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How can I “sell” a digital download for free?

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It’s disappointing to see that the digital download products in commerce can’t be designated at “free” but rather a price of $0.00. But upon checkout the customer has to put in their credit card information.

I love the commerce module and as someone who has been on Squarespace since V4, I am thrilled with the ease of use of V6, but the oversight of Squarespace on this feature is crushing.

It is very common for folks that actually generate income online to give away products to help drive traffic and gain authority. To train those customers to using your cart is important, let alone the ability to gather their contact information and establish a relationship with them.

Is there any work around to this problem? Of course I could just put up a simple link, but that yields no transactional relationship and yields no real analytics.

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I reached out to support last night, and this is the replay I received. Simply there standard sort of response:

"Thank you for reaching out to us! We are aware of this issues as this is a very common request from our customers! I will submit a suggestion ticket to our developers for you so they can explore a solution. I hope this helps! If you have any other questions please feel free to ask!"

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Having to mark $0.00 is not a big deal at all. The point is that when someone wants to download a "free" product, they shouldn't have to input their credit card information. That seems scammy and odd for many customers out there, many of whom are international. It's a huge oversight by the SqSp team.

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Additionally, I already stated the issues with putting up a simple download link. It's not problematic, BUT you miss out on a huge opportunity to capture and E-mail address, you miss out on the opportunity to establish a transactional relationship, you miss out on an opportunity to E-mail that customer with the download link.

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Again, you don't need to rely on the "Commerce" components for this. Assuming you want to give-away something free in exchange for a visitor's email address: Add a form + in the form confirmation, just add your link. The same content will be sent to their email address. This is my V5 solution, but it still applies to V6 http://www.squareflair.com/blog/squarespace-marketing-tip-downloading-whitepapers-in-exchang.html

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Perspective is key. If you have something to really give-away, then give it away. The visitor will appreciate you for giving them a link instead of jumping-through hurdles to get it.

Yes— the credit card thing should probably be explained, simply because you think it's shady, but I'm not sure anything is broken.

If you have a PDF/video/song to give-away, would you set-up a Shopify cart for it? Would you list it on eBay? Commerce is for commerce.

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I wonder if there is a way to hide the "add to cart" button? That would solve at least the layout problem. Then you could just add a simple link for the download. No analytics, but perhaps with your form hack (great tip BTW) and hiding the button, that would get it 80% there.

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I can understand adding a "Pay what is fair" option to the commerce section, but I do not understand why it is such a big deal to add a free and not collect CC. If you want to give it away just make a link. If you want to collect info add a form and when complete the form displays the link. If you want to manage multiple items collect it in a Gallery or Blog Post and use a "click through" link to the item.

While still no as straight forward as some people are use to the SQSP 6 File management has gotten much better than it was at launch and you can post files with proper names to link to.

The whole idea of a commerce module is to "Sell" something. Meaning collect money for whatever you are offering. If you are giving it away just give it away.

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Theres really no need for you to understand or agree with how someones else chooses to market and what they want their customer to experience. This is the first e-commerce site I've seen in the photography industry that still collects credit card information when a 100% off coupon is used. But unless you truly understand every business model, I find it hard to understand why you would push for an alternative.

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Hey Opolo, didn't mean to sound like I was de-legitimizing a feature that some people would like or find useful. I just think there is a difference between a feature that would make things better for some people and saying this is broken or bad. Maybe I mis-interpreted your responses with a combination of me not using the correct wording. I was trying to provide an alternative to those who want to offer free downloads. If you have a mix of free and paid items then I can totally see where a full free option that doesn't collect CC info would be useful.

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Having a "pay what you like" feature is almost built into the Commerce now, by using the options in Commerce you can build out different payment levels. BUT the digital products are left out. And physical products you must charge at least a $1 for in the system. It's so close!

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  • 7 months later...

This code will change the link on the button to a location and title of your choosing. You can set up a page, add a form to collect email, name, etc. then add a link to the download in the thank you message of the form. To use the code below, change dii and replacewith to meet your needs. To find dii, view the source code of the product page that you want to offer for free. Find the data-item-id tag for the add to cart button.

e.g. change var dii = '524b3f23e4b030f838022bbc'; to var dii = 'my-data-item-id'; where my-data-item-id is the id you copied from the source code.

Copy and paste the code to Config / Code Injection - Footer

<script type="text/javascript">
   function ReplaceContentInContainer(dii,content) {
       var matchClass = "sqs-add-to-cart-button";
       var elems = document.getElementsByTagName('*');
       for (i in elems) {
           if((" "+elems[i].className+" ").indexOf(" "+matchClass+" ") > -1) {

               var di = elems[i].getAttribute('data-item-id');
               if(di = dii) {
                   elems[i].innerHTML = content;
   window.onload = function () {
       var dii = '524b3f23e4b030f838022bbc';
     var replacewith = '<div class="sqs-add-to-cart-button-inner"> <a style="color: #fff" href="http://www.google.com">Free Download</a></div>';


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  • 5 weeks later...

Not sure if you found a solution, but I found a way to make it work. I too wanted to offer a downloadable pdf in order to capture emails/names. So I created a Form (on a regular page, not a product page) with email and name as fields. After you 'build' the form, click on the 'Advanced' tab (top right of the form builder), and then create a 'Post-Submit Message', basically thanking them for their interest. At the end of the message, I wrote "Click here to download...". Just convert that sentence to a link, select "Files" in the top menu bar of the link builder, select "New File", and upload your pdf/file. That's it. Whenever someone fills out the form, the link pops up and allows them to download the file. You can see it in action on my "Photographs:Downloads" page.Hope this helps.www.sixtyonenorth.squarespace.com

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  • 3 months later...
  • 3 months later...

We have a case which would be perfectly solved if $0.00 sales didn't require a card. Its 24-hr link expiration is key. As a record label w/digital downloads we sell for real $$$ but we depend on reviewers who get it free. The direct file download allows link re-distribution, even if we put it behind a locked page, the content sub-link would still work, no?

We're looking at linking to box.com which will auto-expire links. But that's another system to maintain. I get that music is easily shared but it's one preventative step more to share actual hefty files than it is to forward text links.

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  • 4 months later...


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