Gumroad Complete Review 2021

Gumroad logo

Gumroad logo

Starting an online business is incredibly exciting!


However, you need a platform to help you make your dreams come true.


Lately, Gumroad has been making the rounds. 


With a reputation for charging less than other platforms, Gumroad has been the one-stop-shop for numerous artists who want to sell their products.


However, Gumroad is becoming a full-fledged platform for doing business online these days.


Today, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about Gumroad, and show you a few alternatives, as well.


Let’s dive in!

1. What is Gumroad?

Gumroad is an online platform that gives power to creators of all kinds such as:

  • Writers
  • Musicians
  • Designers
  • Software developers
  • Business consultants
  • Coaches and course creators

And more!


Gumroad works best for digital products and business owners who prefer creating digital content, rather than physical.


All you have to do is put your work on Gumroad, and it’ll connect you with customers who are interested in what you are offering. 


It works wonders for people who are still trying to find a footing in the crowded digital space and develop their audience.


Again, Gumroad primarily launched to help content creators and artists make a living with their work.

Workspace

Founded way back in 2011 by Sahil Lavingia, Gumroad has started trending only recently.


Lavingia stated that the idea behind Gumroad was the simple fact that creators who rose to popularity on social media needed a functional back-end where they can make money.


Because, unless you’re a big Youtuber with hundreds of thousands of subscribers and millions of video views, you’ll have a hard time making money.


This leaves other creators who don’t create content like videos with no options.


That’s exactly where Gumroad comes in.

Explore products on Gumroad

A plug-and-play platform, Gumroad has been built with all the features for selling different kinds of products:

  • It hosts your online store
  • Takes care of payment processing
  • Helps you promote your products
  • Helps you communicate with your customers
  • Handles digital product delivery and file sharing

And more!


According to Lavingia, the entire philosophy behind Gumroad is that they wanted to listen to creators, and provide them with all the logistical and functional tools they needed to create and sell.


Additionally, Gumroad’s unique selling proposition is their effort to decentralize the entire marketplace for creators and artists.


Unlike social media, the emphasis here is on the creation of products, and building relationships between creators and customers. 


Gumroad is not monopolized by a select few with huge followings.


If that sounds good, let’s take a deep dive into how Gumroad works!

2. Gumroad features: how does Gumroad work?

Gumroad features

In order to understand how Gumroad helps you make money selling your products or art online, we’ve got to take a look at its features.


Here’s how Gumroad works:

2.1. Gumroad pages

Gumroad pages

Start your journey with your very own product page.


You don’t just create a profile on Gumroad, you create a living


And that’s why you need a proper landing page.


Gumroad gives you the freedom to personalize your page with features and content that suit your style and online brand


Introduce yourself and tell your audience about your work, as well.


To add those final touches, play with the colour palette or simply jazz it up with a whole lot of CSS.

2.2. Add your sign-up form to Gumroad

sign-up form Gumroad

Next up comes the follow button.


Only on Gumroad, it is not just a button but a full-fledged form because you need the details for your customer database, right?


Gumroad knows this and makes it a breeze to add new followers with their follow form.


You can add it to your existing blog or website, as well. 


Just copy and paste a few lines of code and you are done.


This way, people interested in your work can get notifications whenever you add something new, and you can stay in touch with them.

2.3. Engage your audience on Gumroad

Gumroad's dashboard

Building a loyal customer base is all about engaging with people who care about (buying) your content.


Gumroad makes building a relationship with your customers super simple.


When you create your page on Gumroad, you can easily import old contact details from mailing lists, your email address book, and more.


From there, it’s easy to keep your friends and followers up to date with new content you’re creating.


And with Gumroad’s analytics, you can easily check what’s working for you and your customers, and what’s not.


If you’d like to challenge yourself and build a significant audience from scratch, you can also participate in Gumroad’s 30-day audience building challenge with plenty of useful tutorials.


All in all, this is pretty simple, which is what makes Gumroad great for creators who don’t have previous online business experience.

2.4. Gumroad eCommerce

Gumroad eCommerce

Like we already said, it’s easy to get your page up and running on Gumroad within minutes.


The same goes for selling your products.


First, Gumroad offers plenty of options to boost your sales:

  • Easy offer codes for “pay what you want”
  • Gumroad discount codes
  • Fixed price and fixed discount amount

Your customers won’t be limited to one option.


The former gives you the option to set a price, and occasionally offer discounts to your customers (either as a percentage off, or a fixed discount amount).


And if you’re unsure of the price, you can let your customers pay what they believe your product to be worth.


“Pay what you want” is something to be careful with when you’re selling products you want to profit from. 


But if you plan on using it as a lead magnet, it works well.

Workspace

If you’re a software developer with your own apps, you’ll need licensing keys.


Fortunately, Gumroad can generate them for you while you focus on the back-end work.


If you’ve got customers abroad, you’d normally have to take care of currency conversion and other tidbits you don’t want to think about when you’re hustling.


Gumroad takes care of that, so you can focus on your work.


For authors who are writing and selling eBooks, Gumroad helps by offering different document versions; from PDF, to ePub and mobi.


You can create or choose a cover that fits your book. From different images to videos, Gumroad helps you create whatever suits your artistic preferences.


You can even sell audio files!

Moosend email

Now, the part we personally find to be the most interesting is rentals.


Let’s say you’re a filmmaker who poured their heart and soul into a beautiful movie.


You could charge for unlimited access.


But you could also charge for a rental. 


You can rent it out for 30 days with a 72-hour viewing limit.


And last, but certainly not the least, are the rights to your creation


If you don’t want your book, music or song to be shared illegally, turn off downloads and stamp your own copyright on those PDFs.


There are multiple ways to patent and protect your work with Gumroad. 


We’ll cover them in a sec!

2.5. Pre-orders for your Gumroad products

Pre-orders for your Gumroad products

One of the rare things Gumroad offers are pre-orders.


If you want to drum up the excitement about your product (particularly suited to movies and books), you can have your customers pre-order it.


You just have to pick the product, promote it, and set a release date. 


All the billing details entered by your customers will be used to charge for your product when it’s finally released.


This feature works both for physical and digital copies of your creations!

2.6. Gumroad memberships and online courses

Gumroad memberships

In addition to standard products, you can also offer online courses or membership programs through Gumroad.


Once your customers know what they can expect from you, creating the right type of content becomes easy


But if you want to stabilize your income, memberships and subscriptions are the way to go.


If you have enough content, you could start a membership program that runs monthly, quarterly or annually.


If you are selling a digital course that lasts 3-6 months, you can automate the billing, kick back, and relax.

The main thing I like about membership programs is that you’re getting recurring revenue.


You can also sell licensed software for a monthly subscription.


If your customers sign up for your membership program, they’ll get all the files you upload to Gumroad as a part of that program.


Obviously, Gumroad is not online course/membership-specific site, so it doesn’t offer fancy stuff like Teachable or Thinkific.

However, it’s a good way to get started with simpler courses you can implement through PDFs and videos.

2.7. How to sell physical products on Gumroad

While Gumroad was initially meant for creators and artists who are keen on selling their artworks, it’s now available to all kinds of business owners.


Whether you are someone who makes physical products like DIY goodies, or printed T-shirts from the comfort of your home, you can sell it all on Gumroad.


There are tons of features that are going to help you streamline the entire process.


If you’re selling apparel like T-shirts, you can put up the option for your customers to choose between sizes from small, medium, and large, to other types, as well.

Shipping is streamlined on Gumroad.


From charging appropriate shipping rates depending on the location, to marking the sent packages as shipped, and sending the tracking details to your customers, Gumroad makes delivering your physical products easier.


Gumroad also verifies addresses, and if you don’t want to ship to certain countries, you can get that set up easily in your dashboard.


And depending on the country you’re working from, Gumroad will take care of the sales tax.


You can customize your product listing, as well, and experiment with CTAs and different elements.

2.8. Sell your products everywhere

Sell your products

Gumroad doesn’t keep you locked in their walled garden like other platforms.


If you have a following on other platforms, you can sell your products there, too. 


If you want to add Gumroad widgets to your site, you can add a few lines of code and make sure your customers have no problem purchasing your products.


They don’t even have to leave the page!


Gumroad also understands that custom URLs are a huge deal.


They establish the value of your brand, so you can customize each URL as you upload the product and share it on social media.


Gumroad also offers a simple affiliate marketing program.


If you have friends/contacts with a huge following, you can have them promote your product for you, and pay them commission only after they’ve successfully sold it.

2.9. Analyze your data and sell more

Analyze your data

Once you start selling and building your audience, you can use Gumroad’s analytics to see how you’re doing.


Analytics are one of the most important parts of running an online business. If you can’t see it, you can’t improve it. 


And Gumroad analytics show you a lot about your sales performance.


Once you know what kind of products your customers like, you can even send them updates about similar projects and products.


You can also follow up and ask for their feedback so you can improve.


Finally, if you want to give your customer loyalty a boost, you can create a simple automated workflow


From thank you notes, to feedback forms, Gumroad systematizes everything.

Sell your products

You can even up-sell your customers and get them to buy more of your products!

This is where discounts come in handy, too. 


You can easily create a simple referral program.


For example, if a customer has a friend buy one of your products, you can give both 5% off their next purchase.

2.10. Improve your customer experience

Customer experience

Customer experience is the cornerstone of every business.


Even when you’re creating your content, you have to integrate customer preferences into your creative process.


But don’t forget about their purchasing experience!


This is really the psychology of sales. We don’t buy products only because they’re useful.


We buy products because we’re delighted by people selling them, or because we always have an awesome purchasing experience.


So your customers’ on-page experience is another thing that determines whether they’ll abandon their cart, or follow through with their purchase and come back for more soon.

methods of payment

Gumroad takes care of the customer experience for you.


It provides an easy and simple checkout option with any credit card.


There’s a tight Gumroad and PayPal integration, too.


If you offer plenty of products, your customers can also sign in and save products they’d like to check out next. 


This works similarly to wish lists on big sites like Amazon and eBay.


If you’re selling eBooks or similar products, your customers will also be able to transfer the files to other devices.


For example, with Gumroad, your customers will be able to read your eBooks on Kindle, or save them to Dropbox.

read books

If you’re worried about plagiarism, you can relax.


Gumroad lets you easily add a watermark to your files, showing exactly which email address you’ve sent your products to.


So if one of your customers gets the urge to share your product online, they’ll stop in their tracks once they see that their email address will be all over the place.


Simple and effective: the perfect two words for describing Gumroad.

2.11. What is Gumroad Discover?

Gumroad Discover

Making bank with a huge audience that’s eagerly waiting for you to drop a product is easy.


But what if you don’t have an audience?


If you’re a beginner with a small audience, Gumroad Discover is a handy tool!


Gumroad Discover is a curated feature page that recommends customers content they might be interested in. 


This is the feature that directly helps you reach a bigger audience, and get new customers!


For example, someone who normally buys products about drawing on Gumroad would see similar products on their Gumroad Discover page


So if you’re creating drawing-related content, they’d see it.

Gumroad marketplace

You just have to turn on the Gumroad Discover option in your settings and list the products you want to be displayed on the page of Discover.


However, for this to happen, your product should:

  • Be listed
  • Have a visible star rating from customers

In short, you can only list products that you’ve already been selling to qualify for a listing on Gumroad Discover.


The Discover tool organizes products into 18 categories, so you have to make sure your product belongs to one of the categories. 


The tagging system comes in handy, too!

working woman

Also, Gumroad Discover doesn’t come free of charge.


If Discover helps you bag a new customer (who hasn’t purchased anything from you before), you will be charged a 10% commission on the sold product.


Essentially, Discover works as an (expensive) affiliate.


This is an okay price if you’re stuck and haven’t been selling well to new customers for months. 


But we still recommend creating an audience outside of Gumroad, and then processing transactions through the platform.

3. Gumroad tutorial

Buy me

The first idea behind creating any kind of page with Gumroad is making sure that people buy your products without having to spend months on establishing your online store.


Now, normally you’d have to pay for Shopify as an online storefront, then upload your products, connect the payment gateways, run email marketing automation for transactional emails, handle delivery yourself, yadda, yadda, yadda.


It’s a hassle.


Fortunately, Gumroad makes it pretty easy to bypass all of that (at least in the beginning) and start selling your products.


And with the ready-made Gumroad tutorials, you’ll be able to get started pretty quickly, i.e. you’ll be able to start selling a few minutes after creating your account.

3.1. Gumroad for online courses

 Gumroad online courses

Since courses have become all the rage, online coursesare the first item on my list.


Once you’ve set up shop, you can follow one of the tutorials for creating online courses on Gumroad.

 Gumroad online courses

If you’re still struggling with what to offer in your courses, you can check out the business ideas lists I recently wrote: How To Make $5000 a Month and How To Make $1,000,000 Online.


Secondly, Gumroad has a fast set-up option, so you can put all your products up for sale within moments.


You can promote your products as much as you’d like, and even offer pre-order options with subscriptions and other promotional campaigns.


You can upload up to 12 GB of files in any format.


You can also bundle all your resources before uploading them (especially handy for online courses).


If you want to go the extra mile, offer discount codes to your loyal customers.

Then, create and share as many as you’d like!

3.2. When do you get paid on Gumroad?

coins

The sales are pouring in, so when are you going to get your $$$?


Gumroad pays out earnings every Friday if you’ve made at least $10.


However, the money has to be in their account for 7 days before they forward it to you.

If you’re in the USA, the UK, Australia, or Canada, you can get paid via card or direct deposit.


If you’re in other countries, you’ll get paid through PayPal.

3.3. Can you sell services on Gumroad?

work

Want to sell your coaching services through Gumroad?


That’s fine by them!


However, Gumroad recommends offering at least one file to prove that the transaction took place.


If you’re charging for access to a membership website or something similar, you can choose the Custom Delivery feature, and your customers will get the link.


However, we don’t think Gumroad is the best fit for selling services.


For example, they don’t allow you to sell in-person or installation, tech support, web design, and similar services.


This puts us off, so we wouldn’t recommend using Gumroad if you plan on offering services other than coaching.

Stop

Other things you can’t sell include:

  • Web hosting
  • Reselling software or eBooks
  • Goods you didn’t completely create yourself (e.g. customized sneakers, used goods)
  • Jewelry
  • Steam keys
  • Pornography
  • CBD/hemp products
  • Food, medical, or beauty products

You can check the full list here.


If you want to sell artwork or books that contain explicit materials, you can, but you can’t sell materials depicting real humans.


Again, I’m a big fan of Gumroad, but it’s just not meant for some products.

3.4. Gumroad app

Gumroad app

Gumroad also offers a dashboard app for iOS.


You can keep track of your sales on the go, even on your smart watch, but that’s about it. 


You can’t use it to add new products or get in touch with your customers.


It’s a bit underwhelming, honestly, but nice if you want endorphin kicks from getting push notifications with new sales.

3.5. Gumroad Library app

Gumroad Library app

We hear ya, we hear ya: what’s the difference between Gumroad app and Gumroad Library app?


The Gumroad app only helps you keep track of sales as a Gumroad creator.


But Gumroad Library is meant for users, which means you can access all the products you’ve bought on Gumroad from your iOS or Android device.


From there, users can watch/consume the products they’ve bought, and even save the files to their phones so they can access them offline.


All in all, this is neat even for you as the creator, because your products are now mobile-friendly and you’ll be able to reach audiences that mainly use their phones to consume content similar to yours.

4. Who should use Gumroad?

painter

Anyone who is a creator can use and sell on Gumroad.


Whether you are an aspiring musician who is doing covers of new singles every day, or a self-published author with a novella lying in the back of your closet, if you have something that people will be interested in buying, you are more than welcome to use Gumroad.


It’s made for creators of all kinds.


For example, if you’re knowledgeable about a specific topic, you can create appropriate files and start selling an online course.


You’ll be amazed to see how many people want to hear what you have to say!


Designers can sell creatives they’ve made in passing (e.g. graphic design elements like social media templates) have made in passing.


Even freelancers can sell their assignments which didn’t yield them any money (e.g. unused articles, books, etc.).

musician

Gumroad is your playground, but just be mindful of your audience’s preferences to keep generating steady revenue.


You can sell both physical and digital products on Gumroad.


Like we already said, T-shirts and online courses are both accepted.


But - again - be careful about content and product restrictions


Gumroad and their partners (i.e. partner banks) don’t want to deal with high-risk items such as pornography or CBD products.


Personally, we think artists will get the most benefit from using Gumroad.


If you’re selling art, music, or books, the world - or, in this case, Gumroad - is your oyster.

5. Gumroad pricing

If you’re a creator and you like the sound of Gumroad so far, I’m going to do as Jerry Maguire would and show you the money...


... that you need to pay them to sell your products on their platform.


Gumroad offers 2 pricing plans:

5.1. Gumroad Getting Started plan

This Gumroad plan is suited for everyone.


It’s free and without any monthly fees.


You can explore Gumroad with this plan, and figure out how much work you need to put in to attract those first few customers.


You can sell unlimited products, handle all your customers seamlessly, as well as track and learn about your audience with real-time analytics.


However, you will have limited workflows. Gumroad will also charge you 5% for every product you sell.


If you plan on offering videos, your customers will only be able to stream them in SD.


All in all, it’s not a bad plan for testing the waters of Gumroad.

5.2. Gumroad Creator plan

Gumroad Creator

Gumroad Creator plan is perfect if you’ve already figured out your niche, and know what you want to sell.


If you have up to 1,000 customers, you’ll have to pay $10/month for this plan.

If you get more customers, you’ll move up the scale


For example, if you have up to 2,000 customers, that’ll set you back for $25/month, and so on.


You’ll also be able to:

  • Add your own CSS to your landing page (to customize it)
  • Remove Gumroad branding
  • Connect your own domain

Instead of paying a 5% commission fee, you’ll only pay a flat $3.5 + 30c fee per purchase.


You’ll also get unlimited workflows.


And if you’re planning to sell your movies, digital courses, webinars, and tutorials, your customers will now be able to stream them in HD.

6. Gumroad pros and cons

homework

One of the biggest pros of Gumroad is its ease of use.


Our ever dynamic digital world has become a small space, but somehow the creators and digital artists often feel lost.


Gumroad provides them a space to just be, and make some money while they’re creating.


Unlike other websites supposedly helping creators make money, Gumroad gives you plenty of product options. 


You can sell everything from eBooks and printed postcards, to comic books, DIY products, and videos.


Unfortunately, Gumroad pros are mainly pros for artists.


If you want to start and quickly scale an online business, Gumroad just doesn’t have the capacity for that.


It still doesn’t feel like a full-fledged business platform.


Instead, Gumroad is perfect for artists who want to make money on the side, or sell very simple products and do their marketing elsewhere.

7. Gumroad alternatives

If Gumroad doesn’t suit your needs as well as you thought, don’t worry.


There are plenty of good Gumroad alternatives!

7.1. systeme.io: the best Gumroad alternative

Systeme.io's dashboard

Systeme.io's dashboard

The first tool on our list is systeme.io.


It has specific features for selling different products:

  • Physical products and dropshipping
  • eBooks
  • Online courses
  • Membership sites
  • Webinars

And more!


There are specific systeme.io features for every product type.

Systeme.io's course

For example, if you want to sell online courses or offer memberships on systeme.io, you’ll be able to choose how to distribute your courses (do you want your customers to unlock all of them immediately, or “drip” them over time as they go?).


You can easily set up discounts, up-sell offers, and more to motivate your customers to buy extra products.

Systeme.io automation

When it comes to marketing and sales, systeme.io completes replaces your regular email marketing software.


MailChimp?


No need to pay for it anymore.


systeme.io has integrated email marketing automation features, so you can stay in touch with your customers, send them automated sequences, and offer personalized products they’re going to love!

systeme.io funnel

You can also create completely automated sales funnels.


systeme.io will quite literally promote your products while you sleep.


All you have to do is create and post them on your systeme.io website, and cash out at the ATM.


And speaking of websites...

systeme.io's funnel

Gumroad only offers a landing page for your product. systeme.io lets you visually create your entire website; landing and sales pages, blogs, and more!


You can pick from the template gallery, and customize your pages to your liking.


Nope, you don’t have to know how to code. You just have to have a product and you’ll be set!


And if you want to get more sales, check out the systeme.io affiliate marketplace and recruit affiliates who will promote your products for you.

promote your products

Building and scaling a business is super easy with systeme.io.

And the best part is: it’s affordable.


You’ll get systeme.io to replace all of your old tools starting from just $27/month.

7.2. Thinkific: Gumroad alternative for courses

If you plan on selling courses or memberships, Thinkific is a pretty robust platform.


Since it specializes in courses, Thinkific offers more features than Gumroad:

  • Build your course visually
  • Engage your students
  • Set up quizzes to test knowledge

I recently reviewed Thinkific, so make sure you check that out before committing.

Thinkific homepage

The good thing is: Thinkific has a free plan, so you can give it a test ride.


Still, it doesn’t offer all the options and sales boosts that systeme.io does.


Namely, it doesn’t offer email marketing, sales funnels, or simple up-sells.


You’ll still have to pay for extra tools.

7.3. Instapage: Gumroad alternative for landing pages

Instapage logo

Instapage logo

If you want to keep it simple and just start selling your products, you can use Instapage.


Instapage is exactly what it says on the tin: a visual landing page builder. It works best for ads.


You can choose from hundreds of templates, personalize and customize them with content blocks, and experiment with different page versions.


All in all, it’s simple and lean


You can read my in-depth Instapage review here for more details.

Eiusmod

However, don’t expect Instapage to have fancy gimmicks like systeme.io. 


It’s just a landing page builder.


If that’s what you need, great!


But for $149/month just for landing pages (that’s how much Instapage costs)

it’s much better to go with systeme.io and get everything you need to market and sell your products for FREE.

8. Summary

All in all, we firmly believe in launching and scaling your business as quickly as possible.


Gumroad is nice, but like we said - it’s best suited to creators who want to make a quick buck on the side from their products.


If you want to build a profitable business, you need a powerful platform.


Go with systeme.io.

Systeme.io pricing

It replaces your entire business and marketing tool stack, helps you get everything done yourself, and engages your leads and customers on autopilot.


All that for as little as $0/month.


Start making money today!


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