Digital Merchandise Vs. Bodily Merchandise


When most individuals consider ecommerce, they consider promoting bodily merchandise on-line. Whereas that’s not solely incorrect, it’s additionally not the whole image. Seems, there’s extra to ecommerce than simply promoting bodily merchandise on-line — digital merchandise might be offered on-line, too! On this article, we’re sharing every little thing we learn about promoting digital merchandise on-line together with the several types of digital merchandise, learn how to create digital merchandise, the place to promote digital merchandise, learn how to value digital merchandise and extra.

Should you’re interested in learn how to promote digital merchandise on-line, maintain studying.

What are Digital Merchandise?

What are Digital Products

Digital merchandise are intangible belongings or content material which are offered and/or distributed on-line. Digital merchandise can are available all kinds of various codecs comparable to ebooks, photos, movies, video games, media, programs, templates, software program, companies, and extra. They’re distributed digitally which means that they don’t really get shipped to clients which implies that they will as an alternative be downloaded, streamed or accessed instantly by the purchaser on their laptop, smartphone or pill.

Why Promote Digital Merchandise?

Why Sell Digital Products

Digital merchandise have so many alternative benefits, lots of which make them a fascinating different to promoting bodily merchandise. Generally, digital merchandise are easy to make, straightforward to distribute, are a sustainable enterprise mannequin, and have a excessive revenue margin incomes potential.

For instance, e-book publishing income within the US is predicted to develop from 5.31 billion {dollars} in 2018 (supply), digital album gross sales totaled 53.4 million models in 2018 (supply), and the worldwide self-paced on-line studying income in 2018 totaled 43.84 billion {dollars} (supply). Digital merchandise in just about all classes are profitable, and since there are decrease barriers-to-entry to create digital merchandise and likewise easier distribution strategies in comparison with bodily merchandise, many ecommerce entrepreneurs are making the swap to promote digital merchandise full-time.

Let’s look extra intently on the benefits and downsides of promoting digital merchandise so you may resolve whether or not promoting digital merchandise is an efficient match for you.

The Execs & Cons of Promoting Digital Merchandise


  • Passive Earnings: You don’t should make a product each time a buyer orders from you, you merely make one product, automate the promoting course of, after which earn earnings passively
  • Private Freedom: You’ll be able to promote from anyplace, to anyplace — digital merchandise put no limits in your way of life
  • Decrease Overhead Prices: Prices to supply digital merchandise are typically low and there’s no want to rent a warehouse to retailer stock
  • Straightforward to Attain Goal Market: You’re not certain by a brick-and-mortar location the place your solely potential buyer base is dependant on who lives domestically to you. There are few limitations to the viewers you may attain on-line
  • No Stock Administration: There’s no have to retailer merchandise, handle stock or SKUs
  • Straightforward Manufacturing Course of: There aren’t any MOQs when ordering merchandise from a producer
  • No Delivery Course of: No want to select, pack, and fulfill orders or rent a warehouse to do it for you
  • Low Product Return Price: No broken merchandise and a decrease likelihood of consumers receiving a defective product
  • Straightforward Automation: Just about your complete means of promoting digital merchandise might be automated
  • No Delivery Limitations: Some bodily merchandise — like magnificence merchandise, meals merchandise, and equipment merchandise — have limitations on the place and the way they are often shipped however digital merchandise typically don’t have any distribution limitations
  • Decrease Barrier-to-Entry: It typically prices much less to create digital merchandise and anybody can create a digital product
  • Independence From Suppliers: Normally when making a bodily product you need to work with a provider to really manufacture the product and convey it to life however, with digital merchandise, they don’t should be created by anybody else except you need them to be
  • Excessive Revenue Margins: As a result of digital merchandise are typically cheap to make and also you simply should create the product as soon as after which it may be offered an infinite variety of instances — plus, there are typically low overhead prices — digital merchandise often have the potential for a really wholesome revenue margin
  • They Don’t Break, Perish or Put on Out: Digital merchandise can final a very long time as a result of they’re not topic to the identical form of put on and tear that bodily merchandise expertise
  • At all times In-Inventory: You’ll be able to’t promote out of digital merchandise so that you’ll by no means miss out on gross sales and also you’ll by no means over-sell your product
  • Instant Distribution: No want for patrons to attend for his or her product to reach, digital merchandise are despatched on to the client after the acquisition goes by way of so clients don’t have to attend for the product to reach
  • Straightforward Refunds: Your clients don’t should ship the product again to you to return it, merely refund their order in the event that they’re dissatisfied
  • Supply Free Trials: It’s way more troublesome logistically to supply free trials for bodily merchandise however offering free trials is a good way to get potential clients to buy your digital merchandise
  • Low Danger: Promoting digital merchandise is a a lot lower-risk possibility than many different forms of merchandise


  • Straightforward to Replicate: Since digital merchandise are despatched out on-line, they are often straightforward to repeat, duplicate, replicate, and share with others. There are methods to restrict this, comparable to through the use of expiring hyperlinks, license keys, watermarks, supply code safety, PDF stamping, and digital product distribution platforms that supply product-specific safety features
  • Not Tangible: Digital merchandise can’t really be held by a buyer (except they’re in a position to print out the product for themselves), which can hassle some clients. Some clients desire a tangible product they will expertise in actual life
  • Some Clients Don’t Perceive Digital Merchandise: Some clients nonetheless count on all merchandise offered on-line to be bodily merchandise that they’ll obtain within the mail, so it’s necessary to be fairly clear and direct on digital product pages when an merchandise is, in truth, solely distributed digitally, simply to clear up any misconceptions a buyer might need
  • Decrease Perceived High quality: Shoppers might understand digital merchandise to be much less useful as a result of they exist in an intangible means
  • Competing Towards Free Merchandise: It’s doubtless that buyers can discover related variations of digital merchandise on-line, however without cost, so you need to be certain that your product can compete towards what sort of content material is already out there without cost
  • No Repeat Consumers: As soon as clients purchase a digital product there’s no have to re-buy it (except it’s a digital membership/subscription service)
  • Aggressive Market: As a result of creating some digital merchandise has such a low barrier-to-entry, it may be a really aggressive panorama to exist in as an ecommerce service provider
  • Some Restrictions Apply: Whereas digital merchandise might not face the identical delivery restrictions that bodily merchandise can face, digital merchandise face some gross sales channels restrictions like not being permitted to promote by way of Fb or Instagram. Proper now, Fb and Instagram listing “primarily promoting bodily items” as a criterion for his or her enterprise approval necessities, which implies that enterprise Instagram accounts have to be for firms that primarily promote bodily items solely

Digital Merchandise vs. Bodily Merchandise

Digital Products versus Physical Products

Should you’re simply beginning your first ecommerce enterprise and also you’re questioning whether or not to promote bodily merchandise or digital merchandise, you could be fairly conflicted between the 2. Whereas digital merchandise have many interesting benefits like their excessive revenue margin incomes potential and their straightforward distribution strategies, they do have a number of disadvantages as effectively which we listed above.

Bodily merchandise, then again, even have many benefits such because it being simpler to reveal the worth of a tangible product so their perceived high quality could also be regarded as greater than digital merchandise, however bodily merchandise are time-consuming to handle, to not point out costly to supply and ship.

What it comes all the way down to, in the end, might be your individual product concepts, the area of interest market you’re serving, your threat tolerance, and the way a lot of your small business you wish to be automated. Let’s talk about this in additional element:

  • If You Have Product Concepts: If you have already got an concept of what sort of product, or merchandise, you wish to promote on-line then you definately’ll in all probability already know whether or not it’s a digital product or a bodily one. Relying in your product concept it’ll doubtless match higher into one class slightly than the opposite, so that can show you how to resolve.
  • Assume About Your Area of interest Market: Some area of interest markets usually tend to be open to buying one product sort slightly than the opposite. Take into consideration your area of interest market’s age demographic, for instance: Are they primarily individuals who have entry to computer systems, smartphones, and tablets the place they might obtain and stream digital merchandise? Or is your area of interest market made up of people that don’t desire to make use of good gadgets to entry content material or merchandise they usually’d slightly have a bodily copy to carry in their very own palms? Taking your area of interest markets’ preferences into consideration may also help you resolve between bodily and digital merchandise.
  • What’s Your Danger Tolerance? Should you’re a low-risk, slow-and-steady form of enterprise builder then digital merchandise could be an important selection as a result of they’re typically cheaper to create, and also you don’t should buy stock upfront which suggests you might have much less to lose if gross sales don’t go effectively.
  • Do You Need Your Enterprise Automated? Ecommerce shops that promote digital merchandise and bodily merchandise can each be utterly automated, nonetheless, it’ll rely upon the forms of merchandise you promote, the ecommerce platforms you promote by way of and the extent of assist you’ll should carry out to maintain your clients completely satisfied. Typically talking, shops that promote bodily merchandise often have some facet to them that requires extra hands-on work as a result of there are extra transferring elements within the course of — like choosing and packing the orders, delivery the objects, warehousing the merchandise, managing returns, and many others. — whereas shops that promote digital merchandise don’t should handle fairly as lots of these steps and for the steps they do nonetheless should handle, often they’re easier.

Should you’re actually having a tough time selecting, nonetheless, select each! You’re the boss of your individual ecommerce retailer, so if you wish to promote bodily merchandise and digital merchandise then go for it. The truth is, bundling digital merchandise along with bodily merchandise may also help improve your gross sales, so contemplate whether or not that’s one thing you’d like to use to your on-line retailer.

Tip: Upsell clients buying your bodily merchandise with a digital product that enhances their expertise of the bodily product! After they add the digital product upsell to their order they’ll get extra worth and also you’ll get extra income that doubtless has a better revenue margin proportion than your bodily product. It’s a win-win!

Varieties of Digital Merchandise: Digital Product Concepts

Digital Product Ideas

There are such a lot of completely different sorts of digital merchandise that may be offered on-line — actually, the one restrict is your creativeness. Take this quote from SendOwl, a digital product distribution platform, for instance:

Now we have clients that promote tiny home plans, doll clothes patterns, a Jamaican Patois language audio course and dictionary and best-selling indie video video games. We even have clients who promote a mixture of bodily and digital merchandise. (Supply)

Promoting digital merchandise isn’t nearly ebooks anymore — not that there’s something mistaken with ebooks it’s simply often the primary instance somebody thinks of after they think about a digital product however it’s definitely not the one sort of digital product that may be offered on-line — so right here’s a listing of what sort of digital merchandise can be offered on-line.

  • Ebooks
    • PDF Guides
    • Instruments
    • Sources
    • Paperwork
    • Workbooks
    • Fiction/Non-fiction books
    • Manuals
    • Poetry
    • Stationery
    • Essays
    • Scripts
    • Journalism
    • Cookbooks
    • Sheet music
    • Textbooks
    • Journey guides
    • Blueprints
    • Actions
    • Budgets
    • Contracts & insurance policies
    • Lead magnets
    • Case research
    • Printables
  • Programs
    • Instructional assets
    • Video programs
    • E mail programs
    • Book programs
    • Bootcamps
    • Check preparation programs
    • Social media programs
  • Pictures
    • Artwork
    • Inventory Photographs
    • Picture presets/filters
    • Drone photographs
    • Journey photographs
    • Occasion photographs
  • Video Content material
    • Self-created video content material
    • Video footage
    • Inventory movies
    • Webinars
    • Video coaching programs
    • Animations
    • Drone footage
    • Video journalism
    • Interviews
    • Product critiques
    • Tutorials
    • Video logos
    • Reside streams
    • Commercials
    • Trailers
  • Audio Content material
    • Podcasts
    • Audiobooks
    • Music
    • Sounds results
    • Inventory audio
    • Audio logos
    • Recordings
    • Royalty-free music
    • Textual content-to-audio conversion
    • Mixing and mastering
    • Voiceovers
  • Digital Belongings
    • Licenses for digital belongings
    • Social media graphics
    • Icons
    • Infographics
    • Fonts
  • Templates
    • E mail templates
    • Web site templates
    • PowerPoint Templates
    • Product mockup templates
    • Resume templates
    • Presets
    • Photoshop actions
    • Web site graphics and vectors
    • Posters & indicators
    • Patterns
    • Enterprise playing cards
  • Software program
    • Software program as a Service (SaaS)
    • Apps
    • Web site themes
    • Plugins/extensions
    • Video video games
    • Code
  • Artwork
    • Pictures
    • Videography
    • Choreography
    • Literature
    • Visible Arts
    • Prints
    • Telephone & laptop wallpapers
    • Digital artwork
    • Illustrations
    • Ebook covers
    • Music album covers
    • Graphic design
  • Companies
    • Consulting
    • Graphic design
    • Emblem design
    • Branding
    • Exercise/diet plans
    • Translation companies
    • Net companies
    • Video enhancing
    • Digital advertising/advert creation
    • Information entry
    • Analysis
    • Social media companies
    • Music classes
    • Programming
    • Product package deal design
    • Model audits
    • Modifying
    • Transcription

Create Digital Merchandise

How to Create Digital Products

The way you create your digital merchandise will clearly rely upon the kind of digital merchandise that you simply wish to create. The creation course of will differ vastly from ebooks to programs to templates to software program, and many others. however in the end you’ll have two choices: You’ll be able to create your digital merchandise your self, or you may get another person to create your digital merchandise for you.

  • Creating Digital Merchandise Your self: Should you’re simply beginning out and don’t have the means to rent outdoors assist, or if in case you have the data and expertise to create your individual digital merchandise then go forward and create them your self! One of many major benefits of digital merchandise is that you simply don’t should work with a producer or provider to create your product for you in case you don’t wish to, which is without doubt one of the main barriers-to-entry that retailers sourcing bodily merchandise encounter.
  • Getting Somebody to Create Your Digital Merchandise For You: You even have the choice to rent assist to create your digital merchandise, whether or not you need assistance really creating the content material of the product or in case you need assistance assembling the product right into a digital format. You’ll be able to rent freelancers, consultants, businesses or different firms to create your merchandise, relying on what sort of funds you might have and what your required final result is.

These companies may also help you create your digital merchandise:

  • Blurb: Create ebooks to promote on-line
  • Aerio: Create ebooks to promote on-line
  • Inventive Market: Seek for e-book templates and different digital asset templates
  • Teachable: Create on-line programs
  • Kajabi: Create on-line programs

Use these companies to rent freelancers that can assist you create digital merchandise:

  • FreeeUp: Rent the highest 1% of freelancers of their respective industries
  • Upwork: Rent every kind of freelancers from all over the world
  • Fiverr: Rent every kind of freelancers from all over the world
  • iWriter: Rent high-quality freelance writers

The place to Promote Digital Merchandise

Where to Sell Digital Products

There are such a lot of alternative ways to promote digital merchandise on-line; you may promote them by way of your individual retailer, in your weblog, on marketplaces, on social media, on Amazon, and on Etsy. Earlier than we bounce into all of the choices, we’re going to run by way of the principle methods to promote digital merchandise by yourself retailer or web site and the issue degree of every possibility.

Should you’re promoting your digital merchandise by yourself retailer you’re going to wish a technique to really distribute your digital merchandise to the purchasers who purchase them. The three top-recommended digital product distribution platforms are Straightforward Digital Downloads, SendOwl and Gumroad. Let’s dive into the the explanation why, so you may select the choice that’s the perfect match for you:

  • Starter Choice: Should you’re on the lookout for a straightforward technique to get your digital merchandise able to promote, Gumroad is an easy digital merchandise distributor that’s tailor-made to serving to artists and musicians promote their work, nonetheless, they do have options to assist every kind of digital good sellers. A few of these options embody pay-what-you-want pricing, leases (like film leases, for instance), promoting a number of variations of your product, pre-sales, and extra. They’re not essentially the most subtle or feature-rich digital product distribution channel on the market, that’s why they’re not at all times essentially the most top-recommended possibility, nonetheless, they’re recognized to get the job achieved and get bootstrappers up and operating. So far as pricing is worried, they’ve a free pricing plan possibility however to get all options there’s a month-to-month charge plus a proportion taken from each sale.
  • Commonplace Choice: Should you’re on the lookout for a digital product distribution channel, SendOwl comes as a highly-recommended possibility. They’re well-known for his or her subtle and feature-rich software program, however in an effort to use them you’ll should have a weblog, web site, retailer or social media account to promote from — they don’t assist the precise digital product retailer, they simply assist join digital product sellers to their clients to allow them to promote their merchandise. Additionally they provide affordable pricing plans and solely cost a month-to-month charge for utilizing their service, they don’t take a proportion of every sale.
  • Premium Choice: Should you’re on the lookout for a digital product distribution technique that provides you essentially the most management over your branding and essentially the most premium expertise on your clients, then your only option is to go along with WordPress and Straightforward Digital Downloads. Utilizing WordPress as your ecommerce platform offers you full management over how your web site seems and features, however it can be time-consuming to handle and costly to repairs. Straightforward Digital Downloads presents essentially the most subtle digital product distribution channel which integrates with many different companies you’ll doubtless be utilizing like Dropbox, MailChimp, and PayPal, nonetheless, it solely works with WordPress so you may’t use it in case you’re not utilizing WordPress to host your web site. It’s additionally a reasonably expensive possibility, in comparison with the 2 different choices we talked about beforehand.

Promote Digital Merchandise on Shopify

If WordPress isn’t an possibility for you whether or not you’re not within the repairs or simply wish to use an ecommerce platform that handles the backend facet of your ecommerce retailer so that you don’t should, then Shopify is probably going going to be your high choose. They arrive as one of many top-rated ecommerce platforms within the ecommerce trade, simply take a look at our Shopify Evaluation to be taught why, however they’re often solely beneficial with regards to promoting bodily merchandise on-line as a result of promoting digital merchandise on-line by way of Shopify isn’t fairly as easy and seamless.

What it comes all the way down to is that Shopify as an ecommerce platform was made to assist retailers promote bodily merchandise, not digital merchandise. Due to that, they don’t innately provide the identical form of strong options because the three companies we mentioned above, so to promote digital merchandise on Shopify you’ll have to make use of a further app. Out of the digital product app choices on the Shopify App Retailer, the Digital Downloads app and the SendOwl app are the 2 that come essentially the most extremely beneficial.

Shopify’s personal Digital Downloads app was their response to retailers who have been on the lookout for a technique to promote digital merchandise on their shops, and it presents pretty easy functionalities. This can be a good possibility in case you’re promoting ebooks or different related downloadable merchandise however it definitely received’t be match to distribute all forms of digital merchandise.

Should you’re on the lookout for a extra sophistication possibility that provides extra options like safety safety within the type of expiring hyperlinks or PDF stamps, and even in case you’re on the lookout for extra in depth functionalities like video streaming, product “drip” launch (releasing content material over a predetermined time period), and integration with Shopify POS so you may promote digital merchandise in-person, then the SendOwl app is a superb possibility.

It’s value noting, nonetheless, that whereas these two apps, specifically, and the opposite app choices out there on the Shopify App Retailer, allow you to promote and distribute digital merchandise to your clients, there’ll at all times be some limitations as a result of Shopify is presently simply not innately designed to promote digital merchandise. Relying on the digital merchandise you promote, considered one of these apps could be the precise resolution for what you want, however in case you’re trying to promote on-line programs, for instance, you doubtless received’t have the ability to do this on Shopify with out utilizing a bunch of different workarounds.

Promote Digital Merchandise on Amazon

How to Sell Digital Products on Amazon

Sure, you may promote digital merchandise on Amazon however solely sure forms of digital merchandise and solely by way of Amazon’s designated distributions channels. You’ll be able to self-publish ebooks by way of Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, audiobooks by way of ACX, music and movie by way of Amazon Media on Demand, apps, video games, and software program by way of Amazon’s App and Recreation Submission type, and movies by way of Prime Video Direct.

Not all forms of digital merchandise are in a position to be offered on Amazon, so if it’s not listed above then it’s doubtless that proper now, it could possibly’t be offered on Amazon.

Promoting your digital merchandise on Amazon might be massively advantageous since you’ll have the ability to faucet into their huge viewers and goal your customer-base extra effectively. You can too promote your merchandise by yourself retailer in addition to on Amazon, so that you get the perfect of each worlds.

Promote Digital Merchandise on WordPress

We suggest promoting digital merchandise on WordPress by way of Straightforward Digital Downloads. It’s how we promote our digital merchandise and, as we talked about above, it’s one of many top-recommended methods to promote digital merchandise by way of WordPress.

Straightforward Digital Downloads operates solely with WordPress so all of its options and functionalities are optimized for WordPress customers. It additionally implies that it presents versatile choices like WordPress does so you may actually make it your individual and incorporate it seamlessly into your individual web site. The one draw back is that it’s a premium-priced product which can not make it a positive possibility for bootstrapped digital product sellers, nonetheless, we consider that, on this case, you get what you pay for and the value Straightforward Digital Downloads costs is worth it.

Promote Digital Merchandise on Etsy

Sure, you may promote digital merchandise on Etsy and it’s pretty simple. Try this excerpt about promoting digital merchandise from the Etsy Vendor Handbook:

Itemizing a digital obtain on Etsy is rather like creating an inventory for a bodily product, besides you’ll add the file your clients will obtain after they make a purchase order. After consumers buy a digital file on Etsy, it’s instantly out there on their downloads web page. You’ll be able to add audio, picture or textual content recordsdata to your itemizing.

Try Etsy’s full assist information right here to be taught step-by-step learn how to listing a digital product on Etsy.

Promote Digital Merchandise on Marketplaces

When promoting digital merchandise, you even have the choice to promote by way of on-line marketplaces as effectively. We’ve mentioned on-line marketplaces intimately in our Begin an On-line Market article however in case you’re undecided what a market is, simply consider Amazon. Amazon is a market the place many alternative sellers can promote many several types of merchandise (together with each bodily and digital merchandise) and many alternative customers store from the Amazon market. Different marketplaces exist on-line, and a few marketplaces particularly concentrate on promoting digital merchandise.

One of many benefits of promoting your digital merchandise on on-line marketplaces is that you simply don’t should work so onerous to carry clients into your web site to see your merchandise. {The marketplace} does all of the onerous work so that you can carry visitors in, you simply should have an important product and a compelling product itemizing that makes clients wish to buy.

Examples of on-line marketplaces the place you may promote your digital merchandise embody:

  • Inventive Market: Promote all forms of digital merchandise starting from photographs, fonts, icons, templates, and extra
  • Steam: Promote video video games on-line
  • Skillshare: Ship video programs as a Skillshare teacher

For example of a digital merchandise market, take a look at FilterGrade which is a market the place photographers can promote their Photoshop actions and Lightroom presets. We’ve related with the founding father of FilterGrade to be taught extra about why and the way he began this on-line market so in case you’re considering studying extra, take a look at the FilterGrade Case Examine.

Worth Digital Merchandise

How to Price Digital Products

Whenever you’re simply beginning your first digital merchandise retailer, it may be onerous to know learn how to value your merchandise. The distinction between pricing bodily merchandise and digital merchandise is that often digital merchandise don’t have the identical form of overhead that goes into them like bodily merchandise typically have.

When figuring out the costs on your digital merchandise, take these components into consideration:

  • Overhead: Any overhead that went into creating the digital product, whether or not you employed somebody to create the content material, somebody to format the digital file, and even the month-to-month charges you pay to maintain your retailer up and operating. You wish to recuperate all the prices you incurred to make the product and all the prices you’ll incur to promote the product.
  • Worth: How useful is your digital product? Take into account how a lot worth your clients will acquire from what your digital product offers them and the way it will improve their lives. Extra useful merchandise ought to have that mirrored within the value.
  • The Competitors: How do your opponents value their merchandise? Try your opponents’ websites and see what they’re charging and resolve whether or not you’d be charging an excessive amount of or not sufficient in case you charged the identical costs on your merchandise.
  • Your Area of interest: How a lot do you assume your clients might be prepared to pay? Take into consideration your goal market — have they got quite a lot of disposable earnings to spend in your product or are they extra prone to be reserved and frugal with their money?
  • Who You’re Promoting To: Should you’re promoting your merchandise to different companies or enterprise homeowners slightly than on to customers, you must put a better price ticket in your product. Different companies might be re-selling your product or making a minimize of the income indirectly, so take that into consideration.
  • Supply Reductions: Should you plan on providing reductions in your digital merchandise whether or not for particular events or as an ongoing factor, take into consideration how that can impression your revenues and revenue margins.


You need to now have all the data you could resolve whether or not promoting digital merchandise on-line is the precise selection for you. Take into accounts the entire benefits and downsides of promoting digital merchandise and the way they examine to bodily merchandise. The sky actually is the restrict to the forms of digital merchandise that may be offered on-line so get artistic!


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