This week I have been experimenting with a service called Gumroad. It is a product sales platform designed for people or companies with products and an audience they can reach. Rather than putting a product into a marketplace site that attracts lots of visitors, a Gumroad seller instead reaches out to his or her network and gives them a place to review the product and complete the sale.
The subject of my experiment is a product called The 8 Minute Workout, an MP4 video optimized for download to a tablet or smartphone. Once I finished creating the video, I was ready to put it up for sale on Gumroad. After putting in some basic profile information, including my bank account’s routing and account numbers, I uploaded the video, wrote up a quick, descriptive sales page, picked a price, and I was in business. Click here to see the final result of the Gumroad sales page. The Gumroad registration process took about 10 minutes, with most of that taken up by the upload time of my 117MB video. I picked up two quick sales with a posts to Twitter and Facebook, which helped validate the concept.
— Ayoba Innovation (@AyobaInnovation) August 17, 2013
What did I learn from my Gumroad experiment?
Gumroad has a lot to recommend it:
- Ridiculously easy set-up
- No monthly subscription, making it great for people who want to test product ideas to their network in early stages.
- Longer term, other options include Quixly, FetchApp, Pulley, E-Junkie. A full review of those options by Sacha Greif of Smashing Magazine can be found here, though it is a little dated
- No fee for data: whether my file is 1 MB or 1 GB, the price is the same
- Pre-orders, making it ideal for a crowdfunding campaign that is still getting residual visitors but has not delivered the product yet
- Some have used Gumroad to distribute digital assets to Kickstarter backers in an easy way, as Gumroad illustrates in this blog post
- User-defined fields, which allow for product variations and shipping information
- Both physical and digital products
- Offer codes, with fixed dollar amounts and limits (say, the first 50 people to use it). This is how I set up the ayoba offer code on The 8 Minute Workout for 50% off.
- No reliance on PayPal as a payment processor. Gumroad goes straight to your bank and acts as its own payment processor. There are countless stories out there about folks with large PayPal balances having their accounts suspended. With Gumroad, you are not exposed to that issue
- “Choose your own pricing” option: by including a plus-sign next to the dollar amount (i.e., $10+), customers can add money to their order, helping an entrepreneur hone in on what customers are willing to pay. Gumroad says this approach can yield 20% more revenue
- Promo videos in the header, either uploaded through Gumroad, or linked in from YouTube or Vimeo
- Customizable URL slugs (though I neglected to do so…hey, I’m a Gumroad newbie; too late now)
- Support for recurring subscriptions, for example: https://gumroad.com/l/zVnf
On the downside, the lack of any monthly or file size fees makes Gumroad’s transaction fees (5% + $0.25) higher than other comparable services. In the long run, Gumroad is best when selling low volumes of a large file. But, again, this variable-only pricing is perfect for people testing a concept before moving to other platforms.
Who is using Gumroad?
- Metro icon social pack (was $1, now free): https://gumroad.com/l/msicp/twitter
- Save My Marriage Workbook ($3.99): https://gumroad.com/l/EURn
- House of Glory wrestling tickets ($20): https://gumroad.com/l/IvHn
- The Adventures of Captain Bacon PDF ($1): https://gumroad.com/l/the-adventures-of-captain-bacon-pdf
- My Sister the Freak ($2): https://gumroad.com/l/my-sister-the-freak-vol2-ch2-pdf
- Jacked on the Beanstalk – Plant-Based Fuel for Vegan Athletes (CAD$10): https://gumroad.com/l/Jacked
- No Cost Income Stream ($17): https://gumroad.com/l/NCIS
- Picture Book Basics ($0+): https://gumroad.com/l/NBYC
- Marcel Desailly statistical history (1 pound): https://gumroad.com/l/MarcelDesailly
- Amplification Downloadable Course: (was $29, now $19): https://gumroad.com/l/amplification/twitter
- The Amazing Adventures of Frees game for both Mac and Windows ($1.99+): https://gumroad.com/l/JKfc
- Employtown ConnectForce ($20/year subscription): https://gumroad.com/l/zVnf
- Pirates Baseball Tickets ($36): https://gumroad.com/l/rustbuiltbaseball (Hey, it’s cheaper than StubHub’s 15%, though customers aren’t bidding up auctions and you have to find the buyers)
- Kyle’s Ultimate Drawing Set ($5): https://gumroad.com/l/Poah
- 2^7 Nerd Disses (eBook) ($1+): https://gumroad.com/l/nerddisses
In addition to the monthly fee companies mentioned in Sacha Greif’s Smashing Magazine article (also linked above), Gumroad has some new competition in Celery. The major difference is that Celery focuses on pre-orders of physical goods and
does not handle digital ones (correction: Celery tells me they do support a link to the digital good in the order confirmation email text). A good example of a company using Celery is the Breathometer, who is in the process of following up on a successful Indiegogo campaign. The fees for Celery are similar at 2% + Stripe or PayPal fees (2.9% + $0.30). Celery also touts mobile user friendliness and a super-easy setup experience.