How to Sell Digital Downloads

Etsy is a great place for buying and selling homemade goods, but did you know you can sell products on Etsy even if they don’t physically exist? Many users create and sell digital downloads instead of physical products. These downloads can contain art, information, or tools that buyers can purchase from online sellers. If you’re looking to make money by selling digital downloads online, keep reading. This article will cover everything you need to get your business up and running. First, we’ll explain in detail what digital downloads are as well as digital products in general. Then, we’ll walk you step by step through the process of selling digital downloads on Etsy.

how to sell digital downloads on etsy

What Is a Digital Download?

So, what exactly is a digital download? A digital download is a file or software that can be purchased for download. As opposed to most products that are sold online, there is no physical copy of this product. It only exists in the form of a file. Digital downloads are an increasingly popular form of online product. They typically don’t require any physical merchandise which makes them very cheap to produce. Since they exist as a file, you can sell the same product over and over again without having to create anything new. Because of this, digital downloads can be a great way to run an online store without having to purchase any inventory. Instead, digital downloads usually get their value from the knowledge or talent of their creator.

What Can Be a Digital Download?

A digital download can be anything that doesn’t require a physical copy of it to exist. For example, some of the most popular digital downloads available online are craft instructions. Talented crafters come up with a unique craft and put together comprehensive instructions in a digital download. They then sell these instructions online to anyone who wants to create the craft for themselves at home. Etsy users can make a great deal of money selling instructions for various crafting products online. Patterns for sewing, knitting, and crocheting projects are especially popular. For these products, sellers only need to create one download for their pattern which can then be sold as many times as you want without needing to update your product. With digital downloads, your shop can sell millions of products without ever running out of stock!

digital products

Art as a Digital Download

Art is another popular form of digital product. There’s a wide variety of digital art available for download online. Some products may be intended to be printed out, like coloring book pages or iron-on images. Other products can be downloaded as a file and used in whatever way a buyer chooses. They could put the art on clothing, mugs, or posters. In these cases, artists design their art, create a downloadable version, and then sell the file to users who will print it out themselves. Since they now own access to the file, they can use the art however they want. For coloring pages and iron-ons, they can print as many pages as they want from their home computer. 

Crafting Printouts as a Digital Download

Crafting printables are another popular form of downloadable art. They are designed to be downloaded and printed for whatever uses the buyer has in mind. Crafting printables may be used as printable party decorations, scrapbook art, or printable wall art. Some digital artists create custom art for clients. This art can be anything from logo design for a small business to digital family portraits. Artists use sites like Etsy and Fiverr to advertise their skills. Posts on these websites typically include what kind of art they create, an overview of their talents, and their usual price range.

Technology as a Digital Download

Some digital downloads are more technological in nature. Website design, word press plug-ins, and even downloadable fonts can all be purchased online. Website design tools can be purchased directly as downloadable products, but you can also use Etsy to hire a custom web designer. WordPress themes are some of the most popular web tools sold on Etsy. These are downloadable outlines, images, fonts, and more that will create a consistent, specific theme for a WordPress site. Other downloads can offer more functional changes. Very crafty creators may even be able to sell software or video games on Etsy. Technological downloads can be very profitable for people with a lot of web design knowledge. There are many potential customers who want access to web design, but don’t have the skills to do it themselves.

how to sell digital downloads

Why Should You Sell Digital Products?

Selling digital products online is a very rewarding business. Digital products are unique in their ability to be made cheaply, replicated infinitely, and still have value to customers. Since your products exist only in the form of downloadable files, there is no inventory to replenish. This greatly reduces the costs of creating each product. For some digital products, you may only need a word document to record the information you’re selling. Recipes, instructions, and tutorials are typically some of the cheapest digital products to produce. This is because the customer is purchasing access to the information or idea that you already had. Turning this into a product can be as simple as writing it down!

Once you’ve created your digital product, you can often just sit back and relax. Most digital products won’t require updates or changes (unless you insist on perfecting your recipe). This makes digital products a very lucrative source of passive income since you only have to create your product the first time. That being said, some digital products like software, video games, or plug-ins may require updates to ensure that they can still function properly. Others may be made to order, which does still require work on your part.

Some digital products are custom-made once an order has been placed. While these types of products are not as easily replicable, they can help you build a large, expansive portfolio. For example, someone who sells family portraits on Etsy may have to make a new product for every order they get, but they can add each order to their portfolio. Over time, this can help them hone their craft.

There’s a Place For Everything

Regardless of what type of digital product you’re looking to create, there is a place for it in the market. Even people who aren’t particularly interested in business can use digital products to create a small side business for themselves. Information is valuable, so why not profit off of your own knowledge? Selling craft patterns or tutorials can turn your hobby into a profitable small business through digital downloads. If you’re tech-savvy, you can sell WordPress plug-ins to help people edit their blogs and websites. Any skill can be turned into a digital product. 

digital downloads

How to Sell Digital Downloads on Etsy

Before you start selling digital downloads on Etsy, you need to decide what kind of product you want to create. Once you have that product in the form of a downloadable file, you’re ready to start selling on Etsy. The first step to selling on Etsy is creating an account by visiting their website. You’ll follow the prompts that lead you through the process of creating your online business. These will involve selecting a unique business name, selecting what type of business it is, and listing your first product for sale. You will also be asked to provide information about your product. For custom digital products, you may need to select that they are made to order. This ensures that they will show up in appropriate searches from potential customers. 

Once you’ve set up your Etsy shop, your products will be available for customers to purchase! For every listing that you post, Etsy charges 20 cents. They also charge a 5% fee for every transaction. Because of this, it’s important that you price your products in a range that you are comfortable with. They should also be priced to sell while still making a profit. When pricing your listings, you should also consider how similar products are priced. Are people willing to spend a lot of money on a custom logo? How much for a WordPress plug-in? How much would you pay for it yourself? All of these questions are important when setting up your Etsy shop. 

Opening Up Shop on Etsy

Digital downloads are very profitable products sold on Etsy. If you want to sell digital products on Etsy, you’ll need to know what kinds of digital downloads you can make. There are many different kinds of digital downloads you could produce. Some only involve creating the product once, like instructions, fonts, recipes, and digital art. Others can be made for specific orders, like custom logo designs, digital portraits, PNGs, and more. There are many unique features of digital downloads that make them especially profitable on Etsy. Many don’t require much to create. Most can be replicated over and over again without any additional work. While custom work often doesn’t fit this description, it can still cost very little to create since it is usually digital art. Digital downloads are a great way to make money while not spending a lot to get your business started.


  • Is it profitable to sell digital downloads on Etsy?
  • What are digital downloads?
  • What digital downloads can I sell on Etsy?
  • Why is selling digital downloads a good idea?
  • How much does Etsy charge to sell on it?

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