Selling Digital Products on Shopify

I’m on my third digital delivery app for Stitch People, and I think I’ve finally found something that’ll work for me: SkyPilot. Here’s a review of what it does, why I like it, and why the other things I’ve tried have failed.



This is my current app. I made the switch final today (May 15, 2016) and things are now running smoothly. Here’s what I love about it:

  • While the actual files are hosted and served through, this is all done behind the scenes and masked through your own domain. When people click on the link to download their file, the link is your domain. The SkyPilot app then intercepts that request and serves the necessary file.
  • The entire experience is on my domain. SkyPilot gives you templates to manage, so you have full control over how the experience looks for your customers. It integrates into your existing theme and layout, so there’s no break in the visual experience for your customers.
  • It integrates into the order status page. When someone completes their order and it contains digital products, they’ll see a button on the order status page that takes them to another page (on my domain) that lets the customer download the file. I still send a follow-up email (see the next point), but that’s now a backup. People can immediately download their files after their purchase without having to go back to their inbox and wait for a link.
  • I can manage the email notifications entirely. I’ve turned off email notifications through SkyPilot, and instead I send the download links through my email marketing service, Drip. When someone orders something through Shopify, Drip is notified and stores the customer ID. I then use that customer ID to generate their unique download link and send it to them. All emails go through my domain and have the highest deliverability rates possible. No more lost notification emails.

I’m hoping that I’ll stick with this one for a while. So far, it has everything I want, lets me see how many times someone has downloaded a file, logs the IP address of each download, and gives me the flexibility I want to craft the entire experience.



This was the second app I used, after Digital Downloads (below). It worked well for about 6 months, but eventually three things made me start looking for a third option.

  • The email notification sent to customers through SendOwl is sent from They don’t have support for sending emails through your own domain, so even though I was able to set the ‘From’ name on the email, a lot of the download notification emails were going to customers’ spam folders. Not good.
  • Files were all hosted and downloaded directly on While they do offer some branding options, customers are ultimately leaving your site to go download their products elsewhere. This never really sat right with me.
  • Sometimes, customers would receive the email with the link, click on the link, and get a 404 error from SendOwl. Usually this resolved itself if the customer tried again in a few minutes, but this was completely unacceptable for me. A huge selling point to offering digital products it the immediate satisfaction a customer gets when they purchase and then download the file. A service that can’t reliably deliver a seamless experience isn’t worth my time.

Digital Downloads by Shopify


This was the first app I used and it’s been probably 8 months since I’ve used it, but based on my experience, I have no desire to try it again. For me, the biggest issue was the inconsistencies with the download limit feature (which limits the number of times a customer can download a file). The default had it set to 3, and I kept getting emails from frustrated customers saying that the first time they clicked the link, they were told that they had exceeded the number of allowed downloads. I was going in at least once a day to reset someone’s download limit.

Another thing that drove me crazy: all downloads logged the IP address that download came from. Problem was, all downloads were being attributed to an IP address associated with Shopify. I emailed the Shopify team about this, and they confirmed that this was happening with every store that had the app installed. Several months after alerting them to the issue, it still hadn’t been fixed. Between this and the download limit weirdness, I decided that this app wasn’t worth the headache.


Some friends coerced me into installing Voxer, a walkie-talkie app for iOS and Android. I remember trying out HeyTell once upon a time, but never got hooked. I’m going to give Voxer a real shot, and I’ll let you know how it goes.

The benefits are clear–you can quickly record a short audio message (or a text, picture, or video, I believe) and send it to someone else using Voxer. It’s a lot faster than typing out a message and hitting send because all you have to do is pick the recipient, hold down a button and record your message, and it takes care of the rest.

The few downsides include the fact that you can’t really “draft” a voice message; it is what it is, and you only get one shot before it’s sent off. Also, I imagine I’ll miss the ability to communicate through a browser. The thing I love most about Google Voice is that I can receive and respond to text messages through a website–and the entire history is tracked and searchable. That’s especially nice if you need to reference an address or phone number quickly.

Do you use Voxer or another walkie-talkie app? What features do you enjoy, and what drives you crazy?


Evernote was recently spotlighted in Inc. Magainze, and for good reason–it’s a fantastic app for helping you remember stuff. It goes beyond simple note-taking and makes it easy to take quick notes, record a quick sound clip, or save a picture for later.

The best way I can describe it is a brain dump repository. The pain Evernote solves is the fact that your brain can only handle so much information. Evernote solves that by making it quick and easy to take notes, tag notes, and find them later.

One of the best selling points of Evernote is that you can have it on just about any platform–Mac, PC, Android, and iOS. There’s even an open source version for Linux that is built using the Evernote API. This means that I can take notes on my tablet and have them show up on my phone, my computer, and in any browser.

The Evernote widget for Android is especially great, making it even easier to quickly jot down a note or record a clip on the go.

If you’ve never used Evernote, it’s worth a look. Do you already use Evernote? What’s your favorite way to use it? Let me know in the comments.

The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur

My latest read is The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur, a gut-check to whether or not you’re on the right track with your entrepreneurial ideas and mindset. I’m only about a third of the way through it so far, but I’m enjoying what I’m reading, including evaluating and modifying your core beliefs about your own potential and the quality of your ideas. The book does a great job of cutting through the crap and telling it like it is–and all this from a guy who didn’t follow a Mark Zuckerberg-type track.

DISCLAIMER: It’s a pretty irreverent book, with a fair bit of language and bathroom analogies (obviously). You’ve been warned.