Why Pay What You Want is Better Than Social Discounts

pwyw > social discounts

What is happening?

After careful consideration, hours of heated debates and numerous feedback from our most active sellers we decided to discontinue support of the social discountsThis was an important feature for Sellfy in the early days, however, more recently a lot of the variables have changed and we feel like we’d be doing a disservice to our customer if we continue to offer social discounts in its current form. Therefore, we will slowly disable social discounts across all the seller accounts.

On Thursday, 1st of June we will remove the social discounts functionality for all new users (registered after 31 May 2017). On 3rd of July 2017 social discounts will be removed for all Sellfy users. You won’t be able to create or edit already existing social discounts and your buyers won’t be able to share your product to get a discount.

Why are we doing this?

Our decision was based on user feedback and internal data about sales and engagement coming from social discounts. Ultimately, it comes down to these points:

1. Facebook and Twitter no longer support this functionality – we can’t control whether buyer actually shared the post on his social media account.

2. Often it was a confusing experience for first time Sellfy users, especially for 100% free products with social discount.

3. It no longer fulfills the promise of more exposure and sales for the seller. Orders with social discount amount for as few as 0.25% of sales for our most active social discount users.

4. There is a better option now for sellers – pay what you want. It removes the upper limit of contributions, so really grateful buyers can pay you $20 for a free product, if they found it really valuable.

Is pay-what-you-want really better than social discounts?

Social discounts works on a premise that you get more exposure to potential clients who you otherwise wouldn’t reach with your marketing. However, as with any other channel, the question is: are these the type of visitors you want to see on your store page?

Luckily we have access to an enormous chunk of data on these discounts and how they perform.

Typical social discount brings in 1.06% additional traffic or 21 additional viewers per month. A typical seller would see a 0.05% more in revenue, if compared to revenue he would get without social discounts. On average, sellers who use social discounts get additional $0.21 per month from product with social discount.

The situation with pay-what-you-want is quite different. On average, revenue from products with pwyw is 223% higher, when compared to revenue you would receive without pwyw. On average, sellers get extra $5 per order. As there is no upper limit for extra donation with pay what you want, some sellers get hundreds of extra dollars that way. At this point, you should seriously consider if you can afford not using pay what you want.

What’s next?

This change will help us focus on features that really move the needle for the sellers, including developing a shopping cart (coming real soon), advanced analytics, upselling and more.

Over to you

Are you already using pay what you want instead of social discounts? Are you sad to see social discounts go? Let us know in the comments section below.

Thank you for reading!
Yuri Burchenya

Yuri is Marketing Lead at Sellfy. He's focused on growth, CRO, copywriting and inbound. You can reach Yuri on Twitter.

Load comments
  • Steph

    I’ve never used the social discount feature. So this change will not affect me in the slightest. I happy to see the Sellfy team consistently optimize their service. I will continue to use your service for the foreseeable future. Keep it up SELLFY!

    • sellfy

      Thanks, Steph! 🙂 It’s great to hear that you like it!

  • Hi Sellfy, I need a feature to search my own products. It is very difficult to manage my products through your dashboard. Please solve this.

    • sellfy

      Hi Michael,

      Thanks a lot for letting us know! We have actually listed this feature request already from you and other users, so it’s going to be considered for implementation soon.
      I can’t promise anything, but it does seem to be important enough to get implemented.

      • I requested this feature last year. I’ve waited a long time. I hope you can give me and others some good news about this soon. To be honest, I’m thinking of switching to another provider because of this. Maybe other users have the same thoughts as well.

        • sellfy

          Hi Mike,

          We can understand your perspective on this. However, we can’t promise a specific deadline for this feature as we are working on other significant projects, like the shopping cart feature.
          We truly appreciate your patience. And we will respect your choice to go for a different service, if that’s what would suit your needs

  • Azenix Roblox

    Please don’t remove this. It lets us promote our products when they are free.

    • sellfy

      Thanks for your feedback!
      You will still be able to share your free product links on social media manually to promote them.

      • Azenix Roblox

        Yes but if i manually promote, how many times am i going to tweet it. Once, maybe twice. But if i have the social discounts setup then it does the promoting for me. The followers of all the customers are more than just my followers.

        • sellfy

          I can understand what you mean here. And it is true that such a social discount would help with promotion in theory. However, as you may read in the article, the issue with the social discount was that it was not particularly effective in actually getting you more sales. Also, a lot of users are getting the free product without the share because of the lack of integration support with Twitter and Facebook. A lot of customers may simply exit the sharing post and proceed to downloading, leaving you with no promotion at all.
          How would you feel about exploring alternative ways to promote your products which may turn out to be even better? 🙂

  • sellfy

    Hi Michael,

    Thanks for letting us know what you think!
    We’re noting down your suggestion for implementing another payment gateway.

  • Ty Grahmann

    I don’t agree with this one bit. A LOT of people still use social discounts, and how much does it cost Sellfy to not remove them? ZERO DOLLARS. Don’t do this stupid thing.

  • LuceEve

    And promotion of our shops will now be even less. This is not a smart move at all. I think I will be following others soon by canceling my pro & deleting shop. The changes keep coming & keep hindering us.

    • sellfy

      Hi Luce,

      Thanks for your feedback!
      The changes can seem unnecessary at first, but if you give them a chance, they may surprise you 🙂

      • Azenix Roblox

        Removing features is always bad, Unless the features actually are causing harm, which this clearly wasn’t.

        • LuceEve

          Im fairly sure I will be doing some removing as well… of my account

      • LuceEve

        a chance to fail is what I see

  • The Branded Quotes

    Hi Yuri. This is sad for me. I get a hundred of notifs per day from twitter as evidence of people really sharing the product with the hashtags and download links. I even use twitter only for the sellfy social discount. If this will go, it will surely affect my sales. Wish social discount feature will stay along with pay what you want. Thanks!

    • sellfy


      I can understand your concern. And unfortunately, the feature won’t be brought back.
      The reason we closed the feature was because very few sales actually resulted from all the sharing. So while there may have been a large number of shares, it may not necessarily have translated into actual sales.
      We would encourage you to explore other more effective ways to convert your followers into customers. 🙂

  • Hassified

    Not too sad about the loss of social discounts. I did get extra page views but not really any sales. Traffic was just those looking for a free download. So I say good move.
    I am excited though about having a shopping cart. I have lost tons of sales because of the lack of shopping cart. I know this because I daily get emails and messages from customers telling me how they hate having to purchase one item at a time. Really off putting.

    • sellfy


      We’re happy to hear that you appreciate this change!
      We’ll be working on the shopping cart even more, so we’re glad that you’ll be able to benefit from it.
      Let us know if there’s more you’d like to see on Sellfy. 🙂

      • Hassified

        Awesome! Can’t wait to see the shopping cart feature. The only thing other than that would be, putting the follow/subscribe button at the top of page. Being at the bottom kinda hides it.
        I do have a question, what is the best size for the cover image? I had one put deleted it because after the change I noticed it was pixelated.

        • sellfy

          That’s a great suggestion! 🙂 Thanks! We’ve noted it. Hopefully, we’ll be able to make this change soon.
          As for the cover image – well, at least a minimum of 1920×350 px should give the best results. Larger would be preferable.

  • Dwayne Ford

    If Sellfy has done the research on this and determined the difference between social discounts and pay what you want is a staggering 220% or more, then I really don’t see what the fuss is all about. You can still promote your products on social media as free and maybe, just maybe make more money than you would have.

    • sellfy

      Hi Dwayne,

      Thanks for your analytic thought and your support! We really hope our users start seeing the good side of this change!

  • Hi Yuri! To be honest, this is the most stupid, unnecessary and disappointing strategic decision I saw in a long time! For more than 15 years I worked as a digital product developer and UX expert – my first lesson was: *NEVER take away a feature that your users learned to love as a core value of your service/platform/product!*

    I think, you’re also missing the point in your argumentation. As I learned over the years, the benefits of social discounts include:

    • Customers see the reduced prices on your store page and embedded buttons/products.

    • On the product page, it’s a simple one-click-decision to pay the full price to support the artist or get the discount (with or without actually sharing). With the PWYW option, there are always more clicks involved, and you force customers to think about the “right” price (which both produce more exit points and should be avoided from a UX perspective).

    • Customers who “misuse” the functionality without sharing just get the discount I’m happy to give them anyway (like the conventional “sale” option). It also results in a higher conversion rate, since “outsmarting the system” triggers an emotional response to “claim my reward” and actually buy the discounted product (as any game theorist or psychologist will confirm). Some customers even came back and shared/donated because they felt guilty of getting a product they love by “cheating” for a lower price.

    • Even if only 5-10% of your customers actually spread the word about your products, this is far more valuable than any donations with the PWYW option (unless you’re interested in short-term profits). You get additional visibility, customers will follow you, and you can grow a strong fan base.

    Please rethink your decision: Reactivate the social discount option, inform your shop owners of potential misuse, and let them decide whether to use this feature or not! Even standard SM share buttons (without any API confirmation) will do the job as long as they are integrated in the UX/purchase flow (not just in the footer section).

    As Ty pointed out, maintenance costs for this feature should around zero, and you would keep your strategic advantage over Gumroad or other competitors.

    I’d even be willing to pay you a higher PRO subscription fee just to get back the social discount feature!

  • brandon hartman

    Annoyed about this, made it great being able to just set all products to Free in one click of a button. If you’re doing this can you please add a “maximum” limit to the pay what you want feature? Because if someone chooses to pay an absurd amount of money just to claim back then the sellers will lose money for trying to offer a product for free. Not really fair on us.

    • sellfy

      Hi Brandon,

      We I can see why you may have this concern.
      However, in all the time we’ve had the Pay What You Want feature, such a scenario hasn’t occurred. So it’s fairly unlikely to cause problems like that.

      We will look out for this, though 🙂

  • sellfy

    Hi there!

    Thank you for your feedback and we are so sorry our communication was misleading! We appreciate you pointing out the outdated information 🙂

  • Alex Rodriguez

    PLEASE add this feature back. For me, it wasn’t as much the traffic that sharing brought to my page (I realize very few people would click a shared product link on Facebook or Twitter, I could care less), but what it DID do for my page was allow people who were on the tipping point, and who thought that my price was a little too steep, to go through a few extra steps to reduce the price and allow them to justify them buying it. Now without the discount, there is no way to capture those on-the-fence shoppers. PLEASE add this feature back, I would love to talk more: [email protected]

    • sellfy

      Hi Alex! Thanks for your insights and feedback! You have a point. We’re actually considering implementing something even better –> exit-intent pop-ups that will offer discounts to customers who are about to leave the store. Perfect for capturing these on-the-fence shoppers you mentioned. Stay tuned 🙂

      • Alex Rodriguez

        Thanks for the response! That actually sounds even better, I will definitely be using those once the feature is available!

      • Alex Rodriguez

        Hi Sellfy, do you have any idea when the exit-intent pop-ups are going to be available? I’m really excited to start using them!