Once more into the Bandcamp mailbag:
“I like your service but want to add some physical copies, and it would be really nice to use your interface to sell these items so I don’t have two different payment UIs (I worry my customers may be nervous about that). Obviously I would ship the items myself.”
“Does Bandcamp allow us to sell physical items? So, allow the user to select quantity and give us their postal address? If you do, can we do stock control via Bandcamp?”
“Can you guys take payment for physical product via the same route as for downloads and simply forward the delivery details to your bands?”
It pleases us greatly to finally be able to reply, “Agreed, implemented,” “Yes yes yes” and “We can and do.” Starting today, you can sell both your physical merchandise and your digital music from Bandcamp, and better yet, you can sell them together. So, for example, you can easily create a vinyl, poster and download package, give your fans the digital files immediately, and then ship out their merchandise. It looks like this:
Notice that we provide a simple, clear way to show your fans what you’re selling. They just click the thumbnails, and those expand into nice, large product images. Seems obvious, yet we constantly run across online music shops that rely on nothing but a 75 square pixel cover shot and a few brief sentences to help make the sale. For online physical sales, where customers can’t evaluate the product by holding it in their hands, it’s especially critical to give them as much detail as possible, and now you can do that quickly and easily.
Below the images is a package title and description that you can of course customize, mentioning things like any bonus items (such as videos, or PDF liner note booklets) or hidden tracks that are included in the download. You’ll also see that you can specify the shipping details, and even call out when a package is a limited edition.
When the fan clicks “Buy Now,” we display a dialog from which they can adjust quantity, view shipping costs, and pick the format for their download. They then check out, we start up their download, and send you an email with their shipping info and the details of what they purchased (for those who prefer to let someone else do the shipping, we’ll be launching fulfillment house support shortly).
All of this is easy to set up — you just click the edit button on your album page, click the “add” link in the new physical package section, and go to town:
Note you can specify shipping and handling costs for different destinations and quantities, adjust the shipping time to give yourself some leeway or take pre-orders, and also manually adjust the quantity remaining of limited edition releases. We automatically update the quantity for orders that happen through Bandcamp, but if you’re selling at shows or elsewhere, it’s great to be able to change the quantity yourself.
Now, as anyone who has ever sold physical goods online is painfully aware, charging the proper tax is typically a colossal pain in the ass. In California, for example, there are literally hundreds of different tax rates, and if you’re in say, Los Angeles, and shipping to an in-state fan, the tax is determined by the buyer’s location, not yours. The usual solution to this issue is to allow a seller to set up a bunch of tax profiles, but with so many rates, and increases happening all the time, expecting the seller to create and maintain those profiles is just ludicrous. Many people end up throwing in the towel, and make the risky decision to not charge anyone tax, or charge all in-state buyers a single, flat tax rate and hope things just work out. Fortunately, there is a better way.
In Bandcamp, you go to your Profile page and tell us your location, right here:
Then, when a fan enters their shipping address, we take a look at your location, compare it to the buyer’s location, and if taxes apply, we dynamically pull in the current and proper rate.* It’s practically invisible to you, just as it should be.
OK, that about covers it. We’re tremendously excited about this feature, and think that bundling physical and downloadable versions of your music will help drive sales from folks who might a) never pay for a digital download alone, or b) be reluctant to buy a physical copy because of the hassle of ripping or the added expense of a separate transaction. Looking forward to seeing the sorts of packages you guys put together!
*Dynamic tax lookup currently applies to U.S. sellers only – if you’re outside the U.S., you have a choice between charging a single tax rate, or none at all. We hope to improve upon this as we learn more about what’s desired/required (and continue working towards our advanced degree at the EU VAT eLearning center).