What Is a Digital Product and Which Are the Best-Sellers?

Learn how to create digital products, the basics of building a prototype, and discover popular products on the market

From apps to e-books to games, the creation of digital products is responsible for a massive chunk of wealth generation in the world today. They don't require hefty upfront investments and can be executed without huge resources, however their production requires a certain methodology and a new way of thinking about product design.

Identifying demand, harnessing talent, and putting creativity into practice are all critical skills in this industry. Read on to find out more about the biggest digital products in the market and how to go about creating your own, from ideation through to prototyping.

A prototype is a mock-up of the final product.

What is a digital product?

Before the advent of the Internet, a product was a physical object or item that you could pick up, see, smell, hear, or taste – something that distinguished it from a service. But all this changed with the digital revolution.

A digital product can be sold online and has no physical form or substance: you cannot touch a website, smell an e-book, or taste a software program. Of course, you can turn digital products into material products – for example, many people buy e-books in PDF format and then print them, but the initial state of a digital product is not physical.

The benefits of digital products over physical products

Digital products have many advantages over their physical counterparts. Outlining some of these benefits, Mexican product designer José Galeano (@josegaleano) explains:

- It's not necessary to store them in large physical spaces.

- Delivery to customers is immediate.

- There are no costs related to materials or assembly.

- You don’t need physical materials to create them, only work.

- Easy reproduction means freeing up time to focus on marketing, advertising, and branding.

- They generate passive income. That is, they're available to users and generate money even when developers aren't working.

- They may only need a relatively small investment to build.

What Is a Digital Product and Which Are the Best-Sellers? 3
A digital product can be sold online without having any physical form.

Best-selling digital products

The most widely consumed digital products on the web are:

- Software and apps. Although many are free, others offer in-app purchases or business models (advertising, for example) that make them very profitable.

- E-books, like Domestika's free A Beginner’s Guide to Watercolor e-book.

- Audio files. Including podcasts, songs, or sound effects.

- Games.

- Photographs and videos, available on image banks.

- E-learning, such as online courses and tutorials.

- Art. Crypto art and NFTs (non-fungible tokens) have taken the internet by storm over the last year as many artists have turned to selling works in NFT format.

How to create a digital product

Thinking about designing your own digital product? Here are the steps you need to follow, according to the experts:

1. Come up with an idea

The first step is to work out what you want to sell. In this stage, there are many factors you'll need to consider including what type of content you want to make. For example, educational or informative content is generally easier to sell than entertainment, which is more subjective.

2. Research your market

The next step is to conduct a thorough investigation of potential clients. Customer research is perhaps the most crucial part of the entire process. If you don't understand your customer, it won't be easy to sell your product.

3. Set a price

Analyze your costs, the price of your competition, and the potential for profitability to put a realistic and competitive price on what you sell.

4. Find your unique value

Ask yourself, what can I contribute that my competitors do not?

5. Develop the product

Set up your equipment and start shaping your vision.

6. Set up the platform through which you will sell your product

7. Prepare a marketing plan

Publishing a product on the web doesn't necessarily mean it will sell on its own.

What Is a Digital Product and Which Are the Best-Sellers? 5
A low-fi prototype is the first step towards creating your product.

What is a digital product prototype?

According to José Galeano, a prototype is a representation of the final product that allows you to view and check functionalities before it goes to development. In short, it's a sample of your final product to put through tests. Prototypes are indispensable. They allow you to demonstrate, communicate, and troubleshoot the product with your team of designers, developers, marketing and branding specialists, as well as your end-users.

To begin with, you create low-fidelity prototypes. These help to test the navigation flow and do not focus on the visual aspect. They are focused on end-user experience.

What is the use of an animated prototype?

An animated prototype is still a partial product implementation, but with a much higher degree of fidelity. These prototypes help you work toward the application of the final product and provide greater reliability when it comes to testing. In addition, they allow you to develop a solid guide for the engineering team – that is, for those who will turn this prototype into a product. Also, if your product is an app, this type of prototype allows you to adjust details on its animated side.

If you're looking to create and animate a prototype of your digital products, check out José Galeano‘s course Interactive Prototyping with Adobe XD. You’ll learn to solve digital product problems and develop a prototype that’s faithful to your final product, testing it with real users on any mobile device.

English version by @acesarato.

You may also like:

- Adobe XD Tutorial: Basic Prototype Interactions
- What Is a Design System and How Can I Use One in My Digital Projects?
- 5 E-commerce Tools to Take Your Online Business to the Next Level
- Introduction to Adobe XD, by Ethan Parry
- UX Research 101, by Patricia Reiners

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