Online retail is one of the fastest-growing industries globally because it offers a plethora of business solutions and incredible versatility. It added another segment to the traditional retail since now you can sell both physical and digital products via the Internet.
Almost anyone can be a digital designer these days as new technologies maximally democratize creative processes. You can choose between different types of digital assets and easily find a solution that suits your skills and professional experience.
But starting an online business and selling digital products takes a lot of dedication and hard work. You need to understand how the system works and prepare a sales strategy accordingly. Our goal is to explain to you how this process functions, so keep reading to learn everything you need to know here.
Digital Goods: Definition, Stats, and Types
The first thing we need to do is to precisely define the concept of digital assets. By definition, digital goods represent any type of product that is stored, delivered, and used in the electronic format. Buyers can download such products online or receive them via email.
According to Statista, global digital media revenue should reach more than $130 billion in 2019, which makes a big portion of the total eCommerce market. But what is it that makes this industry so popular worldwide? What are the main types of digital goods you can sell online? Let’s see the key features:
- Stock files: The Internet hosts thousands of stock libraries selling different media formats. These include images, audio files, and videos that are easily searchable using keywords and crucial phrases.
Stock files are always in demand because content creators need quality multimedia materials to make their own animations, GIFs, infographics, and many more. If you have lots of high-resolution and eye-pleasing images or videos, you can consider selling those files online.
- eBooks: This is a highly popular digital asset that you can find on almost every website. Jake Hudson, a college paper writer who specializes in eCommerce, says that electronic books are often manuals and all-encompassing guides that explain how things work in a step by step manner.
Electronic books essentially do two things – they give you the chance to position yourself as the key opinion leader in the niche while also helping you to earn money aside. Users love to read eBooks because it gives them clear-cut guidelines on how to do something.
- Templates: People have a hard time creating their own visuals, infographics, brochures, resumes, and many other types of content. In such circumstances, digital templates are always a desirable product for individuals who want to cut a long story short.
However, this is one area of work where you need to be very creative and offer outstanding products. As the competition is getting increasingly stronger every day, only a genuine design guru can stand out from the crowd of competitors.
- Software: Apps and programs play a major role in online retail because everybody needs software these days. You can find it all out there, from marketing and sales to engineering and architecture software. The better the product, the more you can charge for it. If you are a standout developer who knows how to create a good program, selling it online is definitely a good option for you.
- Logos: A logo is the basic visual element and each company needs one in order to build brand identity. You can sell logos online if you are a creative designer, but keep in mind that you will have to face thousands of similar authors. That’s why you need to stay unique and develop your own style in order to distinguish your products from all the others.
- Digital art: This option goes hand in hand with the previous one. Creative individuals can craft different sorts of digital art such as music, t-shirt prints, etc. This is actually where the two worlds collide and work together on your behalf. Namely, digital art can be transferred into the real world through physical printing, so you can also sell merchandise along with online products.
- Webinars: It’s another way to earn money online, but it gives you an extra opportunity to act and establish yourself as a key opinion leader in your niche. This makes webinars similar to eBooks, but they are even more exciting and productive engagement-wise. Going live with your webinars allows you to boost interaction and engage participants in a way that electronic books could never achieve.
- Services: Another option is to sell your knowledge as a service. For instance, a personal coach can make a plan of exercises for a client. Nutritionists are another example because they can create a new diet for their clients. If you have any sort of expert knowledge, you can sell it as a service online.
What you choose to do depends on many different factors. For this reason, it is of utmost importance to carefully plan your activities and conduct thorough research before taking any concrete steps. Of course, step one is always to define a buyer persona with all of its traits and attributes.
This is essential because you need to understand how your customers think and behave. Therefore, try to learn as much about them as possible, including the following features:
- Demographic indicators such as age, gender, and location.
- Academic achievements, professional titles, and income levels.
- Lifestyle, personal interests, hobbies, values, and beliefs.
All those features will help you to understand the needs and expectations of the target audience, so you can prepare the corresponding sales and marketing strategy.
Why Sell Digital Over Physical Products?
A lot of entrepreneurs will immediately ask a simple question: Why should I opt for selling digital goods over physical products? After all, people are used to buying tangible items and it’s a much bigger market than online retail.
Although it’s a completely reasonable thing to ask, rest assured there are many reasons to focus on digital goods rather than physical products. Some of the main reasons include the following:
- Accessibility and availability
Online business is widely available and almost anyone can become a digital seller. All you need is a stable internet connection, a laptop, and a little bit of creativity to launch your own business online.
- Launching a business is faster
As a digital entrepreneur, you can start the business much faster than traditional retailers. The whole process does not require complex delivery systems and you don’t have to deal with numerous administrative barriers. All you need is at your disposal almost instantly.
- Digital marketing
While it is true that you can use digital marketing to promote physical goods as well, the fact remains that this sort of marketing is perfectly compatible with online sales and digital products. Digital marketing activities allow you to raise awareness, generate leads, and drive conversions relatively quickly, thus minimizing the sales cycle.
- Less competition
Some people will probably oppose our statement, but they have to take into account that digital products are a novelty compared to more traditional, physical goods. It doesn’t mean there is no competition in this field, but it is certainly much lesser than usual.
- Easy to express creativity
Digital products vary in forms and styles. As such, they give you an unlimited number of possibilities, so you can always find a different angle and express professional uniqueness and creativity. Even if you have to deal with lots of competitors, you can expect to outperform rivals with alternative offers and design solutions.
- Grow revenue quickly
If you are in a hurry to earn some money aside, then you should definitely focus on digital products instead of their physical counterparts. This type of business makes it possible to grow revenue very soon, especially compared to other business channels.
The Benefits of Selling Digital Assets
Online sales can bring you a number of advantages when you work with digital assets. You’ve probably figured out a few benefits by now, but we still want to mention the most important pros here:
- No inventory management: The first benefit is quite obvious as digital products – unlike physical goods – don’t require any inventory efforts whatsoever. You don’t have to calculate anything or think about supply and demand. You don’t have to rent a warehouse or invest in inventory management tools. You and your customers are just a few clicks away.
- Cost efficiency: Since you don’t have to pay for product manufacturing or warehouses, you get to minimize operational costs. Selling digital products online is more or less a one-man job that you can do from anywhere in the world. In such circumstances, you don’t even need to rent the office or even build a team of employees unless your business really starts booming.
- High margins: This benefit comes as the direct consequence of the previous two. Without any serious costs from your side, the price of your product generates a high margin and a massive return on investments. As a matter of fact, all you need to invest in this project is time and knowledge, which is a small price to pay for such a fruitful business opportunity.
- Automation: Online business gives you the privilege of selling and sending items through email or website links. Therefore, you don’t need a large sales team or tools to support your project. Almost everything you need can be found for free online, including file transferring and data storage services. But even if you do need a professional online commerce platform, you can find it quickly and use it relatively cheaply.
- Flexibility: Operational versatility is yet another benefit in this niche as you have a number of sales channels to choose from – websites, online shopping platforms, social media, email, and so on. You can go for all of them or concentrate on one channel that attracts the majority of the target audience. But before you select the most relevant channels for your type of products, you should analyze the target audience to learn exactly where to find them.
Of course, there are also a few cons of selling digital products (piracy, lots of free content, etc.), but it cannot change the fact that it is a highly lucrative type of business.
Top 5 Digital Sales Platforms
Now that you know what and how to sell online, you should learn where to do it most efficiently. Edu Birdie review employs a team of experienced online sales professionals who can give you good suggestions on which channels to use. We asked them for a comment here, so they narrowed down the options and selected five interesting tools for your business. Here they are:
1. Simple Goods
Simple Goods is a safe file delivery system that focuses mostly on creative products like artworks and music. However, you can also use it to sell eBooks and other types of digital assets. The system quickly processes credit card payments and maintains the low-fee business principle.
Simple Goods allows you to manage orders, keep an eye on balances in real-time, export invoices, and do pretty much anything you need to keep the business precise and professional. What we love about this platform is its analytics dashboard because it displays a wide variety of parameters that you can study and gain precious insights about your sales activities.
A Simple Goods starter pack is free of charge. You can use it to sell up to three products, but it does come with a 3% fee per sale.
2. Fetch App
Fetch App is essentially a product launched by Shopify, so you can integrate and administer accounts on both platforms simultaneously. The platform allows you to upload the unlimited number of digital goods such as templates, eBooks, and similar.
The developers of this system did their best to ensure reliable data storage and to keep financial transactions safe and sound. With this tool, you can also automate delivery, speed up file transfers, and eliminate download restrictions (if any).
The price of Fetch App can go anywhere between $5 and $500 per month, but you can test the free version as well. A free plan allows you up to 5MB of storage space and not more than 25 orders on a daily basis.
DPD is short for Digital Product Delivery. The platform guarantees a simple and safe checkout, while all the functions available there are simple and easy to figure out.
It is important to emphasize that DPD really makes the online sales process simple, creating an effortless and intuitive user experience. DPD does mostly because they are trying to expand the reach and win over international users.
There are no pre-sale fees with DPD, but rather a flat rate that is calculated based on the scale of your business and technical specifications. The most affordable pricing plan starts at $10 a month for up to 20 products and 1GB of data storage.
If you are looking for a more powerful online sales platform, then Selz might as well be the best option for you. Namely, it allows you to upload files amounting to 4GB, which is ideal for movie makers who want to publish and sell their works online.
Selz provides clients with a wide range of valuable features. First of all, it has a drag-and-drop store builder that makes online store creation very easy. Each Selz-powered store automatically receives an SSL certificate, while you can choose from a number of amazing website themes.
You can use this platform free of charge for up to five products, but we strongly recommend you to go for the LITE package starting at $17 a month plus sales fees.
Pulley is another interesting platform for digital sellers, but it concentrates mostly on modern artists and their products. Pulley allows you to upload and sell all sorts of items ranging from the smallest text files to large audio or video materials. The platform relies on state of the art security systems and it automates most of the processes.
You can test the free version of Pulley for two weeks. If you like it, you can choose one of their plans that administer up to 25, 50, 150, or 500 products. The cheapest one costs $6 a month.
Selling digital goods gives you a number of privileges that physical products and their sellers can only dream of. But in order to get the most out of the sales process, you need to understand the features of digital assets and figure out the best channels to promote and sell them.
In this post, we defined the concept of digital products, explained the most common types, and pointed out some of the frequently used sales platforms in this niche. Keep our tips in mind and make sure to choose the best products for your online store – it could earn you a lot of money very soon!
If you would like to start your own digital product store online, connect with PSDCenter today. We have a panel of experts that can guide you in every step, and help you set up your store.