Selling digital products online seems like an easy job. Since there isn’t any shipping or inventory involved, it seems like a job that everybody can do.
Well, it’s not entirely correct. If you want to sell digital products online, yes, you can do so in a comparatively easier manner than selling physical products, but you can’t just sell anything. It’s a tempting eCommerce business idea, but jumping right onto the wagon without a solid plan would only backfire instantly.
Viability is an Omnipresent Concept
The concept of digital products treats viability as a crucial aspect, similar to that of physical products. You have to make sure that people not only want your downloadable products but also they are getting them from you in the easiest manner. In short, you have to consider both demand and user-experience.
Why would you care for user-experience? Because of the harsh competition. Digital products are so easy to sell that almost everyone can do it. In such a scene, user-experience on your website/application can become a decisive factor to stand out and attract customers, while you can ensure demand by choosing the right kind of niche.
Selling digital products is much more than just uploading some files from the back-end of an eCommerce software, using a virtual shopping cart to receive payments, and unlocking the download access post that. We made this brief guide to explain all the crucial aspects of running a digital product eCommerce business. Be with us to learn the correct way of selling viable digital products in 2020.
Digital Products Viable in 2020
There are several types of digital products to experiment within 2020. However, we have picked four most profitable niches, which don’t require experimentation, as they are already performing handsomely:
- E-Books- Selling digital books, magazines, and resources
- Online Courses- Selling courses structured in different revenue models
- SaaS solutions- Selling software solutions through cloud delivery model
- Online Streaming – Selling video and audio content via different models
The popularity of eBooks has only increased over the past few years. With a 16% CAGR, this $16 billion market will only continue to grow in the years to come. Marketers expect that eBooks will do a business of not less than $29 billion in 2020.
However, the market is not all breezy. Although it’s a good growth rate, eBooks are easily susceptible to piracy and plagiarism. People can purchase your PDF file from you and upload it anywhere for anyone to read. That’s why you can’t just sell any random PDF file as an eBook. Besides eCommerce software, you need a proper digital product delivery system, which can prevent file sharing and encrypt your eBooks.
Many decent eCommerce solutions also provide inbuilt digital product management systems. However, they can only manage the access control to make sure only authorized users can download the files, and for a limited period only; they can’t control what an authorized user does with your eBook after downloading it. Bundling such an eCommerce software with a decent eBook encryption system will do the job up to a large extent.
Alternatively, you can use standard eBook formats that popular eBook readers in the market support. They are more secure. You can use your eCommerce software for selling the eBook, and standard formats and their channels to deliver the purchased eBooks.
Over the past decade, the state of online education has grown aggressively like never before. Due to numerous tech developments in the field of internet access, product delivery system, SaaS, multi-vendor marketplace solutions, authoring tools, and structure documentation, the concept of online courses has become multi-faced. Online courses have become a vital channel for education and their market is booming exponentially.
Not only the dropouts but also the learners who are attending regular institutions are leveraging from these digital resources. You can capitalize on the trend and start an online learning platform to sell digital courses. However, selling digital courses is not as easy as selling eBooks. It’s a complex business model, and there are N numbers of niches and classifications, such as MOOCs, self-paced authored courses, live video classes, etc.
Each type, of course, demands a unique business model and a unique delivery system. For example, you need to author self-paced courses in structured formats using authoring tools, writing standards, and club it with a Learning Management System (LMS) to track learning progress. To start a proper online learning website, you need an eCommerce software to manage transactions, an authoring tool, an LMS, and Payment Gateways.
If you are a content creator or can source content that people will like, you can start selling online streaming services. Online streaming is a massive market that consists of content such as, video on demand (movies, documentaries, web series, online classes, etc.), Live streaming (sports and events), and audio streaming (music and podcast). Following different business models, you can start your own platform like Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Spotify, or you never know, even an adult tube site.
You can sell subscriptions like Netflix and Spotify; make money from Ads like YouTube; sell individual content like Google Play movies; even sell online live tuitions like many eLearning sites. Choose your niche and start making money following different revenue models.
With the development in cloud computing, the market saw the introduction of the SaaS model, which helped software sellers to not only deliver their solutions more securely but also maintain a steady flow of income by selling subscriptions of their solutions. Hence, now, software developers are not selling their solutions. Instead, they are using SaaS to sell temporary access to their solutions as subscriptions.
SaaS is one of the biggest markets on the globe. If you have a software solution that you think, individuals and businesses would love to use, sell it as SaaS. Be advised that even eBooks, online courses, and video streaming can use SaaS in one or the other form, as they all sell services instead of digital files.
For example, eBooks. Instead of selling files for your eBooks, you can sell their subscriptions, and use a cloud delivery network to deliver the eBook to the authorized customers. It goes to online courses, software source-code, videos, and audio files too.
Tools for Selling Digital Products Online
Depending on the niche and business model, you may use different types of tools and solutions to sell digital products online. You can find both free and paid software solutions in the market. While some of them work dedicatedly to sell downloadable digital files only, many others are useful for selling both digital and physical products:
- Selz: A complete package of website and shopping cart for selling digital products only
- SendOwl: A dedicated digital product delivery system that can work with your existing website
- Easy Digital Downloads: A WordPress plugin with a virtual shopping cart solution for digital products
- PrestaShop, Magento, OpenCart: E-Commerce CMS for physical as well as downloadable products
- Shopify, Wix, BigCommerce: SaaS solution for selling both physical and downloadable products
Digital Products Vs Physical Products
It’s a common perception that you can sell digital products more easily than physical products. However, we saw how viability is an important constituent of digital products, and there are pros and cons associated with each. Digital products may not demand a physical warehouse or shipping services, but product storage and delivery channels are equally crucial for them, too.
You can indeed start selling digital products on the go, but building a business around them is a complex process. That’s why we believe that selling digital files might be an easy job, but selling digitally viable products is a serious undertaking. Depending on each business idea listed above, you will need different types of solutions customized to fit in the niche.
Hence, research about the market, choose your niche and then find the solutions that you would require to start a business in a particular niche. We have given a brief explanation of useful solutions for each niche. Use this information and research deep about useful solutions that are suitable for your niche.