Some business sell both, but most are predominantly one or the other.
I’m a marketer that actually deals in both. So I get to see the pros and cons of both.
With all the buzz in the internet world, the vast majority of revenue is still in physical products.
Last week I found out details of an online store owner that is selling one brand or one type of product, and is doing $10 Million per month revenue!
I myself get sales all the time for physical products (not $10 Million per month, yet).
But there is one quality about information products, that I have really come to appreciate:
You don’t have to really worry about inventory!
Sure, you may be selling a physical package of information (like a DVD set). And you might sell out of a “batch” of them, and need to create more. But you can set it up as a print-on-demand, to ensure it’s never really a problem. You have a number of options for “manufacturers” to make your product, if something happens to your usual source.
Compare that to a physical product that you’re getting from a manufacturer. The manufacturer can have production problems … or even go out of business. It may be someone else’s brand, that you’re distributing – which makes you at the mercy of that company.
I was reminded of this recently.
I had a nice $412 order for physical products. Which was high, for that store. She ordered 4 of an item we have. I tracked down where the sale came from, and was happy to see that new traffic source (a free traffic source), went to a specific product page, and it converted to a sale.
Though this was a manufacturer we’ve had challenges with. They’ve been taking items away from their catalog, without warning.
Well this time I double-checked on their website and it was available. I placed the order. So that was taken care of.
Then I get an email back the next day:
That item was no longer available!
Found out they determined 2 weeks prior. I asked the person how I can know what’s available, if I can’t depend on their own site (which is designed for re-sellers to order from). I was then told I needed “the latest list” which listed what was available. I get and look at this magic list … and that product in question STILL shows as available. It’s like a bad prank.
It’s just frustrating as a marketer to have a process that basically works to bring in traffic and convert to sales.
And then to have a case like this, where I can’t fulfill the order. It’s like “pulling defeat from the jaws of victory”!
With information products you don’t have that.
Sure, some marketers come up with an artificial limit. They say they can only sell 100 of one product (or however many).
But that’s up to their control. They don’t get to the point of selling less than their set limit and then for no reason they can’t make as many as they need. At worst there’s a slight delay to fulfill.
Not a case of “I’m sorry, I can’t get this for you … ever”
Okay, that’s a bit of a horror story. And luckily it’s a fairly rare occurrence, when I’m dealing with the other manufacturers.
But it is something that makes you sleep better at night, when selling information.
You can always give the customer what they order!