Over the past decade or so, the Internet has really changed the landscape of retail and shopping. In fact, you will be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t shop online in some way. This may come from today’s desire for instant gratification. The effect of this influence has really become apparent with goods that can be easily downloaded rather than shipped.The Appeal of Digital Products
So, what are digital products? A digital product is simply one that can be downloaded from a source online rather than be packaged and shipped out to a buyer. Digital goods can include everything from music and movies to e-books and manuals to games and software. Any file format can be sold as a digital good. The most frequently used file formats include .pdf, .xcl, .doc, .mov, .mp3, .wav, and .rtf though the possibilities are endless. If there is a file format and it can be downloaded, the product can be considered a digital good.
Sellers specializing in digital products often sell their digital products right from their own websites or blogs and often through third-party payment platforms and gateways such as PayLoadz. Depending on the seller’s preferences, these downloadable products may be delivered via email, download links with product keys, or a combination of the two. The appeal is that these products are instantly sent to the consumer once payment is confirmed. Today, there are numerous types of digital goods and the industry is booming.
Why are digital goods often preferred over their physical counterparts? For one, when physical goods are shipped to buyers, there is more than just the shipping cost involved. Quite often, these products are subject to sales taxes, inspections, customs, and other controls and regulations. This really can become an inconvenience and extra cost when the buyer and seller are in different countries.
When it comes to digital products, it is much easier to avoid such headaches including location restraints and taxes. In most cases, as long as a payment can be completed, the physical location of either party does not matter as much. This allows for a much broader audience as well as distribution coverage for the seller – perhaps billions rather than thousands or millions. Additionally, customers have more choice when it comes to digital products.The Challenges of Digital Product Distribution and Sale
Because many businesses, both large and small, are vying to have their piece of the global market pie, the selling and distribution of digital products is not without challenge. The process of selling digital products and distributing them worldwide can pose interesting challenges to both sellers and their respective governments. For one, sellers must constantly deal with the threat of pirates and hackers getting their hands on their digital products. Payloadz provide facility to protect downloads via various methods.
The sale of digital goods also affects governments trying to impose taxes and control over the distribution of such goods. The sale of a digital product reduces the amount of control a government has over what items their people buy as well as where such transactions take place. When people shop across borders, the countries with higher tax rates ultimately lose income to those that have lower tax rates.Digital Products Surpassing Physical Products
Regardless of these challenges, it doesn’t look like digital products are going anywhere. In fact, the quantity of digital products available is likely to increase. You may have heard the rumors that DVDs and CDs may be going the way of the 8-track and cassette tape. This is due to the increase in platforms such as iTunes that allow consumers to simply download music and movies instantly. The ease and convenience that digital products allow the world is unsurpassed.The Future of Digital Products
As technology improves, there will undoubtedly be new avenues for digital product and software distribution. This is apparent in not only music and movies that are frequently downloaded and watched instantly on DVR receivers, game consoles, and mp3 players, but also in the publishing world. In the past couple of years there has been an onslaught of digital book readers and similar devices that have already begun changing the way consumers buy books, magazines, newspapers, and other traditionally printed media.
As computers become more versatile and an even larger part of our daily lives, they may eventually take over for things that were done physically in the past. As we do more and more on the computer and online, it only makes sense that more of our products will become digitized. And though we can safely assume that the global marketplace for digital products will only remain strong, and perhaps even grow, we can only speculate what it will ultimately mean for consumers, brick-and-mortar stores, and governments the world over. One thing is for sure, there will be profound changes right in our own lifetimes!
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