If you create digital products, you have a lot of options as far as where to sell them online. Some solutions are easier to handle than others, though, because of the sales and VAT taxes that are charged on digital products.
For me, that’s the biggest issue, so I specifically looked at that for this article.
This is meant to be a starting point…You’ll have to investigate which platform will work best for your needs, and what the current rates to use each service is. The terms of each platform can change, so make sure to click the link in each section to go to the individual websites and check out what’s going on now as far as fees go.
The list, in no particular order of better or worse:
- Creative Market
- Creative Fabrica
- The Hungry Jpeg
- Your Own Website
Some of the links in this article are affiliate links that will pay a small commission if they’re used to purchase something.
Etsy for digital product sales.
If you’re reading this blog then you’re probably already very familiar with Etsy, because it’s one of the largest online platforms to sell digital and physical products. There are advantages and disadvantages to selling digital goods on Etsy, but the main advantage is that Etsy will calculate, collect, and remit sales and VAT taxes for you.
Because of marketplace tax laws, Etsy is responsible for taking care of the taxes, and that’s a HUGE thing when it comes to digital products.
Since digital goods can be sold worldwide, it would take a lot of work to figure out all of the tax rates, set them up, and pay them correctly. Using a marketplace like Etsy takes all of that work out of the equation.
The other benefit is that Etsy brings in a large audience to shop through their advertising, so you (theoretically) have a large audience that’s there already to sell to.
The disadvantage to using a large marketplace is that there will always be people who copy your work or who outright steal it, but that can happen anywhere online.
Creative Market for digital product sales.
Creative Market is a marketplace for digital assets, including fonts, graphics, themes, and more. You can list and sell your own digital products or browse and purchase items from other designers.
Creative Market also has the advantage of falling under the same marketplace laws that Etsy does, so they will handle the sales tax for you.
The disadvantage to Creative Market is, again, the amount of image theft that you can encounter. But honestly, any time you put anything online, there will be people who steal your work, so that’s not really any different from any other platform.
It’s tremendously aggravating, though, so consider only listing what you don’t mind having stolen.
Creative Fabrica is another platform where you can sell digital images, SVGs, digital wallpaper, and other design elements.
I use Creative Fabrica to get backgrounds that I can use for Pinterest, but I do wonder how the people who sell on here make any money. They offer memberships at a flat fee that allows people to download as much as they want, so you don’t have to go on there and buy individual things.
As a seller, it looks like you can open a shop (use this link to get to that page) and set your own prices, but they also encourage sellers to give stuff away to lure people to your shop, so it’s “interesting,” to say the least.
Free stuff is great for customers, but not so great for designers. Anyway, it’s an option, but there’s a lot of copyright infringement on there (just like everywhere else) so watch out.
Another thing that I would find difficult about Creative Fabrica, coming from a seller’s perspective, is that I had to go to Google to find the pages that would answer the questions that I had about whether they collect VAT and sales tax.
Their home page is full of graphics, so when you scroll it just keeps adding more things and you never get to the bottom of the page where the support links are located.
Here’s the link about VAT, and they do collect it for EU countries, so you don’t have to do that: VAT for Europe
They’re located in the Netherlands so they have to collect for the EU, but they also say that you need to check your local laws about sales tax, so they might not collect that for you in other places.
Sellfy for digital sales.
I kept seeing Sellfy come up in conversations about digital sales, which makes me think that they pay a lot of affiliates to recommend them, but I’d never heard of it until I started researching this article.
It’s a platform where you can create your own shop and sell digital, physical, and POD products, so it has enough functionality for everyone. However, their rates are based on how much you’re making, so if you make more than $10,000 a year it’s going to cost you a lot more per month.
Here’s the page that goes over their rates and what’s included in each plan: Sellfy for online shops
Another thing to note is that they have settings that let you collect the sales and VAT taxes you need to, but they DO NOT remit them for you, you’ll have to do that yourself.
Gumroad for digital products.
I’ve heard about Gumroad for years whenever people talk about where to sell digital items. It looks like they also let you sell physical products, but it was set up initially for digital.
They do collect VAT on digital products for the EU and the UK, and also GST in Australia, but their help section says that they only collect and remit US sales tax for two states at this point. They also say that for physical products, the customer will have to pay the VAT when the item is delivered.
They take a flat 10% fee when you sell something, but there’s no monthly fee as of this writing. That’s not bad when you consider that they do the taxes for you.
BigCartel for digital sales.
BigCartel is designed for artists and creatives to sell physical products, but you can also use an integration called Pulley to sell digital items there. This is the link to check out how that would work: Pulley by BigCartel
BigCartel does collect and remit US sales tax under marketplace laws, but there’s no mention of VAT or GST taxes. My guess would be that you’re on your own for those at this point.
E-Junkie for digital sales.
E-Junkie is another platform where you can create a shop to sell digital goods.
They have tools so that you can go through E-Junkie to send the digital files, but you can put “buy now” buttons in other places online, too.
They have tools so that you can set up and collect sales tax and VAT taxes, but they don’t pay them for you. You’re still responsible to send them in yourself if you’re required to do that.
Sendowl for digital sales.
SendOwl is designed to let creatives sell their digital products, and it’s set up specifically to handle digital items.
It lets you set up the sales tax and VAT collection, but it doesn’t pay it for you.
It lets you limit the number of downloads, and it can time-limit downloads too, so people won’t be able to keep the link forever if you don’t want that to happen.
One good thing I noticed from their features page is that there’s no file size limitation, so you can sell large files with no problem.
Canva (not currently available, but they might open it up again.)
I wanted to add this in case Canva does open up their contributor program again, but for now it’s closed.
I’ll leave the link here, but I have a feeling it will remain closed: Canva contributor program.
The Hungry Jpeg
The Hungry Jpeg site is designed to sell digital files, and you keep 70% of your sales with some exceptions, based on whether you participate in their bundles, etc.
This company is based in Singapore, so they don’t fall under US marketplace laws, and I didn’t see any information on their site about sales or VAT tax collection. My assumption is that you’ll need to handle that yourself.
DesignBundles lets you set up a shop to sell your graphics, and they also seem similar to CreativeMarket and CreativeFabrica in that they let their users have a commercial license for the graphics. They also have free offers, so again, I don’t know how that works for designers, and I would check out their payments to see how you’re going to be paid for your work.
They’re definitely not going to collect and remit US sales tax, because non-US companies don’t have to do that.
Another UK company, DesignCuts lets you sell digital files including graphics and brushes for Photoshop and other design software.
Now, this was a little odd, because I found an article in their blog that basically said that if you’re not located in the UK, you’re not required to pay VAT to the UK. However, that’s contradicted by the UK tax website here: VAT rules for supplies of digital services to consumers.
It also doesn’t mention taxes in other countries. So once again, it’s going to be your responsibility to figure the laws out for your specific situation.
Your own website for digital sales.
I’m not going to go through the other website platforms in this article, but you can read about those here: Shopify, WordPress, and more website options.
If you have your own website it’s likely that you’ll have to set up your own sales tax information, which usually isn’t too difficult, but you’ll also have to send it in on your own, so that makes it a little more complicated.
I wrote about sales tax on websites here: How to handle sales tax on an e-commerce website.
I’ll add more options to this article if I get suggestions from people as time goes by!
Buying things online can be tricky, and sometimes you'll need to return something that you bought. Returns on Etsy aren't as straightforward as you might think, because Etsy isn't a single shop, it's...
Sometimes you'll leave a review on Etsy and want to go back and edit it for some reason...Maybe you want to upgrade or downgrade the review, or add a photo to it. If you've left a review on Etsy...