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#049 – How To Sell Digital Downloads Online For Free

Over the last few posts I’ve been talking about my tripwire funnel.

And part of that means having some kind of checkout set up.

Which if you’re going for something on a large scale means an e-commerce platform or dedicated funnel platform…

…integrating your payment gateway…

…sorting out an SSL security certificate for your site…

…and getting that all plugged into your website and your funnel and working right.

Given my focus is on building a business on as small a budget as possible and only scaling when I see revenue coming in, this was never going to be a wise option.

I need something that is light, easy to use, non-tech friendly and ideally…free.

There are a surprisingly high number of quality sites and apps that allow you to sell for free.

When I say for free though…

What I actually mean is they have a free tier and allow you to not pay a monthly subscription by taking a greater transaction fee for sale.

So maybe “free” isn’t the right word – perhaps, “no upfront fee” is the best way of describing it.

Anyway, I tried out three of them – and honestly, they all seem pretty good.

Those 3 were Gumroad, Selz and Payhip.

Before I get into the detail on that though, let me explain this little bit.

What I Am Looking For To Sell Digital Downloads Online For Free

I didn’t know exactly what I wanted when I started out on thi set up process but I knew what I was after by the time I had tested all 3.

So here’s what I needed:

  • Free plan – to get me up and running
  • Easy to set up
  • Support for GBP of course – that’s my local currency
  • Support for multi-currency – not as essential but I do want to be able to attract oversease customers in future too and not need a separate system
  • Control over tax settings – otherwise by default the price will be what I want to charge + tax
  • Ability to embed checkout into my website so I don’t need to direct people off my site
  • Able to accept Paypal payments (because how many people ACTUALLY remember their card details?)
  • Ability to hide products from my profile – if I am offering the product as a one-off offer in my tripwire, I won’t someone being able to go to my profile and get the same offer any time
  • Discount codes – in case I run offers to my mailing list from time to time
  • Recurring subscriptions – again, not essential but useful for future

And here’s how they all stacked up for me:

Gumroad

I have used Gumroad before so it was the first one I went back to.

I’m familiar with it and it was super quick and easy to set up.

But I can’t control the currency options – it defaults to single currency and I also can’t control tax, so anything I put on there is always going to be my sale price + tax.

Which would be fine except I know my target market will probablt click away if they’re expecting a certain price and get offered that price + tax. It’s an extra barrier and extra resistance.

Their website embedding options were the best of the 3 though. It was incredibly easy for me to set up a custom button which matches my brand and my page – which I haven’t worked out or didn’t get as far as working out – on the other 2.

✅ Free plan – to get me up and running

✅ Easy to set up

✅ Support for GBP of course

❌ Support for multi-currency

❌ Control over tax settings

✅ Ability to embed checkout into my website so I don’t need to direct people off my site

✅ Able to accept Paypal payments

✅ Ability to hide products from my profile

✅ Discount codes

✅ Recurring subscriptions

Selz

I’ve explored Selz before but I realised quickly that the reason I ended up on Gumroad last time was because I wasn’t as keen on Selz.

So we’re not off to a winner already here.

Selz is probably the biggest of the 3, with the most features.

And best for physical goods and setting up a proper e-commerce store.

They do have a free plan, but they really really don’t make it clear.

When you sign up you get a 14 day full-feature free trial so I had to be careful to make sure the features I was using were only what was going to be available on the free plan going forward.

The 2 main issues for me were no subscriptions (again, it’s not critical for me right now) and more importantly, not being able to make products private.

I didn’t get as far as looking at multi-currency support because I stopped at the products not being private bit, but I did see something about them being able to set currency automatically based on a visitors IP address. So that would be a win.

✅ Free plan – to get me up and running

✅ Easy to set up

✅ Support for GBP of course

⚠️ Support for multi-currency

⚠️ Control over tax settings

✅ Ability to embed checkout into my website so I don’t need to direct people off my site

⚠️ Able to accept Paypal payments – on paid plans only

❌ Ability to hide products from my profile

✅ Discount codes

❌ Recurring subscriptions

Payhip

I was going to make do with Gumroad because I hadn’t heard of Payhip before.

But I used this little website called Google which told me there are more alternatives out there.

And even beyond Payhip there are more alternatives out there but I found Payhip seems to do everything I need it to, so at this point I stopped looking.

The only grievance I have with Payhip so far is that I can’t customise the checkout embed button on my site beyond the colour and text on it – but that is relatively minor when it does everything else that I need.

✅ Free plan – to get me up and running

✅ Easy to set up

✅ Support for GBP of course

✅ Support for multi-currency

✅ Control over tax settings

✅ Ability to embed checkout into my website so I don’t need to direct people off my site

✅ Able to accept Paypal payments – on paid plans only

✅ Ability to hide products from my profile

✅ Discount codes

✅ Recurring subscriptions

In Conclusion

I haven’t actually started selling yet, as I’m still getting all my stuff set up and in order.

So my opinion might change then, but specifically what I needed, Payhip seems to be the best one so far.

That’s not to say the others aren’t great or won’t work for you, but Payhip looks like the one for me.

One More Thing…

I didn’t mention it above because it’s not a major factor for me at all for now but if you want to recruit affiliates (people who sell your products and take a commission of the sale, in case you didn’t know) Payhip and Gumroad definitely have that built into their systems too.

So that might be something else to consider.

I didn’t get that far with looking into Selz though.

About Abhi

Hi, I'm Abhi. I'm a blogger, copywriter, marketer and coach. Super Simple Mode is my space where I document everything I try in marketing and conversion so you can learn from my screw ups. Thanks for being here.