Etsy is well known as the place to sell vintage and handcrafted items. But did you know that it’s possible to sell digital products there as well?
Stay tuned as we’ll explain how to sell digital downloads on Etsy. In no time, you’ll be able to create a source of passive income.
- What Exactly Are Digital Downloads?
- Why It’s Worth Selling Digital Downloads on Etsy
- How to Sell Digital Downloads on Etsy in 5 Steps
- Best-Selling Digital Products for Etsy
- To Summarize
What Exactly Are Digital Downloads?
Digital downloads are products people can purchase and download entirely online without handling or shipment. This may seem self-explanatory, but there’s a slight variation to be mindful of.
Some are created for printing, so many places refer to them as Etsy printables. However, entirely digital products, like fonts, eBooks, and software, are not intended for printing and can also be sold on Etsy.
Other profitable ways to sell digital downloads are by creating digital products to apply on print-on-demand merchandise or offering them as non-fungible tokens. There’s no limit besides your creativity.
Why It’s Worth Selling Digital Downloads on Etsy
Etsy is trusted and well-established, having an audience of 95 million active buyers in 2023. Etsy sellers have a source of huge traffic. There are additional benefits of offering digital downloads on the platform:
- It is a form of generating passive income. Create your product and upload it once, where it can sell multiple times without additional work.
- Etsy will take care of processing payments and charge only $0.20 per listing plus 6.5% per sale, while taxes will depend on the country.
- Product handling and shipping are taken care of for you.
- A lot of digital products don’t require special skills, knowledge, or experience to be created. Once you pick the right niche and products, some effort and dedication could pay off quickly.
There’s always demand for downloads and printables, especially for daily organization and planning DIY projects.
How to Sell Digital Downloads on Etsy in Five Steps
We’ve broken down the process of selling digital products on the Etsy marketplace into five easy steps.
Pick a Niche
You can’t sell everything to everyone, so you must pick a niche before going any further.
A well-defined niche will help you create Etsy digital downloads that escape the ordinary.
An exceptionally fun and creative way to do it is by using Midjourney prompts. Create detective stories from the 19th century in comic, gothic, or ultra-realistic style, or cute animals in Cubism or Renaissance fashion. To stand out, you must offer something unique – create designs for your niche and set your imagination free.
Combining your preferences with the market demand and Etsy keyword research is the best way to get a few ideas for your niche.
Go to the Etsy search bar and type a generic term for your niche – let’s say, cute animal downloadables. Observe what appears and what niches stand out. Check those stores and their reviews. Note what customers love and dislike about the products and make yours better.
Watch our video to dive deeper into niches:
Create Your Products
Depending on your skills and time availability, create digital products yourself, use pre-made assets, or hire a professional. Let’s look at how to proceed in each case.
Tweak pre-made digital products.
It’s possible to create and sell digital downloads without having any design skills. Get pre-made materials with commercial licenses, make changes, and sell them as Etsy digital downloads. We’ve selected the best platforms to help you.
1. Unsplash is the best stock platform, offering free high-quality photos with a commercial license. The assets are shared by contributors worldwide and must be modified before being used for online selling.
2. Shutterstock is a very popular stock platform. It has a complex subscription system with two-credit packs starting at $29. Shutterstock is integrated with other platforms, including Printify, making it easy to apply its designs to merch without paying in advance – only for the sold product. In addition, the service offers a free trial with ten images.
3. Adobe Stock is integrated with Adobe Creative Cloud and offers photos, videos, vectors, fonts, and plugins. However, it’s quite expensive and is primarily worth it for professionals who already have a subscription to an Adobe service.
Design Etsy digital downloads yourself.
Depending on your skills and chosen platforms, produce the elements from scratch or from templates and models. Below are some of the best options for creating your own downloadables.
1. Canva is one of the most popular design platforms. It gives access to tons of graphics and lets you edit them extensively. The platform is intuitive, has a freemium option full of features, and works online.
Let’s look at how to sell digital downloads on Etsy using Canva. Like other platforms, Canvas’ assets can only be used for commercial purposes if altered. Do this by signing up for a pro plan for $12.99 per month, which provides unlimited premium features and removes a watermark from pro assets.
The free plan is also generous, offering more than 250,000 templates and a million graphic assets, plus AI-powered design tools and 5GB of cloud storage. Watermarks can be removed for $1 each.
2. Adobe products have been the industry standard for a long time, and many professionals use its Adobe Creative Cloud product. However, since Adobe switched to a subscription-based service, many have looked for more affordable tools.
The subscription offers packages with over 20 products for $82.49, paid monthly, or a hefty $599.88 per year. Popular products like Photoshop and Illustrator can be acquired for $31.49 per month.
If selling Etsy digital downloads is a side hustle, or even if you are a professional, there are more affordable tools with professional quality.
3. Affinity is a relatively new brand that competes directly with Adobe. It’s received several accolades and claims to be redefining the new graphic industry standards. They offer three products:
Vector and raster tools intended for concept digital art, icons, logos, mockups, and print projects.
Professional photo editor.
For designing books and journals.
They’re $69.99 each, or a universal license of all the products for $164.99. Each license is a once-off-payment. All tools are compatible with Windows, Mac, and iPad. Choose Affinity for a professional and innovative set of tools with dedicated customer service covering a broad scope of digital products.
4. GIMP is a free and open-source competitor to Adobe Photoshop. It doesn’t charge a subscription fee or have any hidden costs, nor does it display ads.
If you’re looking for a professional but affordable design tool, GIMP may be the best option for your digital product ideas. Of course, similarly to Adobe Photoshop, GIMP has a steep learning curve.
5. Inkscape is for Adobe Illustrator what GIMP is for Photoshop – a high-quality, completely free, and open-source alternative. Use Inkscape if your digital file demand using vector graphics.
6. Photopea is a handy freemium online editor for images. It’s compatible with all formats, including files made by Adobe, GIMP, and Sketchup.
Both the free and paid versions offer the same features. The affordable $3.33 monthly subscription removes ads and provides customer support.
Hire a professional.
Consider hiring someone to produce designs for your Etsy digital products – it’s an investment that could pay off. There are platforms to help you hire reliable professionals at reasonable prices. Consider the following options:
Make It Happen Today!
Register With Etsy and Prepare Your Shop
Go to the Etsy website, then click on Sign In in the upper-right corner.
This is a Customer account, but you need a Merchant account to become an Etsy seller. Create yours by clicking the round icon with your photo on the upper-right menu. Choose Sell on Etsy.
Scroll to the bottom of the page and click Open your Etsy shop.
Complete these steps. Note you can alter your input later:
- Fill in localization information – language, country, currency.
- Confirm if you’re going to be a full or part-time seller.
- Give your Etsy store a name. Use a name generator like Namelix if necessary.
- Create your first Etsy listing.
- Set up payment and billing options. You need to provide a bank account or a card number. Cards are verified through micro-transactions which may take a few days.
Publish Products and Start Selling
Once you’re ready to publish and start selling digital downloads, you’ll need to create mockups to use as product photos.
When creating mockups for a digital download, look for a balance of good image quality to show essential product features and attract customers, but not so good that it allows its use in place of the product.
One way to avoid undue copying is to create mockups showing everyday situations. For example, someone using a computer while there’s an image of what you’ll sell on Etsy on-screen or a child coloring on a page showing your digital art. Upload up to ten product photos plus one video.
To create product listings with downloadables, sign in to your account and open the Shop Manager in the upper-right corner.
Then select Listings on the left-hand menu.
Go to the upper corner button and click on Add a Listing.
Creating a digital product listing is slightly different from one for a physical item. Pay close attention to these initial steps – the most crucial option is easy to miss.
Before entering any information, you must specify that the product is digital – otherwise, all data will be lost when converting the listing to digital format.
To create a digital product, scroll down to the Details section and click on Add core details.
Select Digital files, and under Who made it, choose I did, then click on Apply.
Etsy will ask if you want to switch your listing to the digital format. Click Apply to continue – that will delete any information filled previously in the listing.
Now scroll up and return to the About section. Click Add file or drag and drop your digital product. Upload up to five files of 20MB each, totaling 100MB.
Etsy supports the following formats: .bmp, .doc, .ePUB, .gif, .iBook, .jpeg, .jpg, .mobi, .mov, .mp3, .mpeg, .pdf, .png, .psp, .rtf, .stl, .txt, .zip.
The following steps are similar to creating a physical listing, like in our Etsy guide. However, be mindful of some details when configuring your digital items.
Consider Etsy SEO when choosing titles, descriptions, and tags. Use all 13 tags and the relevant keywords (preferably long-tail) with attributes and features of your products.
Research your competition to get a price range and adapt it to your target market. Many digital prints or social media templates sell for around $5-$10.
Some niches may be priced higher, including software and plugins or educational content like homeschooling material, eBooks, woodworking plans, and sewing patterns.
You must have a precise idea of your competition margins and your own production costs to establish a fair price. Watch our video about product pricing and use tools like eRank to analyze competitors and get the best price for you and your customers.
Scroll down to the Settings section and enable the automatic listing renewal option. Otherwise, digital downloads on Etsy will appear out of stock after a sale if disabled.
After everything is set up, scroll down and click Publish. You’re welcome to save the listing as a draft if you need to pause or preview how it looks.
Market Your Etsy Store Well
Fantastic products will make more sales if you dedicate time to learning the Etsy marketing basics. Try some of these marketing strategies:
- Refine your niche and target audience.
- Optimize your content with Etsy SEO. Use keywords naturally wherever possible, including titles, descriptions, and tags.
- Follow the Etsy guidelines to optimize your product and store images.
- Share your listings on your own website or social media platforms. Use Pinterest pins and boards, Facebook posts and groups, and Instagram reels and posts.
- Use email marketing tools to increase your reach.
- Use Etsy advertising after getting organic traffic and know which products need tweaking or a boost with Etsy ads.
Start a Print-On-Demand Business on Etsy!
Best-Selling Digital Products for Etsy
- Exclusively digital assets.
Sell downloads that are not intended to be printed but used as digital tools or to make other elements – like fonts, software, apps, custom website themes, plugins, social media templates, lightroom presets, or collections of prompts for MidJourney and Dall-e.
- eBooks and manuals.
Create digital downloads in a written format.
- Event printables.
Digital printables for weddings, birthday parties, graduations, or gift tags and cards.
- Baby and children.
Digital prints for baby showers or tracking growth and learning material for children.
- Leasure printables.
Coloring in pages for children and adults, crossword puzzles, and games.
- Utility downloads and printables for household chores.
Calendars, digital planners, to-do lists, checklists, jar labels, candy bar wrappers.
- Hobbies, DIY, and craft guides.
Crochet, embroidery and knitting patterns, woodworking plans, electronics schematics.
Business cards and logos, calendars, resumé templates, printable stickers.
Images for wall art, prints, stock images, photography, digital art, and NFTs.
- Religious content.
Scriptures from sacred books, religious worksheets, praying, and events calendars.
Digital products can create a passive income – they’re among the most popular sections in the marketplace, so you can make money selling digital downloads on Etsy.
The marketplace charges $0.20 per listing plus 6.5% of the selling price in Etsy fees. Besides those expenses, start selling digital products on Etsy at no cost. Use free programs or platforms like Canva and GIMP to create your products.
Depending on your skills and goals, you can hire design, programming, or writing professionals on platforms like Printify Expert, starting at $20 an hour. Fully understand how much does Etsy take per sale on our blog.
Selling digital products on Etsy is relatively easy. You need to:
- Define a niche.
- Create the product – this can be done with free software.
- Register on Etsy.
- Create a digital listing.
- Upload the file.
Set up an account on Etsy and create a new listing.
- In the Details section, click Core details and specify that the product is digital.
- Upload the file in the About section.
- Fill in other information like titles, descriptions, and tags.
- Publish your product.
Create a digital product from scratch with programs like GIMP, Canva, Affinity, or Adobe Photoshop, edit stock images, or create digital planners and lists in software like Excel and Word. Save and convert them to a format accepted by Etsy.
You’ve just learned how to sell digital downloads on Etsy in five steps:
- Choose your niche.
- Create bestselling digital products.
- Open an Etsy shop.
- Create and publish your listings.
- Market your products.
Earn a convenient form of passive income by selling digital downloads. Remember to always count on Printify to help with your new shop!
Make It Happen Today!
Share the article