Selling digital products online

Welcome to the future of selling — digital downloads. A powerful product type with no shipping, inventory, or physical returns necessary.

The time for digital selling is now!

Design your product, upload the design, and immediately start selling worldwide. Aside from looking snazzy and showcasing your design talents, digital products have two big advantages over physical merchandise: they require no inventory, and therefore, no shipping. Now is the perfect time to sell e-goods: people are in quarantine. They have free time and are looking to learn something new or take up a hobby. That’s where your ebooks, software, DIY projects, tutorials, and other digital products come in. Maybe you think creating a digital product requires a specific skill-set. And when it comes to say, music or art, that’s probably the case. But e-goods are more than just songs or pictures. Some great digital products require no more than a well thought-out plan and some time to create.

Start selling digital products today

Set up your Ecwid store once to easily sync and sell across a website, social media, marketplaces like Amazon, and live in-person. Get started with one, or try them all.
Icon | Easy to start
Easy to start
You don’t need a team to start.
Icon | Awesome profit
Awesome profit
No production spendings and returns.
Icon | Full automation
Full automation
From launch to customer service.
Icon | Great business model
Great business model
Create it once and sell forever.

Artistic freedom


What do you want to sell? Software, ebooks, online courses, images, videos, templates, designs, filters, business docs, blueprints, research, or something else? All possible with digital products.

You’re a selling machine


Once designed, your digital product can be sold indefinitely. You also don’t have to deal with production, shipping, returns, packaging — all that messy offline stuff. Everything happens digitally. This means that your selling can be fully automated: from driving traffic to your store with Smart Shopping, to working with Support queries by implementing chatbot technology. This way, you can concentrate on customer experience, growth, or creating more products to increase your turnover.

Easy to create


Refine your skills, look around and find the right tools — that’s all you need to create a digital product and start selling!

It’s all yours


There are a ton of existing marketplaces to sell your digital products on. But generally, they take a commission. This type of third-party marketplace might be the right choice for an e-commerce newcomer. But as you grow, you can concentrate on your own website, and take your loyal customers with you. Selling digital products on your website is roughly 30% more profitable than using another platform. But what about mixing sales channels to maximize profits? That’s also an option. The point is, you should own everything — your product, the sales channels you use, and your profits, all under your control.

Ready to start selling digital products?

Selling digital products online: everything you need to know


What is a digital product?

A digital product (or e-goods/downloadable products) is any product that exists virtually. Common examples are: different types of digital media (books, music, images), tickets, and software. Professional services can also be sold as digital products. For instance, if you’re a teacher, you can create an online course and sell it online. When you add a product to your store, you typically upload a file that is automatically delivered to customers via an automated email when they make a purchase. This email contains a unique download link.

4 Reasons to sell digital goods

  1. No inventory, shipping, or return hassles. This will save you an abundance of time and money on warehouses, couriers, labels, etc.
  2. Full business automation. It’s even easier than dropshipping — the platform does it all for you: just upload the file and you’re done. Say hell to passive income!
  3. Low investment, high return. You are creating one product and selling unlimited copies, all without spending a dollar on production.
  4. Highly scalable. Add a second downloadable song and double your sales. Translate a book into a new language, and open a whole new market of readers.

What works as a digital product?

I bet at this point you’re asking yourself: “What’s the most profitable digital product to sell?” So we’ve made the following list to key you in to the digital goods that are in the highest demand right now.

  1. Software. Business and government spending on information technology (IT) software from reached almost $750 billion in 2019 (Statista) Shot
  2. Courses. Online education market reached $188 billion in 2019, and is projected to exceed $319 billion by 2025 (Research and Markets).
  3. Ebooks. Revenue in the ebooks segment is projected to reach $16,7 billion in 2020 and $20 billion by 2025 (Statista).
  4. Videos. Revenue in the Video Downloads (EST) segment is projected to reach $4,7 billion in 2020 and $5,1 billion by 2025 (Statista).
  5. Audio. Revenue in the Music Downloads segment is projected to reach $2 billion in 2020 and $10 billion by 2025 (Statista).
  6. Images. The global stock images and videos market size are expected to generate revenues of over $4 billion by 2023 (PRNewswire).

What kind of digital product should I sell?

Now that you have a list of the top 5 most profitable and trending digital products, you have to compare it with your talents, skills and resources. Let’s break down the process by splitting the segments.

Selling software online

This option requires some technical skills. If you’re a developer, this path is a surefire bet. But even if you have technical chops, choosing the right product to sell might still prove difficult, if only because there are so many options out there. So, it’s important to make it as easy as possible to narrow things down. Develop a program that will act as a solution to making something work faster, better, or will solve a common problem. You’ll see — there are thousands of people out there struggling with the same problem. Now those people are your first potential customers! For example: code and create an image resizer, image/video converter/optimizer, automation script, parcer, checker. You know those options better than us, right? If you don’t or software creation isn’t your jam, skip ahead for more ideas.

Steps towards marketing your software.

Getting ready

  • Make sure it’s worth buying. Why will people pay money for it?
  • Define your audience. Who are your future customers, where do they live, what do they do, etc.?
  • Choose your hosting platform. What type of hosting will work best for your needs: shared, VPS, dedicated, cloud?
  • Test on humans before release. Do you know how customers will use your software, or do you just think you know?

Marketing moves

  • Make a plan. First, what are you going to do with marketing? What are your goals?
  • Choose the channels you can maintain. Do you have time to maintain your website, social media channels, as well as extra channels?
  • Focus on reviews. Do you have influencers in your niche? How can they help you sell?
  • Set a competitive price. How much do your competitors sell their software products? Realistically, how much do you think your products are worth?
  • Consider free trials. Can you give your potential buyers a chance to try your software and get excited about it?
  • Create an online presence. Do you have a website or an online store and social media profile for customers to find your product?
  • Optimize your website. Are you ranking high enough on search engines, for enough keywords related to your product/niche/location? Is your content well-structured for SEO?
  • Start a blog. Blogs are great tools to both inform your potential customers and market your brand at the same time. Try sharing a roadmap to sales or a success story. Or finding new ways to talk about the world in which your digital product lives.
  • Promise refunds. Think about if you want your customers to be able to return your products if they aren’t pleased with them. How can you make them feel safe enough to take a chance on your digital goods?

Selling courses online

Online classes are booming as the world stays locked down: millions of people are stuck at home, trying to stay active, learn a new skill, or simply looking for a way to keep their kids entertained. Think of things that you really excel at, even basic, non-sellable things like writing, painting, speaking, dancing, etc. Make a list and ask your friends and family (maybe not your mother — you’re the best at everything in her eyes). When you have an idea of a skill you could talk about at length, go into production. Sell your online course as videos, or in written form. Some advice here: split them into small lessons (or units) that can be watched in an hour or two — people don’t like to spend more than a couple of hours at a time learning. And don’t forget to add practical tasks to train your student’s skills!

Some profitable niches for online courses

  • Coding and building websites
  • Coding and building websites
  • Business education and entrepreneurship
  • Digital marketing
  • E-commerce and Amazon-commerce
  • Creative skills (art, photography, fashion)
  • Wellness and meditation
  • Fitness and sports
  • Self-defence and martial arts
  • Foreign languages

Selling ebooks online

Have you penned a hit romance novel, or compiled an all-star family recipe ebook? If so, you simply must sell it digitally! Books make excellent digital products, and Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing is probably the best market to publish “digital” or “on-demand” books and start making money online. But first, you will have to create a successful ebook. Write about an expertise you have, or else use your imagination. Then, when you have the book down on paper (or, more likely, on screen), monetize it! Whether fiction or nonfiction — think about your book’s target audience. Artists, geeks, scientists, women, veterans — you can be reaching out to anyone. Next, think about accessibility. For your book to make you money, it has to be accessible (or available) everywhere! Amazon is a global marketplace, but consider having a separate home for your ebook (and yourself as a writer) online with your own domain. This is a common habit among published authors for a reason.

10 Stages of Creating an ebook

Stage 1  think of an idea.
Stage 2  describe the world of the story.
Stage 3  make a list of characters.
Stage 4  interview the main characters (in your head).
Stage 5  write the book (this is the long one!).
Stage 6  read through the entire book.
Stage 7  edit edit edit edit.
Stage 8  give it someone to read and get feedback.
Stage 9  edit again.
Stage 10  seed the book across the Internet.

Selling stock images and videos online

Selling photographs, video footages, 3D arts, posters, design patterns is probably the easiest way to enter e-commerce with a digital product. Images and videos don’t take as much time as software, ebooks, and courses; you don’t need super expensive equipment; you don’t even need outstanding skills. Quantity and price often win the game in this segment. At the same time, high-quality images and videos are in high demand among brands, because they often need to publish content in large volumes. They are always on the lookout for pictures to post on social media, to use them on their blog, or in ads. Just find the right price — one that suits you and your customers — and get to creating content to sell.

Best places to sell stock images and videos

  • Getty Images
  • Depositphotos
  • Shutterstock
  • iStockPhoto
  • Adobe Stock
  • Dreamstime

Photos categories that sell best

  • Lifestyle. Anything you would do when you’re not working.
  • Nature. Go outside and snap some pics of the one tree that’s not yet on stock.
  • Mental state. Images that illustrate emotions (positive or negative).
  • Business. Anything happening in the office place, even if people are wearing pajamas.
  • Travel. Just go on a trip and get some pics of everything around (including yourself).
  • Trends and news. Is something big happening? Take a cam and be a part of it.
  • Health/wellness/sport. Find healthy or sporty people — make them show how they got there.
  • Holidays. Presents, people shopping, decorations — anything that represents an upcoming holiday celebration.


How to choose the best downloadable product to sell

With so many options it’s easy to get lost. Think back to your skill sets, look around, and cross out things that won’t work for you. Or, answer these handy questions below:

Can you write code?

  • Yes. Can you make a complete tool that someone other than you can use?
  • No. Can you hire a developer to create a software product for you?

Do you have a camera?

  • Yes. Do you have photography and editing experience?
  • No. Do you want to spend $1,000 on a good camera and the time to learn?

Can you write a story that is interesting to read?

  • Yes. Are you ready to spend several months (or years) writing while your friends go out and play, and then deal with the criticism of strangers?
  • No. Can you write short stories or nonfiction?

Are you a true pro at something?

  • Yes. Can a regular person repeat what you’ve mastered?
  • No. Don’t sell yourself short! Go back to the drawing board and think of your best skills.


How can I create a digital product?

Now that you know all about the best selling digital product niches, have some guiding examples, and an understanding of how to choose the right digital product for you, the time has come for action. Depending on the product type you choose, the workflow will differ somewhat, but the steps of creating your own digital product repeat across most selling categories.
Step 1  create a plan. Describe the timeframe and the stages of your campaign.
Step 2  choose the right tools. Creating anything will require tools — think about the ones you need and how you’ll obtain them.
Step 3 — start production. Work on it every day like it’s your job — keep moving forward until you have the product in hand, ready to go.
Step 4  find testers. Choose the people who will be your focus group. Give them the product. Get their honest feedback.
Step 5 — create content. Descriptions, manuals, covers, icons — more is more.
Step 6 — set the price. Based on how much you spent on the product (factor in time!) and your desired revenue.
Step 7 — do a soft release. Show your final product to a small audience of the general public, and get feedback.
Step 8 — make adjustments. Hold back your emotions and work with criticism. Improve your products based on this feedback.
Step 9  commit to a hard release. No turning back now. Make your digital product go live — help it and support its growth once it’s out there.
Step 10 — plan further. Plan upgrade releases, promotions, meetings with your audience to get a grip on their needs and wants.

How do I start selling digital products online?

Selling is the next life cycle of the digital product existence, after it’s released. There are two ways to do that: on your own (in this case, you get all the money), or by delegating the selling to some platform and sharing revenue (through paid commissions).

Option 1: gimme all the money!

Step 1  establish sales channels. Create a store, set up social profiles.
Step 2  get an ads budget. Advertising is the best way for a quick launch, even with a low budget.
Step 3  get more content. Ads need images and copy. Keep them coming. Consider blogging to drive organic traffic to your website.
Step 4  count your money (again). Recount all your spendings (past and future) taking the advertising budget into consideration.
Step 5  set the price (again). If your spending increased, recalibrate the price.
Step 6  get yourself some landing pages. Pick up or build pages that match each ad campaign.
Step 7  launch ad campaigns. Nice and slow, as you don’t want to put all your money on the table at once.
Step 8  spread the word. Get your social media follower’s attention with a special offer, and ask your friends to share the news far and wide.
Step 9  consider affiliate marketing. Contact 1-3 influencers to test it out, don’t go public with affiliate programs until you’ve grown your confidence.
Step 10  analyze and optimize. Keep an eye on website performance, sales, margin and budget balance and customer feedback. Always be analyzing, thinking about the ways you might improve.

Platforms to sell digital products on (without a website)

If building up your own online store to sell digital products isn’t feasible in the short term, there are places (we call them marketplaces), to find buyers. Unfortunately, these platforms take commissions for their service. But hey, for the business business person the the go, sometimes marketplaces are just the right option.

Top platforms to list and sell digital or downloadable products without a website

  • Amazon. Large audience, hard competition.
  • Ebay. Easy to manage, weak toolset for selling software.
  • Etsy. Pretty new with digital downloads, but user friendly.
  • GetApp. The largest directory, but it doesn’t have a checkout.
  • Product Hunt. Go super viral or fall into oblivion — it’s a bit of a lottery.

Can I sell digital products on Facebook?

Another alternative is using social media to promote and sell your digital products. The most crowded social network to start selling downloadables through is Facebook. However, Facebook can’t host the files so you’ll still need a website to land customers from Facebook, and allow them to complete their purchases.

Can I sell digital products on Instagram?

Yes! But it will (once again) require having a website to accept payments. Selling downloadable products on Instagram is based on advertising and sending paid traffic to your website. This is basically the same as with Facebook. The difference here is that you will need to adjust your visuals to match the audience’s expectations or habits: Instagram users are generally younger and more impulsive when it comes to making purchasing decisions.

What is the best site to sell music on?

The best site to sell your music is your own online store. But if you don't have one, consider the following.

Music download sites

  • iTunes
  • Google Play
  • Amazon
  • Streaming platforms
  • Spotify
  • Apple Music
  • Amazon Music

Music marketplaces

  • Bandcamp
  • AudioJungle
  • Epidemic Sound

What is the best place to sell ebooks?

If you’re planning to make a living selling ebooks online, you’ll probably want to list your books everywhere you can. We’ve listed several popular options. And don’t forget, you can also sell ebooks on your own online store or website.

  • Amazon
  • Kindle
  • Direct Publishing
  • Apple Books
  • Google Books
  • Lulu
  • Blurb

Start selling digital products with Ecwid

No matter the type of the digital product or the distribution channel you choose, you’ll need your own place online to invite your fans, share stories and, of course, sell some as many copies as possible. Ecwid E-commerce is the perfect platform for selling digital downloads or other digital products. With Ecwid, it’s easy to sell digital downloads of software, videos, audio files, ebooks, PDFs, graphics and other files, even if they are as large as 25 GB in size, even if you have 100 of them! The best part is that there’s no need to revamp your digital presence. Ecwid lets you seamlessly integrate your store’s shopping cart into any website, blog, or even Facebook page.
Icon | Sell Everywhere
Sell everywhere
Sell simultaneously in person and on websites, mobile phones, social sites and marketplaces.
Icon | Responsive Design
Responsive design
Ecwid store looks perfect on any device — phones, laptops, tablets, smart TVs or smart watches.
Icon | Social Commerce
Social commerce
Add an online store to Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr or any other social media site.
Icon | Global Reach
Global reach
Sell globally with multi-currency support, over 100+ payment options, and in 50+ languages.

How to start selling digital products with Ecwid

You don’t have to deal with packaging and shipping to be a successful e-commerce merchant. Ecwid facilitates the direct delivery of digital downloads to your customers, via your own easy-to-use online store. Adding an Ecwid shopping cart to your website takes just a few minutes, and it works flawlessly on computers and mobile devices of any kind. The process is simple. Your customers place an order for a digital download. You receive their payment through a secure, custom payment gateway. Then your customers get their product as a digital download. Forget postage, processing, and hassle — sell digital downloads the easy way using Ecwid’s e-commerce shopping cart.

Here is a quick step by step:

  1. From your Ecwid admin, go to Catalog → Products.
  2. Click a product to edit or create a new one.
  3. In the General tab untick Requires shipping or pickup:
  1. Then open the Files tab.
  2. Click +Upload Files.
  3. In the popup click Choose file:
  1. Select the file on your computer.
  2. Click + to add more files.
  3. Click Upload Files.
  4. Enter the file description.
  5. Click Save.

Ready to start selling digital products?

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