Businesswoman using a tablet

What is a digital product?

The only condition that defines a digital product is that it exists in the digital space. Therefore, as long as the thing you are offering exists as a digital item and not a physical one, it is a digital product.

Funnily enough, a digital product can be a service as well. Common examples of digital products include Microsoft Word, Wix, and Apple Music.

What types of digital products are there?

For your project, you will be involved in custom app development. Mobile apps are awesome platforms for many different digital products, from courses, to eBooks, photography, music, research, and more.

Web app development is an engaging experience in entrepreneurship, and the sky’s the limit! Digital products have many different forms, and creativity is your ally here!

Consider what you want to sell. Is it a product, like a set of stock photos, an album, or small business marketing app?

Or is it a service, like on-call tutoring, app marketing solutions, or a digital product designer?

Why is a digital product unique?

You might be asking yourself if digital product design is that unique. Why not a physical product? Why web application development? There are a few advantages to digital business that make it ideal for this program.

Firstly, digital products don’t need inventory or shipping. They can be sold without several costs that drive up the barrier to entry for physical products. Preparing digital products to sell doesn’t involve these costs.

Secondly, there is a much lower variable cost. Digital products cost next to nothing to sell multiples of. The cost to Microsoft for selling 1 copy of Office and 5,000 copies of Office are very similar, and thus for the business it is far easier to grow as a digital product as opposed to a physical one.

This also has the added bonus of making digital product management very easy. You will never run out of product, whether one person purchases your app or millions do. Obviously, physical products do not have this advantage.

So how does this relate to you?

By exclusively working in digital product development, you can focus on what’s important; building a great product. The secondary concerns, like inventory, supply chain, fulfillment, and raw materials are removed from the equation.

This frees up time to be spent developing your product, which is what is most important.

How do I get started?

Once you have your digital product ideas, the key to success is a collaborative and iterative mobile app development system.

team members working together
Team members must work together to iterate on a digital product

What does this mean?

Each team member should create separate brainstorming documents for how this product will look/work. Their ideation can then be combined together to form the first mockup of your final product.

Taking the strongest components from each person’s ideation ensures that your final product accounts for multiple perspectives and preferences. Then, comes the iteration.

Take many cycles of feedback and development before release; an untested product is an unfinished product.

Who can you ask for feedback?

Your professors are an amazing resource; office hours and appointments work in your favour! In addition, remember that anyone and everyone can use your product. Thus, anyone and everyone is a valid source of feedback.

Taking into account many different people’s feedback is the key to a product that appeals to many!

How do I plan my digital product?

The ideation and development process is complicated, and you need external resources to help you create a functioning app. We’ll go over everything you need to know to get started on prototyping, hosting, and supporting your app.

There are several ways to prototype your app before development, but one of the most useful tools you can use is a wireframe. Essentially, a wireframe is a mock-up of your app that displays every page.

A hand drawn wireframe
An example of a hand drawn wireframe

Popular wireframing tools include Canva, Figma, and if you’re looking for interactive features, Proto.io. Jumping ahead to after development, your app still needs to be hosted online.

There are many different hosting services, but the most common include Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Hostgator. All of these offer similar services, and which one you prefer will depend on the needs of your specific app.

So now you have a functioning, polished product. How do you give your app the greatest chance of success? The key is in strong digital business strategy.

Where Do I Go From Here?

Creating a website and using small business digital marketing are critical to promoting an app’s success. Whether that’s through Google Adsense, Facebook Marketing, or any other promotional tool, exposure through mobile app marketing and desktop marketing is critical.

Make great use of targeted ads to maximize the efficiency of the money you spend on marketing. A website will also be necessary.

If someone in your team has web development experience, you can start from scratch, but there are plenty of products that help anyone build a great website.

I’m sure you’ve seen the ads for Wix and Squarespace and other web design/hosting services, but they are great tools to use and can be very effective at marketing your app!