E-commerce platforms for software publishers

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Do you know which is the best feature of your software application, according to your users?

Get SofMeter, the free in-app analytics tool. You will see how the users are using your software, discover which features are used the most or least, and understand where you should focus your development efforts to maximize your sales.

This is a hand-picked shortlist of the most popular e-commerce platforms specialized to support software sales for B2B or B2C.
These E-Commerce solutions for small, medium and big software publishers, can be used even by indie software developers and help them sell their software online.

They take out the legal, technical and compliance complexities from the software authors and they provide a complete solution for a predefined service fee.

They sell globally and operate as "Merchant of Record" (except PayPal and Stripe).

What is a "Merchant of Record"?

A Merchant of Record, resells your software to the clients and becomes a buffer between you and the buying customer. The receipt or the invoice that the client receives is issued under the Merchant's company name.

You, as the developer, you are whole-selling your software to them and they act as your reseller/global distributor.

Benefits of using software resellers

There are important benefits of using a global reseller for software products instead of selling directly to the customers.

  • Simple fee structure:
    They charge an all-inclusive predefined service fee, usually based only on the transaction amount. A merchant service might charge different fees depending on the country of the buyer.
  • VAT and taxes:
    They take care of the VAT and taxes regulations for the different countries around the world. They also give the collected VAT to the involved countries. A merchant service typically expects that you calculate and define the VAT and tax amounts.
  • Fraud protection:
    They check for fraudulent transactions.
  • Refunds and chargebacks without extra cost:
    They perform any refunds or chargebacks without additional cost. A mercant service might charge up to $15 for a manual chargeback.
  • International customer support:
    They operate a customer support desk for the ordering and payment process (but not for technical support to your software).
  • Software ordering web pages / eShop:
    They maintain and run the checkout and order forms, keeping them perfectly designed and responsive to different screen sizes (you want your order form to look perfect so that the client does not get second thoughts)
  • Localisation, multiple languages:
    They have translated order forms in many languages,
  • License management:
    they usually offer an SDK that you can use in your software to check if a license or a subscription is active. Depending on the result, you can automatically unlock the PRO features of your software.
  • In-app purchases:
    They usually offer an in-app purchase SDK. Your users will be able to buy a license from within your software. This convenience increases the conversion rate.
  • Currencies:
    They support multiple currencies so that the customers are charged in their local currency,
  • Compliance:
    They comply with the laws of the countries of the buyers,
  • Marketing:
    They usually operate an affiliate network that you can use to increase your sales (affiliates are site owners who want to recommend software to their visitors. For each sale originating on the affiliate website they get a predefined commission from the total price). This way, you benefit from the marketing effort of others.

Conclusion / Recommendation: How to choose an e-commerce provider for your software products.

  • You can sell your software from more than one Merchant platforms. E.g. Apple Store for the MacOS version of your application, Microsoft for the Windows version of your application, and another one for direct sales from your website.
  • As your main an e-commerce provider chose one who:
    • Is specialized in software sales.
    • Has an affiliate network (so that other individuals or websites can also market, promote, review, recommend your software, for free).
    • Accepts PayPal payments (to cover customers who have a PayPal balance and want to spend that money).
  • If you have a high volume of sales or your software licenses are based on subscriptions select a provider who:
    • Has a subscription SDK or API so that everything is done automatically and you can spend your time on other, more creative tasks.
  • If you have a MacOS application:
    • Add it to the Apple Store to benefit from the high traffic of users who are ready to buy software. This will also increase the discoverability of your software.
    • Sell it also outside the Apple store, via an e-commerce provider like the ones listed below. This way you will make sales directly from your website or via the affiliate network and avoid the 30% charges of the Apple store.
Former Avangate
2SELL: 3.5% + 0.30 EUR
2SUBSCRIBE: 4.5% + 0.40 EUR
2MONETIZE: 6.0% + 0.50 EUR
8.9%, min $0.75
5.9% + $0.95
Fees not disclosed on their Website. (5% as mentioned in user reviews)
Fees not disclosed on their Website
7.9%, $0.90 min (Simple plan)
4.9% + $0.90 (Blended plan)
For MacOS applications and IOS apps
+$99 developer fees per year
20% after the first 25'000 USD
+$49 or $99 developer registration fee per year
2.9% + 0.30 USD (Indicative)
1.4% + €0.25 for European cards
2.9% + €0.25 for non-European cards
Chargeback Protection +0.4%
€0.03 per 3D Secure attempt