Why Aren’t You Letting Your Customers Give You Money?

The convince me to buy game contest got me thinking: how come so many games have so difficult payment systems? There were some room for some improvements in letting people buy the game. Here’s some things I noticed while I was browsing different game websites:

Put your buy button visible so that I can buy your product.
For some games, the buy button was missing. This actually happened to one of the winners as well. For some reason there was no buy button, or it was buried somewhere in a really hidden place. Hint for anybody selling any product: make sure your potential customer can see the buy button in some very visible place.

Please, provide accurate prices
In some cases, the price information was missing or was not accurate. This was not such a bad thing, but it’s bit stinky when the game price is not seen… or it’s not what was promised! Kudos game for example was said to cost $22.95, but I ended up paying $28.00 (after sales tax was added). I mean… I’m kind of “used” to this, and know that sales tax is added, but I still feel that eCommerce systems could do a better job providing prices. Amazon must be one of the worst examples: you have to give all your customer information and even credit card details before you can see the final price.

I wonder if anybody making those payment software ever considered customer in the process? (Okay, that was a bit exaggerated, there are places that show prices correctly – places like play.com). Until we get better eCommerce systems, there’s unfortunately much we can do. But if you can: please, provide as accurate prices as possible.

Provide the kind of payment solutions that your customers can use.
The last thing I noticed: in some occasions there was no chance to pay using your favorite payment system. Some systems offered only credit card options or phone orders but no PayPal (or wire transfer) for example. If you want customer to give you money, you gotta play by their rules: you have to provide them a way to purchase your game, even if it means squirrel skins.

The bottom line is: if you don’t give customer chance to give you money, he will be taking it somewhere else.

Juuso Hietalahti


  1. Not to mention that the way people see taxes differ from one country to another. In France, shops are more or less required to show the price with all taxes included – except if they target a B2B market. The reason is that we have an unified tax system across the territory, so displaying prices without taxes doesn’t make much sense.

    So I’d be really angry if I realize that the price which is displayed on a web site is not the price I’ll have to pay in the end. And I guess my bank account would feel raped :)

  2. Yeah it’s ineresting. You’ve got “give the customer more information” on the one hand and “hide the information to get more sales” on the other hand. It’s true that adding the VAT on early may put some people off the sale so they wait until the last minute before adding it on (same with P&P). Plus, as Roman says, you gotta know the country first and the easiest way is to get them to fill out their address. The portals all add VAT on, which you pay, but the portals don’t get the VAT in the long run (they do for a few months) because they have to pay it to the governments of the relvent countries.

    Anyway, onto payment choices. When selling my game framework I set it up with paypal and one customer suggested I use share-It as well because some people distrust paypal so I setup Share-it. Now 44% of my sales are from Share-it! Also I received a cheque in the mail for one sale – that’s fine, it’s all money.

  3. @papamook: Could be… although I have bit doubts about that. I’ve started to favor play.com because they tell the price right away… and I don’t want to be bothered always go through that amazon mess… so in my case it’s not working for them.

  4. Jusso: “Amazon must be one of the worst examples: you have to give all your customer information and even credit card details before you can see the final price.”

    They do things this way because they know that this increases sales. Once a customer has given all of their details they are less likely to back out at the end of the sale.

  5. @Roman: No way? Now now… that’s the wrong statement. The correct answer would have been: “Okay, how is this possible?” ;)

    Here’s some options:
    1) Detect country by looking at the IP – and re-calculate the price accordingly.
    2) Include VAT in the price
    3) Display different prices, such as $20 for US, 20 eur for european (and mention: VAT included)

  6. There’s no way you can provide your customer full prive (incl. vat) before one enter home/shipping details – vat is based on customers country so before they enter country details they can’t see full price.

    I let my customers pay vat :)

  7. I suppose, don’t know who is paying it though (added to customer, or portal) – I would bet customer ends up paying it.

    Best way would be to test it…

  8. I’ve been thinking about this VAT thing for a while.
    I seem to be one of the few who does not hand it over to the customer (thus losing money).
    Probably once the customer has decided to buy s/he won’t stop because of the VAT – as in your case.
    How are the portals doing this?

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