Money August 1, 2020

What do you do about international buyers who can't afford your product?

Andrew @andrewpierno

I'm working on a maker bootcamp (original post).

I planned on doing a few free groups (to validate if there's value, a real business, etc) and then moving towards paid groups only.

Here's the problem. Let's say the price for the bootcamp is $100 (one time).

For someone in the US, $100 is not small, but it is a commitment.

For someone in India, $100 is very expensive. Same for someone in Africa. (As told to me by people who were interested).

How do I / should I adjust prices based on where people live?

Things I'm worried about:

  • a U.S. person pays $100, and is put in a group with people who only paid $25. The U.S. person is not going to feel good about that.

Things that might fix it:

  • transparency. Just be open about our pricing. Something like:

if $100 is too much for you, we have scholarships available, please get in touch.

Would love some thoughts from people who run a business that has solved this problem.

  1. 3

    So I sell a book for 36 dollars. On my site, it says that if 36 dollars is too expensive, send me an email and I'll give it to you for free. I've given away about 2 dozen books in the past couple of months, and no one who has bought the book seems upset about this policy.

    That said, it is not a group thing, it is a book read individually. It is not a perfect comparison. Still, I think that it is a useful anecdote towards the argument that at indie scale, the honor system can work.

    1. 1

      That's really helpful actually. I love that idea. I'll probably steal this and try something similar.

  2. 2

    Yeah! Parity pricing is a good approach. Based on geo-identification, change currency & price :)

    1. 1

      These people are pretty likely to become friends, I'm just worried if one finds out they payed DOUBLE the price of someone else, they'd be pissed. I would be. Unless I guess I knew that was a possibility before hand.

      With a straight up SAAS I totally agree with you, but customers don't really talk to each other (usually).

      With this, it's a bootcamp, there in a small group of 5-10 people and quite often direct message each other so there's a much higher chance of them finding out what the other person paid.

      1. 1

        Fair point! I guess then doing it on a case to case basis off the website would be ideal as you suggested.

        1. 1

          right on, thanks for your thoughts!

  3. 1 is a good site to compare purchasing power around the world. Perhaps you could price your product in terms of how many meals it would cost to highlight the equivalvence.

  4. 1

    This isn't a direct answer to your question but I feel like the cost would do two things... Make sure you see some value from your effort and make sure everyone has some skin in the game.

    I wonder if you could do something like pooling some amount of the upfront cost and redistributing it back to everyone that makes it to the end of the bootcamp. Keeps people motivated to stay involved and reduces the net cost for those that actually make it to the end.

    Or maybe there is a path for sponsors... Some of those locations might be in emerging markets where companies are hoping to build their brand and it would be great for them to have a maker using their products there.

    Companies are already sponsoring meetup groups with a similar focus (Indie Hackers Denver meetup group was sponsored by Postmark at one point). It could be a cost effective way for these companies to get their tools into makers' hands early on in their journey before switching costs get too high.

    1. 1

      sponsors are an interesting approach, but probably a ways off, it's just too small right now.

      I do like the idea of pooling, but as a business that makes it really hard to guess revenue. (i.e. if we have 100 people in the program this month how much will we make?).

      The skin in the game piece is super important. I think that will make people commit more for sure.

  5. 1

    You could use name your own price - since depending on your circumstances even in the US $100 can be a lot.

    I have seen a few services which offer location/geography based pricing but was unable to find them right now.

    1. 1

      I'm definitely open to trying this out in the next few groups, and just see how it goes. Thanks for your thoughts!