It came without boxes, it came without tags, it came without packages boxes or bags.
No, it’s not Christmas and no, I’m not the Grinch.
The world of ecommerce has traditionally been dominated by physical products being sold online. In recent years, there has been an emerging trend of stores selling digital products and information products.
Digital and information products include eBooks, software, photography, videos and online courses. Basically, it’s any product that exists in an intangible format to be can be streamed or downloaded online.
But how are selling these types of products different from the more traditional product and can you sell them in your Shopify store?
You can absolutely sell digital products through Shopify. Digital or not, if you have a product to sell, there’s likely a buyer out there for you. If you have a skill or have mastered a skill to teach others, you can lean into this and offer fantastic digital products to the market. Shopify has a great guide here.
Now onto how they differ! Here is a quick pros and cons list to help you decide if selling digital products is for you.
- No need for inventory or warehousing. This means your business is a lot lower risk than your peers selling jewelry or furniture, dropshippers aside.
- No shipping costs eating at your bottom line. Physical products need to be packaged and shipped, which can cost a lot of money. Even in the case of dropshipping, you are still paying shipping to the supplier, which can cut into your profit
- Simple to scale. The beauty here is digital products can be created once, then sold forever.
- Automated Fulfilment. With these products, you don’t need to track inventory, or ship any items, so fulfillment is easy as pie. All you need to do is it send. Actually, not even that, if you use the free digital downloads app from Shopify and set up automatic fulfilment! You can make money while you sleep!
- Less tangible products may not offer the same payoff as their traditional physical counterparts. This means marketing and completing the buyer journey may be more difficult and require more planning than selling makeup or shoes. Because the value isn’t always obvious unless you make it obvious, the buyer may perceive the value as lower than you would.
- Time Consuming. Digital products often require consistent updating and refinement. If you are creating content, digital art, or online courses the good news is these assets are yours and only you can sell them. They can require a significant time investment though!
- The once empty space is picking up speed. Digital commerce is still relatively new, but with the recent boom in online courses and digital art mediums, more and more people are jumping at this opportunity, making the space more competitive.
- Easily to replicate. Unless you safeguard your products, they could be stolen and shared online. This is where watermarking and trademarking can be especially important.
- Information Products can sometimes be found elsewhere for free. On the information highway, facts, ideas and knowledge live everywhere. This means building a brand, trust and carving yourself as a master in that space become especially important. I’d recommend reading Expert Secrets by Russell Brunson to learn more.
There is so much opportunity here to expand on your existing product line or create a whole new business. The opportunity to increase their profit margins is quite literally music to store owner’s ears. For example, the artists from Into the Great Divide not only sell physical albums, but also offer a digital download of the same music.
Also in this vein, Materia Collective offers tons of downloadable sheet music on their store.
Digital or not, if you have a product to sell, there’s probably a buyer out there for you.
If you have a skill or have mastered a skill to teach others, you can lean into this and offer fantastic digital products to the market.
So if you haven’t already, find your niche, and create a digital product around it. Look for forums, blogs, and social media groups around this niche. Figure out what kind of digital product you want to offer, and get creating!