Why Digital Products Fail – You Probably Didn’t Think Of These


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Lack of market research, lack of innovation, and lack of understanding niche and target markets all affect whether digital products fail or succeed. In this article, we cover the main reasons why digital products fail and also list what not to do.

Key Takeaways

  • The main reason why digital products fail is that they fail to address market demand, lack innovation, and do not solve a real problem.
  • A product can initially succeed in the market, but if it’s not updated and the competition catches up, the product will fail in the long run.
  • Listening to customer feedback and making sure to deliver only a complete product to the market will increase the chance of success.

Lack Of Market Demand

One of the main reasons why digital products fail is due to a lack of true market demand. If a product does not solve a real problem or meet the needs of its target audience, it is unlikely to gain traction, sell and be successful.

Market research is pivotal when you are thinking of creating a digital product. If you go and build a product without knowing whether there’s an audience for it, the work is useless and wasted.

Reasons why digital products fail regarding market demand:

  • Poor market research
  • Incorrectly identifying customer needs and pain points
  • Offering a solution that does not have real value
  • Creating a product with no real demand

Doesn’t Solve A Problem

While market demand decides whether a product can sell, if your product does not solve an existing problem, your product inherently fails. When your product can solve a problem that the market has, and there’s a demand for it, your digital product has the best chance to succeed.

There are different levels of problem-solving. The bigger the problem, the more money can be charged for the solution. The more niche and small the problem you solve, the less you can charge.

Things to avoid when solving a problem with a product:

  • Product is created based only on light or niche demand and not for an unsolved problem
  • Trying to create a problem and then a solution for it
  • Not identifying problems and creating solutions for already solved problems

Poor User Experience

The user experience (UX) is crucial for getting good customer reviews and satisfaction. If the product is difficult to use, has a confusing interface, or does not meet customer expectations, it will result in low adoption and customer satisfaction.

Even if you were selling digital downloads, the delivery of the file and how the information is presented still counts. With online courses, the course structure (modules, lessons) and the flow of the topics matter a lot.

It doesn’t matter which product you sell. User experience is still a factor that affects the success rate of your product.

Things to avoid when creating a good user experience:

  • Confusing navigation
  • Poor design, layout, and usability
  • Slow loading times (file delivery, course videos)
  • Unresponsive on different devices (mobile, desktop)

Uncompetitive Pricing

If your digital product is overpriced compared to similar offerings, it can be difficult to get sales and attract customers. Price is an important consideration for many consumers, and a high price tag can make a product less attractive.

Market research plays a huge part here. With market research, you can identify the price range of your target market products and either price them competitively or go against the tide and charge significantly more.

It’s about pricing strategy, branding, and understanding your core market.

The typical failures when it comes to pricing your digital product:

  • Underestimating market competition
  • Failing to conduct proper market research
  • Incorrectly estimating production costs
  • Overvaluing the product’s worth

Insufficient Marketing And Promotion

Marketing and promotion are essential when it comes to selling digital products. If a product does not reach its target audience, it will result in low visibility and sales.

With marketing and promoting your digital products, you bring the product in front of your target market and core audience. The initial setting is that no one knows about your product, so the only way to make sales is to get the product in front of customers.

Paid advertising, content marketing, and email marketing are just some of the ways you can use to reach your target audience.

Mistakes seen with digital product marketing:

  • Limited or incorrectly calculated marketing budget
  • Poor targeting and audience segmentation
  • Lack of a clear brand message and reason to buy
  • Ineffective and limited promotional channels

Lack Of Differentiation

If your digital product does not offer unique value or clear improvement compared to similar offerings, it will be difficult to stand out in the market. Typing digital planners to Etsy, will bring over 400,000 results (incl. ads.). In this case, we must ask ourselves, is it worth creating the 400,001st digital planner?

How can you improve upon on the existing offering? What more can you offer with your digital product that isn’t already on the market?

One of the most difficult things to do is to differentiate your offering from the rest. Innovation, uniqueness, brand and moat are a few things that can help you become a market leader in your niche.

Things to avoid when it comes to product differentiation:

  • Copying existing products and ideas without adding anything new
  • Failing to identify unique value propositions
  • Underestimating the competition
  • Not understanding the target audience and their needs and wants
  • Thinking that when everyone does it, it works and is worth doing

Poor Product Development

Poor product development can result in a low-quality product with low customer satisfaction. Even with a good product market fit, if the end product fails due to low quality, sales will wither away.

The end product should always be the best it can be. It should be finished and complete. Include all the features, functions, resources, materials, etc., that you had in your mind when you first started to create the product.

Beta projects and products are different as, in these cases, the customer knows the product isn’t final and still needs development.

List of things that will result on a poor end product:

  • Lack of proper planning and design
  • Insufficient testing and quality assurance
  • Cutting corners to save time and/or money
  • Failing to iterate and improve the product based on customer feedback
  • Thinking that the product is good enough and doesn’t have to be great. B- is good enough.

Lack Of Customer Support

Even if your product is self-explanatory, there might still be questions from customers. You need to have some form of contact channel for your customers, an email address, a chat, a website form, a Google form, or anything that the customer can use to contact you before or after purchase.

You can also support your customers by having a help center page or an extensive faq section that explains some of the questions that your customers might have.

If your product does not have proper customer support, it can lead to a bad user and customer experience, leading to declining sales.

Typical mistakes made in customer support:

  • Inadequate response times, making customers wait for an answer
  • Lack of resources for support staff
  • Poor training for support staff
  • Lack of clear and accessible support channels
  • Not adding a basic FAQ section to follow along the product

Failure To Evolve

When you leave your product stagnant, erosion will happen. It doesn’t matter whether you sell physical books or ebooks. The information, materials, design, user experience, etc., will experience erosion.

Just like humans, products need to adapt, evolve, innovate, and fight against stagnation and erosion. Market demand, customer wants and needs evolve, and your product needs to evolve with it.

If your product does not do the mentioned, it will become obsolete in time, and sales will decline. Then again, the product that does evolve will continue to make sales now and in the future.

Common mistakes when it comes to updating products for new market demand:

  • Failing to gather and respond to customer feedback
  • Not staying up-to-date with market trends and competition
  • Underestimating the importance of continual improvement
  • Resistance to change and innovation


Digital Artist

I’m a digital artist who is passionate about anime and manga art. My true artist journey pretty much started with CTRL+Z. When I experienced that and the limitless color choices and the number of tools I could use with art software, I was sold. Drawing digital anime art is the thing that makes me happy among eating cheeseburgers in between veggie meals.

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