In the ever-growing digital landscape, selling ebooks on Shopify has emerged as a lucrative venture. Consumers are increasingly turning towards digital solutions instead of physical products in the digital era.
Digital products such as ebooks have become a highly convenient and popular choice for both buyers and sellers, owing to their affordability and ease of access. If you are a merchant looking to sell digital products like ebooks or courses online, Shopify could be a valuable option for this market niche.
So, in this comprehensive guide, we will provide you with simple step-by-step instructions on how to start selling ebooks on Shopify, bonus tips and strategies to maximize your store’s sales.
- So, Why selling ebooks on Shopify?
- Selling ebooks on Shopify in 6-simple steps:
- Expert Tips and Strategies for Selling Ebooks on Shopify
- Some real Shopify eBooks store examples
So, Why selling ebooks on Shopify?
Shopify is the leading e-commerce platform with many features and tools for merchants to sell digital products like ebooks, courses, etc. Here are some reasons why this platform is a suitable choice for selling ebooks online:
- Easy to use: Creating and setting up a Shopify store is quick and easy in just a few minutes, and you don't need any techniques or coding skills in the whole process. The tutorials below show you how to set it up in more detail.
- App integrations: Offer a variety of digital product management apps that can help you streamline your business and provide a great customer experience. We will recommend the most-used apps for selling eBooks on Shopify below.
- Automated payment process: With Shopify Digital Download, you can provide secure payment options to merchants and ease the payment-to-delivery process.
- Marketing tools: Shopify provides various marketing tools, such as email marketing, social media integration, and SEO optimization, upselling and cross-sell other digital products to help merchants reach a broader audience, expand their business to compete in the market and increase their sales.
Overall, Shopify is a reliable and efficient platform for selling ebooks online. It offers various niche-related resources and built-in tools to address critical considerations (i.e., merchants can use Shopify's analytics and reporting tools to identify their target audience and preferences), requires no technical skills.
Shopify also provides technical and reliable resources to help merchants run their ebook store safely and securely, without worrying about technical issues or legal requirements.
Selling ebooks on Shopify in 6-simple steps:
Step 1: Define the big picture
Before setting up your storefront, there are a few questions to answer that will play an essential role in your success:
- What information is important when potential buyers are evaluating the product/ service you offer? Offer your products in a way that makes customers think they are the solutions for what they are looking for or that your products will benefit them in any way.
- What content and content formats will you be populating your storefront pages with?
- Will the content be hosted on a third-party site, or will you be embedding it in the store?
- How are your ideal buyers more likely to access and consume the content around your products?
- What post-purchase support/ queries are your buyers more likely to have?
After you have a clear picture of your online store and the type of content you write in the ebooks, you can proceed to the next step.
Step 2: Create a Shopify store
To create a Shopify store, all you need to do is access the Shopify website and sign up for a free trial.
After the free trial to understand how Shopify works, you can start choosing the plan that meets the demand of your store to continue.
Step 3: Set up the store to offer digital products
Since you are offering digital products (eBooks in this case), there are several features that you may want to consider:
- Full-width imagery: Since the buyer won't be able to touch or feel digital products, you should give them a clear illustration of them.
- Sticky header: It will help you pin the promotions or events that attract customers wherever they are on your website.
- Quick view: It’s how you show the previews of your product to customers. This is quite important for ebooks because customers need to know the writer's tone and a sneak peek at the content before they decide to buy it.
- Mega menu: Easy navigation is always one of the best ways to encourage your customers to stay longer and look more at your products.
- Policy and legal pages: Customers may have several questions about their purchase of digital goods like ebooks, particularly in terms of returns, refunds, exchanges, and other issues. Leaving this information unclear will only cause issues down the road when customers contact you with questions about their orders.
These are just a few of the features to consider when you start setting up your Shopify store. Depending on your needs, you can choose other things to consider before choosing the theme for your store. Now, we will step foot into the details.
- Select a theme and customize your storefront
Shopify has a collection of 100+ themes for multi-purpose stores starting at $0. Take a look at Shopify Store Theme and browse to see which one is a match for your ebooks online store.
After downloading (if it’s free) /purchasing the theme, go to Shopify Dashboard > Online store > Themes. Then you can customize the theme you chose to your liking.
Step 4: Install Shopify Digital Download
Digital Download is a free app suggested by Shopify that lets you sell digital products in your Shopify store. After you add ebooks to your Shopify store, you will need Digital Downloads to get the download link for the ebooks that customers will receive after purchasing. To install it in your store, go to Shopify App Store to find the app.
After you add the app, it will link directly to your Shopify app dashboard and you need to click on install app.
You can also choose third-party apps to match your store’s purpose, depending on its size. Here are some top featured apps in the App Store that have good feedback and ratings from many merchants for your recommendation:
- SendOwl: For more complex digital product businesses, SendOwl offers a variety of features and automation, like expiring links and auto-generated license keys to power products. This can help you scale your business and make your customers' buying process more efficient.
- FetchApp: Another great option for digital downloads, FetchApp offers fewer features than SendOwl but has a free plan available with 5 MB of storage. This can be a good choice for smaller businesses or those just getting started.
- Sky Pilot: Besides the feature related to eBooks download, this app is ideal for building a membership program and selling exclusive content to customers. With features like file access control and exclusive video streams, it can help you monetize your expertise and build a loyal customer base.
Step 5: Upload your digital products
- Upload your ebook files: Go to Shopify Dashboard > Products > Add your products.
- Write descriptions and add illustrations.
- Setting prices and managing inventory.
- Set shipping options and variants. At this step, you must remember to choose the Digital product or service option so your ebooks won't be shipped and the delivery fee will be counted. After you’ve finished all the steps, click Save at the top right (or bottom) and your product will be ready to sell.
Step 6: Market your ebooks
Now, the basis is set. What you have to do next is market your product to make sales. There is something to focus on to maximize your ebook sales in this step:
- Optimizing your product pages for SEO
In order for your store to reach the most target customers, it needs to appear organically at the top when customers search for your store name on Shopify or search engines like Google. And to make that happen, you need to optimize your ebooks for SEO. There are some ways to do so: optimize links and texts, enhance visuals, write a summary, etc.
Include the right keywords in your title, meta title, image ALT texts, and book description so the search engines know your products are what users seek.
Social media (like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.) is definitely one of the best tools to let your target audience know what eBook products you are releasing. Schedule announcements about the release of the e-books you sell, create posts about the book's content to form a discussion space for your followers, surveys, etc.
- Utilizing email marketing
Focus on nurturing and marketing your engaged email subscribers first because they are your perfect target audience. They may be interested in the products you offer or have interacted with your store somewhere.
So, they are likely to be the ones who will spread positive word of mouth and help you advertise your e-books with their friends. You can encourage this behavior further by offering them a special discount or early access to the book in exchange for their loyalty, engagement, and honest reviews.
- Running paid advertising campaigns
The thing to do before running an advertising campaign is to research the persona of the target customer carefully. This will help e-book advertising campaigns reach the target audience more effectively and widely.
Both Facebook and Google Ads offer attractive targeting options that allow you to reach people by interests, location, behavior, the device they are using, and more.
Consider paid advertising for short-term results, and it's also a viral strategy among online marketers. That's because it's scalable, measurable, and you don't need an existing audience to get started.
Expert Tips and Strategies for Selling Ebooks on Shopify
1. Handling orders and refunds
It is essential to have a solid system in place to process orders and refunds. An important tip is to ensure your customers are provided with clear instructions on accessing and downloading their purchased eBooks. This can help minimize confusion and frustration.
Also, ensure a streamlined process for handling refunds, including clear instructions on when is the right time to issue refunds and how they will be issued. You should also regularly monitor sales and refund metrics to identify any trends or issues that may need addressing.
Communicate quickly and professionally with customers' questions or concerns about their orders or refunds. Good customer service is essential to build a solid reputation and repeats business.
2. Automating the delivery process and email flow
For a digital product like ebooks, automation to sell the product is a must. It saves your customers and yourself from spending much time and effort on product delivery, invoicing, and customer tracking.
Use automation tools and apps to streamline your workflow and easily handle tasks. Another way, setting up an automated email flow can increase customer engagement and sales.
For example, you can set up an abandoned cart email flow to remind customers who have added items to their cart but haven't completed a purchase. You can use email marketing tools like Klaviyo to quickly set up these processes and track their success through analytics. From there, you can make any necessary adjustments to optimize your email marketing strategy and drive more sales.
3. Managing customer inquiries and feedback
Provide multiple channels for customers to contact you, such as email, live chat, or social media, and respond to inquiries quickly and professionally. Have a process to handle negative feedback, such as negative reviews, and respond constructively and respectfully.
Plus, you can use customer feedback to improve eBooks and the overall customer experience, so collect and analyze feedback regularly. And remember to thank your customers for their feedback and for choosing your eBook and giving feedback to your store. They'll feel respected and that you're open to feedback.
4. Bundling products and creating upsells
This is an effective strategy to increase sales and revenue when selling eBooks on Shopify. Try suggesting a course on the same topic and complement the ebooks you sell or other ebooks that offer different perspectives on a related topic.
Alternatively, you can create different plans at various price points to appeal to different customer segments.
As an upsell, you can offer customers the opportunity to purchase additional ebooks at a discounted price during checkout, or you can recommend relevant ebooks on the product page. Make sure an upsell or bundle offer is clear and attractive, and makes it easy for customers to complete a purchase.
Digital product options to offer:
- Templates: such as a resume or financial tracker, provide a framework for creating a document or project.
- Filters and presets: Social media filters can be downloaded and applied to images to help users create a cohesive look for their photos or social media feeds. These can be downloaded and applied to images.
- Web and store themes: Web and store themes are downloadable designs that can be applied to websites, blogs, and storefronts to customize their appearance.
- Digital courses: Digital courses are educational videos or lessons that can be packaged and sold as digital downloads. These can cover various topics and offer convenient, on-demand learning.
- Photography, Art, and Music: this type of file can be purchased and downloaded for personal or commercial use, providing a convenient way to access creative content.
5. Offering free downloads or limited-page reads.
Offering free ebooks as a lure is an intelligent way to grow your email list and convert subscribers into paying customers.
Once you've gathered their contact information, you can nurture them and build a relationship over time. Giving away a limited-page read of your ebooks also demonstrates their value to potential customers, which can increase conversions.
Without free samples or previews, it may take longer for customers to trust and invest in your product.
Also, to further maximize conversions, show your content and add previews and reviews to your landing pages. That way, you can give potential customers a feel for what to expect and build social proof around your product.
Some real Shopify eBooks store examples
1. The Banana Girl
The Banana Girl was founded in 2019 by a famous Australian YouTuber with content about veganism and diet. Her eBooks, therefore, focus on veganism, health, and fitness.
She started selling ebooks to give her followers more detailed information about the vegan lifestyle and help them achieve their health and fitness goals. Her ebooks offer guidance on topics such as meal planning, weight loss, and bodybuilding, and provide a comprehensive approach to adopting a vegan lifestyle.
2. Ebooks Direct
Founded in 1997 by author and publisher - Judith Briles, Ebooks Direct is a leading provider of digital books to readers worldwide. They offer a wide range of ebooks (fiction, non-fiction, romance, and children's books,etc) by popular authors.
3. Emily Kimelman
Emily Kimelman is a self-published author and entrepreneur known for her popular mystery series, which has garnered a large following of readers worldwide. That’s why she started selling ebooks to provide her readers with a convenient and affordable way to access her latest books, and also to reach a wider audience.
Selling ebooks on Shopify offers a seamless and profitable way for authors and sellers to reach a broad digital customer base. Shopify creates a win-win situation, catering to the needs of both sellers and buyers in the ebook industry. As we progress further into the digital era, selling ebooks on Shopify stands out as a promising and sustainable business model.