Most people buy the majority of their stuff online nowadays. Since online is a purely digital experience, there isn’t much distinction between buying a physical product or a digital one e.g. buying a book online, vs buying an ebook.
Because we’re mostly in the business of selling representations of products now, rather than the products themselves, we have to get really good at selling those representations.
What’s really remarkable is with the rise of crowdfunding websites like Kickstarter, people are buying products WHICH DON’T EVEN EXIST. They are purely digital manifestations, often renderings of a final product.
Since the digital representation is what people base their buying decision on, this is often where companies start now. For instance, Amazon Web Services start by writing the description of their product, and testing whether customers like the sound of it, before actually building the product itself.
I’m not saying that the quality of the product is unimportant, but the web is such a dominant channel for products nowadays that it should be thought about early in the design process. The web is the new packaging.