In order to answer this question properly, it is important to think about what the customer ultimately wants and what the customer will ultimately be satisfied with.
For example, you can sell a digital product. It could be an e-book, video training, membership site, or whatever. At the end of the day, if that customer is not happy with that digital product, how will she feel? Sometimes, I am a customer of such products. I always feel like I was cheated or ripped off when the quality of the digital product is not good.
Some marketers of digital products will make fun of those who complain to their other customers. They may not name the person, but the message is clear: “You are an idiot for not liking my product”. This strategy may ironically lead to less refunds but it is psychologically abusive. Do you know what I mean?
The other thing is, once you have been around this Internet marketing space, you will start to see the same themes recur in training over and over again. And how do you feel when you buy an expensive digital product only to find out it really isn’t anything new or special?
Now, let’s examine the case for physical product sales. This is the time honored approach. It is respected in practically every culture in the world and has been for thousands of years. You go to a market and buy a product. You get something tangible in exchange for your money.
This is the way commerce has been conducted for a very long time. It is deeply rooted and ingrained in humanity’s psyche as a legitimate form of doing business.
Maybe you decide you don’t want, need or like the item you purchased. It is relatively easy to get a return of your money most of the time. You return the product and you get your money back. You don’t really have to worry about getting on some Guru’s ‘bad side’.
Contrast that with a digital product that was hyped up and made to sound really great compared to how you feel when you realize the product is not worth what you paid for it.
Software would be a bridge between physical and digital products. It is more like a tangible item, even though it is digital. You often decide you don’t like it and can get your money back. Oh, with the notable exception of the App Store, right? LOL.
The problem with software is that it very often needs continual updates and upgrades. If you are not buying from a company that intends to make those updates and upgrades, preferably for free, then you might think twice about getting it. Why? Because in a few short years or possibly sooner, that software will become obsolete. Maybe it will no longer work on your updated operating system. Maybe new software has come along that is way better. Both of these scenarios could be prevented by a company that supports its product.
How do you know if a company will provide that kind of support? You do not and cannot know for sure. If the business model of that company fails, they will no longer be able to update that product. Even big companies change their business model from one time fee for their product to a monthly subscription. (I’m not naming any names here but I bet you can think of at least one notable example!) The old stand alone software will become obsolete relatively quickly. This will also leave a lot of angry customers behind.
Out of all of these scenarios and situations, it seems to me that selling physical products is going to be your best choice. It is the most time honored and respected form of commerce out of these three examples. Customers often know what they want and they give a fair exchange of money for the value the physical product represents. All parties generally walk away happy or at least content. “I paid x amount of dollars for this product”. That’s the end of the story. There is a conclusion. But with a digital product you don’t feel good about, or will not feel good about in two years, you carry that feeling of dissatisfaction with you. It transfers to the brand, the person and the product itself.
Which do you think it is the best item to sell? I will enjoy hearing your opinions. Thanks for sharing, in advance.