Learn how to start selling digital products online with Shopify.
Digital products are seen as the future of commerce and one of the more popular ways to sell online.
Digital products like ebooks have been around for quite some time and have now become a part of the shopping experience. Shopify offers you a platform to sell digital products as well as selling physical products on your own eCommerce website or via an affiliate program.
The biggest benefit of selling digital products is that you can easily sell them through your website and generate recurring revenue each month. But when you sell physical items, this process is more complicated and expensive.
Digital products are the future of eCommerce. They’re easy to sell, they’re profitable, and they represent a huge growth opportunity for retailers. But there's a lot more to getting started with digital products than just adding them to your Shopify store.
In this guide, we'll cover how to choose the right type of digital product for your business, how to create it, and how to promote it on your site.
What are Digital Products?
In today's increasingly digital world, selling digital products has become a lucrative business opportunity. But what exactly are digital products?
Simply put, digital products are intangible goods that are delivered electronically, such as software, ebooks, music, courses, templates, and more.
Unlike physical products that require manufacturing, packaging, and shipping, digital products are created and stored in digital formats, making them easily accessible and distributable over the internet. This convenience not only reduces costs and logistical challenges but also allows for instant delivery, enabling customers to enjoy their purchases immediately.
One of the key advantages of selling digital products is the endless scalability they offer. Once created, digital products can be replicated and sold numerous times without the need for additional inventory. This means that as your customer base grows, you can effortlessly meet the demand without worrying about production limitations.
Another benefit of selling digital products on platforms like Shopify is the flexibility it offers. Whether you choose to sell downloadable files, access to online courses, or subscription-based services, you have the freedom to determine the pricing, licensing terms, and distribution methods that best align with your business goals.
Furthermore, digital products afford customers a more convenient and portable experience. With just a few clicks, they can access their purchased products on their computers, tablets, or smartphones, eliminating the need for physical storage and allowing for seamless integration into their daily lives.
Selling digital products on Shopify
In the following sections, we are going to go through a series of steps; some in detail to help you set up shop to sell digital products online
Step 1 - First things first! Set up your Shopify store to sell digital products on Shopify
1. Choosing a Shopify plan
The first step is to choose the right plan for your store. There are three plans available: Basic, Shopify, and Advanced. The difference between them is how much you pay each month and what features you get access to when you sign up.
Check out Shopify’s pricing plans here.
2. Setting up payment
Once you've created your Storefront, you can begin adding payment methods to accept payments from customers who purchase your digital products through Shopify.
If you want to accept credit cards, you need to connect your Shopify store to Stripe or PayPal. This can be done by going into the Settings tab of your Shopify store.
You can also use Shopify Payments for this purpose.
3. Disable shipping
Before you can sell digital products on Shopify, you need to disable the built-in shipping functionality by following these steps -
- From your Shopify admin, go to Products.
- Select a product or create a product.
- In the Shipping section, uncheck This is a physical product and save.
4. Digital download apps
To provide a download link to your customers for a digital product, you must use an app from the Shopify App Store.
You can just use Shopify’s Digital Downloads app. This is a free and simple app to use.
You can also consider using other third-party apps as well for this purpose.
In the Shopify App Store, search for an app that allows you to create digital downloads. Once you've found an app that works with your store, click Install and follow the instructions in order to install the app on your Shopify store.
5. Customizing the design and branding of your store
The design and branding of a store are often seen as the most important part of setting up a Shopify store. This is because it tells potential customers what your business is all about, and how they can purchase from you.
You can use custom fonts and colors to give your store a unique look. You can also adjust the layout of different parts of your store. You will find that there are many different ways in which you can customize the design of your store.
You can also reach out to our team of Shopify experts to help you design a high-converting storefront.
Step 2 - Add digital products to your Shopify Store
1. Different types of digital products
Before you start selling, you need to decide what digital product your store will be selling. These could range from e-books, music, videos, software, printables, etc.
Once you figure out the product, you also need to work around your business model.
There are several different types of digital products that you can sell on Shopify:
- Digital downloads – These are files that you can download to your device and view offline.
- Digital subscriptions – These are recurring payments for access to content or services.
2. Add digital products to your store
Before you can sell digital products, you need to set up the product information and pricing.
To set up your digital product information -
Click on Shopify > Products > Add Product.
Enter your product name, description, SKU, and pricing. You can also add an image or other necessary collateral if needed.
Step 3 - Promoting and marketing your digital products
If you're selling digital products, it's important to promote them in the right way. You'll need to use different tactics for each of your products.
Here are some tips for promoting digital products on Shopify -
1. Leverage social media platforms
Use social media to share information about your digital product. You can use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, and more to share about your digital product.
Furthermore, using analytical tools such as Google Analytics to analyze customer behavior will help you identify which products are most popular, what their purchasing behaviors are, and how they interact with your site. You can then craft tactical social media campaigns using this data to target the right people with the right products at the right time.
- Complete guide to Pinterest marketing and advertising
- Google search and shopping ads guide for eCommerce stores
- Complete guide to Facebook marketing and advertising for eCommerce
- How to use TikTok for eCommerce marketing
- Complete guide on using Instagram for eCommerce marketing
2. Use your store's ratings and reviews section when promoting your digital products
When you have a digital product, you can use the relevant store ratings and reviews section to showcase what others are saying about it. This is a great way to get people talking about your products and encourage them to buy them.
You can also use this feature to create a buzz around new releases. If you have an existing high-quality product, such as an e-book or software program, you can set up a promotion for it in the store so that users can buy it at a discounted price. When they do so, they will leave comments with their purchase details in the store reviews section so that other customers know about the offer and can take advantage of it too!
3. Utilize paid advertising to reach a wider audience
Use Google Adwords to find keywords related to your digital product and then run paid search ads on Google based on those keywords.
4. Build email lists
You'll need to get the word out about your new store, and once you have a few sales under your belt, it's time to start building up your email list.
This list will help you build an audience of customers who will be interested in seeing what else you have available in the future and keep them posted at all times.
Step 4 - Fulfilling orders and delivering digital products
1. Automate the delivery process with Shopify's Digital Download App
Shopify’s Digital Download App allows you to automate your order fulfillment process by sending digital products directly to customers following their purchase. This means that you can set up digital product delivery options within your Shopify store, such as sending emails and PDFs, so customers can receive their orders instantly.
The Digital Download App is a great way to simplify your business without losing any control over your sales process. And it's so easy to use that even a beginner can start using it immediately.
2. Provide excellent customer service and support for digital products
Happy customers equal better recurring sales.
Thus, the next step is to provide excellent customer service and support for digital products.
Customers need to know that they can reach out to you if they have any questions or concerns about their purchases or refunds. They should also be able to find answers quickly when they navigate through the site.
3. Handling returns and refunds for digital products
When you sell digital products, it's important to take care of the customer and provide them with a hassle-free experience. Here are some tips on handling returns and refunds for digital products:
You can use Shopify's built-in return policy in your store. You can also send customers an email that outlines your terms and conditions.
To keep things simple, make sure your refund policy is clearly stated on the checkout page of your app or website. You can also include it in your email receipts or invoice.
When you start off, you might want to consider offering a full refund if someone doesn't like the product or doesn't think they're getting their money's worth out of it. This will give you more time to improve your product and ensure that people have a good experience when ordering from you again in the future.
(Bonus) Tips and best practices to successfully sell digital products on Shopify
- Research your competitors. Look at the top sellers in your niche and take note of their best practices.
- Find your audience. Who are you selling to? What do they want? Do they care about design or usability? Do they prefer to buy from someone who has more experience or is more trustworthy?
- Set up your store correctly. Make sure your store is set up correctly so that customers can easily find what they're looking for, navigate the site and make purchases. Use effective navigation, product descriptions, and pricing information — all of which will help boost sales.
- Set up a clear and professional sales process.
- Utilize SEO to improve visibility in search results.
- Offer multiple payment options.
Best Digital Products to Sell
- Online courses: Create and monetize in-depth educational content on various topics. Example: A course on digital marketing strategies for small businesses.
- Ebooks: Package your expertise and knowledge into a downloadable book format. Example: A cookbook with unique recipes and cooking techniques.
- Licensed digital content: Sell licenses for creative assets such as photos, videos, music, and sound effects. Example: Licensing stock photos for use in marketing campaigns.
- Premium content libraries: Offer access to a collection of your digital products for a subscription fee. Example: A membership site providing exclusive access to video tutorials, ebooks, and templates.
- Digital templates and tools: Provide digital solutions that help people streamline tasks and improve productivity. Example: Graphic design templates for creating professional brochures and flyers.
- Product photography: Sell professional product photography services to e-commerce businesses. Example: High-quality product photos for online stores selling clothing or consumer goods.
- Music, art, and entertainment: Monetize your artistic talents and content creation skills. Example: A musician selling digital music downloads or offering exclusive access to new releases.
- Digital services: Offer digital services such as website design, social media management, or video editing. Example: Web design services for small businesses or entrepreneurs.
- Printable digital products: Create printable resources that can be downloaded and used by customers. Example: Printable daily planners, meal planners, or budget templates.
- Digital memberships: Provide exclusive content, resources, or community access to members. Example: A membership site offering monthly webinars, Q&A sessions, and industry insights.
- Software and apps: Develop and sell software applications that solve specific problems or enhance user experiences. Example: A time management app or a project management software.
- Virtual consultations or coaching: Offer virtual consultations or coaching services through video calls. Example: Virtual fitness coaching offering personalized workout plans and nutrition advice.
- Design and branding services: Provide digital design and branding services for businesses or individuals. Example: Logo design services or creating custom social media graphics.
- Online memberships and communities: Build online communities or membership sites centered around specific topics or interests. Example: A membership site for avid photographers to share tips, access exclusive content, and participate in forums.
- Podcasts and digital audio content: Create and sell digital audio content such as podcasts or audiobooks. Example: A podcast series on personal development or a collection of educational audiobooks.
Why Sell Digital Products?
Selling digital products on Shopify offers numerous advantages for entrepreneurs and creators looking to capitalize on the digital marketplace.
Here are some compelling reasons why you should consider selling digital products on Shopify -
1. Reduced Production Costs
Unlike physical products, digital products do not require raw materials, manufacturing, packaging, shipping, or storage. This significantly reduces production costs, allowing you to focus on creating high-quality digital content without the financial constraints associated with physical goods.
2. Infinite Inventory
Digital products are always accessible, making inventory management a breeze. Once created, digital products can be replicated and sold an unlimited number of times without the need for restocking or duplication. This means you never have to worry about running out of stock or inventory.
3. Lower Entry Barriers
Starting a digital product store requires minimal investment and commitment compared to traditional brick-and-mortar businesses. With Shopify, you can easily set up a store and pay the monthly subscription fee, eliminating the need for complex logistics, physical inventory, or large upfront costs. It's a low-risk option that allows you to leverage your skills and knowledge to generate revenue.
4. Global Reach
The internet provides a global marketplace, allowing you to reach customers worldwide. With physical goods, international logistics can be challenging and costly. However, digital products can be instantly delivered to anyone, anywhere with an internet connection, expanding your potential customer base and unlocking new markets.
5. High Profit Margins
Selling digital products often comes with higher profit margins compared to physical goods. Once you eliminate the costs of manufacturing, shipping, and storage, the revenues generated from digital product sales can be significantly higher. With fewer overhead expenses, you have the opportunity to increase your profitability and reinvest in growing your business.
Start selling digital products on Shopify today!
Selling digital products is easier than you think, and Shopify makes it that much easier.
We think that selling digital products on Shopify is a great alternative to selling on other platforms. It's more evolved and offers more freedom and control.
In addition, your store doesn't have to focus just on digital goods. You're free to sell physical goods as well if you so choose.
Although it takes some work, the ability to run a site independently and make money right away makes this a viable option for anyone looking to start an online business.
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