Gumroad is a digital store available for artists, musicians, and other digital creatives. Think of it as an alternative to Amazon or iTunes. Tuhin Srivastava is a data scientist at Gumroad — his entire job is to ensure that Gumroad and its users avoid fraud and see better conversions.
A Quick Preview of the Podcast:
- The one tiny change to a form that resulted in the amazing results from this case study.
- How to ignore conventional wisdom in a way that takes your sales conversions to a new level.
- A key insight you can gain from helping your customers get better results.
To See This Tactic In Action:
To See The Transcript:
Welcome to Conversion Cast where our opt-in box is like a roof over an origami factory above the fold. My name is Tim Paige. I am your host here with another incredible case study from another incredible marketer. For content creators, musicians and artists, there are a lot of options for selling products. Today’s guest comes to us from one of the least expensive options – Gumroad. My favorite thing about Gumroad is how focused they are on ensuring that their users get great conversions. Tuhin Srivastava has an amazing title. He’s a data scientist at Gumroad. His job is to ensure that Gumroad and users of Gumroad avoid fraud and see better conversions among other things. Today, he shares one of the most counterintuitive tactics I’ve ever heard and one that got them gorgeous results. Show notes including a coupon for a free stick of gum can be found at ConversionCast.com/gumroad. Now here’s a case study for you to chew on.
All right. Tuhin thanks so much for coming here today. I’m excited to have you here. How’s it going?
Tuhin: I’m doing well. Tim how are you doing?
Tim: Oh, man, never better, never better. So I’m excited for this. We were talking a little bit before we hit record so share with us the results that you were able to get with today’s case study.
Tuhin: Sure, today I’ll be talking about a feature we’ve mentored at Gumroad called the dynamic payment form. We’re able to get 30% increase in conversions for ourselves.
Tim: That’s awesome. That’s a nice increase especially for a fairly large organization like Gumroad. So tell us a little bit about Gumroad, what does the company do and what’s your role there?
Tuhin: Sure. So at Gumroad basically we let people sell their stuff so we’re focused on creators, independent writers, designers, game developers, musician, artists, filmmakers and really anyone in between. If you’re a creator, Gumroad is really for you. Without the hassle or the cost of selling in the marketplace, we enable a seller to sell directly to their audiences. So we do – we host content for sales and we built a ton of features around different verticals so for eBooks, we have PDF stamping which is basically a form of copyright protection. For film, we do stream, we host streaming, and then we also got a lot of ordering pages like subscriptions and preorders. So a lot of people have used Gumroad, a lot of independents. Nathan Barry, Tim Ferriss, recently used us all the way to big artists like Eminem and Bon Jovi.
The alternatives to Gumroad would be stuff like Amazon and iTunes which take quite large cuts of seller’s revenue. We only take a 5% flat fee nothing else.
Tim: Yeah that’s fantastic and what’s your role at the company?
Tuhin: I’m a data scientist so I am focused on all things data when it comes to fraud detection to making sure that our sellers get best conversion and other recommendation stuff and all that cool stuff.
Tim: That’s fantastic. I love that. That’s a cool title.
Tim: So awesome. So let’s talk a little bit about this particular case study. So tell us kind of what you were doing before and what gave you the idea to make the change?
Tuhin: Sure. So before what we were doing are that we weren’t rending the payment form. So when we created Gumroad, it’s almost been two years now even more maybe, 7 and a half years. It was made with the intent to make it as easy for sellers to sell and for as little friction as possible in the bio side. So what that meant was we each collected three form fields – your email, your credit card number, your CVC and the expiration date which is the minimum required for a credit card form to get through. The problem with that is that it tracks a lot of fraud. The quicker the smaller form, the less information for fraudsters ask from buyers and —
Tuhin: –fraudsters obviously take advantage of that. So we’ve heard a lot from – so if you look at other payment forms like PayPal. PayPal there’s a number of screens that you have to get through the first time you go to make any purchase you can. We’ve heard from a lot of people that we should really test out, you know, name, print the full name on the purchase form. We weren’t sure about that. We thought that anything that we’d put on the purchase form will reduce conversion. You know, we’re adding more friction, more people –with just more field so people would drop off on. Yeah. So before we had nothing at all. We got the idea from a bunch of ecommerce, other ecommerce platforms and then we just decided to run it as an AB test.
Tim: Awesome. So this test was simply nothing more than just adding a name field?
Tuhin: Yes. Adding the name field to the purchase form. Like as I said earlier we took this, with the results we got with this, we went and took it one step further and developed a framework out of it.
Tim: That’s great. So this is the thing that I find you know, first off this is incredibly interesting to me that you added another form field for somebody to fill out and it increased conversion.
Tuhin: Sure, yeah.
Tim: Which is so counterintuitive.
Tim: But not only that but you got really interesting results when you did this with mobile. So can you tell us about that?
Tuhin: Yeah. Yeah, sure. So overall results for this test were 25%. So we got a 25% conversion rate which was statistically significant within a couple of days. We’re really digging down thinking this doesn’t make sense to us. You know, increased conversion showed deepest conversion so we dug down, we started breaking down buying different platforms, different OSes, mobile versus desktop. The most interesting result came when it came to you’re comparing mobile with nonmobile purchases. So mobile has actually had a deep negative effect on conversion. I can’t remember the exact number. I think it was between 5 and 10% the conversion went down. Desktop on the other hand had an increased conversion of around 30%.
So this is awesome because now it starts to make a little bit more sense you know, mobile buyers like they are on really want to go through as quickly as possible. I think putting anything in their way is bad. On the contrary, desktop buyers – putting full name on it, I think it makes you feel more secure, makes you feel like you are giving information not just some numbers on your card. It helps collecting something personal even if we’re not doing anything with it.
Tim: Yeah. Wow that’s so amazing to me that there’s such a big increase. So now that you’ve done this and you’re seeing this big increase for your users, I mean what’s – is there anything that you would change about the way that you did this? Would you maybe try adding other forms or do you think that the name field was exactly what you needed?
Tuhin: I think you know, we’re always testing. We’re trying to increase conversion. I think the payment form for now is in a good spot. It’s quick. We’re getting good information, we’re getting great conversion for ourselves. It’s much higher than we’ve seen across all the ecommerce side to the hurdle about other ecommerce sites. But we’re doing a lot more with the page that the purchase form sits on. So one of the great things about Gumroad is that the purchase form is embedded on the page. It’s not embedded. It’s on the same page as like the product description. So if you’re buying a book from an independent author you’ll see the name of the product, you’ll see the – you know what you’re getting straight away. There will be a buyer or the seller on the same page. You hit a button and through some great magic, the purchase form will appear in front of you. After you fill in the purchase form, you’ll get the download from that page again. So we have a lot of things to test on this page. So one of the things we tested the other day was whether to have the buyer showing or to have it appear on the hub. This is interesting too because the way that Gumroad works it is not really a marketplace that people kind of know that they’re buying from before they get to us. So the buyer isn’t as important and there’s also increased conversion once we hit that. But this is really cool now because now we have all these different things optimized on this one form and based on where people are coming from as we’re getting different results it doesn’t need to be one-size-fits all solution. We can basically look at all the buyers’ characteristics and make a decision about what we think best. Layout the pages where the best purchase form is, what the receipt should say based on that buyer. It’s a really tailored solution for that buyer.
Tim: Yeah. So is that your big focus going forward then just kind of continuing on focusing on these different areas?
Tuhin: Yes. So we’ll continue running tests and now we have a really cool framework. You just switch all this stuff up to specify who gets what and with that we can just keep testing stuff on this page and we run a lot of AB tests because as I said we’re talking about the nice conversion.
So let me tell you this really quickly a different side this fraud detection so we had a lot of algorithms to detect fraud on our purchase form, which is something that I work on as well. We found that if we make an assessment at the time of purchase if we think we need more information, using the same framework, we can just put the different coding in front of them which is another form of verification. It shows up with 2% or 3% of buyers right now but it’s done really well for refusing fraud.
Tim: Yeah that’s fantastic. Well thank you so much for coming on and sharing this awesome information. I think this was a really cool case study and a lot of people might task some things that are counterintuitive so thanks again for sharing this and it’s been awesome having you here Tuhin.
Tuhin: Thanks for having me Tim and if anyone wants to ask me any questions my email is Tuhin@Gumroad.com or my Twitter handle is Tuhin1. I’m happy to ask questions about Gumroad or any of the tests we run.
Tim: Awesome. We appreciate that.
Tuhin: Thanks, Tim.