This week, we bring you a quick lesson over versioning digital goods with iThemes Exchange. We’ll also cover the difference between updating and upselling and the importance of keeping your customers informed of product updates in your ecommerce store.
Updating or versioning a product is when you want to simply upload a newer version of that existing product within Exchange. Versioning is an important technique in adding new features to your digital goods (like to plugins or themes) or adding updates (like to your ebooks). Updating is also helpful if you mistakenly uploaded the wrong file, or are putting up the same one with some minor fixes. Either way, this is why updating is useful.
In order to update a downloadable product, you must go to the product’s page within Exchange and replace the product’s Source URL under Product Files. You can do this by simply uploading the new or updated file into the same spot the previous one was. This will update the product for all past and future customers; they will simply need to re-download to receive the updated file.
Adding New Product Files
So we know that replacing the old product file with a new one will update that product for all your customers across your site, but what if you want to add another downloadable file to that product?
Well, adding new downloadable files to pre-existing Exchange Digital Download products will allow new users who have not yet purchased the product to receive all files, but users who have already purchased the product in the past will only have access to the downloads that were part of the product when they purchased it.
A good general rule of thumb to remember with digital download products is that when a customer purchases a product, what they receive is what they purchased at the time.
This is important to keep in mind, as depending on what you are trying to do, you may accidentally deny content to previous customers that you were trying to give a free update. However, this does present you with some interesting marketing techniques, such as upselling your products, which we’ll discuss next.
Have you ever seen a special promotion, perhaps something like “Purchase within the next 5 days and receive a bonus product free!”? This is upselling, and it can be a useful tool for making more sales for certain items, perhaps to entice customers who were on the fence before.
In this scenario, the customers who have already purchased the product would not get the added products, only the customers who purchase it after or during the period in which you add the additional products.
Alerting Your Customers
So now you’ve updated your product, either as a free upgrade or as an enticing upsell. How do you let your customers know? Exchange does not by default send your customers email alerts whenever you add or update your products. It does, however, offer options that you may want to utilize to get the word out.
Any time you sell a product, you should be getting that customer into a mailing list as part of your sales. We highly recommend using add-ons such as AWeber, MailChimp, or Mad Mimi to help get the word out.