How to Sell Digital Products on Shopify and Ecommerce Stores
Beyond physical products, digital goods present low-overhead opportunities for ecommerce stores to generate additional revenue through downloads. With minimal material and fulfillment costs, profit margins on virtual products can be substantial.
This comprehensive guide covers tips and best practices for merchants looking to expand into selling digital products like ebooks, courses, subscriptions, photography, printables and more through Shopify and other online store platforms.
Benefits of Selling Digital Products
Offering digital products provides several strategic advantages:
Minimal upfront investment is required since virtual goods have no physical production costs. No inventory tying up capital.
With no per-unit material or manufacturing costs, digital product margins can reach 90%+ compared to 50% or less on physical items.
Once created, digital products deliver ongoing passive sales that involve minimal time and effort to fulfill compared to physical product orders.
Digital files are easily duplicated, allowing you to sell copies to a virtually unlimited audience without additional overhead to produce inventory.
Shopify and other ecommerce platforms make automated instant delivery of virtual products upon payment seamless.
Secondary Income Stream
Complements physical product core business, allowing you to earn more per customer.
Offering digital downloads provides incremental revenue while leveraging existing store traffic and audience. It’s an easy win most ecommerce merchants overlook.
Top Digital Products to Sell Online
Nearly any digital asset from information to artwork can be monetized. Some best sellers include:
Ebooks – Pack niche knowledge into downloadable guides that solve problems for your target audience.
Online Courses – Teach specialized skills through a series of video lessons and downloadable materials.
Printables – Sell printable art, stationery, planners, wall decor, clothing templates, etc.
Graphics – Offer illustrations, icons, design templates, backgrounds and other graphics for commercial use.
Stock Media – Market your unique photography, video footage clips and audio files.
Fonts – Sell license access to custom font packs you’ve created or curated.
Subscriptions – Offer ongoing access to regularly updated materials, communities and services through recurring payments.
Website Themes/Templates – Sell licenses for use of custom designed themes and site templates.
Apps and Plugins – Monetize mobile apps, WordPress plugins, browser extensions and other tools you develop.
Any media, information or tools you create that customers find useful can be packaged into digital products for consistent passive income. Get creative.
How to Source Digital Product Ideas
Researching your niche helps uncover the most in-demand potential product ideas to pursue. Ways to identify opportunities:
Poll Existing Audience
Survey existing customers and email list about their biggest problems and desired solutions to directly source ideas.
Forums and Groups
Join related online communities to observe frustrations and requests for help you could address.
Trending Blog Posts and Videos
Monitor which topics consistently gain a lot of traction and engagement to reveal high-interest areas ideal for products.
Look at keyword autocomplete suggestions to identify common question themes around a subject that you could answer comprehensively in a product.
Amazon Best Sellers
Study top books around your niche for guidance on popular topics worth exploring more in-depth.
Read buyer reviews on existing products to learn where they fall short or deliver poorly to inspire alternative solutions.
Analyze search trends over time around niche keywords to spot rising or declining opportunities.
See what complementary digital products competitors offer and gaps they haven’t addressed for possibilities.
Research makes it easy to ideate digital products certain to attract an eager built-in audience already validating demand.
How to Price Digital Products
When pricing digital products, consider:
Buyer Perceived Value
Base pricing on the tangible and emotional value customers will derive from your product’s helpfulness.
Research pricing for similar digital offerings to align with customer expectations.
Account for your product creation, maintenance and delivery expenses. Don’t undervalue your time invested.
If products will need ongoing maintenance, improvements and features, factor costs of sustaining them long-term.
Price commercial use licenses higher than products just for personal use. Usage scope impacts value.
B2B and high-income products can demand higher pricing than consumer/hobbyist focused offerings.
Level of Uniqueness
Truly one-of-a-kind products justify premium pricing vs. more template-driven or white label offerings.
One-time purchases warrant lower pricing than renewable subscriptions granting ongoing access to expanding libraries of content.
Test various price points to find the sweet spot optimizing sales volume and profit margin based on customer response. Start on the higher side, easing up if needed.
Creating Digital Products from Start to Finish
The production process for digital products varies based on format but typically includes:
Picking a Product Idea
Select a digital product concept that solves frustrations or needs for your target audience based on opportunity research.
Outlining the Product
Map out the structure including chapters/modules, key points to cover, bonus materials, etc. Talk to customers to fine tune.
Draft compelling educational or entertaining content tailored to audience needs. For visual products, start designing.
Graphics and Formatting
Make text documents and presentations visually appealing using templates, colors, charts and images.
Editing and Refinement
Refine content drafts to ensure clarity, succinctness and professionalism. Remove fluff. Proofread extensively.
Finalize Visual Assets
Complete all illustrations, graphics, photos, videos, slides, etc. needed to enhance the product experience.
Export into Delivery Formats
Export written content into PDF, EPUB, mobi for ebooks. Convert videos into MP4s. Ready image files.
Create Complementary Marketing Materials
Write sales page copy, emails, ads and social posts to promote your finished digital product.
Setup Listing and Automated Delivery
Add the digital product to your store with an informative description, pricing and images. Turn on instant download.
Adjust the process based on producing different digital product mediums but keeping a systematic workflow ensures professional, polished results.
Tips for Optimizing Digital Product Listings
Well-optimized product page content boosts credibility while helping drive search visibility for your digital goods. Best practices:
Summarize the Product Value
Communicate what the digital product encompasses and distinctly valuable benefits it provides to the buyer.
Include Engaging Descriptions
Elaborate on key takeaways and topics covered beyond just a basic overview to provide deeper insight.
Emphasize unique angles setting your product apart from competitors and warranting the price.
Add Social Proof Elements
Include testimonials and reviews to build trust. Show logos of well-known past corporate customers. Mention notable collaborators or contributors.
List All File Formats Included
Detail every file type customers receive – PDF, EPUB, PSD, XML – to demonstrate value.
Showcase Sample Visuals
Include screenshots, photos and graphics showcasing some product components to provide a peek inside.
Link to Free Preview
Offer a free downloadable mini-version, sample chapters, excerpt or limited access to enable previewing before purchase.
Thorough digital product pages establish your expertise while capturing interest. Don’t rely solely on product images to sell the value. Convince customers through details.
Promoting Digital Products Effectively
Employ diverse marketing channels to raise awareness for new digital offerings:
Notify current customer lists about new releases. Share sneak peek excerpts to build buyer anticipation.
Social Media Posts
Create eye-catching graphics and videos previewing new products across social platforms. Encourage tagging friends who may also find it useful.
Remarket the digital product to site visitors through ads on Facebook, Instagram and Google following their initial store exposure.
Recruit influencers, bloggers and complementary businesses to promote your product to their followers for commission on sales driven.
Submit to Review Sites
Send new products to bloggers and industry publications related to your niche for reviews and mentions.
Suggest complementary products in your store during checkout and in confirmation emails.
Temporarily reduce pricing or bundle products to spur purchases around launches and promotions.
Continually get new digital offerings in front of ideal buyer audiences through diverse online and offline channelsfor sustainable sales momentum long-term.
Tips for Crafting High-Converting Digital Sales Pages
Dedicated landing pages for your digital products turn visitors into paying customers through compelling copy and design. Best practices:
Summarize the core value right upfront with a descriptive, benefit-focused headline and subheadline conveying what makes your product unique.
Include images, mockups and design elements that quickly communicate what buyers receive to build desire.
Lead with Benefits
Immediately call out the most differentiated value proposition and customer outcomes from purchasing rather than listing generic features first.
Elaborate on everything included, from chapters/modules covered to bonuses like worksheets, case studies and multimedia content.
Sprinkle in testimonials, reviews, logos, and author/teacher bios to establish authority and trust.
Prompt visitors with urgent and specific calls-to-action above the fold like “Start the course now for just $XX.XX.”
List All Included Items
Detail bonuses, download formats, commercial license rights, etc. to justify the price through transparency.
Offer satisfaction guarantees, no-risk refund policies and secure payment logos to reduce hesitation. Allow guest checkout.
Refine messaging and layout until sales pages demonstrate maximum value while making the purchase process frictionless.
Fulfilling Digital Product Orders and Delivering Files
Automating and managing delivery for virtual goods is straightforward with the right systems:
Enable Instant Downloads
Shopify and other ecommerce platforms make automated delivery upon payment seamless. Customers get instant gratification.
Send Confirmation Emails
Send purchase confirmations with links to download products from both the store and directly within the message.
Format Files Universally
Offer downloads in universally compatible formats like PDFs and MP4 video files. Avoid obscure proprietary file types with spotty cross-platform support.
Include Clear Instructions
Include a README text file guiding customers on opening, accessing, and using downloadable product files across devices.
Limit Access Window
For one-time purchases, specify files are accessible for a defined window like one year. This motivates customers to promptly download and avoids lingering access.
For services providing indefinite access like subscriptions, ensure users can login and access expanding libraries of content over time.
Automated delivery, instructions and accessible file formats make digital product fulfillment seamless.
Tips for Reducing Refunds and Discrepancies
With non-tangible products, buyers can experience some uncertainty. Minimize problems by:
Give potential customers visibility into parts of the digital product before requiring payment to set expectations accurately.
Descriptions and Screenshots
Meticulously detail exactly what the digital good encompasses, topics covered and formats included so customers know what they’re getting.
Display rave reviews and ratings prominently to convey value from past customers. This establishes trust.
Instant delivery stops impatient customers from changing their mind in the short time between purchase and obtaining goods.
Assure customers you stand behind products completely with a clear return policy. Refund without question within a defined window.
For non-tangible products requiring ongoing logins like subscriptions, detail accessibility and perks. Onboard thoroughly.
Consistency Across Listings
Maintain cohesive messaging for digital products explaining components, uses and delivers clear expectations.
Reducing disconnects between what listings portray and the actual delivery minimizes refunds and disputes. Descriptive detail is crucial.
Leveraging User Accounts for Ongoing Access
For digital products requiring logins for ongoing access rather than one-time downloads, leverage user accounts connected to purchases.
Shopify offers turnkey user account creation, management and login integration. Key features:
Automated Account Creation
Shopify instantly creates new user accounts when customers purchase applicable products.
Automatic welcome emails introduce new users to your product, explain benefits, and facilitate onboarding.
User accounts enable granular access controls to portions of your website and specific digital content based on customer purchase history and login.
Give logged-in users a central dashboard displaying available content, managing settings, tracking progress, etc. specific to their access level.
View usage data across user accounts like login frequency, pages accessed, and content consumption to optimize products.
Linked user accounts provide the backbone for gating access to digital subscriptions, communities, services and more in a scalable way.
Maximizing Lifetime Value of Digital Products
The passive nature of digital products creates opportunities to continually engage customers beyond initial purchase.
Send Follow-Up Content
Email customers additional tips, tricks and advanced tactics related to acquired digital products to reinforce value.
Offer Access to Private Groups
Let customers connect with each other around digital products through private community forums and groups.
Ask for feedback on product quality, desired improvements and recommendations to guide evolution.
Cross-sell Related Products
Suggest complementary digital products relevant to customer purchase history like upsells and bundles.
Provide Ongoing Perks
For subscription products, highlight access to expanding content libraries, new feature releases, live events and more.
Offer discounts, extended access periods or exclusives to highly engaged long-term customers and repeat purchasers.
Keep delivering value beyond the initial transaction. Digital products lend themselves to ongoing nurturing and monetization over time through smart follow-up.
Tools and Apps for Creating Digital Products
Leverage solutions purpose-built for easily assembling appealing digital products:
Snappa – Create marketing graphics, images, and visual assets for digital products.
Canva – User-friendly graphic design with templates, fonts, elements and editing tools.
Teachable – Quickly build online courses with integrated hosting, marketing tools and payment processing.
Thinkific – Similar course creation platform with templates, quizzes, discussions and student analytics.
Gumroad – Helps creators easily package, deliver, and sell all types of digital products and memberships directly to customers.
ConvertKit – Email marketing platform popular with digital creators for segmented subscriber automation and sales funnels.
MemberStack – Build and manage robust membership sites with gated content access, subscriptions, messaging and dashboards.
Ghost – Publishing platform tailored for bloggers offering memberships and accepting paid subscriptions for gated content.
Leverage purpose-built tools for a streamlined experience assembling professional digital offerings from start to finish.
Expanding into digital products represents an easy but often overlooked revenue opportunity already having an engaged audience.
With the right market research, deliberate product creation, savvy marketing, and automation, ecommerce merchants can diversify into selling virtual goods for substantial profits.
Starting with a single digital offering lets you test demand and process effectiveness on a small scale before scaling your virtual catalog.
The minimal barriers to entry make digital products accessible incremental revenue streams for online sellers of all sizes and product categories. As buying behaviors shift increasingly digital, a blended physical and digital merchandise mix ensures stores remain competitive.
What tips do you have for fellow merchants exploring digital products for the first time? Please share your advice and experiences in the comments below!
- 1 How to Sell Digital Products on Shopify and Ecommerce Stores
- 1.1 Benefits of Selling Digital Products
- 1.2 Top Digital Products to Sell Online
- 1.3 How to Source Digital Product Ideas
- 1.4 How to Price Digital Products
- 1.5 Creating Digital Products from Start to Finish
- 1.6 Tips for Optimizing Digital Product Listings
- 1.7 Promoting Digital Products Effectively
- 1.8 Tips for Crafting High-Converting Digital Sales Pages
- 1.9 Fulfilling Digital Product Orders and Delivering Files
- 1.10 Tips for Reducing Refunds and Discrepancies
- 1.11 Leveraging User Accounts for Ongoing Access
- 1.12 Maximizing Lifetime Value of Digital Products
- 1.13 Tools and Apps for Creating Digital Products
- 1.14 Conclusion