Monday, January 18, 2010

Why Do People Buy Virtual Goods?

As a payment gateway and virtual store, we have definitely thought about the many different reasons behind why people would even want to buy virtual goods. As a PayLoadz member, you’ve probably given the topic a little bit of thought yourself. The purpose of this post is to delve a little deeper into the virtual goods market. Who knows, perhaps you’ll learn a little something that might help you reach out to your customers a little more successfully.

There are different reasons why people buy virtual goods through PayLoadz, or any other e-store or platform. The virtual goods market is broadening and therefore the availability, features, and attributes, in addition to the types of products being offered, is constantly changing. Virtual goods have functional attributes, hedonic attributes, and social attributes. Who your customers are will determine their shopping patterns. This is true for any industry, not just virtual goods.

Virtual goods with functional attributes typically include digital files such as business software, educational e-books, and instruction manuals. These types of products may help the performance levels of a buyer’s job, business, or education. Buyers interested in functional virtual goods are those looking for something that will help achieve a certain goal either in daily life or business. Many PayLoadz clients and customers are interested in functional goods.

If shoppers are interested in virtual goods with hedonic attributes, they are looking for something with entertainment value. For example, online gamers may shop for virtual currency for their game of choice to progress through the game levels. Other hedonic attributes might include digital items that are simply aesthetically pleasing (like screen savers and art), fictionalized e-books, movies, and music. These types of digital products are for fun and may not have any real value as far as functionality goes. If you surf through the PayLoadz Store you’ll see your fair share of such virtual goods.

Some shoppers are interested in virtual goods with social attributes. With the advent of social networking sites and communities like MySpace, FaceBook, and Twitter, virtual goods with social functions have become quite popular. Such virtual goods might include those that make cultural references (for holidays, social groups, etc.), digital products offered for branding by real-world companies, and other applications. Many smart-phone and computer applications are virtual goods with purely social purposes. Many clients offer such products through our platform as well.

While we haven’t given you an exhaustive list of reasons why people buy virtual goods, we hope we’ve given you a good overview. As you can see, the reasons go beyond just useful or fun, and can meet needs in between. Customers will shop for different virtual goods based on their personal finance, social interests, and functional needs. And they can find just about any type of digital product on PayLoadz!