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Where Can I Sell Digital Downloads? [The Most Profitable Way]

where can i sell digital downloads?

You’re here because you are probably wondering what the best place is to sell your digital downloads. You’ve come to the right place! I will get straight to the point below so you learn as fast as you can, no time wasted!

Places to sell digital downloads

There are many places that sell digital downloads, but it all comes down to two categories:

  • Your own website
  • Marketplaces

Your own website

In my opinion, this is the best method to sell digital downloads. It’s just the best way to get the most value out of your brand. So throughout this tutorial, I’m going to show you this method.

You also own the domain, so you have control over pixels, traffic tracking, retargeting customers, designing the site and loads more. My main reasons why this is a better route to take:

Pros

  • You own the domain & search presence – more valuable
  • You control the traffic
  • Your business gets all the profit (apart from payment processing fees but they are on everything)
  • Create the brand you want
  • Design the store you like
  • & much more

Cons

  • You need to bring traffic and customers

Marketplaces

Let me start by saying, I’m not a fan of marketplaces at all. I’ve sold on many and most of them are just terrible.

For example, one of them was Envato, they take 55% commission of all your sales if you want to host your product on multiple marketplaces, or around 40% commission if you have it exclusively on Envato. It’s completely up to you if you are OK with these conditions.

So as you know, I really don’t like marketplaces and I will state the Pros & Cons below.

Pros

  • They can bring traffic & sales, but not as much as you would expect. You will always have strong competition to outrank on marketplaces.

Cons

  • They take high commissions from your sales
  • You don’t have control over the traffic
  • You are essentially “renting” your shop on their site
  • Got to follow their strict rules
  • Get paid when the marketplace wants to pay you
  • Even though you get traffic, it’s hard to outrank the competition on there.

Where do you start?

Here’s the exciting part!

Step 1 – Choose a platform (Shopify is best)

OK, so the best place to start with selling digital downloads, is to decide on a platform to build your website. You can take a few routes: Get a developer, build on Shopify or build on WordPress.

I can guarantee you though, that if you got a developer, they will build your store on Shopify. It’s the leading ecommerce solution in recent years, and there are strong reasons why.

Powerful

Shopify is powerful, no questions asked. It’s a multi-billion dollar company based in Canada and it hosts some of the world’s biggest companies such as GymShark, MVMT, Red Bull, Heinz, Lindt and tonnes more. Read more on huge brands that use Shopify.

Security

Shopify is very secure, like very! When building your own from scratch, you need to build these security systems yourself through trial and error. Or even WordPress is known to get hacked often. WordPress is still great, it just requires more experience with developing and understanding servers etc.

Cost

To build a store from scratch would be quite expensive and take so much time. So that’s an investment into security, infrastructure and much more. With Shopify, you get everything, all in one, for just $30 per month. So which one sounds more pleasing? Exactly, there’s a reason why Shopify is leading right now.

Ease of use

It’s a content management system that has allowed anyone with any computer experience, to create an online store. Simply start a free trial, create a product, design your storefront, and start selling. It is really that simple.

Step 2 – Start your free trial with Shopify

It’s a very quick sign-up process, sign up here.

Step 3 – Install the “Downloadable Digital Assets” app

Shopify doesn’t have an in-built digital download system, so you need to install one of their Shopify-approved applications from the app store. If you’re selling large digital downloads, check this guide, it will be helpful for you.

downloadable digital assets app

This app is the best digital download app to use because we built it. We’ve been building digital products stores on Shopify for over 7 years now and we just didn’t have a good digital download solution, so we teamed up with brilliant developers and built our own.

We know this works wonders because it’s crafted around our stores, and we want the best we can build.

Features

Some features we have that I want to tell you about:

  • Download protection – allow customers to only download from a number of IP addresses
  • Download protection – PDF Stamping to protect your PDFs
  • Fraud protection – block medium and high-risk order from downloading
  • Add download links to customer accounts order pages
  • Use your own company email address to send download emails
  • Check out more of our features here!

Step 4 – Create your products in Shopify

  1. Go to your Shopify dashboard
  2. Click on the “Products” page,
  3. Then click on the “Add product” button.

This is how you create new products. Repeat this step over and over again until you have added all of your products. Make sure that you mark your products as non-physical! This is important if you are selling digital products.

You can do this by going to the Product creation page, scrolling down to the “This is a physical product” section and unchecking the box.

Step 5 – Upload your digital download files

  1. Go to the Downloadable digital Asset Shopify app
  2. Go to the “Assets” page
  3. Click the “Upload new assets” button

Now begin uploading your digital download files.

upload new assets

Step 6 – Attach those digital download files to your Shopify products

Now you can attach them to your products that you created in Shopify earlier. You can do this in 2 ways:

Method 1 – From the asset page

  1. Go to your asset page inside the app
  2. You will see a search box under the title “Attach this asset to products”
attach to products

Method 2 – From the Product page

  1. Go to the “Products” page
  2. Click on a product
  3. Use the search box to select which assets you want to attach to the product
search box to attach assets

Step 7 – Design your storefront

This is where you can make your store presentable for your customers. You don’t want it to look scammy! So I would suggest that you take a look at other online stores that you like, and take some inspiration from them.

There are plenty of resources online to help you design Shopify stores, my best suggestion would be to use templates from Shopify page builder apps if you have no coding experience.

Step 8 – Start bringing traffic and sales

Methods:

  • Social media posting
  • Online advertising such as Meta/Instagram ads, TikTok ads, Snapchat ads, Google ads & more
  • SEO – build a search presence for your store on search engines like Google. Learn how to optimize your website for SEO.
  • Do a good job with support, word of mouth is one of the best conversion rates for most industries
  • Collaborations with other stores

Again, there are so many routes you can take for this, it’s endless.

Video tutorial

FAQ

What is the best platform to sell digital products?

Shopify is the best platform to sell digital downloads. It’s secure, scalable, got the best features and is the most loved all-in-one solution. Even big brands such as Lindt, GymShark and Heinz use Shopify.

What is the best digital downloads app for Shopify?

The best and most trusted Shopify app is “Downloadable Digital Assets”. It’s built by Shopify experts and has the best file protection features for all of Shopify to prevent customers sharing files.