Merch is now open to all monthly creators!

Hey creators, I’m so excited to share this news with you!

For those of you that haven’t noticed the new tab on your Creator Page Editor, Merch for Membership is now available to all creators who process payments monthly, and are using USD as their currency. Over the past year and a half, we’ve been hard at work building and expanding the merch service to make the product fast, easy-to-use, and reliable.

We built Merch for Membership with the help of creators looking to remove the hassle of offering physical merch rewards to their patrons. Many of those creators already had merch stores up and running, but wanted to offer something even more exclusive for their patron community. So we built Merch for Membership to make it ridiculously easy to design custom merch and get that merch into the hands of your patrons at the right time.

To offer a merch item, simply pick a product (ie sticker, mug, poster, t-shirt, hoodie), upload your design, assign it to one of your tiers, and you’re done. After that, there’s nothing else for you to worry about. Merch requires a 3 month commitment from patrons to earn your item, so you know that you’re getting value for the reward that you’re offering. We can’t wait to see what you come up with!

Ready to get started and design your merch? Sign up here .

Got more questions? Check out the Merch section in our Help Center.

And you can always join the conversation here if you’ve got feedback, or just want to share what you’re designing for your patrons.

Cheers and happy creating!

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This is so gonna be a part of my relaunch!! Excited :smile:

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Is this available to per-creation campaigns or are we being left behind again (punished for being early adopters of Patreon)?

Hey DysonLogos, thanks for the reply. I also noticed your post in another one of our communities sharing about this, so I’ll respond to both here.

I can get a real sense of how frustrating your situation is as I read your post, and I think the problem you’re describing is really important for us to hear and think more about, particularly for early adopters like yourself who have been with us from the beginning.

There are a number of reasons why it’s difficult to design a Merch product that works in a predictable and reliable way for “per-creation” billing and delivery. Since per-creation creators are now a small fraction of our creator base, we’ve had to make a tough tradeoff to allow us to design a better, simpler Merch product that works for the large majority of our creators, instead of a product that’s available to every creator that we can’t support as well. I can’t speak for every feature, but I know the team building Special Offers had to make a similar decision for similar reasons.

We encourage most of our per-creation creators to upgrade to a monthly billing cycle, and many of the folks who upgrade wind up making the same or more than they did as a per-creation campaign. But for creators like yourself for whom upgrading hasn’t gone well or isn’t an option, the choices involved can feel unfair, and it’s good for us to hear this perspective clearly.

I don’t think this is a problem that can be solved overnight, but I’m forwarding your feedback to the appropriate product teams, and I’m going to follow up by asking what we can do to develop better migration strategies and support, particularly for our creators who have been with us the longest. One positive piece of news I can share is that our user research team is currently wrapping up a study on this very topic — how we can better support per-creation folks, including support for creators wishing to migrate. If you have more feedback or ideas you want to share you can send them in a DM and I’ll share with the research team. I’d also love to connect you with someone on our team for a one-on-one growth consultation.

You’ve been loyal to us, and I hope we can do more to support you.

Thanks for the feedback!

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When we were forced to test migrating from per-creation to monthly (Christmas 2017), I begged all my patrons on blast for the month to switch their support from $Y 10 times per month to 10x$Y once per month. Less than 25% of my patrons made the switch.

With that metric in place, migrating looks like financial suicide.

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Cheers George! This is really exciting as our community loves our merch store and is super loyal but we’ve struggled with incentives for some of the higher tiers.

Our page (patreon.com/noclip) is on USD and Monthly but the merch tab doesn’t appear and if I click your link it just spits be onto the edit tier page. Is there any reason it’s not working or am I doing something silly? Would appreciate any tips if you have them. Thanks so much!

Danny

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This has been a very neat update to Patreon. I can appreciate the need to have a single tier cover the total exclusive merchandise reward and the fact that those interested in merchandise will more or less up our longer-term subscribership on their tiers; however, I wish there was a way we could set up a tier escrow so to speak so we could offer lower priced merch rewards without basically requiring triple the rewards value to be earned first.

i.e.

  • A hoodie needs at least a $31 tier, meaning we will collect $31 + $31 + ($31-$31) during the 3 month subscriber period.
  • To cover the cost of merchandise, really we just need a $10.34 pledge over 3 months to cover the cost (notwithstanding transaction fees).
  • Patreon could hold the earnings from that specific tier separately to ensure merchandise amounts are covered if it’s below the merchandise cost. (requiring the minimum to be at least 1/3 the merch cost.)
  • Patreon could justify keeping all funds in an escrow for merch rewards that are below the merch cost, bonding the release upon the condition that the escrow total after 3 months covers all merch disbursed, and then the leftover remainder after merch placed into the creator’s earnings for that month.

Maybe the data Patreon has doesn’t support it, but I feel a lot more supporters would be likely to join and stay on a $11 tier for a hoodie than a $31 tier, and a lot more creators would be inclined to include merchandise over several tiers if this were the case. Maybe in a future update?

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Hi, Danny! Since you’re one of our founding status creators on a premium plan, your experience is a little different, but we’ll make sure you can get access. I’ll DM you details!

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Hey, Lawyerd!
You’re right that covering the cost of Merch and helping creators make sound financial decisions is one of the main considerations behind our tier recommendations and restrictions.
We’re going to continue actively looking at how we can give creators the flexibility they want from these rules while still providing their business enough protection. Thanks for the feedback and ideas, I’ll make sure that it’s captured!

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Ah yes - I thought that may have been the case. Thanks so much!

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Thank you for working actively on this! I had to go back into the creator and make a new item just to see the preview again, take a snip save then share! Phew… that was exhausting just to write…

For the FUTURE, where it says “exclusive Item” in the preview above, it would be great if we could put the item preview there instead… just to make that first impression extra cool :smiley:

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Hey, georgeb, I really appreciate this comment of yours. I’m a by-creation model creator too, and I’d like to give you a bit of a hard time.

You say “We encourage most of our per-creation creators to upgrade to a monthly billing cycle”: you do? Like, I confess I don’t read every newsblast Patreon sends out, so maybe I missed it, but never once has Patreon reached out to me to communicate, in words, “Hey, we prefer that creators use by-month”. That Patreon has an opinion one way or the other on it has been something I have been able to infer, by how poorly by-creation campaigns are often treated by Patreon, but wow is that not a nice way to do business.

It’s pretty offensive to me that you refer to by-month as an “upgrade”. It is not. It is not a premium feature one has to pay for, it is not portrayed as an “upgrade” anywhere in the user interface. I really dislike how Patreon, corporately, and its employees, individually, often use language to suggest, hint, insinuate, pressure creators into doing what Patreon wants. I, like most people, respond extremely well to polite asks. And this differential between official Patreon policy – by-creation is a thing, and as of right this second, new creator accounts can use it! – and Patreon’s behavior – oh, don’t use by-creation, we don’t like it and wish you wouldn’t, and support of it is half-baked – is really maddening. Quite aside from the specific issue of by-creation model campaigns, this “We’ll give you features but some of them we’ll punish you if you actually use them – now guess which ones, ha ha ha!” thing is really, really uncool.

Obviously an option here is to stop supporting by-creation. That’s not the one I’d prefer Patreon choose, for reasons I’ll explain in a moment. I would certainly prefer Patreon double down on supporting the by-creation model.

To explain where I’m coming from, I need to tell you a little about where I’ve been. I have two pertinent expertises. One is web development – with a specialty in the back end. One of my job duties used to be to serve as an internal consultant on new web development projects, and, by sitting with the stakeholders and doing some initial requirements discovery, coming up with the E-R diagram, and from that projecting out the development schedule and costing out how much the budget would have to be.

So when I tell you that I get that the by-creation model is a bit of a development nightmare, I do get it, at least in the broad outlines. The by-creation model takes what are, in the by-month model, nice crisp scalars, and makes them arrays. Everything about that – from representing it in the RDBMS to figuring out how to show it on the screen for the user to how to express it in the JSON/XML exposed in an API – is just miserable. Especially in comparing how easy and simple it is to do the same thing for by-month campaigns.

Thing is, from my perspective as someone who is using it, it really is worth it.

My other relevant area of expertise is psychology. And one little corner of that field is the psychology of pricing.

When I signed up for Patreon as a creator, it was because Patreon supported by-creation. I didn’t need a Patreon-type platform for one-off or monthly contributions – Paypal can do that, and I already had a Paypal account. (And I have never needed Patreon for patron management.)

No, when I heard that Patreon supported by-creation, that changed everything, because I immediately saw the pricing ramifications.

People respond to prices in “predictably irrational” ways, something every retailer knows. It’s why things get sold for $14.99 instead of $15.

I was pretty sure based on what I know about the psychology of pricing, that for just about anybody making more than two items a month, you will make more money charging by item.

Shortly after I went live with my campaign, Ursula Vernon, of whom I am a fan, went live with her own. Ursula Vernon is a world-famous, award-winning author and artist, who has literal thousands of fans and followers on social media. She was pretty much pressured into setting up a Patreon by her fans who wanted additional ways to send her money out of adoration and admiration. And I remember checking in on how her campaign was going, about a year later, and was bemused to see that I, who have never had more than 200 supporters, was making more money per month than she was. This wasn’t obvious, because Patreon nowhere shows the public how much I make per month. But I know, of course, And it’s a multiple of the number it says on my page.

I chalk this amazing thing up entirely to the fact that she was by-month and I was by-creation.

There’s a reason that charities say things like “for less than the price of a cup of coffee per day” or “for just pennies a day”. When people are deciding how much to donate or pay, they look at the bottom line and try to evaluate that: does that amount seem like a reasonable amount to give? Left to their own devices, they don’t have any real basis but a nebulous feeling for deciding how much to give. They certainly don’t do the math of “how much does this work out to by item”. If you confront them with how much per-item it is, suddenly their sense of what is a reasonable contribution becomes more in line with reality. Ask someone how much they’d be willing to pay monthly for a daily comic strip, and they’re likely to say something like, “Ehhhh, $4?” Ask them how much they’d chip in for each strip, and the same person might say, “Oh, I don’t know, $0.25 each?” Well at $0.25 per strip, times 30 days a month, is $7.50.

I don’t think DysonLogos, to whom you respond, is unusual. I think I make way more money by using the by-creation model than I would by-month.

In fact, I expect most by-creation model campaigns do better than they would by-month.

So I understand: looking at costs, by-month is better for Patreon’s financial interests. But looking at revenues, by-creation is better for creators’ financial interests.

These are not equally balanced considerations. For any business, revenues need to greatly exceed costs – which means multipliers on the revenues side have a bigger effect on the bottom line than multipliers on the costs side. All things being equal, things that increase revenues are better for your bottom line than things that decrease costs.

I suspect that because Patreon was clearly aware of the costs of supporting by-creation, but not the earnings consequences of the two different models, Patreon has made the understandable mistake of focusing on these costs without reckoning their associated advantage in earnings – an economic misstep, that has resulted in Patreon leaving money on the table.

But don’t take my word on it.

Check the evidence.

This is what data science is for. Patreon is sitting on a magnificent trove of pricing data. Figure out some way of doing a simple assessment study where you “match controls”, between by-month and by-creation campaigns – say campaigns that started in the same month in the same creative field lasting the same duration, and see whether by-month or by-creation averages the most money per month.

I expect you’ll find that by-creation campaigns, matched against by-month controls of the same start month, will make, on average, at least 30% more than the by-month controls. Furthermore, I think you’ll find that in fields where more frequent releases are normal – comic strips, podcasts – you’ll find an even higher rate of earnings than for fields where it’s more typical to release once a month (e.g. music videos, writing.)

I think that if you do this study, you will find that while by-creation is a tiny fraction of campaigns, it punches above its weight in terms of earning power. And that, frankly, if Patreon, itself, wants to earn more money, it should be encouraging creators to use the by-creation model. Especially the small fry in the long tail. I think you’ll find, if you look into it, that it’s just more lucrative on average. Sure, the not-inconsiderable additional headache of supporting by-creation is costly, but that’s an investment that I think you’ll find could be having a very nice ROI – if only your creators weren’t discouraged from using it!

But, again, I don’t expect you to take my surmise as gospel. Go check the numbers.

If I’m right? Hit me up for more of my thoughts on how Patreon could be doing better at maximizing its income, because this is not the only thing I think Patreon’s missing.

Hi NovusCantus,
We’re working on a way to make promotional assets downloadable for each item directly from the Merch page!

Thanks for your thoughtful comments, Siderea.
What most creators tell us they want to use is one of the biggest factors in deciding what features to prioritize. Most creators prefer the simplicity of the monthly model at the end of the day. You’re correct, though, that many creators can use the per-creation model to great success. I’m going to review our data around financial results per charging schedule the next time I meet with data science.

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I’m going to review our data around financial results per charging schedule the next time I meet with data science.

It’s been a month, do we have any feedback besides “stop running a per-creation campaign”?

So, we all got this invitation to a crowdcast about Merch. Part of this was a statement that the Merch was finally available to all creators.

"Awesome! They really are doing something for those of us with per creation campaigns who complained that we were being locked out of all the new features on Patreon! Yay!"

I made the mistake of believing that statement and actually getting excited about something that Patreon was finally doing for me. And then of course, a week later, I’m told that no, it actually isn’t for you and “all creators” actually means “all new creators, sucks to be someone who started out using the Patreon model”.

At this point it feels like Patreon is doing it on purpose. Repeatedly we are being told that ALL CREATORS means “All creators except you”.

We are at the point now that the only way to avoid being repeatedly disappointed by Patreon is to never read anything Patreon sends me.

I’m unsubscribing from all forums, newsletters, emails and so on. If you need to get hold of me because something is changing, do it by letter mail, phone call, or courier - you have my phone number and mailing address on file.

NOTHING has negatively impacted my ability to create more than Patreon. Not homelessness, not violence, not censorship. It feels like I pay Patreon thousands and thousands of dollars to get routinely told that my campaign isn’t good enough. That I am not a creator.

merch-for-membership

Hey, DysonLogos.

First of all, I apologize for the oversight our content team made in the Webinar invite – I see why that’s frustrating.

As I mentioned in my first post, we’ve already made the decision to not support per-creation billing with Merch for Membership, and we have no plans to change this decision. I’ve had several conversations with data science and user research about how Patreon can better support per-creation campaigns in transitioning to a monthly billing cycle, which is still what we recommend. I don’t have any new features or initiatives to share in that area at this time.

I’d still love to connect you with someone at Patreon who can do an individual growth consultation with you and assist you with strategies for trying the transition to monthly billing. Let me know and I’ll send you their direct email.

If you have more questions or concerns about per creation billing at Patreon and which features are available for it, they would be an excellent resource, as well as our general support team.