Last updated on 3rd October 2023 at 18:50 by Alex Nicholas
The world of e-commerce has experienced a massive boom in recent years, with businesses and entrepreneurs leveraging innovative platforms like Shopify and WordPress to sell their products and services.
But one aspect of utilising Shopify that's often overlooked is that of using it to sell digital products as a SaaS (software as a service) company.
In fact, one of the most lucrative sectors within the e-commerce space at the moment is the sale of digital products through Shopify, because it offers a wealth of opportunities for both seasoned sellers and newcomers alike to sell directly to customers, due to it's ease of use and set-up.
In this post, I'll explore the various aspects of selling digital products on Shopify, delving into the benefits of this business model and the types of products you can sell, as well as examining the profitability of different niches, the tools and services available to support your online store, and how to optimize your Shopify store for maximum success.
What makes Shopify a good option for my company?
There are many reasons why I believe that Shopify is the right solution for the majority of online sellers, but instead of going into excessive detail here in this post, as I did in my Shopify review article, below I've outlined the main reasons I think as an eCommerce SEO service provider, it's the right choice.
- User-friendly: Shopify is known for its ease of use, and even beginners can quickly set up and manage their online stores with its user-friendly interface.
- Customizable: Shopify offers a range of customizable templates and themes that allow users to create unique and visually appealing storefronts.
- Secure: Shopify is a highly secure platform that employs multiple layers of security to protect its users' data and transactions.
- Mobile-ready: Shopify offers mobile-responsive templates that allow customers to shop on the go and for merchants to manage their store from their mobile devices.
- Payment gateway integration: Shopify has its own payment gateway, Shopify Payments, and it also integrates with over 100 third-party payment gateways, making it easy for customers to pay and merchants to receive payments.
- Inventory management: Shopify's inventory management system makes it easy to manage and track stock levels, set up notifications for low inventory, and more.
- Marketing and SEO tools: Shopify provides built-in marketing and SEO tools that allow merchants to promote their stores, run email campaigns, and optimize their sites for search engines.
- App store: Shopify's app store offers a wide range of apps and integrations that allow users to add new features and functionalities to their stores.
- Customer support: Shopify offers 24/7 customer support via phone, email, and live chat, ensuring that users always have access to help when they need it.
Embracing the Business of Selling Digital Products on Shopify
Selling digital products on Shopify has become a popular choice for many small business owners, thanks to the platform's user-friendly interface, extensive customization options, and robust support for digital downloads.
As a cloud-hosted e-commerce company, Shopify enables users to easily sell digital products, such as ebooks, online courses, and digital downloads, without the need for physical inventory or warehousing.
In the past, Shopify has been overlooked by business owners when it comes to selling digital products because they automatically associate it with physical products, but Shopify has come a long way in a short period of time and offers a great range of options for pretty much anyone that wants to sell anything online, within reason.
To sell digital products you use the same product pages as you would if you were selling physical products but with the added ability to deal with VAT MOSS right out of the box thanks to Shopify and the fact that they've already thought of removing potential headaches for you.
Digital products examples
There are numerous profitable digital product niches that you can explore within your Shopify store, including ebooks, online courses, software, graphics, and digital templates.
The eBook thing is undoubtedly a path well trodden thanks to Amazon and Gumroad, so let's start with online courses.
Selling online courses
Selling online courses is something that people within your niche will buy all day every day because in the vast majority of cases, it's a course on a passion of theirs and there are always different ways to learn a new technique or uncover a better way to do something.
People will buy your course because you offer expertise and something fresh.
It goes without saying that software is often a hard thing to sell because people more often than not will have a favourite piece of software that they use and will not change unless you offer something groundbreaking or do the same thing as the software they already use, but for significantly less money.
However, if you do have a software solution to sell and you need an online shopping cart, then Shopify is ideal for all of the reasons I've already mentioned above.
Selling digital templates
Selling digital templates isn't something that most will ever think of doing in our lifetimes, but it's certainly something I'm seeing an increase in popularity over the years.
Digital templates are a time saver for many people looking to do things like extract or organise data and are nearly always needed by people who don't have the ability or time to make it themselves.
So if you have the skillset to build a series of templates that make people's lives easier then you have the potential to make a very nice side income.
Advantages of the Digital Product Business Model
I don't really need to go into too much detail in this section because I'm assuming that you're reading this post because you already know it's a good idea, you just need to know if Shopify is a good fit for you.
However, selling digital products on Shopify does offer a number of unique benefits, including instant access to customers that are ready to buy, lower overhead costs, and the ability to scale your business quickly.
For example, you can have more than one Shopify store if you need to diversify into new markets.
Furthermore, this business model allows for greater customer lifetime value, as you can build a loyal customer base that is more likely to make repeat purchases and recommend you to others who might benefit from buying your digital products.
Optimizing Your Shopify Store for Success
To ensure your digital product store's success, it's crucial to follow a proven blueprint that includes actionable steps, such as creating a visually appealing website, offering a diverse range of digital products, providing outstanding customer service, and staying up-to-date with the latest trends in e-commerce and digital products.
To get a better understanding of how to optimise your store, check out my Shopify optimisation checklist for a full breakdown of what's involved.
Leveraging Online Tools and Services
Shopify offers a variety of online tools and services to help you build and maintain your digital product store, on top of integrations with popular payment gateways there are customizable templates and a comprehensive app store that provides additional functionality.
It's hard for me to advise too much on what apps you might need, but I'll say this, you will need a good image compression app. I personally use Crush Pics, but there is a number out there to choose from.
That's a wrap
Selling digital products on Shopify is an excellent opportunity for anyone looking to start or expand their online business. By carefully selecting profitable niches, optimizing your store, and leveraging the various tools and services available, you can create a thriving and profitable digital product store on Shopify.
So, whether you're a solopreneur or an established business owner, consider exploring the world of digital products on Shopify to unlock new revenue streams and drive your e-commerce success.