Monday, October 6, 2014

How I sell digital downloads of my bag patterns on my blog

Hi folks,

In my last post here, I blogged about my latest bag pattern and I wondered if any of you noticed that I gave the option of buying my digital pattern on my blog? Well, several of you bought the pattern so I know some of you noticed. Thank you, by the way.



I thought I'll share with you how I sell my digital patterns on my blog. When I was starting out with my bag patterns "business", apart from producing the instructions/patterns, the one thing that I struggled with was how to put a "Buy" button on my blog, collect payment and have the digital pattern AUTOMATICALLY sent to the buyer.

The first option I looked into was paypal since I use paypal as a main mode of payment/collection. There is a way to sell digital goods using paypal but it looked so hard. I mean, everything was so technical and words like IPN mean nothing to me. So I said, "no thanks."

I came across ejunkie in 2009 and I even got an account and everything but I was too busy with my craft markets and never pursued it. I vaguely knew it provided shopping carts services for digital as well as physical goods. In layman terms, it does the hard stuff for you.

Around 2012, I had sufficient number of digital patterns for sale and felt it was time to look at ejunkie again. I started a free trial subscription and began seriously looking at the website. To be honest, I dislike the website a lot. It's really hard to look at. The font, colours, layout, ugh. But I'm not marrying ejunkie so I stuck it out. The navigation (user interface) is a little old fashioned. But you know what? You get used to it. Once you figure it out, it's really quite simple. All you have to do is enter the details, upload the digital file and your file goes to the ejunkie server. To enable selling of your digital pattern on your blog, just go to ejunkie and copy the html code for the specific pattern. Next paste it on your blog html editor. When you view the codes on your blog, they appear as a button. And that's it. You can start selling. All you need is to get readers to your blog. All the troublesome stuff like checkout page and collecting payment are done by ejunkie. Well, technically, ejunkie doesn't collect payment. But it integrates with your payment processor. Like for me, I use paypal. Ejunkie gets paypal to collect the payment and put it in my account.

You also have the option of creating a nice shop banner but the checkout page is very, very basic. No frills. If you want to have an idea of what I'm talking about, go to this post and click on the "Add to Cart" and you can see for yourself. Don't worry. If you don't complete the transaction, you won't be charged for it. I also have some examples on projectsbyjane.com. Check them out. Don't be scared!

Well, to continue my story. During my free ejunkie trial,  I put the "Add to cart" button on one of my patterns in an old blog post and shockingly I made a sale. I checked my paypal and yes, the money arrived safely. That blew my brains out. I quickly put "Add to cart" buttons in all the posts which were promoting my bag patterns. Ejunkie has stats to allow you to view the downloads. I noticed that the early customers don't always download the patterns right away. So I felt I needed to write up a FAQ and you can see my version here. Much, much better. Now my customers know exactly what to expect and I no longer worried about the downloads. In fact I don't even look at the stats anymore.

I wished I had used ejunkie right away in 2009. I consider it a wasted opportunity. If wishes...

Let's talk about pricing. Nothing's for free, right? Currently I am on a 10 products, 50mb limit plan for $5 per month. This is the most basic plan. I get a discount for using paypal so it's under $4. All I need to do is sell one pattern a month and it will cover the cost of my ejunkie plan. That's not hard to achieve.

The next plan on the list is 20 products, 100mb limit for $10 per month. With my last pattern, I have hit the 10 products limit. I think $10 per month is still affordable. But if I were to upgrade to the 20 products plan, it would mean that I had better work really fast and come up with another 10 new patterns. Otherwise it won't be economical. Ejunkie gets really expensive once you go beyond 120 products. The price plan after 120 products is 250 products for $40 per month. I doubt if I will ever, in my lifetime hit 120 products. But if I do, I will definitely look for cheaper alternatives.

Next, customer support. I only needed to contact customer support in the beginning. I made the mistake of creating a subscription plan during my free trial and that action removed the free trial. The thing about ejunkie's subscription is any time you change the plan, whatever discounts, etc associated with the previous plan get dropped. The customer support was fantastic and very reassuring. I got back my free trial and a even follow-up to see if everything's fine. I was very impressed. I don't know if other people get the same great support but that really sealed the deal for me.

Some of you may question why there's a need to sell my patterns on my blog when there are marketplaces like Etsy, Craftsy and Patternspot which support instant digital downloads for sewing patterns. One big reason is these marketplaces are loaded with competition. To be able to make one sale out of the thousands of patterns is an achievement. Second reason? These marketplaces with the exception of Craftsy take a big chunk out of your earnings on top of the amount you have to pay your payment processor. Selling on my blog is much cheaper as I only need to pay paypal's monstrous fees and what I pay ejunkie is peanuts compared to what Etsy and patternspot gobbles up.

I hope this post is helpful to those of you who are looking to sell your digital products. I only mentioned services and marketplaces I have used. There are definitely lots more out there I haven't explored. Please feel free to leave a comment of other marketplaces which support instant digital downloads or any suggestions.

p.s. this post is loaded with ejunkie affiliate links.
E-junkie Shopping Cart and Digital Delivery

3 comments:

Bethany said...

I can tell you the ejunkie download works for sure--your latest is on my dining room table while I ponder fabrics :)

Connie Kresin Campbell said...

Thank you for the information Jane, I will check it out.

Caroline Heinrichs said...

Thank you Lara, I've joined up with e-junkie and I'm on my way! This post has been very helpful.

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