How to Sell Digital Products Online: The Complete Guide for 2021

By Jessica Bruce August 30, 2020

A recent market study has estimated that Digital Buyers have steadily risen in the last few years.

It’s expected to constitute a whopping 65.2% of the global population by 2021.

Putting it into numbers- The global population is anticipated to hit approximately 7.8 billion by 2021 and roughly 5 billion online buyers in the coming years.

If you’ve got a product to sell, there’s a buyer for you!

Hence, we can deduce that in the current times, starting your own multi-vendor marketplace platform is the most lucrative business for the budding entrepreneurs to venture into.

The first and most important question that will haunt you is, What to sell online?

There are so many products and services out there that you will be overwhelmed to choose from, to start off with. 

But don’t worry. We have got your back.

Below is a complete guide that will make your decision-making process a smooth one.

Let’s start from the very basics.

What is a product?

Anything that we can sell.

But, in the digital world, this conclusive definition is too wide an answer. There are set boundaries that digital products define.

So, what is a digital product?

An intangible asset or piece of media that can be sold and distributed repeatedly online without the need to replenish the inventory.

These products are available in the form of downloadable or stream-able files such as MP3s, PDFs, videos, plug-ins, and templates.

A thing of limitless potential. This is one of the most important decisions that you will have to take in building your own marketplace platform because they have the capacity to make or break your entire business plan and affects the below essential components

  • Website design
  • Marketing
  • Loyalty programs
  • Shipping and fulfillment

These are pointless without a great product to support them.

In many ways, a digital product has far more advantages than disadvantages over a physical product.

Let’s see why.

  • No physical storage space required as all they require is some space in the cloud
  • No need to maintain a physical inventory
  • No middle men issues
  • No additional charges like shipping costs, which contributes to one of the top reasons for abandoning shopping carts due to unanticipated costs
  • No need for user specific data like location details
  • No need to insure digital products like the physical goods as they are not susceptible to natural calamities
  • Less maintaining expenses as all you have to spend on consistently is just on your hosting and marketing services
  • If you are selling a niche physical product and are ordering from a specific manufacturer then you will always have to order in specific large quantities and make it even by selling them for profit. But Digital products have no qualms like these
  • Have higher profit margin
  • Comparatively less waiting period

These being said, it does not mean that they have no disadvantages at all.

  • Most of them will not prefer purchasing products online if they are above a self-set price range that they can afford to spend online. And this will lead them to actually just go to a physical store.
  • Cut-throat competition, hence reflecting on the prices and many other factors
  • Product markets are reaching saturation
  • Faster market reach
  • Customers can re-order physical goods

In a nutshell:

Digital products eliminate the most common barriers of purchasing.

They are resistant to market trends, involve fewer middlemen, and keep control squarely where it belongs (in your hands).

The most trending digital products selling online are,

  • Online courses and Tutorials
  • E-Books
  • Web Elements and Templates
  • Music and Movies
  • Data
  • Recipes
  • Software programs and Apps

and many more.

Now that we have some knowledge on what a digital product is and why is it the most suitable and efficient choice, let’s move on to the next step.

The most complex and intriguing step of the online store building process,

How to Sell Digital Products?

Once we have decided on our product / niche the real task starts.

It is not a cake walk. Everything might look simpler in theory but it is easier said than done.

1. Diversification is a must

E-Commerce being the fastest growing business, data scientists have found out that diversification is the key to success.

This simply means that you need to sell digital products on various platforms. Customers are keen on reliability and accessibility more than anything.

And hence, if you are not selling across channels, you could lose the sale to a competitor who has better diversification.

Since you have just started off your online store, it is always good to take baby steps.

You can get an opportunity to sell digital goods and learn as much about the sales and marketing strategies by using the platforms that are already established.

This not only helps you to gain visibility, but also get hands on learning experience.

Some of the best multi-vendor marketplace platforms you can start off with are:

  • Amazon
  • Ebay
  • Google
  • Etsy
  • Social media like: Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc

  And many more such platforms.

2. Offer customer tripwire

You will never face a customer face-to-face and hence it is not possible for you to know what they want.

But what you do know is what they might like. Hence making them aware of what they might get through your digital product is what setting a tripwire all is about. You could design it as rosy as possible.

The devil is in the details. The more information you give regarding your products the more they are attracted to your digital products. You can also tag a few goodies along, such as

  • Discount coupon and offers
  • Opting for product update alert
  • Free download related to the product
  • Free trial of your product etc

3. Introducing your Core Product

Once you have caught their attention, it is of utmost importance that you put across your product in such a way that it should seem like the best plausible solution to whatever the customers are looking for.

Communicating your Unique Selling Points (USP) in a way that will convince customers that you have better:

  • features than your competitors
  • product life time values than your competitors
  • pricing than your competitors and
  • service range than your competitors

This step will definitely be a huge stepping stone to a very successful beginning of setting up your digital products.

4. Use SEO Tools for optimizing your product

This factor plays a critical role in deciding if your product will be successful and will get the audience and visibility it deserves.

This feature is which the search engine depends on to decide on the ranking of your product.

Higher the ranking, higher will your product appear on the result page and this will lead to more number of people viewing your product.

Their basic strategy is to provide the customers with easy and fast results and SEO will assist you in making your product more appealing.

Follow the below,

a. Keyword Usage: These are the phrases that a customer will key-in into the search engine to browse through.

These words are the ones that will get you the required attention from the customer.

So, put yourself in their shoes and think about the kinds of phrases they would search as a consumer looking for your product, and stick to them!

b. Give your product a catchy yet descriptive title: A name/title is always the one that first catches customer’s attention.

This will further implore them to examine and know more about that product.

It is the tag that is the gateway into your product and hence the page.

This is what appears on the SERPs for the world to see and hence you’ll want to keep it curt and precise.

c. Write a concise yet captivating product description: A product summary is what convinces the customer to consider your product for purchasing.

These three to four lines of sentences are what will sell your product. So, like the product title be specific yet engaging.

And it should tell people exactly what your product is.

d. Always have an alt text to your product images: Some technical glitches are out of our control. So, we should always be prepared for the worst scenarios.

And especially when it comes to customer experience, we should leave no stone unturned.

One such issue is when the designated image doesn’t load up. This will leave the customers no idea of what to expect but also lose interest in our digital product.

Hence we need to make sure that we have an alternative txt ready in its place so that it loads in its place if for any reason the intended picture doesn’t load.

This element is important, especially for ecommerce SEO, because buyers want to know exactly what they’re going to be getting.

Once you have a clear cut picture on how to sell your products online and gather a sizable base of customers, you can also start your own online store solely for your products.

This will give you a different visibility and elevate your digital product sales as well. By launching your own online platform you can carve a niche for yourself.

But before you go down that lane.

Here are a few steps to follow which will guarantee you an optimum set-up and execution.

  • Extensive market research – study how your competitors are maintaining operations, delivery and payment.
  • Create high-quality product content – include product descriptions, imagery, reviews, ratings.
  • Automate your sales and delivery once you are set to make the customer experience more efficient and smooth

On a concluding note, this is a niche where you will always have to think from others point of view. You have to wear different hats and think out of the box.

Here, you are not a business owner; you should become the customer and analyze what’s attractive to them and how it will work from their viewpoint.

So what are you waiting for?

Put the pedal to the metal and race away! If you tumble along the way, we are always here to get you back right on track.

Now It’s Your Turn

There you have it.

Now I’d like to hear what you have to say:

Which strategy from this list are you going to try first?

Let me know in the comments section below.

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Jessica Bruce

Jessica is a professional blogger, guest writer, influencer & ecommerce expert. Currently associated with ShopyGen as a content marketing strategist, she also reports on the latest happenings and trends in the ecommerce industry.

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