Using the internet to buy digital goods means that your customers can have the products delivered directly to their computers and other devices. Examples of such products include software, films, music, e-books, reports and training materials.
There is a variety of approaches that can be taken for delivering digital products.
Smaller files such as e-books can be delivered directly to the customer via email, with the customer receiving their book after purchasing the product from the e-commerce site. The advantage of this method is that it is very simple to set up. However, it is time consuming to manually send each product via email and the file can easily be shared with others.
Once a customer has confirmed their purchase you can connect the order form to an autoresponder, which will send them an automatic email. This will contain an attachment or a link which they can click to download the digital product.
It is possible to set up a simple payment system on your site using an online payment facility. Once payment has been approved, customers can be automatically directed to a download page where the file can be downloaded, possibly as a compressed file.
A number of e-commerce providers offer software that delivers downloadable product files and protects against unauthorised digital product downloads. This type of software can be a fully integrated function of the shopping-cart product. After payment is processed, a password and link to download product files is sent to the customer as part of the receipt.
Protecting your assets
You will also need to think about how to protect the copyright of your data and prevent illegal distribution or reuse of your digital products. Read more about digital rights management.
There is a risk that the product could subsequently be copied and distributed by the customer. This issue is addressed by digital rights management software.