The Inside Scoop on Selling Digital Goods Online
The Good News
So you've decided to go into the e-commerce business and begin selling software, games, E-books, audio or video content online. In today's technology based and highly digitalized world, that's a savvy business decision. Demand is high, the market is competitive, and the potential for profit is enormous.
Thanks to the Internet, your prospective customers already number in the tens of thousands. Moreover, they are located all around the world, catapulting your business directly into the international arena and allowing you to sell on a global level without having to work your way up the ranks. According to experts, the future of online commerce is robust with no sign of it slowing down any time soon.
The Not-so-Good News
Selling software and marketing digital goods online isn't as simple as it sounds, however. While the opportunities for growth and success are exciting, there are a whole slew of issues and concerns retailers need to be aware of, including the complexity of business relationships, licensing processes and copyright protection, piracy and fraud protection, digital rights management, and serial number distribution. To buy and sell with confidence, you want to make sure all your ducks are in a row so that you don't run into logistical or legal problems which could derail your operation.
How to Start
The first order of business for any seller becoming involved in the e-commerce industry is the provision of secure online payment methods. Payment by credit card is the number one mode of business transactions today – online and offline, in the Western world and around the globe. If your business does not provide convenient, user-friendly, and safe online payment options, customers are simply going to do their shopping somewhere else.
So how does online credit card processing work and what do you as an e-commerce agent need to do to set it up? The process is fairly complicated, involving many players and institutions: the merchant, the customer, the credit card issuer (i.e. MasterCard, Visa, American Express), the issuing and acquiring banks, and the payment gateway. You will also have to acquire a special merchant's account with a credit card processor. The good news is that once the system is set up, the entire process which must occur in order for a transaction to be approved and successfully go through takes only a few seconds.
Increasingly, however, the trend in digital retail these days is to outsource the entire payment process to a special service skilled in providing online payment solutions. Not only does this free you from all the aforementioned hassles and ensure that you will be able to process credit card payments safely and securely for your customers, but enlisting the pros comes with a host of additional benefits, including:
- Ability to accept payments in multiple currencies (making the goods you are marketing accessible to an international community)
- Extensive secure payment methods (credit card, debit card, wire transfer, PayPal, Google Checkout, and more)
- Assurance that your payment system is fully PCI-compliant
- Fraud protection
- System is compatible with Windows, Mac, Vista, and Linux
- Enhanced customer satisfaction
- Higher conversion rates
- Ability to analyze and track sales figures
- Increased revenue
Selling from a digital storefront is clearly the wave of the future in the world of retail. More and more, today's customers are clamoring for digital goods such as videos, music, games, software, and mobile devices. Demand for digital content is also on the rise, including "how-to" guides, E-books, informational manuals, and online television. Also in demand are Internet-based applications and web-hosting services. To ensure that your business is on the cusp of tomorrow, learn about the available e-commerce solution providers and invest in the platform which best suits your particular needs.