Digital Stock Marketplace Explained

Digital stock marketplace is one of the 3 types of online freelance marketplaces. Here is the detailed explanation:

What is a Digital Stock Marketplace?

Digital stock marketplace are non-bidding, online versions of super-mart. Buyers search for a product, lands at the product page, buys it and seller gets a percentage of the sale amount. These marketplaces have hundreds of sellers each with their digital goods listed. So there are hundreds of thousands if not millions of digital goods. That might look like lot of competition. But still the sales happen. How? There is a statistical term called the “Long Tail” Distribution, coined by Chris Anderson, in 2004. Anderson explained that low demand products can collectively exceed the market share of bestsellers, but only if the distribution channel is large. Simply put, a digital product is likely to be sold here because it can be searched easily as compared to a regular store.

There is another angle to this. Every freelancer goes through a phase at some point when s/he asks if client work is enough to ensure long-term financial security. What if you are unable to work for a long time due to sickness or vacation? Selling digital goods is an answer to this issue. Create your digital products, upload them, market them and monitor your sales from anywhere. Furthermore, since it is a virtual store you can keep up with your marketing campaign from anywhere.

What can You Sell on Digital Stock Marketplace?

  • Stock Photography. Stock photography is the supply of photographs, which are licensed for specific uses e.g. in websites, brochures etc. Instead of hiring a photographer, you can get stock photos for a fraction of the cost. If you are an expert photographer why not sell them on websites like www.istockphoto.com, www.depositphotos.com, www.photodune.net etc.
  • Graphics. So, you are good at Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator and such design software. You have cranked quite a few graphics like logos, backgrounds and web graphics. Just upload them to your own account on one of these marketplaces and make money. www.graphicriver.net and most stock photo sites allow you to sell graphics. You can sell 3D models and renders at www.3docean.net.
  • Website Designs. You can sell your WordPress themes, website templates, HTML email templates etc. This way you help fellow web designers save time, while you earn money for your creativity and effort. One of the largest marketplace for selling these is www.themeforest.net
  • Software Code. Very few experts have the skills to write various kinds of software or code and scripts. If you are one of them, then your code is in demand. You can sell your scripts at www.codecanyon.net, www.hotscripts.com and many more.
  • Multimedia. You can also create and sell animation clips, jingles, MP3s, videos and more. Get paid for your creativity while providing resources to other freelancers. Head over to www.activeden.net (Flash projects), www.audiojungle.net (audio clips, jingles and more) and www.videohive.net (videos, animations etc.) to sell your work.

How Much Can You Earn on Digital Stock Marketplaces?

You earn as percentage of each sale e.g. 50% of the amount when it is purchased every time by some buyer. In some marketplaces like Envato, as sales volume adds up, so does the commission percentage ranging from 50% to 70%. That means the more you sell, the more you earn! Check out the payment rates page on each marketplace, because percentage rates and levels may vary. Obviously, how much you earn depends on factors like how many files you upload, quality of the files, promotion / marketing for wide exposure, customer service and engagement etc.

Advantages of Digital Stock Marketplace Model

  • No Chasing Customers. This is an obvious one. You don’t get into a bidding war and hope to bag the project. A customer searches and buys what s/he likes. You may have to answer a few queries and solve a few support issues, but certainly does not involve any major changes to your product.
  • Recurring Income. Since the same products can be purchased multiple times, you earn repeatedly without putting effort again. That is not possible with physical goods, right?
  • No Overheads to Bother About. Since you are part of an ecosystem, the required hardware and software required to host the ecosystem is the responsibility of that marketplace owning company. It is like a company is owning the mall, your shop, the furniture, credit card swiping machine and even pays for electricity – you are just putting up your product on their shelves and getting paid through their credit card machine (gateway). They will also provide you with a customer support platform, which you have to operate. On your part you are simply paying them a commission per sale, not even rent! You do have a choice to host the demo of your goods on your website though, which brings me to the next benefit.
  • Get Traffic to Your Website. Suppose you are a web designer and have hosted your web templates on the stock marketplace. You have also opted to host the template demo on your own web server. So when the customer views your web template demo, s/he might also checkout your other templates, products / services that you offer. This is a good way of offering a service which in marketing parlance is called a cross-sell. Or if you offer say, the template and template editing service as a package, it is an up-sell where you gain more than if you simply sold the template.

A Note of Caution

You didn’t think that selling on this platform would be a cakewalk, did you? It is not. To be a successful seller, you need to provide goods which have to pass quality control of the marketplace. Which means strictly no plagiarized or copied stuff or below average goods. You also have to provide all relevant information to market your products. Take a look at the top selling ones and you will get an idea as to what kind of copy-writing sells the products.

Moreover, you will have to provide support for any issues that may crop up after the sale is made. A good quality product and after-sales support will get you excellent ratings, thus pushing your product up in ranking. It then gets into a positive / upward spiral which will garner more views and consequently more sales. There are freelancers who have made millions, yes millions of Dollars on Envato marketplaces. I think that now you cannot call these top selling millionaires just freelancers, no?