Intrepid e‑commerce managers and e‑commerce analysts with an ear to the ground for business success stories will be impressed by the modest but seemingly inexorable rise of the Latvian-based startup, Sellfy.
The company is an e‑commerce platform that lets digital content creators sell digital products straight to their fans or followers via a single link. Furthermore, it’s just announced an expansion to its options for payment. From now onwards, in addition to PayPal, it will permit Paymill credit card processing in Europe and Stripe in the U.S./Canada.
From its home in Vilnius, Sellfy is aiming to rival its U.S. equivalent, Gumroad. The signs show that this is no mere pipe dream; its customer base has trebled since June 2012 from 3,000 to 9,000 self-publishing sellers and it can now claim bragging rights over 16,000 products for sale. These include music files, photos, videos, eBooks – any type of digital file, in fact — which can then be shared on Twitter, Facebook or Sellfy’s own site via a single click on a short URL.
According to the firm’s co-founder and CEO Maris Dagis, Sellfy targets the Long Tail of digital content creators’ products, and early signs are that eBook authors are particularly impressed. The eBooks section is showing the most traction currently, Dagis says, and there’s a good reason. Sellfy’s transaction fees are extraordinarily competitive. Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing claws back a hefty 30 percent cut, whereas Sellfy gets by on just 5 percent. No wonder many authors prefer it.
Selling without expensive marketing
Dagis wastes no time in highlighting this point, explaining, “It’s because there is a huge difference in transaction fees and if you are not among Amazon’s top sellers you end up driving customers and doing all the marketing yourself anyway.”
Now that’s a solid point. There are virtually no distribution barriers when it comes to digital content, and supply nearly always outpaces demand, which basically means that all the real effort (and the expense) goes into marketing, most of it to an already-existing consumer base.
As Dagis puts it, “Many authors/creatives have built a significant online presence (blogs, websites, social network channels) and it is getting easier to sell directly to their audience through platforms like Sellfy, without going to marketplaces.”