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Isn’t buying stuff online cool? You get to click a few buttons, wait a few days (just enough time to think about something else) and suddenly a package with your name on it arrives. It’s like a tiny little birthday party. If you agree with me, and run a website to support your business, don’t you think it would be great if all your customers could have that same tiny joyful moment with stuff from your business? Then this is the blog post for you, because we’re about to cover all the details on how to sell products on WordPress with Gravity Forms.
Get Started with Gravity Forms
In a previous post, I covered the steps to get started with using Gravity Forms to accept donations. Check out that tutorial for the basics of getting Gravity Forms, PayPal, and of course, your WordPress site all playing nicely together.
Think About the Best Way to Sell Your Product
To use Gravity Forms to sell a product on WordPress you first need to think about the types of products you sell and how customers will be able to buy them. Gravity Forms does not function like an online cart. With a cart, customers are able to navigate to one product, add it, and move on either to add more products or check out. Selling a product with Gravity Forms essentially requires your customers to select their products and complete the purchase all in the same stage. This might sound like a bad thing at first, but trust me, it’s not.
Gravity Forms works by prompting your
visitors shoppers for information based on the fields you set up ahead of time. It sends the info to you and the money to your payment processor (i.e. PayPal) so that you can complete the sale and ship out a little magic with relative ease. You can set whatever fields you need with Gravity Forms which means you can provide plenty of room for your shoppers to customize a product. This is one advantage of Gravity Forms over a cart when it comes to selling products for a small businesses. Many small businesses take pride in offering highly customizable products for their customers and Gravity Forms enables that in a way that many online carts can’t.
That being said, there are two basic approaches to using Gravity Forms for ecommerce. The first is that you create one form with all your products on it for customers to order from. The second is that you create individual forms for each individual product. For most of Evermore’s readers, I’m going to recommend the second option. Here’s why: like I said earlier, as a small business you’re probably offering a product that you can customize for each customer. It gets pretty muddy to try and make one form with every product and every customization you offer. Additionally, using only one form will mean that your shoppers will most likely shop on one page (or multiple pages in the case of multiple products) and do all of their choosing on a separate page with your Gravity Forms setup. Moving from page to page without being able to make a selection is a bit like walking the aisles of the grocery store and then trying to tell the cashier to go and grab everything you wanted when you’re ready to buy.
The single form option can work if you have a small number of clearly distinct products. However, since learning how to make multiple forms will still help you make the single form, I’ll be focusing on the multi-form option.
Creating Product Forms with Gravity Forms
Begin by creating a new Form.
The Advanced Fields tab is going to have the key fields you need in order to sell a product. Your situation may vary, but generally you are going to want Name, Address, Email, and/or, Phone.
Next you’ll add fields from the Pricing Fields tab. Again, exact needs will vary here, but the Total and Credit Card fields are going to be necessary for shoppers to complete the purchase. Product is the field you need to actually put your product in the form and set a price for it.
Now you need to make sure you get paid for the awesome stuff you make so we’ll connect this form to PayPal.
Create a New Feed in the PayPal add-on and make sure you are using the appropriate PayPal email address for the account you want payments to go do
Set the Transaction Type based on the product you are selling. There are One-Time and Subscriptions product types each with their own options to configure below that. Most products will probably fall under One-Time purchases.
From here, Save this form. You’re now done with bulk of the work for creating multiple forms for multiple products. All you have to do now is navigate to the Edit Forms page hover over the form you just made and select Duplicate. After duplicating, make the necessary changes to the form to reflect the different product you intend to sell with it.
A Note on Product Options and Shipping
Under the Pricing Fields tab you’ll notice the Options and Shipping fields. I’ve mentioned that one of the great values of Gravity Forms for selling products is the ease with which you can customize. The Options field is where you can let your shoppers add in all the bells and whistles. This will definitely vary from person to person and you can add both options that increase the price and options that don’t increase the price of shipping.
When it comes to shipping, I generally recommend that sellers find a way to incorporate some basic shipping rate into the cost of their product. This enables you to offer “free” shipping. A great way to do this is to use the USPS Flat Rate options because you never have to worry about the rate going up based on location and the shipping speed is relatively quick. Most of the US gets a Flat Rate package in 2-3 days. Also of note for small businesses is that “local pickup” or “store pickup” might be an option you want to offer if you have a good place to meet customers in person.
However, in those cases where you must tie shipping cost to distance or Zip code, it’s best to use a fully functional “cart” application such as WooCommerce.
Gravity Forms is a great tool for small businesses on WordPress for many reasons. While it doesn’t offer the full functionality of a true online shopping cart, it can function as a great way to start taking orders online. Because you’re probably going to use Gravity Forms to do a few other things on your website anyway, it saves you the expense of having to add another plugin when you decide you’re ready to start making money online.
The differences between Gravity Forms and online shopping carts can actually be a big plus for business who offer custom products. Setting the form up is as simple as selecting the fields you need to describe the product, its price and the person you are making it for. Once you’ve set the connection to PayPal as well as any custom options and shipping choices, you’re all set to have fun making money on WordPress.