To most efficiently and effectively fulfill our mission of helping our clients to maximize impact, Remote Learner embraces a hybrid best-of-breed approach to solution building. This means we supplement our own solutions with third-party partners and popular integrations from across the market to get industry-leading solutions into the hands of our clients as quickly and seamlessly as possible.
For example, many of our clients need to sell online courses and manage enrollments. There are a number of ways to accomplish this through plugins including ones that link to payment gateways, eStores, or shopping carts. Depending on your goals and challenges, any one of them might be the right solution. To make this determination, it’s important to know what questions to ask. Take the shopping cart option. Remote Learner is proud to have two excellent partners in this arena: Course Merchant and LMS Checkout. Having two partners begs an interesting question: when we recommend one, are we inherently saying it’s better than the other? No, not at all. The truth is there is no perfect solution, only the perfect solution for any given client.
Let’s talk shopping carts
To arrive at a shopping cart recommendation for any of our clients, we ask a number of questions. Regardless of your LMS or service provider, these questions will go a long way towards helping you pick the right shopping cart option for your organization, too.
What type or types of learning do you intend to sell through this shopping cart?
Synchronous or asynchronous learning, in-person learning events, printed learning, conference registrations…all are common items to sell through a shopping cart but not all shopping cart options handle those transactions equally or in the same way.
Do you need to accommodate multi-course and multi-seat purchases?
Some shopping carts allow for it, others require a 1:1 transaction for ease of tracking and identification.
What reporting options do you need?
For example, do you have clients who need to know how many of their licenses have been sold? Do you want to be able to compare sales year over year?
Is automated enrollment important to you?
Some shopping cart options automatically enroll learners in their purchased learning, others may send the learner an automated email that allows them to manually enroll themselves.
P.S. – Single Sign On is another variable in the larger category of “access” to consider asking about.
What payment gateway(s) do you intend to use?
Shopping carts usually work with all major payment gateways but it’s worth confirming.
P.S. – Make sure your payment gateway is PCI compliant!
Is it important to be able to offer discounts or vouchers?
When evaluating shopping cart vendors, make sure you feel comfortable with how this process works.
How much would you like to customize your shopping cart?
For some, maintaining branding specifications is important; for others, simple color modifications are fine as long as it gets the job done.
Do you need to utilize Child Stores?
A child store means having multiple, distinct shopping carts (often differentiated by branding) all pointing to a single LMS. Some shopping carts offer this, others have a 1:1 relationship between an LMS and a single shopping cart.
How many learners do you expect to enroll each year through your shopping cart? How many transactions?
A common distinction between shopping cart options is the pricing model. Some are based on enrollments, some are based on transactions.
P.S. – Shopping carts may also price differently based on the number of courses you intend to post so be sure to look into that too!
How much support do you need?
Don’t forget that you’re not just buying a tool. If you are under-resourced or inexperienced with this technology, don’t hesitate to ask about the type of ongoing maintenance and support you can expect to receive.
There are a number of other important questions to ask before making a determination about the right shopping cart for you but I hope these questions are a good start. And, of course, I’d encourage you to consider our partners Course Merchant and LMS Checkout, too!