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How to sell Digital Goods on your store

Auctiva Commerce does not currently support automatic delivery of digital goods, although it's a feature that will be enhanced in a future release of Auctiva Commerce. In the meantime, you can still use your store to sell these types of products using a few work-around techniques. This tutorial will show you how to sell digital goods on your Auctiva Commerce store.

What is a digital good?

A digital good is a product that is a digital file that is sold as a product on your store. For example, a sewing store might sell a PDF of a sewing pattern to customers. Under the current limitations of Auctiva Commerce, digital goods can be sold on your store, but the customer will not be able to automatically download the digital good (i.e., the file) from the store. To mitigate this, you can use customer email addresses to manually deliver the goods to the customer via email.

How to create a digital good

A little bit of setup is necessary to prepare your store to sell digital goods. In this tutorial, you'll create a warehouse, product template, category and product for digital goods. An explanation of each of these items can be found within each step.

Step 1. Create a new warehouse.

It is not required that you create a new warehouse for this type of product, although it can help keep your inventory organized. Every product in your store is assigned to a warehouse, even if the product is defined as "unshippable" in the Shippable field. For the sake of keeping digital goods organized, we recommend creating a new warehouse for these products. This will also allow you to define coupons and volume discounts to these products. If you do not want to create a new warehouse, skip to Step 2.

  • Go to Store> Shipping> Warehouses. The Warehouses page will load.
  • Click on the Add Warehouse button. The Add Warehouse page will load.
  • Name: Enter "Digital Goods" (or a different name if you prefer) for the name of the warehouse.
  • Street Address 1: Enter in the street address for this warehouse. The address you enter for this warehouse is not critical because you will not be shipping these products.
  • Street Address 2: Enter in the second street address line if necessary.
  • City: Enter in the City of the warehouse.
  • State/Province: Enter in the State or Province of the warehouse.
  • Zip/Postal Code: Enter in the Zip or Postal Code of the warehouse.
  • Country: Choose the country where this warehouse is located.
  • Phone: Enter the phone number for this warehouse. This is an optional field.
  • Fax: Enter the fax number for this warehouse. This is an optional field.
  • Email: Enter the email for this warehouse. This is an optional field.
  • Click on the Save button when you're finished.
Step 2. Create a product template.

In this step, you'll create a product template that will ask the customer for their email address before they can add to their cart. If you'd like, you can also use this product template to help manage other critical fields that are unique to the digital goods (e.g., File Type, File Size, etc.). It's not required that you create a product template. Skip to Step 3 if you prefer not to create a product template.

  • Go to Inventory> Product Templates.
  • In the Add Template box, enter "Digital Goods" for template name.
  • Click on the Add button.
  • The Product Template is created and the Edit Product Template page is loaded.
  • In the Customer Fields section, click on the Add Field button. The Add Customer Field page will load.
  • Input Type: Choose the "Text Box" option.
  • Name: Enter "Email address" into this field. The name of this field will display in the Order Details when an order is placed.
  • Prompt: Enter "Enter the email address where the digital good should be sent" into this field. This is the prompt the customer will see when they add this product to their cart.
  • Columns: Enter "30" into this field. This is the column width for this field. You can adjust this if necessary.
  • Max Length: Enter "100" into this field. This is the maximum amount of characters for the email address. You can choose a different Max Length value if you desire.
  • Click on the Finish button.
Step 3. Create a new category.

It is not required that you create a new category for digital goods, although it might make it easier for your customers to find these types of products. If you do not want to create a new category for this type of product, skip to Step 4.

  • Go to Inventory> Manage Categories. The Manage Categories page will load.
  • Enter "Digital Goods" in the Add Category field that's in the Current Category box. You can enter a different name for this category if you prefer another name for this category.
  • Click the Add Category button. Your new category will now be displayed in your Current Categories box.
Step 4. Add digital good to your inventory.
  • Go Inventory> Manage Inventory.  The Manage Inventory page will load.
  • Click on the category you created in Step 3 or a different category that's related to this product.
  • Click on the Add Product button in the Products box.
Step 5. Enter product details.

You can enter in all the necessary product details at your convenience. For the sake of this tutorial, we'll only cover the unique fields for digital goods.

  • Shippable: Choose the "No" option. The digital goods will be sent to the customer directly using email.
  • Warehouse: Choose the warehouse you created in Step 1 or a different warehouse if desired.
  • Description:  It's recommended that you add the file size of the digital good into this field. Also, you should mention that the file will be delivered to the customer via email or any other method that you might be using to deliver the digital good. The file size and delivery method are critical information. Some customers may have a file size limit for their email account that would inhibit them from receiving a digital download. This type of information can be added to the product template if you desire. The type of product information that can be put into a template varies from product to product. Read the "How to create a product template" tutorial for more information about how to make product templates.
  • Continue to fill out all the necessary fields for this digital good.
  • Click on the Save button to save the product details.

If you have created a product template, continue to the Step 6. If you didn't create a product template, skip to the "How to email a digital good to  a customer" section.

Step 6. Assign the product template.
  • Click on the Templates tab. This will load the Product Template page.
  • Product Template: Choose the product template that you created in Step 2 from the drop down choices.
  • If there are additional fields that require input, fill out the appropriate information for this product.
  • Click on the Save button.

This completes the task of creating a digital good. You can view the product on your storefront. Add it to your cart to verify whether or not the product template will prompt for email address.  In the next section, we'll cover the basic technique of emailing the digital good to the customer.

How to email a digital good to a customer

Customers who purchase any type of product from your store are required to provide their e-mail address when they checkout for ordering purposes. Additionally, if you created the product template from previous section, they'll be required to enter the email address that will be used to deliver the digital good. Often times, the emails for both these uses will be the same. As such, you can cross check both email addresses to make sure the customer entered in their email address correctly. If you did not create the product template, you can simply use the email address from the order. You may want to email the customer to verify that the email address they provided is correct.

Step 1. Find the order.
  • Click on the Orders icon in the upper-right corner to launch the Order Manager.
  • Find the order for a digital download that you want to deliver to the customer. Use the search tools if necessary.
  • Click on the Details link for the order. This will load the Order Summary.
Step 2. Verify the email address.
  • Bill To: If you are not using the product template from previous section, copy the email address in the Bill To field. If you are using the product template, compare the email address in this field to the email address in the Order Contents section. If they are the same, the email address is verified. If there is a slight difference, either email address could have been incorrectly entered. It's up to you how you want to fix this potential problem. You could send an email to both addresses that asks for a confirmation. If the email addresses are vastly different, then it's likely the customer has entered a unique email for either address. In this case, copy the email from the Order Contents section. This is the email address that customer entered when they added this product to the cart.
Step 3. Send the email message.
  • Go to the e-mail account you want to use to send the digital good.
  • Compose a new message.
  • To: Enter the verified email address from Step 2.
  • Subject: Enter the desired subject.  
  • Message: Enter the desired message to your customer.
  • Attach the digital good to the email message.
  • Click the Send button.

This will send your digital good to your customer. You can follow up with your customers in a day or two to make sure they received the digital good. This can help foster a good working relationship with your customers and will result in continued business with them.

This completes the task of selling digital goods on your store. In a future release of Auctiva Commerce, this feature will be enhanced to automate the exchange of digital goods between your store and your customers.

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