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While Shopify is known for helping retailers sell their physical goods online, it’s also an incredible platform for those seeking to sell services or digital products. According to a study from firstdata.com, “…approximately 74% of online purchases are digital goods and services, as opposed to physical.”
As the world consumes more and more written content, images etc., and the use of services delivered online rises, professionals who provide those services and digital products require a reliable platform to showcase their wares.
While a portfolio website shows off a photographer or writer’s body of work and entices visitors to get in touch to work on a future project, a retail platform for digital services must be different because it allows for an immediate sale. The product is readily available – all the customer has to do is add it to their cart and check out, just like if they were ordering a physical product to be delivered. But they get instant gratification, something we as humans are wired to desire.
Types of Digital Products
While digital products exist solely online, there are many different types and formats in which they come in. From ebooks and courses to photographs, video content and music, there are many avenues through which they are distributed. They are downloadable or streamable and give buyers instant access after purchase. Content creation is big business, so let’s take a look at the differences between each type and who might buy each product.
Ebooks: There is a successful genre of writers that don’t print any physical books. Instead, they either self-publish or work with an online publisher to distribute their books to customers. It’s relatively simple to create an ebook in the sense that it doesn’t require difficult formatting – just writing.
Online Courses: Everyone loves learning from the comfort of their own home and online courses can be a revenue stream for those willing to teach. More complicated than an ebook, an online course requires meticulous planning and testing.
Images: While there is plenty of free imagery available, there is a huge demand for exclusive images as well. Not only photographs, digital image products can include design templates and custom fonts.
Videos: The cost of shooting your own video can be prohibitive and time consuming. And in many cases customers will turn to stock footage that will suit their needs.
Music: Just like the above mentioned video content, soundbytes and tunes are in demand for commercials and other other video content.
Software and Apps: Games, software plugins and developer services make up a large component of the digital product market. While they are most often through the Google Play or Apple stores, a successful app or software product will always need its own website.
How to Market Digital Products
Having a passive income is great, but when you sell digital products or services you are competing against other digital sellers as well as free content. Standing out from the competition includes a solid marketing plan and a kick-ass website. Keep in mind the following points when starting to sell digital products.
Buyers are worried about their personal information when buying anything online, be it physical or digital. Use secure checkout processes and display security badges to create trust between you and your customers.
2. What’s Your Niche?
Find your specific focus and perfect it. If you want to sell an ebook, for example, will it be self-help, romance or something else entirely? Do your research and see how others are succeeding. Then add your own twist and find your audience.
3. Deliver What You Promised
One of the fears of consumers when buying digital products is that it won’t work with their operating system or mobile phone due to technical reasons beyond their control. If you plan on selling downloadable products, make sure they come in standard file formats and specify the technical requirements for using them. Have a way for customers to reach you, should something go wrong when they purchase the product.
4. The Power of Previews and Free Trials
Just like a free sample at the grocery store, a preview of your product can hook the customer and convince them to buy your product. A small taste can go a long way, so make sure your free preview includes only the best of what you’re offering.
Digital and Physical Products Don’t Always Compete
In many cases, Shopify stores that sell physical products will offer a digital one as a supplement or upsell.
Whether you plan on selling physical, digital products or both, you need a website where you can display and sell them. Rather than creating an expensive custom website, Shopify may be the answer. The added bonus is that Shopify comes with Shopify Experts like Carson, who know the platform inside and out and can help you create a website with the help of a trusted network of professionals.
The irony of this article is that both Shopify and Carson sell digital products in a highly competitive field. Yet both are thriving businesses with no inventory. If you think selling digital products is right for you, check out our task catalog and see how we can help you create your perfect digital store.