An important feature that has been part of Absorb since the earliest versions of the LMS, has been the capability to offer organizations the option to merchandise their training content - to both internal and external learning customers alike - through the use of Absorb's E-Commerce module.
Making the most of this resource requires Absorb's retail operations to have extensive connections all throughout the LMS, and well beyond the two specific 'E-Commerce' tools covered in this part of the manual. As such, readers seeking to familiarize themselves with our software's full suite of commercial features are advised to read the list below and consult all of the linked topics in order to have a more complete understanding of all the sales resources available to them.
- E-Commerce provides a wide degree of flexibility in the various payment types (and currencies) it can be configured to accept, such as credit cards through the use of an external Payment Gateway and/or alternate payment methods such as Checks, Purchase Orders, Wire Transfers, etc.
- Course pricing can be set at the individual Course level and can be made fully adaptable to different Learner audiences by tying pricing to Absorb's Availability Rules and Departments. Please note: pricing set within a Curriculum will override any course-level pricing.
- Similar to variable pricing is the ability to offer different sets of Course inventories to various audiences once again through the use of Departments
- Multi-seat purchases of an individual Course, Course Bundle or Curriculum can be made by a single Learner on behalf of other LMS students through the creation of an Enrollment Key, which the purchaser can then distribute to those select Learners in order to more easily coordinate the specific training they might require
- E-Commerce access can be limited to registered customers only requiring that a Learner either be an existing customer in Absorb, or be required to create an account as a new Learner in the LMS before they can buy. For added security and certainty, new customers can be required to verify their email address before they can make a purchase
- Through the use of Coupons various marketing and promotional scenarios can be implemented by offering deals on the LMS inventory
- Coupons can be further used to automatically assigned new customers to a particular Department which itself can be configured to control what LMS inventory options and prices new Learners have access to
- Courses can be created with a fixed or open-ended completion times to provide customers flexibility in their training. Similarly, Instructor Led Courses can be configured to require that a Learner commit to a session at the time or purchase or allow them to make that choice later on
- Absorb's Transaction tool captures a considerable amount of customer purchase data that Admins can use to run customized reports for the purpose of monitoring and optimizing their LMS sales
As outlined above, the E-Commerce tools available here are a continuation of the sales activities initially begun in the course editor of Absorb. At this particular point in the LMS, the Admin can review the overall health of their LMS retailing effort - with the reporting capabilities of the Transactions tool; as well as create unique perks to sustain or further enhance their E-Commerce business - through the targeted use of the Coupons tool.
While this pair each serves a different individual purpose at different times in the sales life cycle of an LMS 'product', both can be used in maximizing the commercial effectiveness that Absorb's E-Commerce feature is capable of.
Transactions provide extended post-sales information for LMS items that have been previously sold to Learners in Absorb. With this capability Admins can examine individual purchases in greater detail, create transaction documentation and record refunds provided to customers. This makes the Transaction tool in the LMS primarily a forensic reporting instrument and as such Admins will not necessarily be changing the data offered here, so much as working with what information is already available, in order to get other business tasks accomplished.
This matters because in most commercial scenarios, an organization's LMS sales will be processed by their Payment Gateway (if they have chosen to accept credit cards) and/or their Accounting department. While both of these financial entities can provide historical purchase information, both sources will also limit an Admin to the types of data that they consider important for their own record keeping and reporting - information which may, or may not, answer the Transaction questions an Admin has. That makes it essential to have a dedicated reporting resource built-in to LMS that can be accessed quickly, without the need to seek answers elsewhere.
Possible uses for Transactions include:
- Assisting E-Commerce customers with post-purchase needs
- Satisfying financial reporting requirements (accounting, auditing, reconciliation, etc.)
- Monitoring Payment Gateway activity from the LMS side
- Improving overall E-Commerce success by analyzing sales / use patterns
Coupons allow Admins to more effectively market their learning inventory to both new and existing customers by offering discounts on select LMS items. As a fully-customizable financial incentive, Coupons can be purpose-built to meet the needs of a multitude of E-commerce scenarios. Simply by changing the value, timing, number of uses and item applicability that a Coupon has, an Admin can target specific audiences of Learners - and more effectively drive any interest shown in a learning item towards actual Enrollment.
The effective promotional value that Coupons bring to Absorb's E-Commerce suite, really can help make a difference in creating a prosperous learning program. Combined with some of the social tools of the optional Mercury module, the Admin is easily equipped to devise sophisticated marketing initiatives that can directly contribute to the LMS's financial success.
Possible uses for Coupons include:
- Boosting Enrollment numbers
- Enhancing Learner engagement in the learning program
- Increasing the LMS customer base with new Learners