Consumers and enterprises alike are increasingly shying away from buying digital content, services, and software outright. Instead, these businesses are embracing alternative business models where they lease or rent access to digital products and services. The disruption to traditional business models is widespread and accelerating across all verticals of digital product distribution, with high profile digital disruptors like Adobe, Netflix, and Salesforce driving changes in the way consumers and enterprises pay for, and engage with, digital products.

Today we see that:

  • Business model changes are accelerating in the digital goods marketplace. Today's digitally connected consumer is increasingly eschewing the traditional ownership model of buy, download, install, and use. Consumers want access to digital content and services across their connected devices, anytime, anywhere — and are embracing virtual ownership models that provide access to vast libraries of content, services, and products under subscription, usage, and other emerging ownership models.
  • A different set of features and services are fundamental for digital goods sellers. Many of the features and capabilities found in enterprise eCommerce platforms are directly transferrable to selling digital goods or online services. However, most of these retail-focused solutions lack the unique features and services needed to sell digital products and services online, including flexible cross selling and bundling, asset protection, subscription management and entitlements among other features.
  • The commerce solution vendor landscape for digital goods sellers is complex. Forrester sees three distinct categories of solutions available to eBusiness professionals as they embark on the journey of monetizing digital products or services: commerce platforms for physical goods, subscription and recurring bulling platforms and commerce platforms specifically designed for the selling of digital goods or services. Navigating these solutions isn’t a straightforward journey as each category–and in fact, even the vendors within each category–have varying capabilities and limitations.

Forrester published a report last week outlines offerings from 10 vendors with a proven track record of supporting customers selling software, services, and digital content online (client access required).

In the report, we include overviews of offerings from: arvato, Avangate, BlueSnap, cleverbridge, Digital River, Elastic Path, FastSpring, hybris, IBM and Oracle.

This is an exciting and fast-evolving space! I hope you enjoy the report and look forward to your comments.