In eCommerce, the easy way isn’t necessarily the lazy way. The easy way is the smart way.
So, when it comes to deciding what to sell online, why not find a product that makes your life easier?
By cutting down on shipping, warehousing, logistics, material, production, and labor costs, digital products are both an easy and smart option for online entrepreneurs.
If you’re interested in getting into the eCommerce game but haven’t decided what to sell yet, keep reading.
What digital products are popular online?
There are more types of digital products that it’s possible to sell online than you’d probably imagine.
Unless you’re totally digitally illiterate, there’s almost certainly something on this list that you can put together and sell.
1. Swipe files
Can you do something better than anyone else you know? Something people around the world would pay good money to learn how to do?
Share your expertise – at a good price – via swipe files.
Effectively, these files are just PDFs in which you offer secrets to your special abilities. It could be anything from effective email marketing strategies to instructions on how to bake a show-stopping wedding cake.
As long as it’s detailed, well structured, and nicely designed, you can sell swipe file guides at an impressive premium.
Why waste time and resources printing resources for your customers when you can just let them do it themselves?
Since home printers can do a pretty impressive job of creating high-quality media prints, it’s now possible to sell downloads that customers can print themselves at home.
Popular printables include things like:
- Art prints
- Workbooks and guides
- Cards and gift tags
- Calendars and planners
3. Online courses/workshops
As with swipe files, online courses and workshops are all about selling knowledge and wisdom. The difference here, however, is that the lessons tend to be packaged in video, or sometimes audio, format.
You’re likely to find demand for online courses or workshops in pretty much any niche you care to think of.
While things like digital marketing, writing, and cooking tend to be the most popular, you can pretty much monetize any skill this way.
As long as you can offer value as an expert, you’ll find your audience.
4. Themes and templates
Do you know how to make a beautiful website or a resume that is guaranteed to land an interview? Why not create themes and templates that customers can use out of the box?
Obviously, this is ideal for those who already have design or coding skills. It would be tricky to tap into as a novice, but it’s a great way to monetize these skills if you have them.
Templates for things like resumes, logos, or even social media posts can go for anything from a few dollars up to about $40. Meanwhile, website themes can net you anything up to a couple of hundred dollars.
While print publishing might be suffering in the digital age, sales of eBooks doubled between 2015 and 2021, making the industry worth around $29 billion annually.
It’s not too late to get in on the boom, so long as you have a decent writing style and something to say.
As with other entries on this list, it is possible to find readers in pretty much any niche, but the most popular genres among readers tend to be:
- Young adult fiction
- Crafts and DIY
6. Stock photography or music
Do you have mad photography or musical skills you’d like to turn into cash?
While you could try and make it as a wedding or event photographer, or a session musician, you could instead take the easy path of creating stock content.
Good quality stock photography and music are always in demand, and creating content that appeals to heavily searched keywords on stock content platforms is a great shortcut to success.
While this is likely to be a slower revenue stream, it can prove to be a consistent source of passive income.
If you have a website or content platform that already attracts a decent amount of traffic, an easy way to monetize it is through offering memberships.
While no one loves a paywall, if your content is compelling enough, you’re sure to find plenty of people who are willing to fork over cash for access.
Many websites choose to offer a freemium model: some content is available for free to give customers a preview, while other content is only available to those who pay.
Despite being a niche medium until relatively recently, podcasts have seen a huge surge in popularity in the last 5 years. The market is expected to be worth $1 billion annually by 2021.
There are a couple of factors that make podcasts attractive. Firstly, you can pretty much broadcast about any topic you find interesting. As long as you share that interest with others, you’ll have an audience.
Secondly, you have flexibility when it comes to revenue models.
Some podcasts offer freemium content, others run ads, and others still rely on donations from appreciative listeners via platforms like Patreon.
9. Software as a service (SaaS)
If you’re a coder or have a team capable of creating an extensive digital product, you might consider creating a platform that offers software as a service.
Platforms like Asana or Monday are crucial to the running of some of the world’s biggest companies.
These are tools that offer digital solutions to common issues and are often sold to companies as well as consumers.
- Project management tools
- Email marketing applications
- Cloud storage services
- Online office services
- Customer relationship management tools
How to get started selling digital products on-demand?
Feeling inspired? If something on our list has got your creative juices flowing, then starting your own online store for selling digital products is incredibly simple.
The process of setting up your digital product store is almost identical to one that sells physical products. All you have to do is find a template that suits your brand, and edit it to your liking.
If you’re using Zyro, it’s simple to upload digital products for sale. Just add a product listing then:
- Head to your Products page under Catalog
- Select the product you want to sell as a digital download
- Deselect Requires shipping or pickup
- Open the Files tab and select Upload files
- Select the file of your digital product from your computer
- Add a description
- Hit Save
Now, when customers buy your product, instead of being given shipping options, they will have a download link made available.
Why are digital products a great choice for eCommerce?
First up, let’s get a quick definition out the way.
Digital products, or on-demand products, are files that customers can download or stream from your online store for a fee. They are distinct from ‘physical’ products in that they only exist digitally, and are not manufactured or shipped to customers.
Covering everything from eBooks and online classes to music and art, digital products have several advantages over their physical counterparts.
They’re low cost
Sure, selling anything online is cheaper than renting a storefront and hiring salespeople in a brick-and-mortar store. Even so, digital products have an extra edge on traditional online selling.
Digital products don’t need to be assembled in a factory, cutting out material and production costs. They also don’t need to be stored or shipped, which means that you’re off the hook for warehousing and postage fees.
While most digital products take some time and specialist equipment or software to put together, this is usually a one-time cost, and relies only on your time investment.
The risk is lower
Remember the fidget spinner craze?
A huge spike in popularity saw retailers stocking up on thousands of units of the toy before the fad passed and companies were stuck with worthless merchandise taking up storage space.
No such danger with digital products.
Since the unit cost is near to nothing, it doesn’t matter if sales are slow; all you’ll suffer is wasted time and disappointment.
The holy grail of any business is the ability to kick back and relax while revenue comes pouring in. More than pretty much any other kind of product, digital downloads offer a huge potential for passive income.
Other than the initial labor spend producing and marketing your products, there’s very little you actually need to do when it comes to selling and delivering digital products.
This is what makes them ideal as a side hustle, or for those who have little time or resources to maintain a physical retail operation.
Thanks to the fact digital products exist in the digital space only, they allow you to:
- Sell as many units as you want without worrying about running out of stock
- Make live edits based on sales and customer feedback
- Offer infinite versions and iterations
- Create customization options for customers
- Offer different versions of your product for even tiny niches
- Often update products, even after purchase
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