Simple Ecommerce For Musicians: Gumroad, Shoplocket, Kout, Chirpify
A variety of options are now available for online sales of both digital and physical items such as MP3s and music merch. However, these often involve lengthy review processes, monthly fees or other cumbersome entanglements.
Recently a number of lightweight ecommerce solutions have launched providing streamlined, low-cost services including Gumroad, Shoplocket and Chirpify as well as Kout which is launching soon.
These are new services so be sure to check out the fine print and keep an eye out for success or problem reports. Since they are particularly useful for selling single items, a dry run with an MP3 shouldn't expose you to much risk. Keep in mind that PayPal will also charge an additional transaction fee.
Gumroad: Digital Sales and Fulfillment
Gumroad is designed for easy digital sales. You upload your digital products, include a preview image or audio clip, and receive a link to share on the web. The link takes fans directly to the product where they can buy it with any major credit card. They then get a download link via email.
FAQ: There are no upfront or hosting fees. Gumroad takes 5% plus .25 per transaction which is actually pretty good considering they appear to be handling credit card transaction fees as part of the deal. They deposit payments to bank accounts in 190 countries.
SHIPPIN!: Sell Physical Items Through Gumroad
SHIPPIN! is an additional free service currently for Gumroad that adds a shipping information form to the process. They send you the info, you fulfill the order.
ShopLocket: Sell Single Items Online
ShopLocket is another low-cost option that facilitates single item sales for those who don't need a full online store. Each item gets an online display that can be publicized with a link or with an embeddable widget for blogs, websites and social media.
You can sell physical or digital items but, either way, you have to handle fulfillment which makes it less preferable for digital sales. You can configure options for specifying shipping rates by country as well as tax rates. Shoplocket uses PayPal for payment processing and charges a flat $2 fee for your first sale in addition to an ongoing 2.5% transaction fee. Check the help section for more info.
Kout: Simple Online Selling
Kout sounds worth checking out but is still in beta. You can add your email for updates via the homepage.
BetaKit's Erin Bury says the service "allows merchants to sell physical or digital items with a link that corresponds to a one-page checkout where they can pay with credit card or PayPal." The founder says they should launch in May and that they will be dealing with not only digital and physical products but also with services.
Chirpify: Sell Music via Twitter
You can find out more about Chirpify's music-focused offering that's already in use by Rhymesayers. It's designed for digital sales, including concert tickets, and is kind of a trippy process in that you tweet the offering, fans reply with "buy" and the transaction is processed from there. However, buyers have to have Chirpify accounts and will be prompted to set them up when they respond if they aren't registered.
The basic account is free with a 4% commission and uses PayPal for transactions.
Hypebot Features Writer Clyde Smith blogs about business at Flux Research: Business & Revenue Models and maintains an audio blog at snd1.mobi. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.