What is a virtual product?
A virtual product (also known as digital goods) is a non-tangible item that can be downloaded or traded in a virtual economy, such as in e-commerce sites, online groups and marketplaces.
Although virtual goods do not have any presence in the real world, they can be considered a service that can improve users’ experience in certain situations. A virtual product can be in many forms, such as:
- Downloadable games or virtual game tokens
- In-app purchases
- E-book or audio-book
- Online courses
- Software (tools or presets)
- Online resources (photos, graphics, etc.)
- Templates (PowerPoint, CV, etc.)
A virtual product should also be distinguished from a physical product. While virtual goods are intangible, physical products are touchable and exist in the real world. However, nowadays the line between these 2 types of products is increasingly blurred, as many products now are sold in hybrid forms, such as a physical book that provides a link to other online resources relating to that book.
Why are virtual products becoming more popular?
With the growth of e-commerce and other online social platforms, virtual goods are becoming not less popular compared to physical products. As human activities are also taking place in the online environment, their demands to improve their virtual experiences also increase. With the latest technological trends, customers can easily purchase virtual products online, with a wide range of payment methods (such as credit/debit cards) to choose from.
Although virtual products seem to be less durable than physical ones, their values may still relate to the real world. For example, a purchased photoshop software is intangible, but the task it facilitates (i.e. a poster) can be seen and even touched if printed in the real world.