This question might have more to do with branding or marketing, but I think a lot of graphic designers are confronted to it everyday so I'll ask it anyways. Please leave a comment if you believe it belongs somewhere else
In my every day job as a Graphic Designer, I am often asked to create visually engaging content to encourage users to buy products. Some of these products are physical (such as laptops, hard drives, etc), but some of these products are digital and have no physical form (such as accounting software, cloud services, etc).
In this case it is much harder to come up with exciting "packshots" of products. In most situations, I do not have a licence to try these products myself, and I'm not even sure that their UI would be inspiring to create from.
Before, software would come packaged, with elements of design that were visually engaging, which is still is the case in the entertainment industry even now that things moved to digital.
I can definitely use creative illustrations for marketing purposes (i.e. images of people using the software, depicting semantic keywords, etc), but for the website-shop graphics, it's more difficult.
Or everything could just look like this
There might be articles and studies on this matter (or not) - I couldn't find any when looking for them.
How does one create engaging graphics for non-physical products?
An ideal answer would list different options, and eventually link to case studies or data giving hindsight on best performances.