How To Sell Digital Products On Shopify: Your 2023 Guide
Digital products are a solid source of passive income. Learn how to use Shopify to sell digital products with these step-by-step directions.
Selling digital products can be an easy and low-cost way to break into online sales, especially if you use Shopify. What’s so great about selling digital products on Shopify?
Shopify is one of a few eCommerce platforms that makes it easy to sell digital downloads. In fact, if you take advantage of Shopify’s three-day free trial, you could have a full store set up, explore the platform, and see for yourself how well Shopify supports digital sales without spending a dime.
Table of Contents
- What Are Digital Products?
- Your Guide To Selling Digital Products On Shopify
- 30 Digital Products You Can Sell On Shopify
- Best Apps For Selling Digital Products On Shopify
- Shopify Alternatives For Selling Digital Products
- FAQs: Selling Digital Products On Shopify
What Are Digital Products?
Digital products are nontangible items that customers can pay to download from an online store. Also known as virtual products or downloadables, digital products can be any non-physical product.
NFTs are a popular example of digital products you can sell. Some other examples of digital products are books, music, recipes, videos, games, memberships, patterns, and online courses. Simply put, any nontangible product that can be uploaded and downloaded can be sold as a digital product.
Can You Sell Digital Products On Shopify?
Selling digital products on Shopify is easy, thanks to some built-in Shopify supports and some apps you can add to your online store if you choose.
Shopify is one of the top-rated eCommerce platforms on Merchant Maverick, as you can see in our full Shopify review. Why do we award Shopify 5/5 stars in our review? There are lots of reasons — including how easy it is to sell digital products on Shopify.
Other factors that make Shopify a good choice overall include easy integrations for social media selling and selling on marketplaces. You’ll be able to link your Shopify store easily to sites like Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Amazon or eBay, Etsy, and Walmart Marketplace. That’s a lot of options for selling digital products online!
We also like that Shopify offers a choice of five subscription levels. Shopify pricing depends on which plan you choose, ranging in price from just $5 up to $399 or more/per month.
Your Guide To Selling Digital Products On Shopify
- Easy to use
- Stylish free templates
- Free trial available
- Built-in payment processor
- Monthly subscription costs
- Added transaction fees possible
It’s easy to build and manage a gorgeous Shopify store, even if you don’t have any experience building or maintaining a website. Shopify is a fully hosted platform, so you won’t have to worry about security or site hosting, and you won’t need to type a single line of code.
Are you convinced and ready to start selling digital products on Shopify? Follow these step-by-step guidelines to get started:
30 Digital Products You Can Sell On Shopify
The list of items you can sell as digital downloads is boundless. Here are some popular (and potentially profitable) examples to get you started thinking of the possibilities:
- Digital artwork
- Forms and spreadsheets
- Lesson plans
- Courses for online learning
- Clip art
- Reports and guides
- Greeting cards
- Business cards
- Wedding invitations
- Menu templates
- Coloring pages or books
- Zoom backgrounds
- Math worksheets
Best Apps For Selling Digital Products On Shopify
In addition to Shopify’s own Digital Downloads app, you will find almost 300 apps in the Shopify app store designed to help you sell digital products from your Shopify store.
These apps come with user reviews, allowing you to see how well they actually work. It’s worth your time to browse the selection yourself, of course, if you prefer a third-party app. Here is just a sample of some of the top-rated apps you might consider:
- EDP – Easy Digital Products: Rated 5/5 stars with 155 user reviews; free plan for up to 30 digital orders per month and a paid plan for $9.99/month + $0.15 per order after 100 monthly orders
- Uplinky Digital Downloads: Rated 5/5 stars with 49 user reviews; free plan for up to 10 products and paid plans from $9-$49/month
- Downloadable Digital Assets: Rated 5/5 stars with 58 user reviews; free plan with up to 20 MB storage and paid plans from $5-$15/month
- Unlimited Digital Downloads: Rated 5/5 stars with 59 user reviews; free plan for up to three products with unlimited orders and a paid plan for $9.99/month
Shopify Alternatives For Selling Digital Products
We think Shopify is a great platform choice when you want to sell digital products online. However, we know that no single platform, no matter how good, will be the right choice for every seller.
If you’re looking for a Shopify alternative for selling digital products, here are our top suggestions:
Another top-rated eCommerce platform, BigCommerce is a strong alternative to Shopify. Priced similarly to Shopify, with plans ranging from $29.95/month to $299.95/month and up, BigCommerce offers a generous 15-day free trial that gives you significantly longer to test the software.
That’s just one difference between Shopify and BigCommerce. You can read more in our full BigCommerce vs. Shopify comparison.
Choose BigCommerce For Selling Digital Products If …
- You want to use your choice of payment processors without added transaction fees
- You can work within the sales limits attached to BigCommerce subscription plans
- You are selling digital products aimed at adults that might be considered high-risk
- You don’t need a built-in POS system or are comfortable choosing the best POS system for your business
Etsy is a different type of Shopify alternative. Instead of a platform for building a standalone store, Etsy is a massive marketplace for handmade goods. Etsy has two subscription levels: a limited free plan and a Plus plan for $10/month.
You can also use Etsy’s Pattern website maker to build an online store that’s linked to your Etsy page. Pattern subscriptions cost $15/month. You’ll find numerous added Etsy fees, including listing fees and transaction fees. These additional fees are one of the main differences we highlight in our Shopify vs. Etsy comparison.
Choose Etsy For Selling Digital Products If …
- You want to sell without the hassle of maintaining your own online store
- You don’t mind paying the additional fees Etsy tacks on
- You will benefit from exposure to a huge marketplace of motivated buyers
- You prefer a lower monthly fee and anticipate a low monthly sales volume
We think Squarespace is a worthy Shopify alternative when it comes to digital products. It was designed to serve creative makers and includes a focus on monetizing content, including digital products. Squarespace offers beautiful templates that rival Shopify’s themes and are similarly easy to use.
Squarespace offers four subscription levels that support eCommerce, with plans starting at $16/month and rising to $65+/month. You can test the platform with a free 14-day trial.
Choose Squarespace For Selling Digital Products If …
- You are looking for a lower-priced eCommerce plan
- You want to avoid added transaction fees
- You want to use Square POS for in-person selling
- You aren’t interested in international selling
Many new online sellers are surprised by the ongoing costs of doing business. That’s why a platform like Shift4Shop is so welcome. It’s possible to use Shift4Shop’s free End to End plan to build a website and sell digital products for free, as long as you’re willing to use the in-house payment processor, Shift4 Payments.
Shift4Shop’s free plan is fully loaded, meaning you’ll gain access to all the advanced eCommerce tools that would cost hundreds of dollars each month on other platforms. And you’ll be allowed unlimited storage in your Shift4Shop store, so you can sell as many digital products as you want, without paying any monthly subscription fees.
Choose Shift4Shop For Selling Digital Products If …
- You want a fully loaded free plan that gives you advanced eCommerce tools for $0/month
- You don’t want to pay any added transaction fees
- You are willing to use Shift4 Payments as your payment processor
- You are comfortable with Shift4Shop’s functional yet less stylish themes
- You’re willing to do a little light coding duty to build your store