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Logistics and Digital Goods Delivery

By: Dave Howell - Updated: 20 Jul 2010 | comments*Discuss
Logistics Delivery Delivery Service

One of the massive growth areas within the E-commerce environment is digital download selling. As more entertainment and business products have been digitised, online delivery of these virtual products has become big business. From music to software if you want to build a successful digital products business your delivery service has to be secure and offer the logistics that your customers will demand.

Placing digital content onto your website is now an easy task. The logistics that must be in place to charge for, and make reliable deliver of those digital goods, is the challenge your online business faces.

Copyright infringement and the continued illegal distribution of digital products - music being the most notorious - has meant that your online business must pay strict attention to the security and right management of the digital assets your online business will be selling.

Logistics Partners

At every step of the logistics process your business must ensure the digital products it is selling can be tracked. Having a professional partner that can handle the storage and distribution of the digital products your business is selling is essential.

Digital asset management from companies like Payloadz gives your business a delivery service that is complete end-to-end. This means that after your customer decides to buy a digital product from your website, the rest of the delivery service is handled by your logistics partner. In some cases this includes all customer services queries that may arise such as the resending of corrupt files after downloading.

Digital Rights Management

One of the most hotly debated components of the burgeoning digital download market is how rights management should be handled. Most of the digital products sold online today are copyright of their respective owners. To prevent unauthorised selling and distribution, Digital Rights Management or DRM systems have been developed to stop digital files being copied.

Most DRM systems work by locking the digital content that has been sent by the delivery service to the specific computer that downloaded the original file. If the purchaser tries to email that file to anyone else, or puts it on their website for anyone to download, the DRM prevents this from happening.

The kind of digital content your logistics partner will be distributing for you largely determines what kind of DRM you need. If you are selling create works such as software or eBooks, their original authors may demand that your business uses DRM to protect their work from illegal copying. If you need to buy DRM services, companies like LockLizard have off-the-shelf applications you can buy.

Creative Commons

As an alternative to full DRM on the digital product you sell, your authors can also use the Creative Commons approach. As a reaction to the standard copyright laws and DRM that developed to protect copyrighted works, Creative Commons allows the digital product’s author to decide how much of their rights they give away when their product is delivered to a customer.

Digital Delivery Checklist

Selling digital products isn’t just simply placing the media files on your website, you must think through the logistics of getting those files into the hands of your customers via a reliable delivery service. Bear the points below in mind when you are building your digital goods website:

File Support
The number of different file types that digital products can use is bewildering. Work with your logistics partner to decide which file formats your business will support.

Customer Services
Handling customer services queries may be too complex in-house as the digital goods are hosted on a server that could be in a different country. It is usually much more efficient to let your logistics partner handle customer services if they offer this as part of your service package.

Marketing and Promotion
Some digital distribution companies also offer ad placement and other marketing services. Look closely at what they offer and decide if these extra features are worth the additional fees.

Server Storage
Security is of paramount importance as your logistics partner’s servers could be hosting thousands of pounds worth of goods. Ask them about how they protect their servers from attack, and what kind of data backup regime they have in place.

Tracking and Analysis
Your business needs to know how well its digital products are selling. Your logistics partner should be able to provide you with sales logs and also additional data that profiles, what, when and from where your customers bought their digital products.

Payment Options
Collecting payment for each digital download is usually handled by your logistics partner. With services like PayPal available to all business, you can simply and quickly get paid for the digital goods your business has sold.

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