An entrepreneur friend of mine swears by the Internet as the only place to do business… for those who sell digital products. He enjoys success selling information (like eBooks and reports) as well as software. For actual products, he looks to the offline world to make his purchases.
I’ve bought plenty of actual products online but he’s right about one thing: the Internet’s instantaneous nature allows for the transfer of digital products immediately after purchase. Just like the rest of America, both my friend and I prefer to buy something and own it right away. That’s why we mainly shop for products offline (I pay my money and the clerk puts it in a bag and hands it to me) and for digital products online (I pay my money and the site downloads the product to me right away).
There are many places
Often, these sites have some kind of sign-up fee (ranging from $30 to $80) and either a monthly fee or a percentage-of-sale fee. Each one offers different strengths and weaknesses, so you should check them out and decide which one is right for you.
For example, Clickbank.com offers both popularity and an unparalleled affiliate system. ModularMerchant.com is more like a shopping cart than a file storage-and-sales company but they do offer those services and you can integrate it into your website quite nicely. Some sites deal mainly with information-based digital products (.doc or .pdf, for example) while others will sell nearly any type of file from ebooks to software to photos to digital artwork. Some of these sites remit payment to you by check only and others remit payment by Paypal. So you’ll need to do some legwork to determine which one is the best for you.
If you are starting a new business, this might be a good place to start: After all, you probably have plenty of knowledge and experience and you likely don’t want to spend a lot on inventory or up front capital. Sit down and get your ideas and thoughts into a document then format it into an ebook. Have a trusted friend read it and provide grammatical help and constructive feedback on how you can improve it. Once you’ve fixed it up, post it at one of these sites.
If you have a growing business, you can add to your product lines with some digital products. In some cases, you might want to give out a free ebook to the purchasers of your product. (For example, a company that sells a portable saw gives out a free book on how to make money with their saw). If you currently sell a line of related products online, consider also selling a line of ebooks on the same topic to help create a sense of unity and value to your offerings.
Digital products make great products because they’re easy to make, easy to sell, and require no storage. They don’t go bad and just require a little work to keep them current. Otherwise, nearly every dollar you make from them is profit!