Buy Now, Better Deposit Expiry and Fees for Bank Transfer Payments

The last 9 months we’ve been working hard on the financial parts of our system. During this time we’ve been building a better, more bulletproof accounting system into the app. It’s the kind of super important work that for the most part nobody notices, but ensures everything is working as it should. Along the way we’ve also been working on some other aspects which WILL be noticeable, and I’d like to tell you about three of them:

  1. Buy Now! (Without Depositing)
    Easily one of the most common complaints on our marketplaces is that people need to use our depositing system, often meaning they need to deposit more than they might actually want to spend. While the system rocks for repeat users – something we really like to encourage – it does have its drawbacks.

    We’re currently beta testing our Buy Now system which will let users buy items one-off without depositing a minimum amount. It’s going to make life a lot simpler for first time and one off users.

    That said, our preference will always be to push buyers towards depositing, because that way they are more likely to be repeat users, to join in the community and to buy more! So we’re introducing a $2 price difference for Buy Now purchases that will be split at the usual %’s between authors and Envato.

    So an item that is currently priced at $10 will be $12 for Buy Now customers and $10 for prepaid deposit customers. Similarly an item that is $3 to Buy Now will be $1 for prepaid deposit customers.

    This also makes it possible to offer one-off purchases on items that cost just one dollar – given that payment fees could eat up most of the price otherwise.

    All in all, Buy Now will mean more flexibility, additional sales for authors, additional commissions for authors coming out of the extra $2, and most importantly happier buyers!

    Buy Now should be out of beta testing *very* soon!

  2. Better Deposit Expiry
    When you deposit cash on the Envato Marketplaces it has a one year expiry date. In other words it’s a time-sensitive credit that you need to spend. We send out notifications as the expiry date approaches and given customers the ability to extend the credit should they wish.

    Since last week we’ve also upgraded the system so that a new deposit will automatically extend any previous deposits so that the whole balance has a single expiry date.

    So if you deposited $100 on Jan 1st 2009, then you deposited $100 on Nov 1st 2009, your total account balance of $200 would now be set to expire on Nov 1st 2010.

    This is a subtle change that ensures we don’t expire credits unless a user really has just gone away.

  3. Introduction of Fees on Bank Transfer Author Payouts
    Authors on the marketplaces have always had the choice of payout via PayPal/Moneybookers or Bank Transfer. While PayPal/Moneybookers automatically add charges, for three years we’ve kept the bank transfers charge free, despite the bank fees and considerable time it takes to organize transfers to dozens of banks around the world.

    Unfortunately this is no longer sustainable as the number of authors requesting transfers has grown large enough that it requires Jun who manages all our payouts to spend days at a time processing the transfers, while the bank charges mount up on top. Given how fast the marketplaces are growing it’s clear that it’s finally time to add a charge.

    As a result we’re going to be introducing a processing fee of $35 for each withdrawal via SWIFT transfer. This is to cover both bank fees and administration time.

    The fee will be applicable from the January 15th 2010 payment cycle onwards. In other words, if you withdraw your December earnings via bank transfer, when it’s paid in January the fee will be applied.

    We’re exploring additional ways for authors to be able to withdraw their earnings, and will hopefully be able to add additional useful options for payouts in the future.

In related news over the December/January period we’re going to be carrying out some major performance tuning and infrastructure upgrades. Since the redesign the app has been humming along, but experience has taught us that it’s better to improve things *before* they need an improvement :-)

So it’s onwards and upwards around here as we round out what has been a very big year with a slew of upgrades and improvements! Thanks, as always, for buying and selling with us!


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