One of the things I’m glad to see the web has made easier over time is eCommerce for independent creatives like artisans, artists, designers, photographers, bands, writers et al. Innovations like Paypal, Square, and Kickstarter have paved the way for people to make money or raise funds for projects online by selling their creations without the need for a physical storefront.
Gumroad takes things one step further – removing the need for an eCommerce site. The app allows you to sell anything that you can share online – such as pictures, videos, music or documents – with just a link. It’s easy enough for just about anyone to use and looks great. Let’s try hawking our wares to see if we can really get rich quickly!
Gumroad is a simple app that allows you to upload a file and sell it online by sharing a link to a product page – all you need is a Paypal account. The service works across 190 countries and doesn’t cost you anything to use – only a small fee is charged per sale you make. If you’ve got unreleased music from your solo electronica project, a stellar collection of photos, footage from your garage band’s last concert, or a killer new desktop app you coded, you can sell it easily with Gumroad.
Signing up for Gumroad is a snap and costs nothing, but you’ll need a Paypal account in order to receive payments. Once you’re logged in, you can add a few details to your profile and then create your first product from our dashboard. To do so, simply click the Add link button, give your product a name, upload the relevant file and quote your price (from US$1 – US$1000; add a + to allow users to pay any amount higher than the minimum you’ve set).
Next, you can add details about your product, including a description and a preview image. You can also limit the number of sales to a certain number if you wish. Once you’re done and you’ve saved your changes, you can promote your product by sharing the link via email and IM or on your site, or by sharing it on Facebook and Twitter from within the app.
Once your product is online, people can visit the link you’ve shared and buy it. All major credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, JCB, and Diners Club cards) are supported and you can set your price in US$, £, €, and ¥. Gumroad takes 5% + US$0.30 of each transaction made on your product.
So, for example: If you sell your band’s concert video for $10, Gumroad keeps $0.80 and you get $9.20.
Gumroad doesn’t charge any other fees (setup fees, monthly fees, bandwidth fees, or withdrawal fees) and presently doesn’t limit the size of files or the number of products you can sell. Your earnings will be deposited to your linked Paypal account at the end of each month. The app also allows you to view basic sales stats (product views, purchases and amount earned) for each product so you can keep track of how you’re doing.
Gumroad is, thankfully, dead-simple to use and very easy on the eyes for both sellers and buyers. Adding a product takes only as long as it does to upload your file. I created two links – one to sell a set of photos from a recent music festival in India and another to sell a track I’d created while dabbling in electronic music. You can add image and even audio previews (WAV and mp3 formats are supported for now) for your audience, and Gumroad will display info about your files (file format, bit rate, resolution and file size) for you.
There were a couple of things I wasn’t able to figure out though (and the short FAQ didn’t help). For instance, the app site mentions that t-shirt and app invite sales are possible but I don’t see how that would work since you can only offer files in exchange for money and can’t collect data such as clothing sizes or email addresses. Secondly, the app allows you to add your own custom CSS but there’s no guide or explanation indicating how and where this CSS would be applied on your product pages.
My feature wishlist
Gumroad works really well but left me wanting a few additional features:
- Allow users to give away additional items for free along with users’ purchases
- Branding options (custom backgrounds, colors and displaying links back to the seller’s website)
- Allow a custom message on the post-purchase confirmation
- Store listing to show all the products you’re selling with the option to hide items from store but still sell them via Gumroad
Gumroad is a great new service that many people will find a use for. Game developers could release the soundtracks to their indie games, photographers could sell their photo sets in high resolution for use as wallpapers or for print, designers could sell their poster art, icons and PSD files, writers could sell their unpublished stories and poems, and much more. The possibilities are endless. The app works well and truly makes personal eCommerce a reality.
However, the lack of a few features – particularly those relating to setting up a store with multiple products as well as allowing for the sale of physical products – are glaring and should be addressed to meet the needs of those who’re looking to seriously use the app as a source of additional income. Hopefully we’ll see these added on in future. Until then, pull out your old creations, upload them to Gumroad and make a quick buck!
UPDATE: In the short span of time since we published this review, Gumroad has been updated. Here’s what you need to know:
1) The fee per transaction is now 5% of the transaction amount + 25¢.
2) You can now opt to collect customers’ shipping addresses (when you’re adding details about your product)
3) Custom CSS can be added to customize the background, color and other settings for each link
4) If you create a username for your profile, you’ll get a page with all your products on them and share the URL to have your own little store.