Learning to Sell Digital Products Using WooCommerce


In this guest post from Edward Jones, we learn how to sell digital products using WooCommerce.

Online stores are no longer confined to selling physical products only, and have expanded their reach to include digital products such as music, images, ebooks and software.

eStores allow you to reach out and deliver products to customers the instant they make payment, whereas selling physical products often means losing a significant share of your sales – paying shipping, manufacturing and distribution costs. This is where selling digital products are significantly more profitable for merchants.

Put simply, selling digital products saves store owners from going through the hassle of shipping products, resulting in greater profit margins.

What's more?

You don't have to worry about maintaining your inventory or running-out-of-stock with digital products, as they mainly comprise of files stored on your web server. This means you're selling the same files time and again. Moreover, digital products don't require customization of any kind. In contrast, physical products often require you to change their color, size or any other attribute.

The agenda of this post isn't about convincing you that digital products are a lot better compared to physical products. My purpose is to tell you that WooCommerce has made it easier to sell digital products through WordPress e-commerce web designs. WooCommerce is the world's most widely used e-commerce platform and is definitely a winner.

To be more specific, this post will help you learn how to set up WooCommerce pages in your WordPress site for selling digital products.

Step-by-Step Guide on Setting Up WooCommerce Pages to Sell Digital Products

Step 1: WooCommerce Plugin Installation and Settings Configuration

In order to sell digital products via WooCommerce, you'll first have to install and activate the WooCommerce plugin.

Once the plugin has been activated, create the WooCommerce pages. Next, configure the plugin settings for digital products that you want to sell from your WordPress website. To do this, log into your WordPress admin panel and navigate to 'WooCommerce >> Settings'. From there you'll be able to see an option 'Configure WooCommerce Settings for Digital Products' - click on it and update the following settings:

  •  General settings tab – Limit the downloadable items purchase quantity to 1
  •  Inventory settings tab – Disable stock management
  •  Shipping settings tab – Disable shipping
  • Payment Gateways settings tab – Disable the payment options: 'Direct Bank Transfer' and 'Cheque Payment'. Enable the PayPal payment option and enter your PayPal email address
  • Emails settings tab – Configure your order notification settings and customize your chosen WooCommerce email templates

Step 2: Product Categories Creation

It's best to set up your product categories prior to adding products. You can do this via 'Products >> Categories' in the WordPress admin.

Step 3: Addition of Digital Products

In the third step, you will need to add your digital products (that you need to make available for download). To do this, go to 'Products >> Add Product' (as shown in the screenshot below).

Add ProductClicking on the “Add Product” option will redirect you to the product creation form. Fill in the below fields:

  • Title
  • Long description
  • Short description
  • Select the product category
  • Set a featured image
  • Insert additional thumbnail images (if necessary)
  • Price

In order to make your digital products downloadable, scroll down to the 'Product Data' section and do the following:

  1. Go to Product Data and choose the 'Simple Product' option from the drop-down
  2. Check both the 'Virtual' and 'Downloadable' check-boxes, as shown in the below screenshot:

Virtual Downloadable WooCommerce ProductsNext, assign a value to the 'Regular Price' field. From the 'Downloadable Files' path, click on the 'Upload a File' option and copy the Link URL. Click on the Save changes button, then paste the URL of the digital product you've just uploaded into the 'File Path' field.

If required, you can choose to set an expiration date for the product download link. This will stop the products from getting downloaded after the link expires.

Step 4:  Eliminate the Sidebar on the Cart and Checkout Pages

You might want to get rid of the sidebar on your Cart and Checkout option from your WooCommerce pages. For this purpose, simply make the WooCommerce pages full width by using the following steps:

  1. Open your WordPress admin panel and go to 'Pages >> All Pages'.
  2. Click on 'Edit' in the 'Page Attributes' widget on the right-hand-side of your screen, and you’ll see a Template drop-down. From the drop-down choose “Full Width” and update the page. This will eliminate the sidebar for that page.

Understanding the Order Process

So, now that you have carried out the most crucial steps of setting up your WooCommerce pages selling your digital products, you might be interested to know how a digital product order is processed. Let's take a look at the order process:

When a customer makes payment via PayPal, any one of the following things can happen:

  • If all the items (or products) in the order are downloadable and virtual, then the order will complete
  • Or else, the order will continue processing till the time you change it

After completion of the order, or when the 'Grant access to downloadable products after payment' option is enabled, the user who has purchased the products will:

  • Be given permission to download the purchased products
  • Receive the download links for the purchased products on the order received page
  • Receive email notification that contains the download links
  • Be able to see the download links, once they are logged into their ‘My Account’ page.

Get more Sales with WooCommerce Product Tables

Your store can be reasonably successful if you set it up with the built-in layouts that come with WooCommerce and your theme. For greater success, it's worth doing some work to optimise your WooCommerce conversion rate. This is especially helpful for online shops that sell products like electronics, where customers spend a lot of time reading the features and specifications of each product.

The WooCommerce Product Table plugin gives you lots of flexibility about how to display your products. It lists products in a table and you can choose from dozens of options about how to present the table and what data to include. This can help to increase your sales and make your store more successful.


Wrapping Up!

Apart from setting up any standard website or blogs, there are so many things that you can do with WordPress. In this post, we have discussed about how you can easily sell digital products through your WordPress e-commerce website, thanks to the WooCommerce plugin. Hopefully reading this will help you learn about the basics on how you can sell digital products by setting up WooCommerce pages.

About the Author

Edward Jones is a WordPress developer who keeps sharing his experience through his insightful blogs. Currently, he is employed with OSSMedia Ltd. - A Web Development Company. He holds an impressive amount of expertise in major CMS platforms including Drupal, WordPress, Joomla and Magento. You can go through his write-ups for gathering a greater insight into the popular CMSs available today. You can get in touch with Edward via Twitter and Google+.


  1. I've been selling successfully using the easy digital downloads platform but the lack of updates compared to woocommerce has given me the idea to change over on my new store,

    i originally looked into woocommerce but it at the time it wasn't a viable option for me. Your post shows this has changed and has all the features i require.


  2. Hey Katie, thanks for the article! WooCommerce is definately the plugin of choice when selling online. Great API service too! :)

  3. Hey Katie,

    This is really a great post on WooCommerce. Woocommerce has becoming one of the most popular part for ecommerce businesses. I also woocommerce for my store as it is easy to maintain and make it easier to upload products.

  4. I'm new to WooCommerce. I set up some digital products (CAD drawings) as a test. The products have been on my web site for about 2 weeks with no expiration date. My site is still under construction. I noticed today most of my products are missing? I used dropbox for my uploads. I was wondering what I did wrong. I can't have my products just vanish like that. The products are still there but there is no image or price or anything. The products are like a place holders now. Maybe you have experienced this?
    Thanks Willie

    • Hi Willie, can you see the products in the 'Products' section within WooCommerce and is the status set to 'Published' for all your products? This could be caused by various things so if you don't have a web developer to fix it for you, I recommend adding a job to Codeable where you can find a WooCommerce expert to help.

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