I manage a series of websites now and have had success with both eCommerce stores (dropship mostly) as well as content-based affiliate sites.
Not long ago I also ventured into selling my own digital products online, and that’s where I first started to use Payhip.
As it happens there is no shortage of platforms available that aim to make the process of selling digital products a breeze, (my colleagues and I here at V50 have also tried SendOwl, Podia, and Sellfy as part of our research).
So how has Payhip held up? I’ve based this review on the experiences I’ve had over the last 3 months using Payhip alongside some brand new digital ebook products that I have created.
You’ll see a summary of my findings in the box below. For a comprehensive review of Payhip keep on reading.
Payhip Review: An Introduction
First off, let’s take a look at what Payhip essentially is.
It is definitely more than just a platform to sell ebooks. The service is designed for anyone hoping to sell all kinds of digital products, from music to software, videos, images, and more.
It is also clear that Payhip is focusing on beginner users. Out of the various platforms I have tried in recent years I would say that this is the easiest to pick and run with, (although there is the fact that I am now more accustomed to the sort features you can expect to find with a digital sale platform).
Part of this user-friendliness comes from the fact everything you need to start a digital download-based business is right here, ‘under the hood’.
Payhip has a basic interface that gives you the tools to not only build your online store, (and managing your files of course), but also to help increase sales with a feature-heavy marketing and promotions suite.
To date over 130,000 sellers have signed up and are using the platform to sell their digital products.
Let’s take a close look at the features that have made Payhip so popular.
Payhip Review: Main Features in Detail
I have broken this section into the 5 main areas of Payhips functionality; its interface and ease of use, file management, control and look of the front end, the payment process as well as the all-important promotion and marketing tools.
By the end of this review, I aim to provide you with all the information you need to determine whether Payhip is the correct digital sales platform for you.
Interface and ease of use
As mentioned above, one of the areas that Payhip shines is the interface and how easy it is to use.
If this is your first time selling digital products, I cannot recommend Payhip enough.
Sign up is fast and painless, (email, first name, and details of your service of choice to receive payment are all that are needed at the beginning.) I opted to use Paypal, although Stripe is available.
Once you have completed signup you can immediately begin uploading the digital products that you wish to sell.
Here the intuitive interface leads you through the process of adding important details to the digital product. Simply add the price you want to sell it at, the category of the product as well as great features such as adding a cover image, title, and sales description.
The latter can take a bit of time, (you should aim to get your sales ‘blurb’ as enticing as possible) however the interface allows you to come back and edit anytime you need.
With this done you can set up how your customers will pay for your products, (more on this below) and literally click a button for the item to go live.
All in all, fast, easy, and extremely beginner-friendly.
The payment process
For a digital sales platform to work in today’s competitive landscape it has to achieve two main things;
- Make it extremely easy for the customer to pay for the digital item (and receive it immediately)
- Make payment into the sellers account with speed and efficiency
Here I am pleased to say that Payhip has set up an efficient payment process that achieves both.
The checkout process is designed to be carried out by the customer in just a few clicks. There’s no complicated series of sales pages to navigate, or double opt-in emails to receive.
Your customer can also make payments without issues on both desktop and mobile devices, (which is hugely important considering the increase in mobile-centric shopping these days).
Customized payment areas
Another great feature that will appeal to experienced users is that the payment, ‘shopping basket’ area can be designed to suit the branding of your specific online store.
This is especially useful if you are redirecting users from your own standalone website or social media page (separate from Payhip) to the Payhip payment area.
The seamlessness you can create with such customization will only help increase conversions.
That being said, the default design is clean and clutter-free for those that would rather leave the look as is.
Take payment from anywhere in the world
An important part of any payment platform is the ability to take payment from anywhere in the world using whatever obscure payment service or currency that your customer wishes to use.
Again, Payhip manages to deliver. The platform is integrated with PayPal and/or Stripe meaning that all major credit cards are catered for. Currency is not an issue either.
Multiple Payment Plans
Another area where Payhip shines, (and is proven to increase sales) is the subscription model that the service offers your potential customers.
This provides a versatile pricing structure that supports recurrent payments for membership packages.
Yes, this does add extra work for you? (you are advised to provide various prices for a product based on whether the user pays a subscription or in intervals etc).
However, the increased payment versatility helps encourage customers to pull the trigger on a purchase. And recurring income is a beautiful thing of course.
The multi-layered membership structure is easy to set up however and even includes the ability to offer free trials to attract more leads.
File Management, Analytics, and Piracy Issues
So you’ve added the products that you want to sell, and set important details such as the description and pricing structure.
While the passive nature of selling digital products means you’ve done the hard part by now; there is still the issue of file and sales management as well as protecting your assets against piracy.
As with the creation of your sales pages, the interface used to manage everything is very simple to use too.
If you have products that are related to each other, (a podcast series that fits nicely with the topic of an ebook for example), you can very easily link the items so that the buyer of one product is made aware of the other.
Swapping and removing files so that they are no longer live for download can be carried out with a click of a button.
Editing file descriptions and details is also intuitive and simple to carry out.
All in all, you will have no issues taking care of this aspect of your business, even if you have an extensive amount of products for sale.
Being able to analyze the behavior of visitors to your sales portal is another important feature that Payhip provides.
The dashboard allows checking the number of visitors and where they are coming from geographically, as well as the number of conversions you are getting.
You can also pinpoint the source of referrals (where traffic is being sent from) and control all of this data in terms of the day, month, year, etc.
In other words, you have everything you need to keep track of user behavior in order to tweak aspects of your sales portal in order to increase conversions.
Copyright infringement or illegal distribution
The issue of online digital piracy is said to amount to over $12 billion and 350,000 jobs in the U.S every year.
That’s quite some figure. Thankfully, Payhip does all it can to stop you from being part of that statistic.
Measures in place include having a system stamp on each downloaded copy of an ebook. This contains the respective customer’s email address making it less likely they will want to distribute the product illegally with their personal details attached.
Other types of products are protected with a system limiting the number of product downloads per user. The default option only allows a maximum of 3 downloads of each file per customer. No one in their right mind is going to use this allocation to distribute a file to the public for free.
Payhip also offers protection to software sellers by managing your entire software licensing framework.
This great feature sees their support staff generating relevant software keys and storing them accordingly. Only paying customers to have access to these keys in order to run the software you have sold for instance.
The software can only be installed and registered on a predetermined number of devices, with the details being held by Payhip.
In other words, no illegal distribution of your hard work being available online for others to use and abuse.
The Front End (UXP & design)
Credibility is an important factor when you are trying to sell a digital product online.
The way your sales platform looks is directly related to that. A shabby design will not instill confidence in a potential buyer and could well put them off purchasing your product altogether.
With this in mind, the design that Payhip uses to launch your sales portal is of utmost importance. In other words, we are talking about how good the front end looks to the average user.
Here again, Payhip gets a two thumbs up from me. The sales portal utilizes a simple, elegant design that looks good on both mobile and desktop devices.
This clean layout is easy to navigate and gives the user the ability to see all the important information they need without things being intrusive, cluttered, or amateur-looking.
Essentially, Payhip provides a professional-looking frontend that will definitely give your customers the confidence they need to purchase a product from you.
- Related Content: Podia Review [is this the digital sales platform to use in 2021?]
Marketing and Promotions
Finally, we have the all-important features used for the promotion and marketing of your products.
Here I feel that Payhip caters to the beginner user very well indeed. However, a more experienced user may be disappointed with the level of options available here.
There’s little in the way of pay-per-click marketing that you can execute from within the platform for one. Also, the dashboard does not provide what you might call a comprehensive marketing toolkit.
That being said, the ability to easily integrate your social channels such as Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube is pleasing. You can also set things up to make use of any email marketing campaigns you wish to run.
There is a very beneficial angle that can be taken via the Payhip affiliate program.
Payhip makes it extremely easy for its users to sign up to an affiliate program that will make your customer money if they refer your product to a friend.
Considering consumers are 4 times more likely to purchase after being referred to a product by a friend, you can understand that you have a very powerful tool here.
Furthermore, 77% of people are more likely to consider buying a product if it has been recommended by someone they know.
Setting up the terms of any affiliate activity can easily be done from within the marketing area of the dashboard.
Checkout Page on Social Platforms
I loved the ease with which I could set up a checkout page directly within my social media platforms.
I had a lot of success with some targeted Facebook advertising that led users into a funnel with one of my product checkout pages at the end. It is something I am experimenting heavily with even now and may well write about in the future.
There’s also a social discounts functionality that allows you to offer discounts to individuals who engage with and share your posts. Essentially, you can directly reward those that are helping get the word out about your brand and products.
As we all know, positive word of mouth is one of the most powerful marketing channels you could ever hope to foster.
Lack of upselling function
I was a bit disappointed with the lack of upselling tools, however. This is an important marketing tool that should not be omitted.
In fact, upselling has played a major factor in the profitability of other businesses I have managed online. The ability to provide supplementary product suggestions on the checkout page as well as options to purchase additional items at discount is an integral part of any successful eCommerce campaign in my mind.
Not being able to encourage customers to increase their spending at this important stage is a major flaw and one that Payhip needs to rectify if it wants to keep professional users on board.
The Pricing Structure – How much will Payhip cost you?
So now we get to that all-important issue of cost.
Again it is very apparent that Payhip is keen to get those beginner users onboard.
The monthly cost for the basic plan? Absolutely nothing. That’s right, the pricing structure works on the basis that you can use the Payhip sales platform free of charge and only begin to pay anything once you start to sell products.
This is a completely risk-free way for anyone embarking on creating their first digital downloads store.
That being said, once you start selling the small amount of ‘commission’ that Payhip (and your payment service of choice takes) can start to eat into your profits.
For instance, Payhip will take 5% of each sale in the form of transaction fees. PayPal or Stripe will take around 3% on top of that.
That’s a total of around 8% you will lose on each and every product sale.
Furthermore, the ‘free’ basic plan will not allow you to sell more than 100 digital products or provide more than two membership plans.
However, I stand by my opinion that as a way of getting into setting up your first digital download store this is a market beater. You can experiment trying to get your first customers using the platform without paying a single dime.
As we have already stated, the basic plan is absolutely free to sign up to and you will not be charged anything until you start making sales. The plan structure is as follows.
The Standard Plan costs $29 per month. This allows you to sell unlimited products and endless memberships and is designed for the more experienced user that will be selling more products right out of the gate.
Also, Payhip reduces their transaction fee to 2% on every sale. A significant reduction over the basic plan. PayPal’s or Stripe’s additional charges remain the same, however.
The professional plan retails at $99 per month.
This is the same as the standard plan in that you can have unlimited download sales and memberships. However, Payhip will wave their transaction fee so you pay absolutely nothing on each sale, (apart from Paypal / Stripe fees of course).
This is clearly designed for anyone selling hundreds of products every month.