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Selling Digital Downloads on Etsy: How To, and What to Sell

10 min read

When most people think of Etsy, the first thing that comes to mind is probably custom jewelry, clothing, and decor. But Etsy is an extremely diverse marketplace that offers a tremendous range of custom, handmade items from trusted sellers.

Sometimes, the products sold on Etsy don’t need to be “handcrafted” in the literal sense. For digital artists, Etsy is one of the best E-commerce platforms to market and sell their work. While Etsy does have a detailed Handmade Policy, it is flexible enough to allow for digital downloads in the marketplace.

This is great news for anyone who is interested in selling digital products as part of their business. There are many applications, both practical and creative, for selling and buying digital downloads. Let’s break down how to sell digital downloads on Etsy, then look at some examples of top-selling digital products.

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How to Sell Digital Downloads on Etsy

First, no matter what you sell on Etsy, you need to make sure you adhere to Etsy’s seller policy. All products sold on Etsy must be handmade or custom designed by the seller. For digital downloads, this means you should design your products yourself. This also applies if you then pass it along to an engineer or graphic designer for the final product.

If you have limited design experience, don’t worry. You can still design digital products to be sold on Etsy. Design should be one of the first steps, of course. If you don’t know what design program to use, there are plenty of great free graphic design programs available. A program like Inkscape is great for beginners looking to start selling digital downloads.

You also have the option of outsourcing the design work to an experienced graphic designer. Just make sure you document any production partners you enlist, as this is a major part of Etsy’s Handmade Policy.

Once you have your design, you simply need to set up your Etsy shop if you don’t have one already. This process is relatively straightforward. Simply click the “Get started” button on Etsy’s seller page, and follow the ensuing prompts. Make sure your Etsy storefront is well-designed to attract your ideal customer and clearly conveys what you sell.

Then, simply create your listings. Note that Etsy does charge a $0.20 listing fee, so you may want to be conservative to start. 20 cents is not a lot for a single listing. However, it’s better to figure out what sells best before creating a ton of listings.

Once your shop is set up, customers can find your digital products and purchase them. Don’t be afraid to market your products elsewhere on the web. This is better than sitting and waiting for customers to appear, after all.

Advantages of Selling Digital Downloads on Etsy

There are a few reasons why selling digital downloads on Etsy is a good idea for a business. It may seem unconventional at first, but there is tremendous value in it for a lot of people. Here are some of the biggest advantages of selling digital products.

No shipping fees

For most online sellers, paying for shipping can be a hidden or overlooked business expense. High shipping costs can cause you to lose sales or eat into your profits. But when you sell digital downloads, there is no shipping at all. Your customers buy your product as a downloadable file which is sent to their online inbox. It’s both free and instantaneous, which is better for everyone.

Variety of uses

As you will see later, there are a lot of different ways people use digital downloads purchased on Etsy. From bloggers to event planners, to students, parents, and more, downloadable products provide tremendous value. This means there is a very wide market for potential digital download sellers. If you can identify a market for your digital products, you can make a great profit by selling on Etsy.

Fun and practical creative outlet

Etsy is fairly unique in that it affords its sellers a great opportunity to explore their creative passions. This is true for digital sellers just as it is for those who sell physical products. If you have a passion for graphic design, Etsy is a great way to make money on the side or start a business.

Best Digital Products to Sell on Etsy

Printable and digital planners

Planners are an essential organizing tool for many people from all walks of life. People might use planners to balance their work schedules, appointments, or their personal life. While most people think of Etsy as a marketplace for crafts, planners are also a highly popular category on the website. Specifically, digital planners sell extremely well on Etsy. Users appreciate the array of options available to them in digital planners available on the Etsy marketplace.

Whether customers want a digital planner for their device, or a physical planner, they can find them as digital downloads on Etsy. Sellers can provide printable layouts for custom planners that can be downloaded and printed in mere minutes. This is a much more efficient (and satisfying) option than waiting on shipping or going to the store to buy a planner. Check out this highly-rated digital planner from AmethystGarnet on the Etsy store for an example.

Labels

Another highly popular digital product on the Etsy marketplace is printable labels, such as these address stickers. Users can purchase and print out custom labels for their events, items, or products on Etsy. This has a wide range of applications. Small businesses might use Etsy to buy high-quality labels for their inventory. Others might use an item like the address stickers above to send wedding invitations or other forms of postage. Whatever they are used for, digital printable labels are a top-selling item on Etsy.

Business cards

Users can purchase editable business card templates as downloadable files on Etsy. This, again, is another practical option that is utilized by many small business owners. Business cards are a highly effective networking tool.

Etsy is a great, convenient place to go to find stylish and effective business card templates. Once again, the lack of shipping makes this a particularly convenient option. Customers can download their business card template and have a complete batch printed out the same day.

Travel guides

This category is a bit more niche than some of the others. Nonetheless, selling downloadable travel guides on Etsy is an effective business model for many sellers.

Customers planning a vacation can search for a specific location, like Zion National Park in Utah. Etsy stores then provide detailed, easy-to-understand downloadable travel guides for that area. It is extremely convenient and a great way to make any vacation even more memorable.

Of course, if you’re going to sell travel guides online, you should know what you are talking about. This may be more of a niche market for well-traveled individuals or well-connected businesses. But if this is an idea that appeals to you, then selling digital travel guides on Etsy is a great option.

Phone wallpapers

For a more everyday accessory item to sell, there is also a large market for unique phone wallpapers on Etsy. These days, just about everyone uses a smartphone every day. And for most people, custom wallpaper simply comes with the territory of owning a phone.

Digital artists on Etsy can design and sell some amazing wallpapers for iPhones or Android phones as digital downloads. This is a category that is more reliant on graphic design skills than some of the others, of course. But for those with a passion for artistic graphic design, this can be a great way to make some extra money.

Final Thoughts

There are plenty of other categories of digital products to sell on Etsy that we didn’t mention here. Learning tools, resume templates, and printable artwork are a few other major categories on the Etsy store. Selling digital products on Etsy has a lot of business potential for those who are inclined to explore it.

Do you want to know more about selling on Etsy?

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About the author

Max has been working in the ecommerce industry for the last six years helping brands to establish and level-up content marketing and SEO. Despite that, he has experience with entrepreneurship. He is a fiction writer in his free time.

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