Shopify is normally understood as an e-commerce platform for selling tangible products or direct-to-consumer services. It turns out that the platform works great for digital products too. That’s right, you can open a Shopify store for selling everything from e-books to mobile apps.
Digital product basics are identical to setting up an e-commerce enterprise featuring clothing, cosmetics, or any other consumer products. The differences come into play in shipping and delivery. It is all explained below.
As you read, you might be thinking of your own digital enterprise. Using Shopify to sell digital products certainly has some advantages as opposed to listing in a generic store that carries products from thousands of other retailers:
- Your own store gives you marketing exclusivity
- Branding is made easier with an exclusive store
- Your own store gives you direct access to customers
- You can integrate your store with social media pages
- An online store shows your company and products in a more favourable light.
Shipping Digital Products
By definition, digital products don’t require physical shipping. These are products like e-books, digital music files, computer software, mobile apps, etc. However, shipping is assumed by the Shopify platform whenever a new product is created. The software was designed with the understanding that most of the products sold through Shopify would be products requiring physical shipping.
There’s nothing to worry about, though. You can easily disable shipping for every new digital product you list. Just create the product as you would any other, then clear the ‘This product require shipping’ tick box under the Shipping settings. That’s it.
Delivery of Digital Products
If you are not physically shipping digital products to your customers, you need to provide some sort of online delivery option. You could simply create a link on the product page for direct download, but that would enable people to get your product without paying. Shopify has come up with a creative solution.
The Digital Downloads app in the Shopify App Store offers you electronic delivery functionality with the click of a mouse. Just install it the same way you would any other app. Once installed you can enter your digital products for automatic delivery upon receipt of payment.
The Shopify documentation indicates that there are other third-party apps that perform the same function. Nevertheless, they are not all created equally. You may have to experiment with a few to find one that works well for your store.
Offering Both Options
There may be times when you want to offer both digital downloads and physical delivery. You would do this by sending CD or DVD copies of your products through the mail. The best way is to choose one as the main product, say the online delivery version for example, then create a variant for the CD or DVD version. You can then set up the variant with regular shipping options.
Shopify is a great platform for digital products. It is easy, fast, and flexible enough to meet multiple delivery and shipping needs.