Selling digital downloads can feel a bit overwhelming. You may have a plan for developing your product but find yourself perplexed by the prospect of selling the item.
It doesn’t have to be a confusing, and debunking a few myths can help you discover a shopping cart solution that is well-suited to you and your product.
This article tackles 3 common myths and includes a downloadable decision tool that quickly identifies a shopping cart solution that meets your needs.
Ready to go from confused to confident? Let’s tackle the myths that most often hold people back from successful selling.
Myth #1: It’s difficult and you must be a tech wiz.
It’s a great time to start selling digital downloads. Because of the boom in online sales of digital products like ebooks, photos, online courses and software, there are numerous comprehensive and affordable options for selling your digital downloads. The hardest part will likely be choosing from the vast number of options. While lots of choices can be a blessing, it can also be a source of confusion.
To narrow down your search and choose a good fit for you and your product, there are few key considerations. An important one is the complexity of the technology to get things set-up.
A great choice if you are taking a DIY approach to selling your digital products are hosted options. While hiring a web developer to set up an ecommerce store is certainly an option, it isn’t necessary. These “out-of-the box” shopping cart solutions are structured as a service and offer a great deal of convenience if you are planning on setting up your product listings without the help of a web developer. This article features three RDs that have done just that using hosted shopping cart solutions.
Understanding how these hosted options work takes some of the mystery and confusion out of the process. Hosted shopping cart solutions such as Gumroad, e-Junkie and DPD store the file that will be provided to the purchaser, provide payment processing (or allow you to connect existing accounts) and automatically deliver the download to the purchaser after payment is received. Read a more detailed review of these options here.
Hosted shopping cart solutions typically offer all the tools you need to sell your product, but do charge a monthly flat fee and/or transaction fee with each sale. Because your website isn’t processing the sale, an SSL certificate isn’t required. An added benefit is they also feature comprehensive, step-by-step tools to help you get your product listing set-up and ready to sell. Most offer an affiliate program which allows you to offer affiliates a percentage of each sale for promoting your product. Convenient reports and even the option to sell other digital products like subscriptions and streaming video make them an appealing option. Grab my decision tree to help you decide which one is best for you.
Hosted shopping cart solutions make it easy to just create a listing and then either add an “Add to Cart” button on your website or use a hyperlink that takes the buyer to a separate product listing page to complete the purchase. One objection often expressed is that these shopping carts take the buyer to different website to complete the purchase and that it is necessary to choose a licensed shopping cart built into your website to offer a checkout experience that feels integrated into your website.
To eliminate the customer experience of being taken to a different website to purchase the product, some hosted shopping cart solutions allow you to create an “overlay checkout” experience. With an overlay checkout screen, the buyer doesn’t have the experience of being taken to a different website for checkout. Setting up the overlay checkout requires a bit more tech savvy, but is certainly an option if you don’t want your customers to experience a checkout process that appears to occur on another website. If you are using an overlay checkout, payment processing and delivery of the download is still completed by the hosted shopping cart solution, but the checkout experience feels integrated on your website. Grab my free download to see which hosted shopping cart solutions offer an overlay checkout.
One major consideration for hosted options that adds a layer of complexity (and often confusion) is payment processors. With online sales, payments are processed through a payment gateway such as PayPal Business, Stripe, AuthorizeNet and others. Some of the hosted options require you to connect your accounts with payment processors while others offer a built-in payment processing. If you don’t have accounts set-up with payment gateways and/or don’t want the added complexity of setting up accounts, you should consider choosing one of the options that offers built-in payment processing. Download the decision support tree that provide you with options based on your preferred approach to payment processing.
Selling a digital download online will require you to develop new skills but isn’t reserved only for those with advanced technical skills. Many of the hosted options are designed with just this objection in mind. They are designed to be easy-to-use and while they do come with some monthly fees and/or transaction fees, they make the process of getting your digital download available for sale much easier than setting up all these components on your own website.
Myth #2: You have to have a website.
While selling digital downloads from your personal website is a common way to sell digital downloads, it isn’t required. You can create an online store by using a number of shopping cart solutions or online marketplace providers. Your online “store” is a web address and contains a listing of all the products you offer conveniently listed in one location. You can easily share this link on social media or promote in other ways.
A well-known example of this is Etsy. Each seller has their own store on Etsy, creates and manages their own products, can view earning as well as communicate with customers. You may be most familiar with Etsy for physical products, but it also allows you to sell digital downloads.
An added benefit of Etsy is the exposure that your product receives as a part of this marketplace. Etsy is a highly recognizable brand and is a destination for online shoppers. This means that your product will be seen by a wider audience. While creating your product and product listing is a big step toward selling your product, another large component is getting your product seen by potential buyers.
RD2RD is a marketplace website that is designed exclusively for RDs and DTRs. Listing your product on RD2RD gets your product in front of a wider audience to promote sales. Products can be purchased by both professionals as well as the public, but only RDs and DTRs can create stores and list products. It is a destination for RD and DTR created nutrition resources. Learn more about RD2RD here.
Myth #3: If you create a digital product listing, people will flock to purchase it.
Creating an ebook, toolkit or other downloadable product is a LOT of work, however a quality product won’t sell itself. Creating an appealing product listing is just one step in the process of selling a digital download. The marketing for your digital product to promote sales represents much more of a time investment than creating the actual product.
You will need a marketing approach to generate product sales. This is an individualized process, but perhaps you have an established clientele and plan to promote your product to this group. Alternatively, you may be a blogger and use your product to generate sales from website visitors. For great examples of this, check out Lindsay Livingston’s Ultimate Food Prep Guide described in this article. She uses Gumroad to sell it.
A marketplace site gets your product out in front of a wider audience. However, marketplace sites do have associated fees/expenses. Considering how you intend to market your product as well as if you already have an audience established (i.e. email list or social media following) can help you to determine if listing on a marketplace site is a good fit for you. Remember that you can sell your product in numerous locations. Selling both on your own website as well as a marketplace is a popular strategy for creators of digital products.
The Bottom Line:
Selling digital downloads doesn’t have to be confusing. Choosing a shopping cart solution that is suited to you and your product will make the process much easier. Tackling these common myths have positioned you to make a decision, get your product listed and start generating passive income.