How to sell Physical Products E-Commerce vs. Digital Products E-Commerce
During the lockdown period, when all the physical shops were closed down, the only way of shopping was to buy online. Despite a temporary interruption of activities during Covid crisis, the giant market leader Amazon became more successful than ever. Two main types of products can be found in e-commerce: physical and digital.
- Differences between physical and digital products ?
Physical products are any goods that can be ordered on your e-commerce store and shipped within the shortest period. Digital products such as eBooks, online courses, software, graphics, website themes, photographs, and artwork are simply downloaded from your website on a customer’s computer or smartphone. The common points to both types of products are an excellent quality of service and support for the customer.
2. Physical products
To launch your online business, first of all you need to choose the right product and select your target market. Here are the actual steps you can take :
- Brainstorming Google Trends research
- Analyse market data
- Identify lower competition niches
- Use data from Amazon Sales,
- Search Volume, keyword difficulty
- Compare ideas versus data
- Analyse the competitors, suppliers and manufacturers on the market
If you are willing to launch your business rapidly, avoiding all the formalities, you can start using Amazon Affiliate Marketing.
In this way Amazon platform can be used for inventory, shipping, payments, customer service and returns so that you can focus on your customers only.
- Well-defined niche that you’re passionate about
- WordPress theme with an e-commerce plugin
- Reliable host for your website
- Amazon Affiliate account
- Affiliate Marketing program
- Your own line of branded products
- Professional photos for your product pages
Moving your store from physical shop to online can represent a big advantage as the company is already well established and stable through the existing customers and suppliers. However, it is very important to position yourself in your niche market and be safe from the competition with the giants such as Amazon or eBay. It is crucial to make sure that sufficient demand exists on your niche market and that you provide better products and quality of service compared to the competitors.
To make your products visible to your customers you will need to use various online tools such as shopping cart, portal or an auction site, completed by a bulletin board, online chat, a blog and social media. For a smooth stock management, you can establish close collaboration with local suppliers which take care of taking orders and dispatching them to the clients.
As an alternative, you may use drop shipping companies which sell specific brands of products and take care of shipping your order to the customer. The only inconvenience with this method is that you lose control of the whole shipping process. Finally you can use the services of a fulfillment company which receives your order automatically from your website and takes care of shipping the products to the customer.
ThriveCart is a platform for selling your products directly from a sales page. Among the solutions offered, you can find the creation of landing pages, shopping carts and also affiliate management. You have the possibility to create very detailed checkout pages, including information about shipping price, shipping weight or product dimensions.
Various online tools are available to automate the shipping process.
Zapier is helpful for creating Standard Operating Procedures to execute repetitive tasks.
ShipStation proposes the cheapest delivery itinerary according to the order and in collaboration with the biggest shipping companies such as Fedex. Ask happy customers to share their reviews on Google or Facebook and as a result to rank higher in search results.
3. Digital products
One can mainly identify downloadable or streamable files such as MP3s, PDFs, videos, plug-ins, and templates.
We noted three main categories of digital products:
- ePublishing/eBooks – Selling information in digital books
- Online Courses – Selling information in protected content
- SaaS Products – Selling software products
To illustrate in more details the above categories, we listed below a variety of products per format :
Writing: Ebook – non-fiction, Ebook – fiction, poetry book, e-commerce product descriptions, copywriting templates, recipe books, document templates, reports/analytics templates, email campaign templates (upselling, cross-selling, re-engagement, etc.)
Audio: songs, beats, jingles, ringtones, sound effects, voice overs (as a service), instrumental tracks
Video: short films, video animation intros, stock video, video tutorials, documentary, stand-up comedy
Design: wallpapers, posters/prints, emojis/bitmojis, fonts, photoshop/illustrator templates, branding services, Photoshop services (airbrushing, touch ups, etc.), logo design, business card design, infographic design, turn images into vector files, Powerpoint / Keynote presentation templates
Below there are arguments which present the biggest advantages for selling digital products online:
- No need to deal with shipping and inventory formalities
- Unlimited warehouse on internet High profit margin
- Orders can be downloaded instantly
However some issues to be taken into account:
- Competition with free content available online
- Risk of theft, piracy
- Commerce policy restrictions on Facebook and Instagram
Thus, we suggest you to undertake the following steps before considering to sell digital products online:
- Ensuring there is a market fit and positioning yourself to potential customers
- Generating traffic through social media ads, collaboration with influencers and other online ads
- Offering lead magnet: a free offer in exchange of an email address
- Marketing automation: notifying leads and customers with lead magnets or core offers to convert them.
Hereafter, you will find a selection of online shop solutions for digital products:
Digital Downloads: free app by Shopify. Upon purchase, customers can download their file immediately and receive a link in their email
Sendowl: for more complex digital product businesses, a variety of features and useful automation
Single Music: bridge the gap between physical and digital music sales
Thinkific: online courses to your Shopify store. You can upload and drag and drop content to create a course curriculum
Now that you have discovered the specificities of e-commerce and you have a better understanding of the selling techniques online, you are ready to develop your own business online. Just remember that the customer has to remain at the center of your attention, no matter the type of product you are selling.