Have you ever wanted to sell digital products online? If so, you’ve likely researched many of the different options available to online vendors. From ecommerce software to shopping cart plugins and applications, there are many ways to get your storefront up and running.
The great news is that anyone can sell digital products. Better yet, with no overhead, or inventory to worry about, you can easily set up shop over the course of one weekend!
So, the question is; how do you get started?
Depending on the type of products you intend to sell, and whether you need a feature laden ecommerce solution, complete with all the bells and whistles or an all-in-one simplified digital delivery system, there are many different options available. We’ll take a closer look at some of the best and easiest options, as well as the most affordable.
It’s my hope that this special report will help you to quickly start selling digital products without getting confused or overwhelmed along the way. With the digital economy booming, and over $100 billion dollars in digital products sold yearly, there’s never been a better time to create your own digital storefront and get in on the action.
Are you excited yet? If so, let’s get started!
When planning your digital storefront, the first thing you’ll need to do is decide what kind of digital products you want to sell. That way, you can choose an ecommerce platform that does exactly what you need.
There are many different types of digital products to sell, such as books, software, graphics, videos and music, just to name a few. There are also just as many ways to sell that content, including paid access via a membership or subscription site where you can bill customers on a recurring basis, as well as selling individual digital products through a shopping cart system.
But, what if you just aren’t sure what type of digital content you intend to sell – or, you wish to expand your storefront in the future to include additional product formats?
For many of us, we start out selling individual products and later branch out to include collections, or additional auxiliary components that enhance the value of our front running product.
To do that, you’ll need a robust system that can manage upsells, one-time-offers, time sensitive offers and possibly give you the opportunity to rebill customers on a regular basis for ongoing access to your digital content.
If you aren’t sure what kind of products you intend to sell, or you want to choose a digital storefront solution that will allow you to sell any type of digital content imaginable, allowing you to branch out as your business grows.
If you want to build your own brand online, rather than simply point customers to a sub domain remotely hosted by your digital storefront provider, you’ll want to register a domain name. Even if you choose to let your digital market provider host your files, you can still point your domain to the sub-domain and build your own unique brand.
If you are looking for cheap domain name registrations from a company that’s been around for over a decade, check out www.NameCheap.com or www.GoDaddy.com
Cool Resource: If you want to check the availability of domain names on the fly, visit http://www.InstantDomainSearch.com and begin entering in keywords. The website will tell you whether a domain is available as you type in characters.
Once you have the domain, and you know what kind of digital products you intend to sell, you’ll want to decide whether you plan to host the website yourself, or use a service that remotely hosts your products for you.
This is referred to as “self-hosted” or “remotely hosted”.
Remotely hosted simply means that the provider will host your digital storefront for you, where with a self-hosted platform, you are setting up your own website and installing ecommerce software.
If you choose to set up your own hosting account so that you can store files and build your website, I recommend Blue Host as they are not only incredibly affordable and offer fast and reliable servers, but they offer top-notch customer support.
Depending on whether you plan to store your own files, you’ll want to upgrade to a larger server, go dedicated, or you could create an account with a service like Amazon AWS that will host all of your files. You can take a look at their plans here: https://aws.amazon.com
Once you have a domain and hosting account, you’ll be able to start building your product pages and sell your digital products!
1: Create a content plan that outlines the different types of digital products that you wish to sell.
2: Purchase a digital delivery and product protection system.
3. Register a domain name or use an existing one.
4. Set up a hosting account with BlueHost, or another provider, so that you can begin building your product pages and sales copy.
Building Your Digital Store
If you want to set up shop quickly and easily, and you plan to host your own files and create your own website that features your digital product pages, I recommend installing WordPress. Not only will it be easier to create an attractive website (even if you lack design experience), but you can set up a fully-functional ecommerce website using powerful plugins that instantly add shopping cart functionality to your website.
Most hosting providers offer one-click WordPress installation so you don’t have to manually upload files, or configure anything. If you’ve chosen BlueHost as your hosting provider, you’ll be able to access this feature from within your main account manager. Just log in and search for “Wordpress Installation” to get started.
Tip: If you need help with WordPress, one of my favorite resources for beginners is found at http://www.WPBeginners.com. This website offers comprehensive tutorials and guides on everything WordPress, from customizing your themes, to optimizing your website for the major search engines using free plugins.
WordPress is one of the most popular content management system online, and one of the easiest to use so don’t be afraid to give it a try. It’ll make building and designing your own storefront or digital shop a lot easier.
When it comes to building a digital product store that features a shoppig cart system, WooCommerce is one of the more popular plugins.
You’ll have to spend some time configuring the plugin to work the way you want it to, but once you’ve set it up it will add shopping card functionality to your website, and automatically deliver your products to paying customers.
Here are my favorite shopping cart plugins for WordPress:
Selling Products With Shopify
Another easy way to set up a digital shop is with Shopify. Not only is the interface easy to navigate, but Shopify will host everything for you.
In case you aren’t that familiar with Shopify, here’s a quick overview:
- Shopify offers merchants a remotely hosted solution to selling digital products via their “Digital Downloads App”.
- All you have to do is upload your digital product, set a price, and your customer will be guided through the entire process from purchase to delivery. Better yet, you can automate the entire process so that orders are immediately fulfilled!
Shopify is also one of the most cost-effective ways to sell both physical and digital products online, although I personally prefer it for physical products.
Also, if you’re not skilled with web design and don’t want to mess with HTML or code, you can easily snag a copy of one of their free templates and create a beautiful digital shop within a few minutes.
Another great thing about Shopify is that there are many different third-party developers working on creating plugins and scripts that enhance the functionality of your Shopify store.
For example, one developer offers a simple way to sell hundreds of physical products through drop shipping where you never have to worry about shipments or inventory costs, while being able to tap into a massive catalog of hot-selling products.
You can find out more about this plugin here: https://www.oberlo.com/
Another way to sell digital products through Shopify is by installing a third-party app called SendOwl. With SendOwl, they will host your digital products for you while ensuring reliable delivery of your products.
You can also set up time sensitive download links that encourage potential customers to make the purchase before the offer is no longer available.
At the time of this writing, SendOwl is the highest rated digital delivery app on the Shopify marketplace.
SendOwl is available here: https://apps.shopify.com/sendowl
If you are interested in selling access to music, stock photo or videos, you can easily create custom pages on your store where you can offer paid access to all of this content.
Customers will be able to create a free account, purchase their “digital pass”, and log into their account. One of the best solutions we’ve found is Sky Pilot, available here: https://apps.shopify.com/sky-pilot
Note: Shopify starts at around $30 per month.
1: Create a Shopify account and choose your storefront theme. You’ll be able to choose from both free and premium (paid to use) templates directly from within your account.
2: Create your content pages and set up your products. Be sure to add a terms and conditions page, as well as a privacy page. You can do that using Shopify’s free page generator here: https://www.shopify.com/tools/policy-generator/terms-and-conditions
3. Configure your settings including your preferred payment provider. Disable the “shipping” setting if you plan to sell only digital products. You can do this from within the Products page.
4. Add your digital products to your Shopify store. Be sure to provide as much information about your products as possible.
5. Configure your email templates. These are sent out via the Shopify system whenever someone purchases a product.
6. Place a test order to ensure everything is working properly. You won’t be charged for making test orders.
7. Register a domain name and direct it to your Shopify URL. (Not necessary, but it helps you build your own brand).
You can find out more here: https://www.shopify.ca/sell/digital-products
Selling Products With Amazon
If you’ve written a book, report, or online course, you can put it in front of thousands of potential buyers just by creating a KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) account with Amazon.
Why should you sell your digital products on Amazon? Here are just a few reasons:
- Approximately 5% of all internet traffic visits Amazon.com each month.
- Amazon is the 5th most visited website in the United States.
- Amazon is the 14th most visited website in the entire world.
- Amazon has captured one of the most lucrative demographics in existence – childless women over age 35 making $60,000+ per year.
The KDP program allows authors and publishers to make their content available for sale through the Kindle platform as well as in paperback format through either your KDP account, or www.CreateSpace.com
There are two price points in place based on your digital content pricing:
- Earn 70% of every sale of your digital product when it’s priced between $2.99 and $9.99.
- Earn 35% of every sale of your digital product when it’s priced between $0.99 and $2.98 and on products $10 and up.
Obviously, the most lucrative price point for your digital content is between $2.99 and $9.99.
Once you publish one of your information products on the platform, it will be available to anyone who has a Kindle device, as well as anyone who downloads the Kindle app to their computer, or mobile device. The Kindle app is available for both Mac and PC computers, as well as many different devices including iOS (for iPad and iPhone) and Android.
You can publish nearly anything on the KDP platform, as long as it is original content and not private label material, and that you own the rights to publish the content. You are also not allowed to sell content that is available free on other websites, unless you set it as free on Amazon as well. Amazon’s terms indicate that they must always be offering the best price point on products sold within their marketplace.
Here are a just few ideas of digital products you can sell:
- Short stories
- Box sets/collections of content
- How-to books
- Online courses compiled into one book
- Poetry collections
To get started, create your free KDP account here: http://kdp.amazon.com
When you create your account, you’ll be asked to provide payment information, your address and citizenship.
You can change your payment preferences at any time. Just keep in mind that should you change your details in the middle of a regular payment, it could delay your payments from being disbursed. Double check your bank account information to ensure that it’s accurate before you publish your digital product.
Keep in mind that your book can take 24-48 hours to appear on the Kindle marketplace, and during that time you are unable to make any changes to your submission.
When your books’ status changes from within your KDP account, you can then make changes, including price changes, description changes and even category changes but keep in mind that each time you make any changes your book it goes back into “review” mode and can take another 24-48 hours to update.
There are 3 main stages of updates: Review, Publishing and Live.
- Review means that your digital content is being reviewed by Amazon staff in order to ensure that it follows their publishing guidelines.
- Publishing means that your content has been approved and is now being published in the Amazon marketplace.
- Live means your content is now available for purchase.
Tip: Amazon offers authors with the opportunity to create an Author Page that is connected to all your digital content. You can do this through “Author Central” at http://AuthorCentral.com
Building this bio page will help you reach out to new readers, connect with existing ones and share your most up-to-date information about you. You can also link your blog to this page and your recent posts will automatically be added to your author page on Amazon.
Aside from Amazon, you should also consider selling your digital content on other marketplaces in order to maximize your income. Other marketplaces include: Barnes & Noble, Google Play, and through Apple and Kobo
I do this with a free Draft 2 Digital account, available at http://www.Draft2Digital.com
With Draft 2 Digital, I’m able to sell all my digital content across multiple marketplaces, all from within one account. Smashwords (www.Smashwords.com) is another company that offers the same opportunity to publish content across various networks all from within one centralized location.
Note: Both companies will pay you monthly, via Paypal.