Who is it for?
This article is mainly for artists, designers, and art tool developers who are interested in selling online. If you have no interest in this topic please erase this article from your memory. Otherwise, continue reading.
An additional income that everyone has a right to dream of
More and more artists and designers are making money by selling their products, either physical or digital. Some of them are so successful at it that they are not working for clients anymore. I really can’t blame them. When you think of it, isn’t it better to work peacefully on your product, doing what you want and only what you want and getting paid? If your product is good, you’ll also have the benefit of reading positive feedback from happy customers.
My experience of selling online
I have a few, mostly digital, products available online as well. I also sell physical products so I’ll write a few lines about it as well. After that, we’ll discuss top platforms to sell digital products and their alternatives.
- Boonar Studio Gumroad Store – 3D models, textures, reference photos, and Blender tools (check Terrain Mixer)
- Zets Jewelry – my fashion jewelry (physical products)
The first one is a store for digital downloads that our studio is selling, mostly under the name BAT (Boonika Art Tools). The profit is used for funding Boonika Network and its projects. The products are hosted on a fantastic marketplace called Gumroad. I love almost everything about Gumroad’s (available) features. The one thing that I particularly like about Gumroad is that every store has its own separate page with all the seller’s products listed. What I mean by ‘separate’ is the fact that there aren’t any links to the stores of your competitors or their products. That one thing separates Gumroad from other marketplaces because it, in the end, is not really a marketplace (ok, there’s a search option on their homepage, but that’s it). I am not saying it is necessarily better that way, it’s just something that I prefer. The reason is – if I do all the hard work to bring customers to our store, I really don’t want something else to distract them. You can also have your own blog, integrated into your store, as well as the ability to inform your customers via email about important updates.
The second example is about physical products. Since it’s almost the same experience as selling a digital product, I decided to mention it.
Zets Jewelry is a dedicated web store, built on WordPress, that I have 100% control of. Its purpose is to allow me to sell my fashion jewelry. Even when I am not involved in its promotion, and the sales are really low, it is great to have it there, displaying my brand’s name, looking beautiful, ready to be used as a gallery of products whenever I need it. The cool thing is that the store is powered by some premium tools, such as Astra Pro, Elementor Pro, and others, that are available through Boonika membership, to those who need a website separate from the Boonika platform. This means that I can have total control over how customers are interacting with the content, what to show them based on their behavior, and much more. I will write more articles about custom websites with integrated e-commerce in the future if there’ll be enough interest for it.
What are the top platforms to sell digital products for artists, designers, and art tool developers?
Since there are many options to choose from, I will list only a few that I was either using or spent testing or learning from other users about their pros and cons.
- Gumroad – mostly for creative folks
- Selz – for anyone
- Artstation Marketplace – for 2D & 3D artists
- E-junkie – old, but still works (maybe you shouldn’t visit their marketplace)
They are all great, but Gumroad is still my favorite. It is also the only one that I am subscribed to (meaning that I give an additional $10 per month) just to give a little bit of extra support for their efforts.
But, I need more than that.
What is missing?
As much as I like Gumroad, I hate the fact that some features will never be available, and that’s not even Gumroad’s fault. A huge platform like that has to work flawlessly and the only way of achieving that is by setting rules and limits and offering features that are requested by the majority of store owners. So, what is that I miss the most?
First, there is no option to push our products other than promoting them by ourselves. That’s not the worst thing ever, but it also means that those sellers who have more followers will always be more successful. Sometimes that can be a bit unfair because being popular doesn’t always mean being good at making useful products.
Second, I can’t offer additional services that are related to a specific product. That works well for 3D models, textures, or PSD brushes. However, it’s not really good for some other types of products, like addons for various software (in our case, Blender 3D). Some buyers want additional assistance, the support that they are ready to pay for. You see, when you’re selling an addon on such a market or any other piece of software that evolves, it is almost expected that you offer all the future updates as well, free of charge. This might put you in a very bad position in case your product was made for a very specific purpose. In other words, if your product is not selling like crazy, over time you’ll become its slave because you’ll be doing a lot of additional effort to make your customers happy by offering them free support over and over again, while at the same time they’ll continue receiving free upgrades until you or your product are still alive. Such a situation can shorten the lives of both.
Even if you would want to offer premium support and better interaction with customers, the platform doesn’t allow you to do it.
There’s an alternative – Boonika Storefront
Even the top platforms to sell digital products have an alternative. Because of all the things mentioned above, and the other things that I haven’t mentioned yet, we decided to offer two alternative solutions for Boonika Network members who need more.
- Private store on Boonika Network (Boonika Storefront)
- A set of tools for those who need a self-hosted solution (contact us to learn more)
How will Boonika Storefront be better for me than other platforms?
First of all, it’s not about being better. It’s about filling the gaps and finding the missing links. Boonika Storefront will never grow as big as other platforms mentioned above. The number of potential store owners will be limited by the number of Boonika members of the particular membership level. We will continue promoting Gumroad, as long as they don’t mess it up. We are shaping it based on our own experience, but your suggestions are more than welcome, so let us know what you think.
Here are just a few of the planned Boonika Storefront features:
- Upload and sell (digital products, for now)
- No platform fees
- Offer and deliver free and premium support
- Offer support for items sold on other markets (outside Boonika)
- Get free promotion
- Grow a list of followers
- Publish tutorials
- Build courses
- Run webinars
That’s just a glimpse of what should soon become available. If you think that there is something worth considering please let us know. Not all the members will want to have stores, and our features won’t fit everyone, but if you are among those who will use them you have every right to contribute with suggestions and ideas.
Are you planning to build an online store?
So, do you agree with our views about top platforms to sell digital products? Get in touch if you want to be among the first ones to try Boonika powered stores for creators. At the moment, Boonika membership plans are available at a discount to those who ask for them, so it might be the right time for you to join.
Not a member yet? Registration will be disabled until we officially launch the platform. Check the Members list and see if you know someone who can send you an invite. That’s the only way to get in at the moment.