Physical Products Vs Digital Products [Pros and Cons]

Physical products Vs Digital products? Which one you should choose to sell online?

Really a tough question.


Well, don’t worry.

After reading this article, it would be easier for you to decide, which approach you should choose as an online seller.

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When it comes to the eCommerce business there are two types of products you can choose to sell in your online shop. Physical products and digital products. All the products available on the internet can be divided into these two categories.

While digital products such as eBooks, software, online courses, etc are in trend for the last 15 years, physical products (books, home appliances, shoes, toys, clothes, etc) came in trend after the evolution of new generation courier services and eCommerce store like Amazon, eBay, etc.

SO, when you want to start your online business, you have to choose between these two parent categories. Only after deciding what approach you are choosing between physical product and digital product categories, you can choose your final products.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something that we recommended. Read more about Affiliate disclosure here.


Now, choosing between digital and physical products depends upon several things such as your budget, whether you want to provide shipping or not, working space, etc.

In this article, I’ll compare digital products vs physical products, so that the process would be easy for you.

Let’s begin…

Pros and Cons of Selling Physical Products and Digital Products

When you want to start an online business, one burning question arises in your mind.

What to sell?

Physical products or digital products?

Let us see the pros and cons of both so that you could make the right decision.

Physical Products

physical vs digital products

Physical Product Definition: Physical products are physical goods or we can say merchandise, apparel, etc you sell and ship to customers.

Physical Products Example

  • Video games CDs
  • Clothing
  • Cosmetics
  • Artifacts
  • Jewelry
  • Home appliances
  • Toys
  • Kitchen essentials
  • Etc…


  • Easily demonstrable: As compared to a digital product, it’s easier to demonstrate physical products to your customers. The main reason is they are of physical nature.
  • Higher perceived value: Physical products are higher in value because the customer can resale them to others. However, in some cases, digital products can also be resold but physical products are far easy to resell.
  • Create unique products: Apart from digital products, physical products can not be duplicated easily. The problem with creating a replica of a physical product is it needs the same resources to create the replica. On the other hand, digital products can be easily duplicated.
  • Straightforward transactions: As physical products can easily be demonstrated, it can be easily sold online. There is no need for a certain amount of follow-up and explanation if the user struggles to get started.


  • Shipping and inventory management: To sell physical products, you need shipping and inventory management services. It takes much more time and money to manage these things.
  • More overhead costs: Physical product needs more overhead costs such as inventory and handling staff cost.
  • Scaling is hard: As compared to digital products, physical ones are hard to scale because they need so much time and money to scale up the business.
  • More time consuming: From ordering to receiving, physical goods need much more time to actually reach to the customer. It includes inventory management, billing, and shipping to the customer.

Digital Products

digital vs physical products

Digital Product Definition: Digital products are that can be stored, delivered, and used in their electronic format. Digital goods are shipped electronically to the consumer through email or download from the Internet.

Digital Products Example

  • Software
  • E-Books
  • Online Music
  • Online Videos
  • Information PDFs
  • Online Training
  • Online Tutorials
  • On-line services
  • Contract subscriptions
  • Publication subscriptions
  • Event subscriptions


  • No inventory required: The most beneficial thing about digital products is they don’t need any inventory like physical ones.
  • Infinite sale: When you published your digital product, there will be infinite sales opportunity by simply copying and distributing the duplicates
  • Simple and no time consuming: There is no need for shipping like things because you can direct deliver these products to your customer’s email address or you can add an option to download from your website after purchase.
  • Instant ‘free’ delivery: As they can be duplicated from the original file, you can instantly deliver digital products to your customers.


  • Harder to deliver value: Apart from the physical goods, digital products need more planning, explaining and demonstrating. Getting customers for digital products generally a great deal of time and effort.
  • Product development is time-consuming: Developing a digital product is really time-consuming. to make a digital product to launch-ready you have to thoroughly test by trial and error.
  • Competitive: As digital products don’t require delivery and shipping costs, there is stiff competition in this.

Conclusion: Digital vs Physical Products

As you have seen in this article, digital products are far better than physical products in terms of the sale price or commission rates, but physical products beat digital products in the sale count.

Obviously, digital products are more profitable so most digital marketers offer digital products such as eBooks, courses, software, etc to their readers.

Even, I recommend digital products to my reader in my blogs. And believe me, I am making a whole lot of money by selling my digital product recommendations to others.

So, in digital products and physical products which one are you going to pick for your online store?

Let me know in the comments.

Don’t forget to check out the tools and resources I use to run my online business.

And do share this article on your social media channels so that others can get help from it.

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Gautam Roy is a recording engineer and a blogger from India. He loves music, writing and travelling. He is also an active investor and a successful entrepreneur.  

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