What do I need?
- A Squarespace website (for the website frontend)
- Shopify $5 plan (for the eCommerce and product backend)
- Install the “Buy Button” app (free)
- Install the “Downloadable Digital Assets” digital product delivery app (free)
How does it work?
This will work by using Squarespace as your website’s frontend (visual side) and then using Shopify for your backend (for building products and taking payments).
You can place Shopify Buy Buttons on a Squarespace site easily.
All it costs is $5/month for the Shopify plan to integrate to Squarespace.
- Create Shopify account
- Create products
- Install two free apps
- Upload your PDFs & attach them to products
- Add your Buy Buttons to Squarespace site
Why this method works best with Squarespace for selling PDFs?
First of all, Squarespace has zero file protection for PDFs.
Squarespace’s whole digital product solution is weak. Using Shopify as the commerce and PDF delivery on your Squarespace site will allow you to unlock these:
- PDF Stamping (stamps customer’s details onto PDF pages to protect PDFs from file sharing)
- Lock the PDF so they cannot remove their personal details
- Set IP address download limitations (to prevent more sharing)
- Download links don’t expire
- Sell any file size and type
- Customisable download email templates
- Email tracking
- Send downloads from your business email address
- & more
There’s a reason why digital products sell better with Shopify’s system hooked up to Squarespace. Here they are below:
Disadvantages of Squarespace’s method:
- You can only upload 300MB maximum
- Only attach 1 PDF to a product
- It’s not possible to set the quantity or add variants or SKUs for digital products
- It’s not possible to sell digital products as subscriptions
- You can’t send a new link when customers click an expired download link
- This link will expire 24 hours after the purchase. Non-adjustable
- Doesn’t have email tracking
- No upgrade options
- No protection features
- No extra storage options
- Cannot use your own email to send the downloads
- No customization features for emails or branding
Advantages of our method:
- Sell any file size within your plan storage amount
- Attach as many PDFs as you want to your products
- Sell any file type you want
- Download links can last forever, or you can add your own custom limitations
- Includes email tracking (Scale plan)
- Links don’t expire unless you set it yourself
- Upgrade options, no limits
- Many file protection features
- Use your own email to send downloads (Pro plan)
- Completely customizable email templates and branding
- Free plan available
How to sell PDFs on Squarespace
I assume you already have a Squarespace site and are ready to add the products once you have set them up in Shopify.
1. Sign up for Shopify
What you need to do is sign up for Shopify’s $5 plan. This allows you to use Shopify, but you won’t be able to create a storefront there. You will essentially be integrating it into Squarespace.
Install the apps to your Shopify store
Next, you will need to install the below apps. You can do this by:
- Go to your Shopify dashboard
- Click “Apps” > “App and sales channel settings“
- Click the “Customize your store” button
- Search for the below apps, or simply click the links.
Install the Buy Button app
Click the “Add app” button and follow the steps to accept.
Install the Downloadable Digital Assets app
Click the “Add app” button and follow the steps to accept. When you get to the pricing page, choose a plan 7-day free trial, or scroll down and click the continue button to use the free plan.
2. Create your products in Shopify
- Go back to your Shopify dashboard and go to “Products“.
- Here, you will click the “Add your products” button. If you have already created a product, it will show a green “Add product” button.
- Now, enter your product details, including the name etc.
- Scroll down to the “Shipping” section and uncheck the “This is a physical product” box. This tells the system that it’s a digital product. This is very important.
Because it’s digital, it’s good to uncheck the “Track quantity” box too. Click “Save” once you are complete.
3. Upload your digital products & attach them
Now, to add digital products to those Shopify products that you created, all you need to do is:
- In your Shopify dashboard, click the “Apps” button that is on the left
- Click “Downloadable Digital Assets“. A new tab will open.
- Now, go to the “Assets” page
- Click the “Upload new asset” button and upload your digital products
Next, attach the file to the Shopify products
- Click on the digital file that you just uploaded (blue text)
- Enter the name of your Shopify product in the search box, select the relevant one and press the “Attach” button.
This will mean the digital file is now attached and armed. If someone purchases this product, a download email will be delivered.
4. Add the product Buy Buttons to your Squarespace site
At this point, you have fully set up the digital files to be delivered. All you need to do now is add the buy buttons to your Squarespace site.
Now, here is the fun bit! This is where you are going to add the Shopify products to your Squarespace pages. This one is more of a fun step for you to be creative.
- Go to Shopify and click “Apps” > “Buy Button“
- Now, click the “Create a Buy Button” green button
- Click “Product Buy Button” > select your product and continue.
- Now, customize your button to your style! You can be creative and use a few options.
You can change the colours, layout style, the cart, the button border, the text and much more.
Feel free to change the actions such as once the customer clicks the button, you can direct them to checkout instantly or just add the product to cart.
- Once you are done, click the “Next” button in the top-left of the window. If you make any style adjustments, you will need to copy and paste this code again into Squarespace.
- You will be promoted to copy the code. Click the “Copy code” button.
Go to your Squarespace site
- Load up the page on Squarespace where you want to place the product button
- Scroll to the section and click “Add block“
- Find the “Code” block
- Paste the copied embed code for your Buy Button in the code box.
It’s really that simple to sell PDFs on Squarespace with file protection!
Remember, you still need to finalise some other things, such as your payment gateways and business data in Shopify.
Set up your payment gateway in Shopify
I recommend using Shopify Payments & PayPal as your gateways. It gives users two options, and sometimes they feel more comfortable using PayPal.
You will also get the best rates this way too. Shopify Payments have the best transaction costs compared to other gateways.
- Go to Shopify
- Click “Settings” > “Payments“
- Here you can set up Shopify Payments, PayPal or any other gateway you choose.
Customize the “Downloadable Digital Assets” app
I recommend that you load up the Downloadable Digital Assets app and customise the settings more. There are a bunch of cool features that I think you would benefit from.
Features & tutorials:
- PDF Stamping
- Email tracking
- Add URs as assets
- No limits on file size or type
- Set IP Address limitations
- Order bandwidth & download tracking
- Set pre-order release dates
- Update assets & notify customers
- Fraud protection
- Add download limitations
- Attach unlimited assets to products
- Use your own email to send downloads
- Email customisation templates
- Downloads show in customer accounts
- Connect your own Amazon S3
- Sell personalised digital products
If you need any help, just contact us and ask anything you want!