Earlier days businesses need to have a physical store for selling digital goods like books and music tracks. However, this has been changed with the growth of digitalization. Nowadays, everyone has smartphone and the ability to read eBooks and listen music online. This brings tremendous opportunities for businesses to sell their digital goods through a website to reach out global audience. One of the best option is to create online store using WooCommerce with WordPress site. In this article, we will explain the step by step process of creating digital downloadable products in WooCommerce.
Why to Choose WooCommerce for Selling Downloadable Goods?
WooCommerce is the most popular online store plugins for WordPress. It allows you to create any type of products and sell straight from your website. Here are some of the reasons you should create a digital store with WooCommerce.
- The plugin works well with WordPress as they are from the same developers.
- It is used on millions of websites and updated continuously.
- It’s free and no additional cost is required for having small digital store.
- You can create a digital product in few minutes and start selling.
- Integration of PayPal is available along with other options for credit/debit cards.
- You can track each sale from the WordPress admin dashboard or using separate mobile apps.
Unfortunately, WooCommerce will slow down the page loading speed. If you want to create an online store that is part of your bigger blog or content website, we recommend creating the store on a subdomain. This will help you to keep your customer data and will not affect the speed.
How to Create Digital Downloadable Products in WooCommerce?
Below the following instructions to create a downloadable digital product:
Step #1 – Install WooCommerce Plugin
First step is to install and activate the WooCommerce plugin. If you are new to WordPress, checkout this guide on how to install a plugin from WordPress repository.
Step #2 – Create Product Details
After activating the plugin, navigate to “Products > Add New” section. Note that WooCommerce still uses classic editor interface. Though you use Gutenberg on your site, you still need to use the old classic editor to create product pages. Similar to creating any other products, type the product name, details and short description section.
Step #3 – Assign Downloadable Attributes to Product
Scroll down and select “Simple product” against “Product data” section. Check “Virtual” and “Downloadable” options.
- Virtual – this option will ensure the product is virtual and intangible. When you enable the check box, the plugin will disable the “Shipping” tab so that you can’t enter shipping related details.
- Downloadable – this allows users to download a file after purchase. When you enable the check box, you can find additional options for uploading files under “General” tab section.
Navigate through different sections and type the price, SKU, linked products and product attributes.
Step #4 – Uploading Files
You can upload files under “General” section.
- Click on “Add File” button and then click on “Choose file” button.
- Select the file from your computer and upload your eBook or music.
- Click on “Add File” button to upload multiple files. This will allow you to sell multiple digital items as a single product and users can download all files after successful purchase.
- WooCommerce plugin will assign the name of the uploaded file as “File name”. However, you can change the file name to anything descriptive as users will see this file name to click and download the file.
- The “File URL” path is encoded by default and the plugin will prevent anyone from directly entering the URL in browser and try to download the file. After successful purchase, a customer can use the file URL to download the file. However, this file URL is encoded and will be restricted as per the download permissions you have setup.
Step #5 – Settings Up Permissions
There are two options for setting up permissions.
- Download limit – enter a number of times user can download the file after purchasing. Leaving it empty will allow users to download the product unlimited number of times. We recommend setting this to 1, 2 or 3 to restrict the number of download times.
- Download expiry – you can enter a number here so that download link will be expired after certain days. For example, type 3 to restrict the download to three days after a purchase. This will restrict the customer to prevent downloading the files after three days.
Step #6 – Publish and Test Checkout Process
After setting up your digital product, click on “Publish” button to make the product live. We recommend you to test the checkout process to make sure the download links are working fine after making purchase. Depending upon your theme, the style of your final checkout page may look different. Generally, customer can click on the product link (that is the file name) to start downloading the file.
If you have enabled mandatory user registration for purchasing a product (recommended), users can go to “Downloads” section after login and download the file before the expiry of link.
Step #7 – Regenerating Download Permissions
Download limit and expiry are very useful to restrict the file downloads. However, many times customers may request for downloading after the expiry of the limits. In this case, you can regenerate the download permissions for a specific order. This will help customer to get a new link with new limits.
- Go to “WooCommerce > Orders” section and click on the order you want to regenerate permissions.
- Under “Order actions” meta box, select “Regenerate download permissions” option.
- Click on “Update” button to reset the permissions as per the product page setup.
This will trigger a new order email to the customer with the regenerated file link.
Step #8 – Revoking Download Access
In certain cases, you may need to handle conflicts with customer. It could be due to refund or wrong download file link. In such a case, you have to first stop the customer from downloading the file. For example, we offer multiple free eBooks in our store. Some annoying users will try to download all the eBooks under single order. If we notice this, we will revoke the download access and block the user using separate security plugin. This will help to stop the user from downloading the file though the order was successfully completed.
- Open the order and navigate to the bottom section.
- Check under “Downloadable product permissions” meta box.
- Here you can find how many times the customer downloaded the file. Click on “Revoke access” button” to remove the download permission from the order. This will prevent the customer from downloading the file further.
- You can also add additional downloadable products from your store in the same order. After adding a digital product, click on “Grant access” button to send the downloadable link details to customer. This is useful when you want to offer a surprise free gift to a good customer.
As you can see, WooCommerce offers all options for selling a digital downloadable product. You can setup download permission, revoke the access in case of issues and offer additional products with the same order. We hope this article is useful and you can start selling your digital goods through WooCommerce store.