When it comes to the business of gaming and selling virtual or digital goods, designing a revenue model seems easy. Indeed, creating and selling digital goods takes fewer resources than regular physical goods. E-Books, software, music, and other digital products offer convenience not available with physical products because they can be sold without having to rely on multiple sale points that often take a big cut of your profits.
Everyone, from large corporations to freelance developers and designers, is taking advantage of the digital products rush. However, if you’re interested in entering the digital goods market and doing it right, follow these steps to ensure your products will get out to consumers all over the world.
1: Setup Your Website
Assuming you already have your digital product completed, the first thing you’ll want to do is setup a website or landing page where customers can find out more about your product and purchase. There are several options for setting up your website, but the most important thing to remember is that it has to be e-commerce based.
If you have knowledge of HTML and coding, you can make it yourself. Otherwise you can use a CMS such as WordPress, Drupal, or Joomla. If you have the budget, you might even consider outsourcing the creation of your website.
2: How to collect payment
This is going to be the most important part of selling your digital goods online. Unless you plan on giving away your items for free, you need to setup a way for customers to pay you. Unlike physical items, when a customer purchases an e-book, software, or digital music, they expect to get instant access to their purchase. You need a service that allows you to:
• Host your digital product
• Provide a secure download page
• Integrate with your website
• Allow global payments
In order to automate the checkout process and get all of the services above, you will need to use a digital goods service.
The role of a digital goods service is to handle the checkout process. Let’s look at an example of what happens when a customer buys an e-book online:
1. Bob clicks on the “Checkout” button on your website
2. Bob gets directed to your digital goods service page where he selects his payment method
3. Bob pays for the e-book using a payment processor
4. Bob is redirected back to the digital goods service page to download his e-book
There is a wide variety of digital goods services available. Some important features to look for when choosing a service for your goods are:
• A smooth checkout process
• Technical support
• Detailed stats
• Discount codes
• Subscription management for recurring billing (For SaaS)
• Unlimited bandwidth
• Integrates with email marketing tools such as Mailchimp and Aweber
You may want to compare the pricing of different services. Price should not be the primary motivator behind choosing a service, but you want pricing that is within the industry standard.
Using a Marketplace
An alternative method for selling digital goods online is to list your products in a digital marketplace such as one of Envato’s many sites (Themeforest, Photodune, Audiojungle, etc.) The downside to this approach is the marketplace tends to take a hefty chunk of each product sold so you make less per product sold.
The upside of using a digital marketplace is that you don’t have to do as much marketing because the site already have a large base of consumers visiting every day. So while you will make less money for each product, you have the potential to reach a wider audience and sell more products.
Test your checkout process and monitor your analytics
Once you have everything setup, go through your entire shopping process as if you were a customer. Look for any technical issues such as incorrect redirects, issues with product downloads, or other problems that will hurt your sales.
When you’re familiar with the checkout process, you will be able to notice what features need to be improved. Monitor your sales and page activity by using Google Analytics. This will help you discover where your customers are located and which pages are bouncing the most. Knowing where your customers are from is key when it comes to selling virtual goods. You can improve your conversions by offering preferred local payments and currency. This service is usually offered by payment processors so make sure you pick the one that will grow alone with your business.