E-commerce Platforms Compared for Moodle

E-commerce Platforms Compared for Moodle
May 15, 2018 Rucha Gotarkar
In Moodle, Uncategorized

“E-commerce isn’t an option anymore; it is the way forward”

A question that’s often asked in Moodle forums—and I’m sure, one that’s crossed your mind—is, “how can I offer paid courses in Moodle?” ; “what are my options?”.

Well, Moodle is an incredible e-learning platform. But when it comes to offering paid courses, it falls short.

Now, selling courses online, that’s e-commerce.

And Moodle, well, Moodle is not an e-commerce platform. It wasn’t meant to be. But, what you can do, is integrate Moodle with a plugin or platform to help sell your courses.

 

Moodle and e-Commerce

Adding e-commerce functionality to any online website can be a matter of adding a simple payment gateway or a comprehensive purchase management systems or anything in between.

With Moodle, it’s no different. You can go with a payment gateway plugin or an e-commerce platform.

Now, it really depends on your business and the importance of selling courses to decide which option you want to choose. While payment gateways are limited to processing and accepting payments online, e-commerce platforms offer an exhaustive list of features which include:

  • product management and categorization,
  • pricing management,
  • multiple payment options,
  • upselling and cross-selling tools,
  • advanced order and revenue reporting,
  • email and social media marketing integration… and more.

e-Commerce platforms reduce the need of multiple plugins by providing a range of functionality encapsulated into one system.

e-Commerce Platforms for Moodle

If you’ve done a bit of research yourself, you’ll know there aren’t any solid e-commerce plugins for Moodle. Though, there are several independent platforms. And a few, which are above the rest:

  • WooCommerce
  • Course Merchant
  • enrolmart
  • LMS Checkout

All of these platforms integrate with Moodle (either as a feature or using an extension) and provide the functionality of auto-enrolment on course purchase.

But there are a few factors that make these products unique. Let’s explore each option in detail.

#1 WooCommerce

WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin that’s one of the leading e-commerce platforms in the world, and one of the most advanced from the list above. WooCommerce offers all the features you would need to effectively sell your courses along with shippable products.

“The only way to sell products or courses online. By far the best in customizability & ease for user

Michelle G.; source: Capterra, WooCommerce

woocommerce scheduler

WooCommerce Pros

  • Free – WooCommerce is a free plugin consisting of basic e-commerce features that’ll help you get your e-commerce store off the ground at minimal cost
  • Extension suite – You have an extension for every possible e-commerce feature that’s not included in the plugin (points and rewards, cross-sell, subscriptions), and for various payment gateways to target a global audience
  • Multiple product types – Apart from virtual (courses) and simple products, WooCommerce supports a range of products (digital, variable, grouped, bookable, composite, and more – via extensions) to help you sell any product under the sun
  • Developer community – The popularity of the platform makes it easy to find developer support

WooCommerce Cons

  • Not specific to courses – WooCommerce is not built specifically for courses, so you’ll need the help of available extensions to integrate it with Moodle
  • Based on WordPress – You’ll need WordPress to use WooCommerce (but that’s not exactly a con – more on that later)

Takeaway

WooCommerce is the go-to plugin for serious Moodlepreneurs, where e-commerce capabilities are of prime importance.

With WooCommerce you have a ready extension available for every needed functionality. And although the extensions are premium, they are cost-effective as compared to hiring a developer to custom code the needed features.

Now, the fact that WooCommerce is a WordPress extension means that you’ll have to maintain two systems (Moodle and WordPress). It also means you have to learn WordPress to use WooCommerce. But WordPress is widely known as one of the easiest CMS to use. So, it should be a fairly short learning curve. WooCommerce also offers extensive documentation, to help you along the way.

But, there’s an advantage WordPress presents (remember how I said it wasn’t exactly a con). With WordPress, you get a search-engine optimized, marketing ready platform at your disposal to help you sell your courses.

Most importantly, although WooCommerce isn’t built specifically for Moodle, there are plugins available to integrate the two platforms and offer seamless interaction experience to students (enrolment on course purchase, single-sign on, synchronization of user data).

Go with WooCommerce if you’re looking for a full-fledged solution that’s cost-effective and easy to use.


#2 Course Merchant

Course Merchant is an e-commerce platform that’s specifically built to sell courses (online, face-to-face, webinars, live conferences, and more). Course Merchant integrates with several e-learning platforms with Moodle being one of them.

“Course Merchant has many options to choose from for learning how to use their product.”

Lisa L.; source: Capterra, Course Merchant

course merchant

Course Merchant Pros

  • Enrolment Management – Course Merchant provides complete control over enrolment. You can delay enrolment to a particular course or allow a user to sign up for multiple courses at once
  • Customization possibilities – Course Merchant has an off-the-shelf solution or a tailor-made solution based on your needs
  • Extensive documentation – You’ve got detailed documentation right from video tutorials, to how-to’s, to everything in between

Course Merchant Cons

  • Cost – Course Merchant is a premium solution and is available at a custom price upon contact
  • Maintenance – Maintenance of the system is pocket-heavy considering it is entirely premium

Takeaway

Course Merchant isn’t a system that’s built for Moodle, but rather integrates with the LMS. But that’s not a point of concern. Considering that the system is built to sell courses, you’ve got all possible options to make sure your courses are sold as per your needs.

The platform allows the sale of online as well as offline courses, and shippable products. The USP of the system is certainly the detailed documentation and helper videos that help you walk-through each and every situation.

Course Merchant provides granular control over course enrolment, with options for multi-seat selection (for offline courses), enrolment to multiple courses at once, delayed enrolment on course purchase, and more.

The primary drawback of Course Merchant, however, is that it’s a premium solution with a private API. That is to say not only do you have to pay a fair amount to setup the system, you won’t have an option when it comes to customization either. You won’t be able to hire any other developers for the task.

Also, the look and feel of your store can be customized (as an added paid service) to match the branding of your Moodle website.

Go with Course Merchant if you want a tight-coupling between student enrolment and course purchases and if you can afford to spend that (little more than) extra bit on your online store.


 

#3 enrolmart

Enrolmart is an e-commerce solution for Moodle. It’s as simple as that. Its unique offering is that it adds a shopping cart onto your Moodle LMS. It offers a free and a premium plan with one of the differences being paid support.

“One of the biggest problems in sales is keeping the customer’s impulse. From the moment they decide to buy until they can actually do it a lot can happen: they get distracted, they forget, they decide they don’t have the money… the list is long. Enrolmart helps overcome this issues by placing a shopping cart inside Moodle”

Moonami; source Moodle News

enrolmart

enrolmart  Pros

  • Shopping cart – enrolmart adds the cart right on your Moodle LMS making the course discoverability and purchase option simple
  • Easy setup – The platform offers a quick setup along with complimentary setup assistance

enrolmart Cons

  • Limited options – enrolmart does not sport extensive course marketing capabilities and offers limited options for payments
  • Pricing plans – Although the platform has a free version, the actual cost depends on the number of purchases made

Takeaway

Enrolmart is a simple e-commerce cart for Moodle that’s quite popular owing to its seamless integration with the LMS. Although enrolmart can be used as an independent e-commerce platform it’s been built primarily for Moodle.

The setup is simple with a Moodle plugin available for integration. With basic options available you can start selling courses and regular products easily.

The platform offers two plans, one free for 25 or less transactions a month (no hidden fees and free setup included), and the other for over 500 transactions of month (includes premium support). For anything in between there is a 95 cents fee per transaction.

Enrolmart is perfect for those who have a handful of courses and are looking for a simple yet adept solution to handle purchases. If the purchases on your store are limited, enrolmart gives you basic capabilities for practically $0.


#4 LMS Checkout

From the e-commerce solutions listed for Moodle, LMS Checkout beats the competition when it comes to being the quickest shopping cart to set up. Available as a online training store that integrates with Moodle, the platform can be used to sell courses for an individual as well as group of instructors.

“The simplest way to build an online store to sell your courses”

eclass4learning

LMS checkout

LMS Checkout Pros

  • 3-Step Setup – You can have your online store ready in three simple steps (that’s all!)
  • Multi-admin support – LMS Checkout offers a multi-store setup and management option that’s perfect when you have multiple e-learning branches or divisions

LMS Checkout Cons

  • Limited options – The platform offers limited features as compared to leading e-commerce solutions for Moodle

Takeaway

LMS Checkout is a simple, easy to use e-commerce solution for Moodle. It offers course selling and marketing features sufficient for small businesses. You can pick from various pricing plans the one that suits you best.

What’s best about the platform is the multi-store-owner support. You can create a “parent” store and multiple “child” stores which can be linked to a single Moodle installation. These child stores can be cloned or can have individual branding.

Such a multi-store setup can be ideal when you have a single Moodle site for multiple grade of students (K-12) or for a University type setting where you have different management for different branches.

Go for LMS Checkout if you want a simple, single-store setup or a multi-store setup for your Moodle courses.


A Feature-wise Comparison of Moodle e-Commerce Platforms

When it comes to synchronization with Moodle, all of the platforms offer:-

  • Automatic course enrollment on successful payment
  • Creation of Moodle user on successful purchase
  • Automatic notification of login credentials to the user

When it comes to e-commerce features, there are subtle differences. Here are the details.

 

Product options

 

WooCommerceCourse MerchantenrolmartLMS Checkout
Catalog Management
Category and Tag Management
Support for Product Reviews and Ratings
Wishlist option/ Waitlist option

(add-on)

Support for shippable products
Support for Bookable products (Face-to-Face classes)

(add-on)

Sales Reporting

 

Pricing options

 

WooCommerceCourse MerchantenrolmartLMS Checkout
Multi-currency Support
Tax Management
Shipping Price Management
Discount Pricing

(time-based)

(quantity-based)

(quantity-based)

Coupons/ Voucher Codes
Bundled Pricing

(add-on)

Bulk purchase

(add-on)

Student Specific Pricing

(add-on)

Membership/ Subscription (Recurring Payments)

(add-on)

 

Payment Gateways Supported

 

WooCommerceCourse MerchantenrolmartLMS Checkout
Paypal Standard
Stripe

(add-on)

Authorize.net

(add-on)

SagePay

(add-on)

 

Product Promotion options

 

WooCommerceCourse MerchantenrolmartLMS Checkout
Email Marketing

(add-on)

Social Sharing Options

(add-on)

Related Products option
Affiliate Marketing

(add-on)

Cross-selling options
Upselling options
Points and Rewards System

(add-on)

 

Customization and Integration options

 

WooCommerceCourse MerchantenrolmartLMS Checkout
Custom Branding

(add-on)

Customizable Templates

(add-on)

Data Import/Export
Access Control (User Management)
CRM Integration

(add-on)

 

Wrapping Up

Choosing the perfect e-commerce platform for Moodle is about weighing your requirements and budget against the options at hand. Though all of the above-discussed options have their own set of advantages, you have to also consider your business advancement plans and if the system will be capable of supporting your future needs. Migration can be a nightmare; take your time to decide.

 

Well, that’s about it! Hope the point-by-point feature comparison tables have helped you out. If not, the comment section is always open for questions 🙂 Ask away!

Comments (0)

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*