While e-commerce is a great business and my focal point of attention these days, I’ve also spent a ton of time selling digital products as an affiliate which were mostly ebooks, newsletters, courses and forum memberships.
I have written much about the upsides of e-commerce, but probably not so much about the downsides. The first major downside is that tangible products have repeat costs. In order to fulfil each purchase, you have to source the product as well as pay for the shipping. This can obviously be avoided in a digital product where you spend a one time cost in manufacturing your product and can sell it again and again.
The second major downside is the liability. I’ve never been bothered by the risks of selling advertising on websites and also not too much bothered by the risk of selling digital products. Physical products, however, can go wrong. They can malfunction, cause damage to the consumer and this is a risk worth considering.
As already mentioned, digital products come with higher margins and are more profitable. This is also why you see many marketers resort to selling courses in the end because it is a higher margin business. You create the course, may be also incur a cost in doing so, but on an on-going basis your only cost is marketing. This leaves a much higher budget for you to make a profit.
I do think that most course sellers do it out of desperation and many are not even fully equipped with the knowledge that they try to sell. However, selling courses itself is not necessarily a bad thing as many of them come with a lot of value. The fact, although, remains that you can make more money by telling people how you make money and less by actually trying to do it.