Gumroad vs. Shopify: Which is Best for Selling Digital Products in 2023? (2023)

Gumroad and Shopify are two popular ecommerce platforms for selling digital products online. You can use any ecommerce platform to create an online store for online courses, digital downloads, monthly subscriptions, or even physical products. No matter what you want to sell online, you'll find that you can use Gumroad, Shopify, or any other alternative ecommerce platform to create a beautiful custom website.

In this article, we compare Gumroad to Shopify to help you find the best platform for selling digital products.

  • Overview of Gumroad
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    • rubber pathPrices
    • advantages ofrubber path
    • disadvantages ofrubber path
  • Shopify overview
    • Shopify core features
    • Shopify Pricing
    • Shopify Benefits
    • Disadvantages of Shopify
  • Gumroad vs Shopify Comparison Overview: Which is the Better Alternative?

Overview of Gumroad

Gumroad is an ecommerce platform where you can sell everything from software to graphics and cookbooks. You can create an online store with Gumroad or connect your custom domain to the platform to access payment processing. You can sell a few products (or many!) on your ecommerce store with Gumroad for a 10% transaction fee per sale.

Gumroad Key Features

  • Payment Provider: You can easily embed Gumroad's payment provider into your existing website to add payments to your current website so you can sell products online. You can also offer discounts and charge VAT.
  • Create Subscriptions or Memberships: Some digital products are not one-time purchases. Luckily, with Gumroad, you can set up recurring payments monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or annually. Keep in mind that this isn't the typical association you may be familiar with (more on that later).
  • Secure Digital Products: Gumroad offers anti-piracy features to prevent its proprietary products from being pirated online, such as: B. Lightweight DRM.
  • Create License Keys: If you sell software, you can create custom license keys for each of your customers to access your products online.
  • Multiple File Offerings: You are not limited to specific file types on Gumroad. So if you sell PDF, ePub or Mobi files, you can let your customers choose their preferred file type.

Gumroad Prize

Unlike ecommerce platforms like Shopify, you can run your ecommerce store on Gumroad with no monthly fees. Yes that's right! You only pay a fixed transaction fee for each sale made. So if you don't earn income, you don't have to pay a penny. Gumroad currently charges a 10% transaction fee for each sale. In addition, you also have to pay PayPal/Stripe fees, which are approximately 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction.

Benefits of Gumroad

1. Use your current website

When comparing Gumroad to Shopify, most Gumroad users already have an existing website, which they simply connect to the platform to access a payment processor and other cool perks to simplify the process of selling digital products online. While it's not an ideal platform to build your own website, it's a good choice for people who use a functional website and just want to add more functionality to their current website.

2. Numerous educational resources from practitioners

Many ecommerce platforms have an education center where you can learn from experts who sell digital products. Gumroad has people on its platform selling digital products and also sharing their experiences to help others improve. You can learn from other content creators on their blogs. Comparing Gumroad and Shopify, both offer educational resources, but unlike Shopify, most of the writers on their blogs are their customers and not their employees, which gives the content a different feel. It's always good to learn new skills from people who have already done things like selling digital products, marketing, or creating products.

Cons of Gumroad

1. High transaction fees

Not paying a monthly subscription is a huge win for those who are just starting out. But the whole point of running an online business that sells digital products is that you hope to continue to grow and eventually make a lot of money. A 10% fee per sale (no cap) means your Gumroad fees will increase as your business grows. If you make $100,000 a month, you pay $10,000 in fees!

Note that the 10% fee does NOT include the additional PayPal/Stripe fees of 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction that you must also pay. These transaction fees can really eat away at your profits. Most platforms that charge transaction fees don't charge anywhere near 10%.

A 10% transaction fee per sale on Gumroad can mean the difference between a profitable business and an unprofitable one. There are platforms like Payhip that only charge 5% transaction fees with no monthly subscriptions (you can also switch to Payhip's monthly plans as your business grows, so you never pay more than $99/month in fees). Therefore, from a financial point of view, an alternative online platform may be more suitable for you.

2. No store themes and limited store customization

Most people who sign up for Gumroad already have their own website. But what if you don't have a website yet? Now you need to sign up for another platform, create your website, invest in a website builder, choose a theme, connect hosting, and more to start using Gumroad when you're done. That's almost a lot of groundwork if you're looking forward to getting started right away.

Compared to Shopify, where you can use the drag-and-drop editor to create a fully customizable website, your Gumroad shop will most likely have the default Gumroad look and feel that every other Gumroad seller out there has not many customization options on the platform. If you want to create a unique brand aesthetic, it is better to use othersGumroad alternatives.

It is unusual for an ecommerce platform with advanced features that accept payments and allow you to start selling products online not to have a themed store to create a website on their platform. It is possible to find Gumroad designs online, but they are only available through third party suppliers. Unfortunately, if you purchase a theme through a third party, you may not be able to find a developer to update your theme as Gumroad evolves its offering, which can cause problems months or years later.

3. Very lacking in terms of online course resources

Although Gumroad advertises a feature to sell online courses, this is not what you would expect from an online course platform.

Gumroad's online course feature allows you to upload a video or other files for your students to download or click through to watch the video. However, it lacks the essential online course features like multiple types of lectures (video, text, assessments, surveys, etc.), drip content schedules, certificates of completion, study progress, etc. to provide an immersive learning experience for your students.

Here is an example of a student's course experience:

In comparison, an engaging learning experience should look like this (the example below is from Payhip):

4. Severe lack of membership resources

While Gumroad advertises a feature to sell subscriptions or memberships, this is also not what you would expect from a membership platform.

Once a member signs up with you through Gumroad, they have access to a set of digital files to download or view. See the example below:

Again, though, this isn't the typical membership structure where you can easily share exclusive content with your members in exchange for a monthly subscription. The interface also doesn't encourage active engagement from its members as they simply download their content without any meaningful interactions. If you're familiar with other membership platforms like Patreon or Payhip, the experience is quite different.

In comparison, a compelling membership experience should look like this (the example below is from Payhip):

Shopify overview

Shopify is an e-commerce platform for selling physical and digital products online. Shopify caters to small, medium, and large businesses. It has an extensive collection of third-party apps, offers unlimited products, and has a full set of customization options, allowing you to create a beautiful online store for your digital products.

Shopify core features

  • Shopify POS: For people who sell products in person, Shopify offers a state-of-the-art POS system to manage transactions offline.
  • Unlimited Products: On Shopify, you can add an unlimited number of products to your store with any plan, making it a popular choice for a small business trying out trending products at an early stage.
  • Unlimited Disk Space and Bandwidth: Get access to hosting, disk space, and bandwidth on Shopify with reliable uptime and no restrictions.
  • Fraud Analysis: You can use a fraud analysis tool built into the Shopify platform to assess whether or not to fulfill orders in your small business.
  • Abandoned Cart Recovery: You can easily create an abandoned cart email funnel to recover lost sales with Shopify without installing any third-party apps.

Shopify Pricing

Shopify has five pricing tiers for a merchant account on its platform. The lowest tier is $5/month, but you can only use it to sell through social media and messaging apps. The top tier is Shopify Plus, which starts at $2,000/month. There are three pricing tiers in between, which tend to be the most commonly chosen plans. Basic costs $39/month and allows you to have two staff accounts. The Shopify plan costs $105/month and you can have five staff accounts. The Advanced plan costs $399/month but you can have 15 team accounts. Most people start on the platform with the Basic plan and work their way up to Shopify or Advanced. Businesses often choose Shopify Plus.

Shopify Benefits

1. Easy to use

Shopify's user-friendly interface appeals to new entrepreneurs looking to build an online store for selling physical or digital products. Your Shopify store can be easily customized by using a theme for your website. You don't need any technical or development skills to create your website, making it a popular choice for selling products online.

2. 6,000+ 3rd party apps

The Shopify App Store has over 6,000 apps to help you accept payments, add key features, attract more customers, analyze and track sales, improve customer management, and more. These apps allow you to customize your website however you like. But be careful because the cost of monthly subscriptions to these apps can add up quickly.

Disadvantages of Shopify

1. Expensive for beginners

Shopify isn't an affordable option for most entrepreneurs. You will likely need to invest in paid themes, paid apps, a monthly fee, payment provider transaction costs, and more. Keeping costs down on Shopify isn't easy. And unlike Gumroad, Shopify doesn't have a free plan. As you scale, your monthly subscription costs will increase as well. Shopify Plus starts at $2,000, but the cost can be steep for businesses.

2. More focus on physical than digital products

When comparing the two platforms, Shopify excels at physical products but isn't ideal for digital products. You can install and use third-party Shopify apps for your own needs as a digital product entrepreneur, but this can skyrocket the cost of running your business. The Shopify platform was created to sell physical products. Many people running dropshipping businesses turn to Shopify, but sellers of a digital product would likely turn to competitors like Gumroad or Payhip.

Is there a better alternative?

When comparing Gumroad to Shopify as platforms to start selling digital products, you might be wondering if there is an even better alternative than a Gumroad or Shopify store.

Luckily there is.

Payhip is an e-commerce platform specializing in digital products. This means you can use the platform to sell software, online courses, e-books, graphics or literally any type of digital product. If you want to sell physical products along with your digital products, you can easily create Product Pages for that as well.

Here are some more reasons why you might choose Payhip over Gumroad and Shopify.

  • Accessible option:Payhip offers a generous forever free plan with unlimited access to the entire Payhip platform. Comparing Gumroad and Shopify, both end up costing sellers a lot. Gumroad's 10% fee on each transaction is unlimited. You will never get a discount or reduced price even if you sell millions of products on your ecommerce store. Shopify charges a monthly subscription and transaction fees. Payhip only charges a 5% transaction fee on their Free Forever plan, but you also have the option to switch to Payhip's monthly plans to only pay a maximum of $99/month, no matter the size of your business!
  • fully customizable: Unlike Gumroad and Shopify, Payhip lets you sell anything, but with a twist. There are specialized resources only for certain types of products. For example, if you are creating an online course website, you can use a beautiful native course player for your lessons instead of having to create a custom course player. If you sell digital downloads, you can access security features to prevent piracy, access marketing features like an affiliate system, and offer instant downloads. Those of you who choose Payhip to offer coaching services can benefit from calendar integrations and more. Regardless of what you are selling, you can find unique resources for this type of digital product.
  • Powerful marketing tools: On platforms like Shopify, you'll probably need to go to the Shopify App Store to access most of the marketing tools. That means you need to invest more of your earnings into the platform to offer your customers a better experience and more features on your ecommerce store. On Payhip, most of these marketing features are available natively on the platform. With Payhip, you can offer your customers coupons, create an affiliate and referral program to help you sell products better, and offer cross-sells and up-sells on their buying journey. You can also allow customers to leave reviews and approve comments received. Payhip also offers a comprehensive email marketing tool that allows you to send emails to GDPR compliant customers.
  • Unparalleled customer care: Payhip's customer support team is unlike any other platform. While Gumroad and Shopify offer extensive customer support, you can always contact Payhip's support team and receive a high level of care for your business. Also, unlike most ecommerce platforms, you can easily find the email on the website (in case you were wondering, it' In addition, Payhip offers plenty of educational resources on its blog and help center so you can quickly get the training and support you need.

Comparison overview between Gumroad and Shopify

Here's how the platforms compare:


Gumroad vs. Shopify: Which Should You Choose in 2023?

Comparing Gumroad and Shopify, it is clear that both platforms excel in different areas. Gumroad is a great ecommerce platform for selling digital products if you already have an existing website. Shopify is an amazing ecommerce platform for dropshipping, print-on-demand, and other physical products.

Despite its strengths, high costs, like Gumroad's 10% transaction fee and Shopify's pricey monthly subscription, could lead entrepreneurs to look for an even better alternative. Payhip's Free Forever plan offers one of the lowest transaction fees for a free plan you can find online, with no limitations on the features available. If you want to sell digital products, you can registerPayhip today for free.

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