Set Release Dates on Digital Downloads in Shopify

release dates

When you set release dates with digital products, it means that customers can place an order for the product before it’s available for purchase. Usually, this is known as Pre-orders, and they are usually used when building hype for a new product. But one thing I’ve found is that it was hard to do this with digital products, until now.

What you need

First, you will need a Shopify store, of course! But how do you set release dates with digital downloads? The DDA (Downloadable Digital Assets) Shopify app is the only app that allows you to set release dates on digital downloads on Shopify.

So, you first need to install the app from the app store and then get the free trial for the Starter plan to unlock the pre-order feature.

In short

  1. You will need to install the “DDA” app to your store
  2. Upload your digital file
  3. Set a release date and time on it
  4. Create your Shopify product
  5. Attach the digital file to the Shopify product
  6. Start selling

Steps to set release dates

Once you are done installing the app and subscribing to the free trial, follow these simple steps:

Step 1 – Install the “DDA” Digital Downloads Shopify app

You can install DDA from the Shopify app store or follow the steps below. This is the best digital downloads app on Shopify because of its extensive features and file protection abilities.

  1. Go to your Shopify dashboard
  2. Go to “Settings
  3. Go to “Apps and sales channels
  4. Click the “Customize your store” button
customize your store button
  1. Search on the app store “DDA” and find the DDA app
  2. Click the “Add app” button to install it
dda shopify app

Step 2 – Get the “Basic” plan 7-day free trial

  1. Go to the app
  2. Go to the “Settings” page
  3. Go to the “Change your plan” page
  4. Select the Starter plan or higher to unlock the pre-order feature
change plan

Step 3 – Upload your digital file

  1. Go to the “Assets” page
  2. Click the “Upload new asset” button
click the "upload new asset" button
  1. Upload your digital file
  2. Now click on the digital file once it’s uploaded, a new window will open with the asset
click the digital file

Step 4 – Set the release date for the digital file

Now it’s time to set the release date for your asset.

  1. Go to the “Release date/time” section and click the pencil icon
go to the "Release date" section and click the pencil icon
  1. Set the date and time you want to release the digital download
set the release date for the digital download
  1. Click “Save“, and the release is set

Important note:

At the time of release, the app will deliver a download email to all the customers who have ordered the product that this file is attached to.

If you have the customer account downloads feature enabled, then it will release in their accounts too.

Step 5 – Create your pre-order product in Shopify

If you haven’t already, go ahead and create your product in Shopify that you are planning on releasing.

  1. Go to the Shopify dashboard
  2. Click on the “Products” page
  3. Click the “Add product” button
add product button
  1. Enter your product details
  2. Make sure you disable the “This is a physical product” option if you are just selling a digital download
  3. Do not publish the product just yet, save it as a draft!
  4. Click “Save
this is a physical product

Next, you will want to think about how you will show the product on your storefront. Are you wanting to show the text “Pre-order now” inside the button rather than “Add to cart”?

If you want to change the button text, you will need to install a pre-order application to handle that or get a developer to do it (if you can’t). You can find some great pre-order apps for Shopify here.

If you don’t want to change the button text, then that’s fine. You can just add information in the product description informing customers that they won’t receive the digital download product just yet as it’s in pre-order.

Step 6 – Attach the digital download to the Shopify product

Now you can go back to your other tab with the digital file. The app automatically syncs all Shopify products, so you will be able to attach digital downloads.

  1. You will see a section called “Attach this asset to products“. Use this drop-down to select the product we have just created. You might need to refresh the page for it to get the latest data after creating the product.
  2. Select the “Attach” button once you have selected the right product.
attach the file to products

Now you’re ready!

Once you have attached the digital file to the Shopify product, and you have set a release date/time, then your digital file is armed.

Once the release date and time hit, a download email will be sent to all the customers who have ordered the product that this file is attached to. If you have the customer account downloads feature enabled, then it will release in their accounts too.

Will the downloads be delivered in every timezone at the time I set?

No, they won’t be delivered at that time in every time zone. The downloads will be delivered at the exact same time. The delivery is set from your computer time, and that exact time applies to everyone in the world.


Does this work for all pre-order Shopify products?

Yes, this method works alongside all pre-order products in Shopify. It also works alongside all pre-order apps.

What is the best pre-order app for digital downloads in Shopify?

If you’re selling digital downloads, the “DDA” Shopify app is the best to use for delivering pre-ordered digital products.


Read more