Digital Merchandise Vs. Bodily Merchandise


When most individuals consider ecommerce, they consider promoting bodily merchandise on-line. Whereas that’s not fully 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 bought on-line, too! On this article, we’re sharing all the things we learn about promoting digital merchandise on-line together with the several types of digital merchandise, how one can create digital merchandise, the place to promote digital merchandise, how one can value digital merchandise and extra.

If you happen to’re interested by how one can promote digital merchandise on-line, maintain studying.

What are Digital Merchandise?

Digital merchandise are intangible belongings or content material which can be bought and/or distributed on-line. Digital merchandise can are available in all kinds of various codecs corresponding to ebooks, pictures, movies, video games, media, programs, templates, software program, providers, and extra. They’re distributed digitally which means that they don’t truly get shipped to prospects which implies that they’ll 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 various benefits, lots of which make them a fascinating different to promoting bodily merchandise. Normally, 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 anticipated to develop from 5.31 billion {dollars} in 2018 (supply), digital album gross sales totaled 53.4 million items in 2018 (supply), and the worldwide self-paced on-line studying income in 2018 totaled 43.84 billion {dollars} (supply). Digital merchandise in nearly all classes are profitable, and since there are decrease barriers-to-entry to create digital merchandise and likewise less complicated distribution strategies in comparison with bodily merchandise, many ecommerce entrepreneurs are making the swap to promote digital merchandise full-time.

Let’s look extra carefully on the benefits and drawbacks of promoting digital merchandise so you possibly can resolve whether or not promoting digital merchandise is an effective match for you.

The Professionals & Cons of Promoting Digital Merchandise


  • Passive Earnings: You don’t must make a product each time a buyer orders from you, you merely make one product, automate the promoting course of, after which earn revenue passively
  • Private Freedom: You may promote from anyplace, to anyplace — digital merchandise put no limits in your life-style
  • Decrease Overhead Prices: Prices to supply digital merchandise are typically low and there’s no want to rent a warehouse to retailer stock
  • Simple to Attain Goal Market: You’re not sure by a brick-and-mortar location the place your solely potential buyer base is dependant on who lives regionally to you. There are few limitations to the viewers you possibly can attain on-line
  • No Stock Administration: There’s no have to retailer merchandise, handle stock or SKUs
  • Simple Manufacturing Course of: There aren’t any MOQs when ordering merchandise from a producer
  • No Delivery Course of: No want to choose, pack, and fulfill orders or rent a warehouse to do it for you
  • Low Product Return Fee: No broken merchandise and a decrease likelihood of consumers receiving a defective product
  • Simple Automation: Just about all the strategy 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: Often when making a bodily product it’s important to work with a provider to really manufacture the product and convey it to life however, with digital merchandise, they don’t must 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 must create the product as soon as after which it may be bought a vast 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 sort of put on and tear that bodily merchandise expertise
  • At all times In-Inventory: You may’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
  • Quick Distribution: No want for purchasers to attend for his or her product to reach, digital merchandise are despatched on to the client after the acquisition goes by means of so prospects don’t have to attend for the product to reach
  • Simple Refunds: Your prospects don’t must ship the product again to you to return it, merely refund their order in the event that they’re dissatisfied
  • Provide Free Trials: It’s far more troublesome logistically to supply free trials for bodily merchandise however offering free trials is an effective way to get potential prospects to buy your digital merchandise
  • Low Threat: Promoting digital merchandise is a a lot lower-risk possibility than many different varieties of merchandise


  • Simple 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, corresponding to through the use of expiring hyperlinks, license keys, watermarks, supply code safety, PDF stamping, and digital product distribution platforms that provide product-specific security measures
  • Not Tangible: Digital merchandise can’t truly be held by a buyer (except they’re in a position to print out the product for themselves), which can trouble some prospects. Some prospects choose a tangible product they’ll expertise in actual life
  • Some Clients Don’t Perceive Digital Merchandise: Some prospects nonetheless count on all merchandise bought on-line to be bodily merchandise that they’ll obtain within the mail, so it’s essential 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 helpful as a result of they exist in an intangible manner
  • Competing In opposition to Free Merchandise: It’s doubtless that customers can discover related variations of digital merchandise on-line, however free of charge, so it’s important to be certain your product can compete in opposition to what sort of content material is already accessible free of charge
  • No Repeat Consumers: As soon as prospects 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 transport restrictions that bodily merchandise can face, digital merchandise face some gross sales channels restrictions like not being permitted to promote by means of Fb or Instagram. Proper now, Fb and Instagram record “primarily promoting bodily items” as a criterion for his or her enterprise approval necessities, which implies that enterprise Instagram accounts should be for corporations that primarily promote bodily items solely

Digital Merchandise vs. Bodily Merchandise

Digital Products versus Physical Products

If you happen to’re simply beginning your first ecommerce enterprise and also you’re questioning whether or not to promote bodily merchandise or digital merchandise, you may 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 properly which we listed above.

Bodily merchandise, then again, even have many benefits such because it being simpler to exhibit the worth of a tangible product so their perceived high quality could also be regarded as increased 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, finally, can be your personal product concepts, the area of interest market you’re serving, your danger tolerance, and the way a lot of your online business you need to be automated. Let’s talk about this in additional element:

  • If You Have Product Concepts: If you have already got an thought of what sort of product, or merchandise, you need to promote on-line you then’ll in all probability already know whether or not it’s a digital product or a bodily one. Relying in your product thought it’ll doubtless match higher into one class quite than the opposite, so that may allow you to resolve.
  • Suppose About Your Area of interest Market: Some area of interest markets usually tend to be open to buying one product sort quite 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 choose to make use of sensible units to entry content material or merchandise they usually’d quite have a bodily copy to carry in their very own fingers? Taking your area of interest markets’ preferences into consideration may help you resolve between bodily and digital merchandise.
  • What’s Your Threat Tolerance? If you happen to’re a low-risk, slow-and-steady sort of enterprise builder then digital merchandise may be a fantastic selection as a result of they’re typically cheaper to create, and also you don’t must buy stock upfront which implies you’ve gotten much less to lose if gross sales don’t go properly.
  • Do You Need Your Enterprise Automated? Ecommerce shops that promote digital merchandise and bodily merchandise can each be fully automated, nonetheless, it’s going to rely upon the varieties of merchandise you promote, the ecommerce platforms you promote by means of and the extent of help you’ll must carry out to maintain your prospects pleased. 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 selecting and packing the orders, transport the gadgets, warehousing the merchandise, managing returns, and many others. — whereas shops that promote digital merchandise don’t must handle fairly as lots of these steps and for the steps they do nonetheless must handle, often they’re less complicated.

If you happen to’re actually having a tough time selecting, nonetheless, select each! You’re the boss of your personal ecommerce retailer, so if you wish to promote bodily merchandise and digital merchandise then go for it. In truth, bundling digital merchandise along with bodily merchandise may help enhance your gross sales, so take into account whether or not that’s one thing you’d like to use to your on-line retailer.

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

Kinds of Digital Merchandise: Digital Product Concepts

Digital Product Ideas

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

We’ve prospects 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 prospects who promote a mix 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 actually not the one sort of digital product that may be bought on-line — so right here’s a listing of what sort of digital merchandise can be bought on-line.

  • Ebooks
    • PDF Guides
    • Instruments
    • Assets
    • 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 sources
    • Video programs
    • E-mail programs
    • E book programs
    • Bootcamps
    • Take a look at preparation programs
    • Social media programs
  • Images
    • Artwork
    • Inventory Pictures
    • Picture presets/filters
    • Drone images
    • Journey images
    • Occasion images
  • Video Content material
    • Self-created video content material
    • Video footage
    • Inventory movies
    • Webinars
    • Video coaching programs
    • Animations
    • Drone footage
    • Video journalism
    • Interviews
    • Product evaluations
    • Tutorials
    • Video logos
    • Stay streams
    • Ads
    • 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 Property
    • 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
    • Images
    • 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/vitamin plans
    • Translation providers
    • Net providers
    • Video enhancing
    • Digital advertising/advert creation
    • Knowledge entry
    • Analysis
    • Social media providers
    • Music classes
    • Programming
    • Product bundle design
    • Model audits
    • Modifying
    • Transcription

Find out how to 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 just need to create. The creation course of will differ vastly from ebooks to programs to templates to software program, and many others. however finally you’ll have two choices: You may create your digital merchandise your self, or you will get another person to create your digital merchandise for you.

  • Creating Digital Merchandise Your self: If you happen to’re simply beginning out and don’t have the means to rent exterior assist, or you probably have the information and expertise to create your personal digital merchandise then go forward and create them your self! One of many important benefits of digital merchandise is that you just don’t must work with a producer or provider to create your product for you when you don’t need to, which is among 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 truly creating the content material of the product or when you need assistance assembling the product right into a digital format. You may rent freelancers, consultants, businesses or different corporations to create your merchandise, relying on what sort of finances you’ve gotten and what your required final result is.

These providers may 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 providers to rent freelancers that will help you create digital merchandise:

  • FreeeUp: Rent the highest 1% of freelancers of their respective industries
  • Upwork: Rent all types of freelancers from all over the world
  • Fiverr: Rent all types 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 other ways to promote digital merchandise on-line; you possibly can promote them by means of your personal retailer, in your weblog, on marketplaces, on social media, on Amazon, and on Etsy. Earlier than we leap into all of the choices, we’re going to run by means of the primary methods to promote digital merchandise by yourself retailer or web site and the issue degree of every possibility.

If you happen to’re promoting your digital merchandise by yourself retailer you’re going to want a technique to truly distribute your digital merchandise to the shoppers who purchase them. The three top-recommended digital product distribution platforms are Simple Digital Downloads, SendOwl and Gumroad. Let’s dive into the explanation why, so you possibly can select the choice that’s the very best match for you:

  • Starter Possibility: If you happen to’re searching for a simple technique to get your digital merchandise able to promote, Gumroad is a straightforward digital merchandise distributor that’s tailor-made to serving to artists and musicians promote their work, nonetheless, they do have options to assist all types 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 identified to get the job performed and get bootstrappers up and operating. So far as pricing is anxious, they’ve a free pricing plan possibility however to get all options there’s a month-to-month payment plus a proportion taken from each sale.
  • Normal Possibility: If you happen to’re searching 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 as a way to use them you’ll must have a weblog, web site, retailer or social media account to promote from — they don’t help the precise digital product retailer, they simply assist join digital product sellers to their prospects to allow them to promote their merchandise. In addition they provide affordable pricing plans and solely cost a month-to-month payment for utilizing their service, they don’t take a proportion of every sale.
  • Premium Possibility: If you happen to’re searching for a digital product distribution methodology that provides you essentially the most management over your branding and essentially the most premium expertise to your prospects, then the best choice is to go together with WordPress and Simple Digital Downloads. Utilizing WordPress as your ecommerce platform offers you full management over how your web site appears to be like and capabilities, however it may also be time-consuming to handle and costly to maintenance. Simple Digital Downloads affords essentially the most subtle digital product distribution channel which integrates with many different providers you’ll doubtless be utilizing like Dropbox, MailChimp, and PayPal, nonetheless, it solely works with WordPress so you possibly can’t use it when 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.

Find out how to Promote Digital Merchandise on Shopify

If WordPress isn’t an possibility for you whether or not you’re not within the maintenance or simply need to use an ecommerce platform that handles the backend facet of your ecommerce retailer so that you don’t must, then Shopify is probably going going to be your high choose. They arrive as one of many top-rated ecommerce platforms within the ecommerce business, simply take a look at our Shopify Assessment to study why, however they’re often solely really helpful relating to promoting bodily merchandise on-line as a result of promoting digital merchandise on-line by means 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 sort of strong options because the three providers we mentioned above, so to promote digital merchandise on Shopify you’ll have to make use of an extra 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 really helpful.

Shopify’s personal Digital Downloads app was their response to retailers who have been searching for a technique to promote digital merchandise on their shops, and it affords pretty easy functionalities. This can be a good possibility when you’re promoting ebooks or different related downloadable merchandise however it actually received’t be an excellent match to distribute all varieties of digital merchandise.

If you happen to’re searching for a extra sophistication possibility that provides further options like safety safety within the type of expiring hyperlinks or PDF stamps, and even when you’re searching for extra in depth functionalities like video streaming, product “drip” launch (releasing content material over a predetermined time frame), and integration with Shopify POS so you possibly can promote digital merchandise in-person, then the SendOwl app is a superb possibility.

It’s price noting, nonetheless, that whereas these two apps, particularly, and the opposite app choices accessible on the Shopify App Retailer, allow you to promote and distribute digital merchandise to your prospects, there’ll at all times be some limitations as a result of Shopify is at the moment simply not innately designed to promote digital merchandise. Relying on the digital merchandise you promote, one in all these apps may be the appropriate resolution for what you want, however when you’re trying to promote on-line programs, for instance, you doubtless received’t be capable of try this on Shopify with out utilizing a bunch of different workarounds.

Find out how to Promote Digital Merchandise on Amazon

How to Sell Digital Products on Amazon

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

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

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

Find out how to Promote Digital Merchandise on WordPress

We suggest promoting digital merchandise on WordPress by means of Simple 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 means of WordPress.

Simple Digital Downloads operates solely with WordPress so all of its options and functionalities are optimized for WordPress customers. It additionally implies that it affords versatile choices like WordPress does so you possibly can actually make it your personal and incorporate it seamlessly into your personal 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 imagine that, on this case, you get what you pay for and the worth Simple Digital Downloads costs is worth it.

Find out how to Promote Digital Merchandise on Etsy

Sure, you possibly can promote digital merchandise on Etsy and it’s pretty simple. Take a look at 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 prospects will obtain after they make a purchase order. After consumers buy a digital file on Etsy, it’s instantly accessible on their downloads web page. You may add audio, picture or textual content information to your itemizing.

Take a look at Etsy’s full assist information right here to study step-by-step how one can record a digital product on Etsy.

Find out how to Promote Digital Merchandise on Marketplaces

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

One of many benefits of promoting your digital merchandise on on-line marketplaces is that you just don’t must work so onerous to deliver prospects into your web site to see your merchandise. {The marketplace} does all of the onerous work so that you can deliver visitors in, you simply must have a fantastic product and a compelling product itemizing that makes prospects need to buy.

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

  • Inventive Market: Promote all varieties of digital merchandise starting from images, 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 study extra about why and the way he began this on-line market so when you’re keen on studying extra, take a look at the FilterGrade Case Examine.

Find out how to Value Digital Merchandise

How to Price Digital Products

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

When figuring out the costs to your digital merchandise, take these components under 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 need to recuperate all the prices you incurred to make the product and all the prices you’ll incur to promote the product.
  • Worth: How helpful is your digital product? Think about how a lot worth your prospects will acquire from what your digital product offers them and the way it will improve their lives. Extra helpful merchandise ought to have that mirrored within the value.
  • The Competitors: How do your opponents value their merchandise? Take a look at 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 when you charged the identical costs to your merchandise.
  • Your Area of interest: How a lot do you suppose your prospects can be prepared to pay? Take into consideration your goal market — have they got loads of disposable revenue to spend in your product or are they extra more likely to be reserved and frugal with their money?
  • Who You’re Promoting To: If you happen to’re promoting your merchandise to different companies or enterprise house owners quite than on to shoppers, it is best to put the next price ticket in your product. Different companies can be re-selling your product or making a lower of the income in a roundabout way, so take that under consideration.
  • Provide Reductions: If you happen to plan on providing reductions in your digital merchandise whether or not for particular events or as an ongoing factor, take into consideration how that may impression your revenues and revenue margins.


You must now have all the knowledge you must resolve whether or not promoting digital merchandise on-line is the appropriate selection for you. Think about all the benefits and drawbacks of promoting digital merchandise and the way they examine to bodily merchandise. The sky actually is the restrict to the varieties of digital merchandise that may be bought on-line so get artistic!