How to Sell Digital Products on Shopify: 6 Easy Steps for Beginners
Welcome to my favorite way to make passive income: selling digital products! In this blog post, I will teach you how to sell digital products on Shopify in six easy steps. Trust me. Even if you’re totally new to Shopify, this quick guide will get you started. I’ll walk you through everything from setting up your shop to selling and actually delivering digital products automatically, so there’s no extra work for you.
Even though I currently only have a couple of products in my own Shopify store, it brings me a few thousand dollars a year in profit. In fact, I wrote about how one product has made me over $5,000! The best thing is I don’t have to do much at all since the products are already created, listed in my store, and get delivered automatically when an order is made.
While there are plenty of ways to sell digital products, Shopify is a great platform for selling digital products because it makes it so easy to do, and you own it, unlike platforms like Etsy. So I want to help you get started on your own journey to a passive income with digital products with your own Shopify store!
So whether you’re looking to sell ebooks, printables, software, or music, read on for the inside scoop on how to do it successfully with your own Shopify store!
Step 1: Sign Up for Shopify
Let’s start with the first step: Sign up for a Shopify account. I like starting here because it’s something quick and easy to check off your list to get you motivated and on your way to selling digital products. It only takes a few minutes, and there are different plan levels available depending on how much you want to sell and the features you need.
But wait! Shopify offers 14-day free trials, so you can test out the platform before committing any money to it. So if you’re not quite sure if this is how you want to go about selling your digital products, have no fear: you have two weeks to play around with it and figure that out.
Click here to sign up for a free trial so you can test it out for yourself.
When you sign up, make sure that when it asks you questions about your store, you mark that you’ll be selling digital products. This is so Shopify can help you get started with digital product-specific suggestions. If you miss this part, that’s ok too! It just makes it a little easier to get set up.
I personally use Shopify for my own store, and I love it because it’s pretty easy to set up and get things working quickly. You don’t need a lot of technical know-how to get started or create an aesthetically pleasing shop.
Step 2: Decide What Types of Digital Products to Sell
Now that you’re all signed up for Shopify and have a store waiting, I know you feel that excitement and motivation to keep going. I knew it would help if you got one step out of the way quickly!
Next up in this how to sell digital products on Shopify guide you will decide what types of digital products you want to sell. If you already have digital products in mind (o you have some already created), you can skip this step!
If not, then keep reading so you can decide what type of digital products to offer. I know this part seems a little daunting.
First… what exactly is a digital product?
A digital product is delivered electronically over the internet as digital files or links, without any physical shipping involved. Think products like ebooks, printables, software, music, online courses, and more!
The best thing (in my opinion) about a digital product is that you usually only have to make it once, and then you can sell it over and over and over again. Plus, you don’t have to run to the post office or pay for shipping costs. It’s truly my favorite thing to sell!
So consider what type of digital products you can create. If you already have an audience, think about what they’re looking for. Think about what skills and knowledge you have that could be shared as an ebook, printable, or course. Do some research on the types of digital products people are buying in your niche.
Above, you’ll see my Reseller Dashboard. This is something I created for myself and then tweaked so I could offer it to the many resellers that visit me here on my blog or over on YouTube! It’s earned me over $10,000 over the last couple of years. I only had to create it once, and I just quickly make updates as needed.
Need more examples?
If you have a background as an elementary school teacher, you could create printables that parents can download and have their kids do over summer so they don’t forget what they learned the previous year.
If you’re a trained chef, you could sell recipe ebooks or courses that teach people how to create their own recipes.
If you’re an artist, you could sell your digital art for people to get printed professionally without you having to ship anything.
The possibilities really are endless! I could come up with 100 digital product ideas if I sat down for a good 15 minutes. If you’re feeling stumped, just start brainstorming a bit about your audience (if you have one), your experience, and your skills, and go from there. I’m sure you can come up with a whole list of things to create.
Step 3: Create Your Digital Products
The next step is to create your digital products. This part might take a bit, or it might come really easily to you! It also depends on what type of new product you’re creating.
Don’t forget to consider digital products you may already have created! Have you hosted workshops, classes, etc. that you’ve provided people with handouts or digital worksheets for? Have you hosted webinars that you’ve recorded that are packed with value? These could be easily packaged up into a digital product you can sell in your new Shopify store.
If you don’t have one, that’s ok! Let me give some quick pointers for several different types of digital products.
If you’re creating an digital ebook, then it could be pretty easy to write the content and put it together into an ebook format. You can use services like Canva or even just use Google Docs to create a decent looking eBook and import it as a PDF to deliver to your buyers.
Remember, with ebooks, it’s all about the content. Of course, having a good, clean presentation is good, but the main focus should be on providing your readers with valuable information.
If you’re creating a course, then you’ll want to think the best ways to present the content in an engaging way. Will it be a video course with slides or video of you talking? Will it be all text based? Audio based? I’ve even heard of people doing a course via a private podcast that they simply send their students a link to.
Remember to consider things like if there be any worksheets or activities included, and to break your course down into a series of modules that make sense. The main focus when creating a course is providing value and making sure it’s easy for the student to understand and follow along.
If you’re creating printables, make sure that you’re either using your own art or making sure you have the rights to use any art or images you’re including. Also consider if these are for personal or commercial use and let your customers know what they can and cannot do with them.
My favorite resources for printables are Canva for designing printables because it’s really easy to use (upgrade to the Pro account because you’re not allowed to use the free account for commercial use) and Creative Fabrica for different design assets to use because it’s affordable and there are thousands of designs available that are permitted for commercial use.
If you’re creating a spreadsheet, hosting it on Google Sheets is probably the most popular option because it’s free and most people have access to it. Alternatively, you can host it on Apple Numbers, Microsoft Excel, or AirTable, but keep in mind that if people don’t have access to these programs, they won’t be able to use your spreadsheet.
If you’re creating graphics, then using software like Adobe Illustrator or Procreate is probably the best option for your own designs. Putting them together via Canva can be helpful if you’re not an experienced graphic designer or want to create templates for others to use. Creative Fabrica has graphics available that you can customize and use as well. Just check to make sure the specific designs you use are permitted for commercial use.
Regardless of what type of digital content you’re creating, make sure that it is in a format that your customer can open and use without any problems. Test each product before sending it out to make sure there are no bugs or technical issues with the product.
And last but not least, make sure that you provide clear instructions to your buyer! Adding in a PDF or even just a document that gives them the relevant information they need to use your product will make your product much more user-friendly and give them the tools they need to understand it better. Plus, it cuts down on customer service emails for you.
Once you have your digital product(s) created, let’s set up your very own online store store! How exciting, right?
Step 4: Set Up Your Store
Remember how I said Shopify is super easy to use? It totally is! But there might be a bit of a learning curve if you’re brand new to it.
Luckily, Shopify kind of leads you through set up when you log in. You should see a “set up guide” on your home page when logging in and all you need to do is follow the simple steps it provides.
If you selected that you’ll be selling digital products, it’ll be customized specifically to that type of store and the steps should be:
- Manage your digital products: Click “browse digital product apps” to get to the Shopify app store, click “Digital Downloads” app by Shopify, and click “Add” then “Install app”. This will help you deliver your digital downloads to your customers automatically.
- Add brand assets: This is where you’ll add your logo. Don’t worry too much about perfecting. this. A simple text based logo via Canva will work from the beginning. You can play around with it later.
- Customize theme: Here you’ll be able to pick out the theme for your store. It will have one preloaded that is pretty simple, but if you see another you like you can go with that. Again, this is something that can be played with later. Just pick one you like and move on.
- Add pages to your store: If you want to add an “about” or “contact” page, or any other page, you can do that here.
- Organize your store’s navigation: This is where you can customize your menu at the header and footer of your store. You can add a “shop” link, or even different categories to help people find your products. Since you don’t have your products added yet, you can just do your best and come back to this later.
- Add a custom domain: When you sign up, you’ll be provided with a shopify subdomain. Here you can either add a custom domain you already have registered or purchase a new domain.
Now that you’ve gone through Shopify’s setup process, head over to the “Finances” section along the left side menu. Here, you can pick a plan, set up your payment processing, etc. to make sure that’s all covered and ready to go.
You’ll probably find other little things you want to do as you work in Shopify, but once you finish this list you’re pretty much ready to start adding products so you can start making sales.
Step 5: Add Digital Products to Your Store
Now it’s finally time to add your own digital products to your store. Since you installed the Digital Downloads app, it should be a simple process.
Start by clicking “Products” along the side menu and then click “Add Product”.
On this page, you can enter the title, description, price, and all the other important details about your digital product. Under “media” make sure to include at least one good photo or graphic of your product.
To create a good graphic of your product, you can use something like Canva and use stock photos or mockups to make your product look professional.
I also love my Ivory Mix subscription, which provides me with thousands of styled stock photos and mockup templates that aren’t as widely used as the ones on Canva. They’re well-styled compared to some of the more stiff-looking stock photos you usually find.
A few things to make sure you do for digital products on this page:
- Under “Inventory”, deselect “track inventory” since it’s a digital product and you don’t have to make sure you have it in stock. Unless for some reason you want to limit the number available to sell.
- Under “Shipping” make sure you select “Digital product or service” so it doesn’t try to charge potential customers for shipping and confuse them.
Once you have this page all filled out, it’s time to attach the digital product for automatic delivery, so you don’t have to do anything once it sells! This is what makes digital products so passive: make it once and sell it dozens, hundreds or even thousands of times.
Click “Save” and then it’ll reload the page for you. You’ll see “More Action” pop up at the top left with a little arrow. Click this and then click “Add digital file”
On this page, you can drag and drop your digital file and click “Publish” to add it to your product. This is exactly what will automatically be provided to your buyer when they make a purchase.
And you’re done! Do this for all of your digital products, and you have an official Shopify store!
Step 6: Do a Test Order
There’s one step I really recommend before you officially launch your store. It’s always a good idea to do a test order. This will help you make sure everything is working properly, you can see what your customers see, etc.
To do this, you’ll need to pick a plan. You’ll still have the 14 day trial and it will start charging you the monthly subscription once that 14 days are over. Then you can go to “Online Store” on the left side menu and remove password protection.
Now log out, visit your store as if you were a customer, browse around, add some products to your cart, and check out.
If you don’t want to pay the full price for your products for your test order, you can create a coupon for yourself under “Discounts” in the left menu. I like to make sure I’m paying at least $1 for the product to make sure that the payment processing is working. So if your product is $20, just create a $19 off coupon.
If everything goes smoothly, you’re good to go! If not, you know what to work on.
Step 7: Market Your Shopify Store
Congrats! Your store is up and running and we’re on the last step of how to sell digital products on Shopify.
Once your store is all set up and ready to go, it’s time to get the word out! There are a lot of ways to market your Shopify store, and all of them are going to take some time unless want to invest in ads.
I can’t possibly go into major detail for each of these, but some of the best ways to market your digital products include:
- Pinterest: If you have digital products, Pinterest is a great place to start. Create a few pins for each of your products and link them back to your store. If you’re looking to learn more about Pinterest, my favorite course is Pinteresting Strategies.
- Social Media: Get active on other social media platforms like Tiktok, Twitter, and Instagram. Make sure you’re promoting through those channels with images and videos of your product.
- Email List: This is a really valuable tool and something I would highly recommend investing in, though it’ll take time to build it up. You can create an email list of subscribers who are interested in your products and then send them updates or other special offers or promotions. I use ConvertKit for my email marketing.
- Blog/Content Marketing: Creating content around the niche you are selling in can be a great way to get more customers. Just like the blog you’re reading right now! I highly recommend SiteGround as a web host and to install WordPress as your blogging platform.
- Influencer Marketing: Depending on your product, you might be able to find very niche specific micro-influencers (people with anywhere from 1k-10k followers) to promote your products to their audience. Since it’s a digital product, you can offer it to them for free for a post about it. Some might require a fee, but it just depends.
The best thing you can do is experiment and find what works for you! Everyone’s strategy is going to look a bit different, so just commit to exploring it and finding what works best for your store. Remember, you’re a business owner now, and it’s up to you to make your Shopify store successful!
Pro tip: you can download the Shopify mobile app and get notifications when you get digital product sales! That’s one of my favorite things to see when I glance at my phone throughout the day. It’s so motivating.
Those first few sales are going to take some time because it takes time to build up an audience and for people to trust you. But if you keep at it, you’ll find what works best for your store!
Haven’t signed up for Shopify yet? Sign up for a 14 day free trial here.
Hopefully you’ve found this guide on how to sell digital products on Shopify helpful! Once I learned about digital products myself, I knew it was one of the best ways to earn a passive income online. It’s the ultimate set it and forget it income stream!
Do You Have More Questions About Digital Products on Shopify?
What is a digital product?
A digital product is a type of product that exists only in digital form and can be sold or distributed electronically. Digital products are typically delivered via the internet, such as software, ebooks, videos, music files, webinars, and even graphics or email templates. They can also include subscriptions to content services or membership sites.
Is Shopify good for digital downloads?
Shopify is the best platform for downloadable digital assets! The way it’s set up allows you to easily start your own digital product shop and deliver those products to your customers automatically and seamlessly.
What types of digital products should I sell?
It really depends on your skills, interests, and the market. You can sell anything from ebooks, music files, videos, software applications, webinars, graphics, or templates. Some people do bigger digital products like online courses. The possibilities really are endless when it comes to digital product ideas.
Are digital products or physical products better?
Hands down, digital products are better than physical products. Why? First of all they have high profit margins. Plus, you can just create them once and sell them over and over. You don’t have to ship digital products, and there’s very little cost because you don’t have a physical product you’re producing.
Finally, you don’t have to worry about customer service issues like lost items or damaged goods since it’s all digital. I’ve had to just refund people in the past and while it’s hard to give that money back, it really doesn’t cost me anything which isn’t the same as if I paid to manufacture or purchase physical goods and shipped it to a customer then had to refund them.