Author driven pricing on Themeforest is now active

(Zackary Allnutt) #21

Competing just on price alway lead to a raise to the bottom. So instead one must compete as you say on other things. Only problem is the marketplace is so saturated that authors are competing on things like offering free customisation. That’s also the same thing.

(Steven Gliebe) #22

Exactly. I raised my price on ThemeForest from $49 to $79 because outside of ThemeForest I’ve sold just fine at $79 - $99. Virtually none of my customers complain about those prices. But, as soon as I raise my price to $79 on ThemeForest, I get a comment saying the price is a rip off. I believe ThemeForest’s pricing over years has conditioned their buyers to expect dirt-cheap, and that that has been a disservice to everybody. Even so, my theme seems to be keeping pace in terms of revenue so far.

Thank you, because this is the first time I’ve heard anybody in the WordPress community say this. I’ve sold at $50 and I’ve sold at $100. Ask me which I prefer and I will tell you absolutely $100 for exactly the reason you stated. My revenue has not dropped but my support burden has. Am I the only one that wins? No, the customer wins too. I have more time to dedicate to supporting each customer and I have more time to spend on improving what they’ve bought. Guess what? That makes them more likely to renew too.

ThemeForest’s decision to let authors set prices is hugely beneficial and I hope theme authors will be bold and take advantage of it for everybody’s sake.

I hope they do that. I’m pretty sure the reason authors on the Popular list are not really raising their prices yet is because ThemeForest hasn’t done what you suggest. They don’t want to lose their rank. I’m gonna call it… If and when X Theme or Avada raise their price to $99, you will see that they don’t go back down - because they will earn at least as much but with less support burden. And that will encourage others to creep up too.

A free market works. It will be interesting to see how pricing and expectations change over the next year or two.

(Zackary Allnutt) #23

Nice to see other sellers thinking the same way.

I was getting sick of the support burden. I was getting a lot of people who weren’t prepared to learn or read anything. They were using support ( or trying to ) instead of paying an expert or worse charging clients to set up sites for them even though they didn’t know what they were doing ( even updating a theme was beyond them, despite a inbuilt update system and videos! ).

This really became evident when I started doing some client work and when I told a client I wasn’t available to do some work he said “don’t worry, I’ll do it myself and use support” This has happened a few times were someone without the skills has opted to use support instead of paying an expert. This is what’s resulting in a ridiculous support burden. I get angry support messages saying my theme is slow, and I find out they have got 10mb images all over the site. Despite my docs clearly telling them to optimize their images and a really long article about how to optimize for WordPress.

Thing is we need a better system for support on themeforest because the support renewal price is minimal and I’m finding that they will only renew them when they need help. This is includes help when they decided to redo their site - so more than a quick question. I think we need to be able to control the renewal cost also, not just the initial cost. The renewal cost is not enough to cover the support burden.

Having said all that I have turned off support last month and raised my prices and have still made sales! huh? Didn’t expect that do happen. 0 support requests and still making ( not loads ) of money.

(Steven Gliebe) #24

What you describe sounds pretty extreme so maybe different types of themes attract buyers with different skill levels. I publish a Support Policy and refer customers to it when they ask for something that is unrelated to the theme itself. I then refer them to the WordPress Forums, a third party plugin offer, Codeable, etc. For the most part they understand that this is reasonable. I suspect a higher price attracts this sort of customer though - that understands things have a cost.

I find the same. People only renew when they need support because renewal doesn’t get them anything else on ThemeForest. They already have lifetime access to updates and that is absolutely a mistake. A very significant portion of my revenue outside of ThemeForest is renewals because people renew for access to updates in addition to support. I earn basically nothing from renewals on ThemeForest. And naturally I give more attention to updating the themes that I get paid renewals for.

In order to make this sustainable, ThemeForest either needs to restrict access to updates to those who have paid for for renewal or they need to set renewal pricing at 100%. The former is an easier sell to customers and it will encourage authors to maintain their themes better. I don’t know why ThemeForest rolled out renewals for support only and not updates. Many theme shops have found this to model to work well. I’ve found this to be the biggest advantage of selling on my own site.

Anyway, I’m glad ThemeForest is charging something for renewal now and that we have control over the sale price (which is partial control of the renewal price). It’s not enough to make me want to sell new themes there but they are moving in the right direction. I hope in a few years we’ll see exclusivity done away with plus continued access to updates being contingent on continued renewal. I would consider offering all my themes there in addition to my own website.


I don’t think the top players on Themeforest are really affected by these changes and they will not change prices anytime soon (decreasing maybe, increasing not really). Why? Because they most likely negotiated their contracts and percentages a long time ago.

The problem is with small shops, if they set prices under ~$50, they pay from their percentages. This might not be a problem for low income countries where making $15-20 on an item is considered a win :slight_smile:

(Zackary Allnutt) #26

You may have a point there, it’s a particular theme that I have the majority of these sorts of buyers. It’s also the one that sells the most though.

100% this.

Right direction but changes take too long to come and when they do it has flawed implementation. Really glad to be able to increase prices but won’t be releasing anything else there either.

(Basilis Kanonidis) #28

And here, the bad results of that pricing model:

How the list changes, because ppl care for the price only, nothing else.
Avada is still top, because they also did a discount week.

(Zackary Allnutt) #29

Thats depressing. 29 dollars. Should have been a mimimum rate. But the author driven pricing was to do with making the authors legally the seller.


People care for price only and thank to ThemeForest, people are now expecting all the features of a $59 theme - which was already way underpriced - in $29 themes now.

But you have to understand why they’re doing this. They’re warming up the the type of customers they want - the small agencies, the freelancers selling whole WordPress websites for $250. Envato has figured out a solution for these small agencies and cheap freelancers with high volume of work. Envato Elements is the answer.

WordPress themes will be available at Envato Elements in March 2017. These small agencies will have access to a collection of WordPress themes, graphics, fonts, HTML templates for $29-49 / month (it’s supposed to be $49 but they keep discounting it).

You’d think these small agency buyers would just pirate the themes - no. The rules at sites like upwork, freelancer etc. are very strict and very pro-buyer and anti-freelancer. One complain and the accounts get banned immediately forever (google for stories). So most of these small-timers don’t pirate but look for cheap deals. This is why theme clubs worked in the past - but Envato is creating the cheapest theme club with a lot of extras. And a quality collection no one else can match.

(Adrian Diaconescu) #31

This might be the case, but I don’t know about this “unmatched quality”…


To rephrase, I meant to say a very large collection with decent quality. The quantity aspect makes it unmatched.

(Zackary Allnutt) #33

Instead of “unmatched quality” I would say “unmatched features”. Buyers are expecting a website building tool rather then a theme.

Quality suffers with large amounts of features and componants. But the buyer doesnt know this untill they’ve brought the theme.

(Zackary Allnutt) #34

Its clear to me that this is the main driving force on tf. Many of my buyer were agencies and freelancers. And many of them do not have the skills to sell wp services and put a great deal of burdon on support to fill in the gaps in their knowledge.

(Gary Bairead) #35

If Envato wants to sustain the same amount of sales per theme, either they will have to increase their buyers’ community by 34.5% while keeping the same conversion rates. Or, they would need to find a way to increase the annual spend of an average buyer by 34.5% (or any other combination in between).

(Kobe Ben Itamar) #36

Thanks for linking to this study here.
I think that in regards to the discussion taking place here - it might be interesting to note that, the average price of a WordPress theme on ThemeForest is $50.63, while prices are ranging from $13 to $350.

Here’s what the pricing distribution looks like on TF on 2016: