How to create your Digital Product Webstore on WordPress

One of the best parts about entering the eCommerce world is that it turns out easier to set up and operate than ever before. Either you can opt to use one of the hosted eCommerce store solutions such as Shopify or choose to use an Open Source platform such as e.g. WordPress based WooCommerce or Easy Digital Downloads.

There are actually a lot of Website Builders we can use besides WordPress such as Drupal Commerce, Magento, Squarespace, Shopify, Wix or Weebly which are all quite simple and flexible to work in. Some are hosted solutions (e.g. Shopify) while others are Open Source platforms.

8 Essential Steps in Creating your Digital Product Webstore

Domain Name and Web Hosting Provider

The first step in setting up your digital products webstore is that you must come up with a domain name (URL). Registering domains will cost about $10-15 per year, depending on registrar and top-level domain (TLD). Common domain registrars are Go Daddy, Domain, BlueHost, HostGator and Namecheap.

Next would be selecting a suitable web hosting provider. Web hosting providers are needed to keep your digital products eCommerce store online. Most web hosting providers offer additional services that can be very beneficial and helpful in keeping your website up and running. Additional services can be daily backups, software maintenance services to benefit from the latest updates, support, etc. Some select web hosting providers that you can use are Kinsta, WP Engine, iPage, HostGator Cloud, BlueHost and iozoom.

Decide what Digital Products to sell

A digital product is any product you sell online that doesn’t have physical form or substance. These often come in the form of downloadable or streamable files.

Having trouble deciding what digital products to put up on your store? Read the article “Top digital products you can sell online” to help you out in choosing.

Sourcing Digital Products to Sell

a. Creating your own digital products

If you are wondering where and what your first products are, one simple solution is to create the digital product yourself. This is especially an option for market niches where you have superior skills so that you can offer high-quality and unique products that cannot be matched easily by somebody else. When creating a digital product you may ask yourself the following:

  • What value and benefit can you offer your customers?
  • How will your digital products help your target customers?
  • What product features will prompt your customers to buy it?
  • What can you offer differently than anybody else in the same field?

Indeed, it will take a lot of time and effort to create a sellable product, but if you already concluded that there might actually be demand for your own products, the benefits that come with it might be very high in the long run and it’s worth finding out.

b. Selling Third-party Products

Creating your own digital products can be very time-consuming. So another way is to simply resell digital products of third-parties. These people are very interested to find product resellers as they constantly look for new ways to sell and market their products. In some cases, this can be a faster route and can also let you focus on selling and marketing those products.

c. Creating a Digital Product Marketplace Platform

Another way to source products is to create a digital product marketplace. Such eCommerce shop concepts are mainly a marketing task as your job will be to attract traffic to your webshop and maximize sales for your marketplace overall. In order to do this, you might need to configure and integrate your platform well to enable an absolute marketplace setup.

Conducting Competitor and Market Research

After creating or having a digital product ready to sell, another very important step to do is to conduct a thorough study of your target markets as well as your competitors.

The first step in doing competitor research is to define the target market niche. You should try to be as specific as you don’t want to end up in a market where you compete with thousands of competitions online. Some important steps in conducting a Competitor Research are the following:

  1. Shortlist: Research and list down all those websites that are currently offering similar products you are intending to market. Try to especially focus on the top 10 or top five ones and thoroughly research their profiles to understand what and how they are exactly doing.
  2. Sources of Traffic: Where do they get their traffic from? All e-commerce websites rely on receiving traffic. Therefore, to understand each store a bit better, it’s important to understand how and how much traffic they get from.
  3. Analyze Price and Value offered: You will need to analyze the content of each competitor’s website by thoroughly examining their websites. Take note of things such as the kinds of products they sell, their pricing and the value they offer to the customer. Important is also to check the reviews from customers (if available) to better understand what exactly customers appreciate or not about this service.
  4.  Analyze Size of each Competitor: If possible also try to estimate how much revenue you think each e-commerce store generates by estimating monthly traffic, likely sales conversion rates, and average order values.

Market Research

The market research should now help us to understand the results from the competitor research in light of the overall market itself. Normally market research is split into two parts:

  • Desktop research reviewing all publicly available data and information
  • In-depth research based on interviews with market experts, competitors, customers or other important stakeholders

Preparing a Business Plan

After all those data researching and gathering, you now have a better idea and understanding of what your markets and competitors are doing. The next step is to think about execution in the form of a short business plan. Here are some steps in developing a strategic marketing plan:

Vision and Objectives – You will need to provide a vision for your eCommerce store. You can also list down all your long term and short term goals for your eCommerce store.

Define your Competitive Advantage and USP – You will need to exactly define what is your competitive advantage and your unique selling proposition (USP) of your eCommerce store. The purpose is to differentiate our digital product stores from competitors and give customers a reason why they should buy from us and not from somebody else.

Analyze your situation (SWOT Analysis) – This refers to the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats for your webshop in the future.

Marketing Strategies and Tactics – You will need now to outline how you plan to launch the eCommerce store and how you plan to market your products:

  • How do you source new products?
  • How do you market each product?
  • The first item of your marketing strategy is to clarify how you like to position your product(s), do you go for price or quality.

Successful marketing for eCommerce stores requires creativity and persistence. You will also pretty quickly have to define where your website traffic should come from.

Project Plan and Smart Goals – In setting your goals and objectives, you can follow the structure called S.M.A.R.T. It means that you need to conform to the criteria in creating your goals. Those must be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely.

Review the Budget and Financial Plan – Another aspect you might want to consider as part of your business plan is your budget and your financial plan. In the beginning, you will need to spend time and effort (or money) developing products and marketing them. Therefore, you will need to better check how much money you are ready to invest and might also like to figure out how much sales you need so that your ongoing costs can be covered and your store operates profitable or at least at break-even.

Setting up your WordPress eCommerce Digital Products Store

Now it’s time to get your website up and running. The first thing you’ll need to do is install WordPress to your domain. Almost every reliable and well-established web hosting provider has integrated a 1-click-installation for WordPress. Nevertheless, you might have to read up on how to install it. Contact your web hosting provider if you need help.

In WordPress, WooCommerce is the most popular eCommerce plugin used for creating online stores. However, WooCommerce was developed to sell physical products and not digital products. We, therefore, recommend using Easy Digital Downloads. You may check out our previous blog which talked about EDD Stores Vs. WooCommerce – which one Excels at Selling Digital Downloads?

Putting up your Digital Products

Now that you’ve configured all the necessary settings, you’re ready to add your digital products to your eCommerce store. In Easy Digital Downloads go to Downloads » Add New. This shows several sections about your products that you have to fill up such as product name and description, prices, images and afterward upload the digital product file itself. Keep in mind you will need to write a detailed product description in order that the customers will correctly understand your product.

You will also work through the rest of your website then create an about us and contact section. If you sell WordPress plugins or software you might also have to install a ticketing solution for support and FAQ section with answers to frequent problems. Good customer support is key to keep customers coming back to you.

Webstore Execution and Optimization

All elements are now in place to set up your new digital products store. Your website is ready as well as your marketing plan. It now comes all down to execution. In order to best monitor all things that are going on in your webstore, it’s important to setup a regular tracking system for all the key performance indicators (KPIs). Key performance indicators for a digital product store should not only include the monthly sales and profits but also indicators related to the sources of traffic.

You might want to install Google Analytics from the start in order to measure the amount of traffic you get, from where the traffic comes from and even measure sales conversion. But we also recommend looking at other indicators such as e.g. the Alexa Ranking of your page, number of indexed keywords and pages on Google (e.g. via SEO tools such as Rankactive), the number of followers on your social media channels.

Tracking your KPIs on a regular basis will lead you to ask the right questions about why the traffic is improving or not and it will help you to figure out a solution to make your digital products store grow.

Conclusion: Starting a Digital Products Store via WordPress is simple

Starting to sell a digital product is one of the simplest ways to get you started with eCommerce. The technical issues are easy to overcome as you can rely on well-tested content management systems such as WordPress and e.g. Easy Digital Downloads for eCommerce. What will be a bit more challenging is to implement a solid marketing strategy to make your store become successful. It’s worth thinking through your concept first before you start to give your digital products store the best chance of becoming successful.

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