Please note that the Exchange plugin mentioned in this article has been retired. For those looking to start selling online with WordPress, we recommend checking out our WooCommerce guide or our collection of e-commerce plugins.
iThemes, the creators of the now-retired Exchange plugin, have released a brand new e-commerce plugin called Exchange. This plugin is completely free and allows users to sell digital goods through their WordPress website. In this article, we will walk you through how to use the plugin and provide an overview of its features.
Installation & Setup
To install Exchange, simply grab it from the plugin repository and install it directly from your WordPress dashboard. Alternatively, you can download the zip file from the iThemes website and upload it by selecting “Add New” under Plugins on your dashboard, clicking upload, and selecting the zip file.
Once installed, click on the “Quick Setup” button in the notification bar at the top of your dashboard. If you don’t see the notification bar, go to Plugins > Installed Plugins and find “iThemes Exchange.” Double-check that you’ve activated the plugin, then click on the “Quick Setup” link to open the setup wizard.
Exchange makes it easy to set up your store. Simply select the payment method you want to use – offline (checks or cash), PayPal, or Stripe. If you choose to use PayPal or Stripe, make sure you’ve signed up for those services beforehand. Note that if you choose to use Stripe, there is a required add-on that can be purchased for an introductory price of $10 (which will be going up to $97).
If you choose to use offline payments, there is a section where you can provide further payment instructions for customers. You can also update your notification email address and select your currency.
You can add more information by clicking on the “Settings” menu item within Exchange. The first tab covers your basic company information, such as your name, tax ID, main email, and address. You can also choose a currency symbol, its position, and the separators for your currency. Lastly, you can select how you want users to register.
On the second tab, you can customize the email you receive when you make sales, as well as the email customers receive as a receipt for their purchase. You can use iThemes Exchange shortcodes to add information like the customer’s username, the date of purchase, or the total purchase amount to the email.
The third and final tab lets you organize your online store how you want it. For the various store-related pages (such as the store page, customer registration, customer shopping cart, purchase confirmation, etc.), you can choose to use the default Exchange page, use shortcodes to embed the related information into a WordPress page, or disable the page altogether. You can also add custom page titles and slugs.
From the “Add-Ons” menu item within Exchange, you can double-check that you’ve got all the features activated that you want and disable any you don’t. Some of the options included are a dashboard reporting widget product categories or tags, and the option for multi-item carts.
After purchase, you will also see any premium add-ons you have access to.
To add products, go to Exchange > Add Product. Give your product a name, price, and description. You can upload as many product images as you’d like as well as upload digital files themselves. There are also advanced options such as an extended description, categories, tags, product-specific purchase message, availability dates or quantity, and limit per person. Make sure to publish your product and it will be instantly added to your store.
With Exchange, you can create all kinds of coupons for your clientele. Go to Exchange > Add-ons and make sure that the Coupons Add-On is activated. Once active, the Coupons menu item should appear within the Exchange menu in your WordPress Dashboard. Now go to Exchange > Coupons. Give your coupon a name, add a coupon code, set the amount, and add the use period. With coupons, you can run a variety of holiday or user-specific sales, email campaigns, or even hold giveaways.
To view what your customers have purchased, navigate to Exchange > Payments. You can see each and every one of your store’s transactions here. To see who bought what, just hover on a transaction and click on the “Payment Details” link.
View Customer Information
On the “Payment Details” for a transaction, you’ll see a link to “View Customer Data.” This will take you to a screen that displays a specific customer’s purchase history, a list of all transactions, and a section where you can make notes about the customer.
Exchange also includes a great dashboard widget to give you a snapshot of how your online store is doing. To enable the add-on, go to Exchange > Add-ons and activate the Basic Reporting Dashboard Widget.
Help & Documentation
For more information about all of Exchange’s features, click on the Help item in the menu or have a look at the documentation on the iThemes website. There are also video tutorials available.
Overall, Exchange is a great plugin that is easy to use, quick to set up, and has all the key features any e-commerce plugin should have. If you have any suggestions for features that Exchange is missing, fill out the Feature Request form on iThemes. They’re open to suggestions and want feedback!