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ECommerce Thought Process

A common project I do here at Atrixware is integrating ECommerce into web sites, primarily to automate an enrollment of a student into an online couse (via the Weblearning system), or to automate the creation of an activation key (for a Test Pro Developer ELearning Package protected with Activation Technology).

This kind of integration is much different from a standard e-commerce site, because in addition to actually accepting the money, we want the web server to actually do something in order that we can avoid doing it manually.

For example, let’s say you are selling a book. It looks something like this:

Customer : Buy Item -> Enter CC Info -> Submit -> Wait for Shipment
You: Receive Email of what they ordered -> Pack Book -> Ship it

Here is the same thing for an online course (without the automated enrollment):

Customer : Buy Course-> Enter CC Info -> Submit -> Wait for Login Info
You: Receive Email of what they ordered -> Enroll Them -> Email them login instructions

Problem is, your customer probably wants to log in right after they purchase, and, you don’t want to be bothered with having to manually enroll students and email them instructions (especially for high volumes of enrollments).

So, here is the process for the automated ecommerce:

Customer : Buy Course -> Enter CC Info -> Submit -> See Login Info On Screen -> Also get email with info
You: Nothing
Server -> Enroll Student into course -> Generate response page with login info -> Generate Email with login info -> Email YOU

Looks good, right? Ready to make money while you sleep? Well, there is a lot of ‘up-front’ work to do, and some money to spend as well to get this done.

Essentially, you are defining a business process for every product, and automating it (and we are implementing your process). Here are some things to think about:

1. What do you want the response page to say if their credit card was declined?
2. What do you want the response page to say when they are approved (login link to the course? name and password? link to your site?) What colors, fonts, and layout? Logo?
3. What do you want the email to say that gets sent to them with their course login info? How about the email subject?
4. Do you want a copy of the email?
5. Do you want to allow people to enroll into multiple courses in one purchase? If so, are the above emails and page responses condensed, or, do they get an email for each one?

There is a lot to think about, but once it is complete, it really works nice. I do these kinds of implementations all the time.

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