Selling Digital Item Features - What's Hot, What's Not
SELLING DIGITAL ITEM FEATURES – WHAT'S HOT, WHAT'S NOT
by Gerri Bryce
Know that not all high risk merchant account providers are able to let you sell downloadable items for the simple reason that only a handful of them can provide 100% secure delivery of the files. When this happens you resort to selling at eBay for free, but selling at eBay also has its own pitfalls. In choosing a merchant account provider for selling digital items, you should weigh the following positive and negative points:
The ability of some merchant account providers to deliver the software or digital file to your customer right after they have purchased it. Customers expect that since it's a digital item in itself and is transacted through the Internet without the hassle of shipping, they should be able to get and use the item as soon as they have paid for it. Being competitive in this area can win you a lot of loyal customers.
An added value feature would be the ability of the MAP to handle your digital download transactions without you having to sit down in front of the computer the whole time and watch over who's making orders so you can respond. Automation capability is such a huge time saver for a lot of high risk merchants who are always on the go.
Both payment acceptance system and shopping cart if easily integrated into your existing website give you less headache on design and system revamp or overhaul.
The ability of MAPs to deliver digital products sans hacking. Selling digital files won't be called a high risk merchant's territory if it does not involve the risk of getting hacked. Secure download is the rule, not the exception. Passwords with expiration dates are better than having to provide a download link where the url can be easily typed and the file be downloaded repeatedly by different users.
LIMITED PAYMENT PROCESSING
One thing I noticed is that even though a lot of high risk merchant account providers can process payment on your digital download sales, they can only process a very limited number of payment options such as Paypal, some credit card, some e-checks, or process payments only in U.S. dollars.
LIMITED OR NON-INTEGRATION
Some merchant account providers would only allow you to integrate specific features into your existing website or sometimes none at all. Find a provider that will give you the freedom to accept payments on your digital file sales without having to ditch your existing shopping cart or database. However, some merchants are willing to use new and entirely different shopping carts and get rid of the old, so suit yourself.
UNSTABLE FILE LOCATION
If you're using eBay you're most likely going to have to figure out a way to store the digital files securely. This requires tech-savvy and leaves you at the mercy of smart hackers.
NON-AUTOMATED DELIVERY METHOD
eBay also asks that you provide your own delivery method. The only difficult part about this is that you will have to face the likelihood of losing customers if you cannot deliver the digital item as soon as possible. Worse, if the item does not reach the customers or if they commit fraud by saying they have not received the download link even if they already have, you will have to deal with chargebacks or lawsuits. A good high risk merchant account provider catering to digital files sales should be able to track where the item goes and whether it's actually been obtained and downloaded by the buyer.