site, however, looks nothing like your WordPress site. There are some payment gateways which offer a hosted payment pages as well. Sometimes you can customize the payment page with your business name or a logo, but it looks dramatically different from your WordPress site. With a single click, Cart66 will make your hosted payment page look exactly like your WordPress site. We think it’s the easiest, most customizable, hosted payment page on the internet. If you are curious, take a look at this short video to see how the Cart66 hosted payment page works.

Digital Product Protection

If you sell digital products, there are two big things to get right. First, you want to make sure people can’t directly link to your products and download them without paying for them. Second, you want to make sure the downloads are fast, secure, and don’t slow down your website.

Cart66 solves these two problems for you by hosting your digital products on a content delivery network powered by Amazon. Often times with WordPress, you end up storing your digital products somewhere in a web accessible folder of your WordPress site such as in the wp-content/uploads folder. If you’re not careful to apply special permissions to that directory, anybody can link directly to files in that folder and download them. The only protection is hoping people don’t know the file names for your products. This is just security through obscurity which is really absurdity for anyone serious about their business.

Digital Product Download Speed and Server Performance

Another trick for protecting your digital products on WordPress is to store them in a folder that is on your web server, but outside of your actual website. This means nobody will be able to link directly to the digital product files. It also means you have to use PHP to stream the file down to your customer. While this is more secure, there are two big problems with this approach.

The first problem is delivering files like this is slow. You first have PHP read in the digital product from the file system somewhere, then PHP writes out the contents of the file to your customer’s browser. It is essentially twice as much work because the file contents are being read twice. If you sell digital products with a large file size, like high-resolution pictures, lengthy audio, or videos, double reading the file like this is a big deal. It really increases the amount of time it takes for your customer to get the file.

The second problem is server resources. Having PHP read large files into memory and the send them back out for your customer to download takes up a lot of memory on your server. It also takes a lot of processing time. Even if you have enough RAM provided by your hosting account, PHP may time out during the process. Many web hosts configure PHP to stop processing scripts that run for more than 30 seconds. If it takes longer than 30 seconds for the file to download, PHP will just stop and your customer ends up with a corrupt, partially downloaded file. What a mess!

Cart66 stores all your digital products securely on Amazon’s content delivery network. Links to the files can’t be shared because they are only valid for a very short period of time. You can also set the maximum number of times each customer is allowed to download the files they purchased.

There are no server performance issues because your WordPress site has nothing to do with processing the download. Cart66 securely handles the whole thing. Downloads are fast, secure, and complete.

Business Class SMTP Server

How you handle your customer emails is usually something you don’t think about until your customers start complaining about not getting your emails. By default, WordPress sends email through your web server. This also happens to be the primary way spam email is sent. Important emails, like emails to your customers, should be sent through a business class, verified SMTP server to make sure they have the best chance of getting to your customers quickly without being caught by spam filters. Cart66 uses SMTP servers that have been approved with a good reputation for not sending spam. We have properly configured DKIM and SPF records to verify the authenticity of each email. Cart66 sends hundreds of thousands of emails and currently has a 99% email delivery success rate. Considering that some people accidentally mistype their own email addresses or have spam filters that block mail from anyone not already in their address book, that’s an incredibly high delivery success rate.

Complete Protection For All Ecommerce Data

WordPress sites are hacked all the time. By far, the most frequently hacked platform on the internet is WordPress.

WordPress infection report
CMS Infection Report – Q1 2016 – image provided by Sucuri – Website Security

As Sucuri points out, “Over 78% of all the websites we worked on in the first quarter of 2016 were built on the WordPress platform… In most instances, the compromises analyzed had little, if anything, to do with the core of the CMS application itself, but more with improper deployment, configuration, and overall maintenance by the webmasters and their hosts.”

If you are using Cart66, all of your sensitive ecommerce data is stored securely in your Cart66 cloud account. So, if your WordPress site ever gets hacked, you can work on restoring your WordPress site without worrying about any of your sensitive ecommerce data ever being exposed to the bad guys.

Cart66 protects more than just your payments. Here is a quick list of all the different types of data Cart66 protects for you.

  • Product prices
  • Customer orders
  • Customer shipping addresses
  • Customer billing information
  • Every shopping cart
  • Your digital product files
  • Customer accounts and order history
  • Subscription billing schedules
  • Coupon codes
  • Your email reputation and authority
  • Payment gateway access keys
  • Credit card payments are secure and PCI compliant

Cart66 goes far beyond a traditional WordPress ecommerce integration that just uses plugins. With the secure, connected features you get a complete WordPress ecommerce integration all in one secure package.

Complete and Secure WordPress Ecommerce Integration

Traditional WordPress ecommerce integrations rely on a mashup of plugins. Each plugin generally handles one small part of the overall WordPress ecommerce integration. For instance, you may have:

  • one plugin that handles the shopping cart
  • another plugin for your payment gateway add-on
  • another plugin for your shipping rates
  • another plugin for managing subscriptions
  • another plugin for connecting to a CDN
  • another plugin for connecting to an email server
  • and the list goes on…

This is just a partial list of the various plugins and add-ons you might need to hunt down and buy for a traditional WordPress ecommerce integration. Cart66 is different. Cart66 brings everything together. With Cart66, you get everything together in one secure and PCI compliant package. It is a complete and secure WordPress ecommerce integration.