On October 10, 2007, the renowned rock band Radiohead released their seventh studio album “In Rainbows” and disrupted the music world forever. But it wasn’t the music itself that was game-changing, it was how they released it. Radiohead let their fans pay whatever they wanted for the record — even nothing.

Despite irate criticism from record labels and other recording artists alike, the experiment worked. “In Rainbows” earned them more digital income than all their other albums combined.

Radiohead's Pay What You Want

A screenshot from Radiohead’s website during the “In Rainbows” launch. Fans needed reassurance that what they were seeing was real.

Since 2007, the Pay What You Want model has proven to be an incredibly useful tool for business owners, creatives, and nonprofits, but accepting Pay What You Want (PWYW) payments without using an app designed primarily for PWYW has been a challenge. Thankfully, SamCart’s new Pay What You Want feature has your back, and makes letting your customers name their price as easy as a single keystroke.

This quick video will teach you how enable Pay What You Want on any SamCart Product:

Below, we’ll discuss five reasons you should give Pay What You Want a try on your next launch:

1. It’s perfect for beginners:

If you’re still getting off the ground and are trying to convert visitors who have never heard of you before, people are bound to be a little skeptical. You can have the perfect pitch, genuine social proof, and a lifetime money-back guarantee, but there will still be some potential customers who are hesitant to hit that “Buy” button before your brand or product is “Googleable”. Getting your first customers can be a challenge, but Pay What You want makes the process a lot easier.

Giving your customers control over what they pay does a tremendous job of building trust with an audience who is unfamiliar with your brand or product. You’re signaling that you genuinely want them to have your product, and you understand if they can’t pay as much as others might able to.

If customers receive value from their purchase and were able to do so for less than you suggested, it creates the notion in their mind that you did them a favor, and they’re not only more likely to provide you with a testimonial, they’re also more likely to pay you more than they would otherwise during your next launch.

That’s a testimonial and a repeat customer, two of the most critical elements of building your business, all from putting a “+” sign at the end of your price.

3. You’ll get paid while building your email list:

Digital marketers have traditionally relied on complex funnels and a “squeeze page” to collect email addresses from prospective clients. All of this is time consuming to setup and expensive to operate, especially if you’re already using SamCart and paying for ad traffic. Why not cut out the complexity and give yourself a chance to get paid while you build your list?

We’ve long recommended using Dollar Trials and Free-Plus-Shipping products to get paid while gathering leads, but using Pay What You Want takes it to another level.

Driving traffic to a Pay What You Want sales page that offers a low-value product has proven incredibly effective for not only gathering email addresses but also making money. With the right offer, we’ve seen users stumble into impressive profits through a “free plus” page.

If the visitor doesn’t pay, you have a shiny new lead. If they do pay you, well… congratulations!   It’s the digital marketing equivalent of finding money on the ground.

3. You’ll get paid for content you’d normally give away for free:

The most successful SamCart users (and by extension, digital marketers) focus tirelessly on constantly increasing customer value, and Pay What You Want is a fantastic way to potentially make money on the free content you offer your audiences.

If you have a free video, download, or short e-book you’d like to send your audience, instead of just attaching it in an email blast, make a SamCart Pay What You Want page out of it. Again, with a good pitch, you’ll be amazed by what people are willing to pay.

The customers who have gotten the most value out of your products or services are likely also your most die-hard fans, and they will absolutely be willing to pay you for content you’d otherwise be giving away for free.

On top of making a few extra bucks from your giveaways, you also get to collect your customer’s payment information. This allows you to link Upsell Funnels to your giveaway for even more added customer value.

If you’re skeptical, consider the fact that professional video game streamer Ninja currently receives more than $500,000 in donations per month from his fans, all while streaming his content online for free. His fans genuinely appreciate the entertainment Ninja provides, and they show support with their wallets.

4. The one-price-fits-all model for creatives is dead:

The internet has changed the way artists generate income. While it’s easier to get noticed, it’s also easier for people to share your work for free with the world. Radiohead’s “honesty box” experiment embraced pirate culture, gave fans control over access to music, and in turn made them tons of money.

Your fans, whether there are ten of them or ten thousand, want to get their hands on your creations. The one-price-fits-all pricing structure for art and music just doesn’t work in the age of piracy. You don’t need to allow free downloads on your Pay What You Want page if you don’t want to, but for every five customers who pay even the minimum price, one will pay well above what you suggest. Plus, those who pay the minimum (or nothing) and really enjoy your work are now fans who are more likely to pay you for your next release.

As we mentioned above, if you’re not thinking about customer value, you’re not getting the most out of SamCart. That stands for musicians and artists as well. Because you can’t realistically sell everyone a $13.00 CD anymore, you need to get creative with how you generate profit. Make sure you’re Upselling your customers on things like tee shirts, bonus content, and tickets. It’s a good feeling when someone downloads your CD for free but ends up purchasing a tee shirt immediately after!

5. It allows nonprofits to drive donations using SamCart:

The most successful nonprofits are also the best marketers. Those ASPCA commercials with images of dogs in cages are remarkably effective sales pitches, even though the goal is driving donations.

With Pay What You Want, nonprofits get to use the preferred tool of the best digital marketers in the business.

If you’re looking to accept one-time donations online, then building a SamCart page is your best choice. A well-designed SamCart page commands attention, connects with the audience, proves worth, and converts.

These core four principles are what’s enabled business owners to sell over $257 million of products and services on SamCart, and the same principles will help you drive more donations then ever before.


Putting your customers in control is a scary idea that could really only exist in a digital space. But your customers are your customers because they love what you’re selling and they get value from it. Pay What You Want isn’t right for everything, but it allows your customers to show their gratitude for what you’re putting out there, and more often than not it ends up working out in your bank account’s favor. Give it a shot, disrupt your space, and tell us how it went!

See a Live Demo Of SamCart

In the last 12 months alone, SamCart Sellers have sold over $257 Million of their own products and services on SamCart.

Find out why by checking out this live demo of SamCart today! Click below, and jump right into a SamCart account and see how this simple tool is helping thousands of business owners save time, capture more customers, and sell more products than ever.

See a Demo of SamCart!