Sell online quickly and easily

There are occasions where you want to sell items via your website, but you don’t want or need a full ecommerce shopping solution.

For example, let’s say you have an ebook that you want to sell. You don’t need the customer to add it to a virtual basket, change quantities, have a delivery address input field, etc. You just want a simple purchase option. Click and buy. What tools are there that can help you achieve this, simply and efficiently?

You may of course want to set up a one-page website to promote and sell a particular product or service and not need a full website with several pages created. Again, a simple tool here would be useful to efficiently process transactions.

Thankfully, there are a number of solutions to this challenge. We will look at two of them; one is called Gumroad, but the first we’ll look at is GoCardless.


We mentioned this great product in a previous blog post. It’s the one that we use for the Creatives Hub side of our business to receive membership subscription payments.

GoCardless is based on the Direct Debit system in the UK, which is great for recurring payments –like subscription fees, but equally as good for one-off payments like ebook purchases or donations.

As with Gumroad, the integration is pretty straightforward. But let’s start with what your customer sees.

Firstly you’ll want your beautifully designed page to show off your product with a clear call to action to purchase it. We discussed calls to action in our May newsletter.

Once your customer clicks the button, they are presented with a secure GoCardless page (you can tell by making sure the page address starts with https:// –note the ’s’) to enter their contact details along with their bank details –sort code and account number. Remember this is direct debit, so the money is debited straight from the customer’s bank account not via a credit or debit card.

The customer can choose to sign up for a GoCardless account, in which case they would only enter your email address and password each time.

From a setup point of view, again GoCardless have made it as painless as possible. The system works by using ‘plans’. These are effectively the payments you want to take which will be linked to a button on your site. For example, if your ebook - which you’re planning to write to enlighten the world - was going to be sold at a one-off cost of £12.50 you would set up a plan to cover that. Then once the plan is created, you will see a ‘Plan Link’. This is the URL that you will add to your button on your site and will look something like this:

That’s it. No extra pages to add on your site. No worrying about whether your own site is secure enough; GoCardless takes care of that side of things. You can create ‘Thank You’ pages -which is a good thing to do from a marketing point of view, so that customers end up back on your site. For digital products - as opposed to services - this can be the page containing the link to download the file.

Like everything with GoCardless, the cost is also simple. It is 1% per transaction capped at £2. So for your £12.50 ebook, you’d be paying 12p.

We’ve been using GoCardless for two and half years now and are very happy with their service.


Just like GoCardless, Gumroad has been developed to offer simple-to-integrate ecommerce within your website.

It advertises itself as “a service that provides artists and creators of all shapes and sizes with a means of accepting payment for their work. We host their files, process their payments, and deliver their files to their beautiful, benevolent customers.”

So that’s an immediate difference to GoCardless in that Gumroad host your files for you, whether that be an ebook, mp3 or video file.

Again, you’ll need your web page or site set up with your product page showing off what you’re selling. Then, from your customers’ point of view, they click on your call to action button and a form pops up with the usual name, address and card number options. This uses the more traditional payment methods of credit or debit cards. You can also choose to pay with PayPal.

From the setup point of view, again, similar to GoCardless, once you have signed up to Gumroad and added your product - including uploading it to their site - you will be provided with some code to integrate with your call to action button. That’s it. Naturally there are additional options, such as choosing to embed the payment form into your website as opposed to a popup overlay form. You can also choose to sell items which contain multiple files.

As the files are hosted on their site, Gumroad take care of the PCI compliance and the 128-bit encryption to make sure your files and customers’ payment information is safe.

After purchase, the customer can enter a password to make it easier to get to their purchases in the future.

Gumroad’s fees are 5% plus $0.25 on every sale.


Gumroad and GoCardless are different products. GoCardless is an online direct debit provider, while Gumroad is a platform that intends to make selling as easy as social sharing. Both however allow easy integration with your website to quickly sell products and services without the need to set up a full ecommerce solution.

If you’ve used either or are thinking about using a simple ecommerce platform, please share your thoughts in the comments field below.