Nowadays, online stores offer their customers both physical and digital products. The convenience in the case of selling digital goods is tremendous — there is no need to make copies of the product for each customer, there is no need to bother with packaging, delivery, and storage. However, things are not that simple.
Before discussing ready-made digital product ideas, it is worth understanding what digital products are and whether they are relevant to your business. Let's start.
What is a digital product?
A digital product is an intangible asset or media that can be repeatedly sold and distributed online without the need to restock.
The list of digital goods includes:
- Comic books
- Travel guides
- Reference books
- Knowledge bases
- Gaming items
- Software, and more.
Basically, anything you can sell online without having a physical copy on hand.
What makes digital products better than physical ones?
Digital products have many advantages over their physical counterparts.
The main advantage of working with digital goods is the affordability of the project. It doesn't matter how old you are, what your education background is, or how much money you have in your capital. The main thing is your knowledge, skills, and abilities, which can be in demand.
But that doesn't mean that you can make a fortune just by choosing any digital product and starting to sell it. If you want your customers to come back, the product must still be of value to the buyer.
Your business will quickly fall into disrepair if under the catchy and attractive advertising hides a low-quality product, for which the client will waste their money and time as is often the case in the market for info services.
Benefits of selling digital products
Availability of creation technology
Digital products do not require expensive hardware to create. They can be created on a computer using available software.
Reduced maintenance costs
You don't need a warehouse and there are no shipping costs. A digital product is just a set of files that need to be delivered to the customer who buys it.
The cost of a digital product can be very low and include only the cost of a few hours of work. But everything is relative. Some information goods carry years of experience from the author. In reality, however, the bottom line is the cost of the time it takes to make the product and some of the associated costs. And at the same time, once a quality digital product can be commercially profitable for a long time.
There is no recurring cost of goods, so you keep most of your sales in the form of profit. Profits are limited only by the range of merchandise and demand for it.
Orders can be delivered instantly, so you don't have to worry about fulfillment. You only need to set everything up once, then you only need to supervise the process.
Digital sales allow your business to be located anywhere, and it will not be an obstacle to entering the international market.
Low operational risks
The field of selling digital goods is much less risky than others. You do not risk losing your money in situations to which physical products are subject:
- shipping damage
- expiration dates
- improper storage
- supply failures due to varying conditions
Fast customer refunds
Customers don't have to send anything back for refunds when returning digital products and go through a multi-step refund approval process.
Cons of selling digital products
Susceptibility to piracy/theft
Anything sold online can easily be copied, forged, or forwarded to another person. You need to take precautions and reduce these risks by using the right tools to protect your products: expiring links, source code protection, watermarks, and license keys.
Some people trust only what they can touch. Digital products are intangible, which may be a concern for some customers.
Usually, a digital product does not need to be re-purchased unless it is for a membership/subscription service. Therefore, the flow of profits will be uneven and will depend on various factors.
Competition with free content
Many digital products have free alternatives. You will need to think carefully about your target niche and product presentation and offer value to be successful in the digital marketplace.
For example, you cannot sell digital products through Facebook and Instagram sales channels in accordance with their sales policies.
How to start selling digital products?
If you already have a social media page or website, you can convert it right away and use it to sell digital goods. But if you are just entering the market, then:
- Identify your target niche and make sure there is demand for your product. Find out what needs it satisfies, and its utility.
- Analyze your competitors and identify the unique features of your product.
- Decide on a platform for your e-store. Depending on your product, you may have enough of a social networking resource, or you may need to create a website.
- Promote. Promotion helps to make your product more widely known and find new customers. At the start, you can test the inexpensive ways of promotion — mutual PR, commenting, and then move on to the more expensive — paid advertising, and targeting, and do not forget about SEO optimization, which can help to bring your site into the top search queries.
Remember to encourage customers to want to come back: offer them a system of discounts, and think about the free benefits you can offer for them (a free demo, a snippet of a guide, or a book).
For example, a good way to get first sales is an Early Bird discount. If you're releasing a new digital product, you can offer a 25% discount for the first 50 customers, then 10% for the next 50 customers, and then release the product at full price.
Where to sell digital products?
There are various distribution methods, like selling digital products on Amazon. Regardless of the type of digital product you create, you need an easy-to-use platform to start selling and make sure your product is in demand before investing in developing a new website for your brand. And here are a few of the platforms:
Gumroad is one of the most famous platforms for selling digital goods. The main features of Gumroad are easy setup, convenient payment for buyers, the ability to withdraw funds to PayPal, and no monthly fee, but the platform charges up to 9% commission on sales and 30 cents per transaction.
Sendowl does not provide such a feature as a storefront where you can see all your products. The service acts as a storage and payment processor. So you have to build a storefront yourself using third-party services, or just sell via a link. Service is paid, and the price ranges from $15 to $99.
Same as with physical goods, e-books, music, apps, or game files can all be sold on this platform. Besides, Amazon provides several special programs for sellers who use only Amazon for selling on it. Platform fees depend on what kind of products you want to sell.
Digital products by market share
To ease the process of choosing the niche, here is the list of key players and their market share:
- E-learning - $165B
- Gaming - $116B
- Music & video streaming - $77,8B
- SaaS - $77B
Here are some digital products ideas to get your business started:
- Textbooks and manuals
- Web elements
- Ready-made rations
- Food Recipes
- Visual Arts
- Website templates
- Video games
- Game items
- Video content