The internet has united us, and the new world is not only consuming physical goods but digital as well. This is where a niche sector comprising of digital goods marketplaces have come into existence. These platforms allow users to upload and sell digital items like photos, ebooks, software or music. Websites like TradeBit, Distribly and Payloads have come to the mainstream offering prominent features like serial keys, picture resizing, external DRM integration, preview automation and so on.
The reach of the internet has surely fueled the growth of these websites, with millions of digital files being transacted between owners and buyers. FATbit analysts have been keeping an eye on this lucrative business model and drafted a thorough analysis of essential website features that are required to create an advanced digital goods marketplace. Before we move ahead to website features, let us take a look at the business and revenue model of such platforms to get a better understanding.
The business model of Digital products marketplaces revolves around bridging the gap between the owner of the digital item and the prospective buyer. Users upload their digital products while interested users buy them. Based on a peer-to-peer business model, platforms like TradeBit and Payloadz act as an intermediary in connecting the users. Now the next question that comes to the mind is how these platforms make money.
Now that we know the business aspect of the platform, let us focus on some of the essential features required in the digital downloads marketplace.
As more and more web platforms come into existence, innovative features and traits are taking the driver seat. One aspect of such innovative features is website UI. The fact of the matter is that a nicely designed website will any day surpass a feature rich platform with bad UI. This is why brands are focusing immensely on the website design. Let us look at the key website features that can make a digital goods marketplace a hit in this niche market.
User Engaging Homepage
We cannot emphasize much on this aspect enough, as it can make or break the user interest in your website. The homepage of your digital goods store ought to have following essential features:
If your homepage is able to hit the right chord with your targeted user base, then the conversion rate of your website rises substantially.
Having a dedicated section on your website that displays the recent downloads, is an essential strategy to highlight what other users are purchasing on the platform. A different approach to this would be to highlight trending/featured downloads rather than recent downloads to increase the reach of particular items from the homepage.
Why Choose Us
It has become imperative for all the platforms these days to highlight their core features. This not only entices prospective users to lean towards the platform but also ensures that novice users have full clarity on what they can achieve with the platform. This is why you must highlight all the core features of your platform on your homepage ranging from pricing info, FAQs on payments, and features offered to merchants. You could also use nicely placed CTAs to start interaction with the users. TradeBit and Payloadz both follow this approach on their websites, emphasizing on why users must choose them.
As these digital downloads marketplaces span across several categories, it is essential to have a navigation bar to make it easy for the users to browse a particular category. This is helpful in cases when the end users are not sure what they are looking for. In addition to categories, you can also display all the sections on the platform including eBooks, software, clones, repair manuals, music, and sounds.
The search is one of the key features of any eCommerce platform for product discovery. Most software marketplaces have a robust search functionality with an auto-complete feature as well as advanced filters like category and price. We suggest that you also incorporate a similar approach in your website to simplify the item discovery. You can also have sorting option baked right in the search results to enhance the search functionality even further.
The item listing page ought to be carefully designed to ensure that the web page does not seem cluttered with information. This is where many eCommerce platforms focus immensely as the user experience on this page surely reflects on the buying probability of the user. Some of the key features include:
FAT Suggestion – Make sure your listing pages are search engine optimized. Investing in a clone script that promises this can reap great benefits.
After careful analysis of several peer-to-peer software marketplaces, we found that sometimes novice users find it difficult to get accustomed to site features and functionality. This is where we felt that it is vital for these websites to have a section so that users can get help for a particular query related to platform’s functionality. An add-on feature to this section could be the option to contact customer support via chat. FATbit analysts recommend incorporating this feature in your digital downloads marketplace for optimal results.
Learn what it takes to build digital downloads marketplace
While the front end of the website is essential from the user’s perspective, you must also take cognizance of the backend system used by the merchants. According to FATbit analysts, the success of a peer-to-peer digital downloads marketplace is based on user engagement of both consumers as well as merchants. Let us look at each one of them closely to come up with a advanced digital goods clone.
Free Trial of Paid Membership Plans
We have already discussed one of the revenue streams of such platforms is via paid merchant accounts. But in order to ensure that merchants move from free tier to paid membership, you can have a 30 day trial period, under which merchants can use all the paid features for free. Merchants who find paid features useful for them can continue with the subscription after the trial end, while others can move back to the free tier with limited functionality.
The merchant dashboard needs to be ideally designed to ensure that the merchant finds it easy to access all the information seamlessly. Merchant dashboard is the central hub where a user would spend most of the time while logged in. This is why you must include all the key script features essential for running the account like:
Add Products Form
It is vital from the consumer’s perspective to have a well-detailed description of the item. Merchants feel at ease when the form is minimal. There is a fine line between the two and you need to be careful while creating “an item form”. After careful analysis of several digital product platforms, we have come up with a perfect solution to the above issue. Your “add a product” form ought to be sub-divided into different sections to ensure that the merchant do not perceive it as time-consuming. These sections can be:
During the process, you can also offer users an option to save the item as a draft and complete the process at a later stage. This would provide much-needed flexibility to your platform. Other options include edit the product, change the file, delete the file, generate a code, send the download link to other people and test the delivery of the product. If using a clone script to build a software marketplace, make sure it has this feature.
The most important section for merchants on a digital marketplace is sales overview which gives detailed information about the seller’s account and all the sales. Merchants can manage all their services from this page, which includes:
Pro tip – Create a clone that make data analysis and mining easy for merchants.
In order to attain maximum reach, most digital goods marketplaces use affiliate programs for merchants who want to earn money without selling directly on the platform. Under this program, users promote a particular item on their own website and receive high commission rates for every sale. The sales of the items can be tracked via Affiliate ID link. When a user makes a purchase using that button, the merchants get a commission. Very simple but something that requires dedicated script functionality.
This is a niche market with very few players, which is why a platform with all the above-mentioned features would find it very easy to capture the market share. Peer-to-peer software selling and buying platforms like TradeBit and Payloadz have had a clear majority in this sector due to limited competition. During our analysis, we found that their market share could be taken away by a website, which has more advanced features as described by us.
We have discussed at lengths how a website focusing on UX design and enhanced features can easily become a market leader in the peer-to-peer digital products industry. Coming up with a platform that offers unique user experience can be a big difference maker. Moreover, designers and developers at FATbit can help you develop the perfect website. Discuss your requirements with us and we will answer your every web design and feature development query.
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