Digital Content Seller Gumroad Eyes International Growth With Payment Support In Japan

In what founder and CEO Sahil Lavingia said is its first feature built for international users, online sales platform Gumroad is announcing that it’s now accepting Japanese payments.

The company already worked with Japanese sellers. In fact, Lavingia said Japan is Gumroad’s second largest market (after the United States). However, the actual payments required the use of PayPal — not exactly arduous, but not desirable either given Gumroad’s goal of providing the simplest way for creative people to sell digital goods.

By integrating with Japan’s Zengin system for money transfers, Lavingia said, “Any Japanese creator can now use Gumroad end-to-end, the way that they sort of expect.” Sellers are also able to localize their listings, so a visitor from Japan won’t have to read the listing in English.

Gumroad quietly released the feature to Japanese sellers already, he said, resulting in a 28 percent increase in money processed for those sellers. Lavingia added that thanks to the new feature, some big Japanese sellers who left the system have now returned.

And yes, the company plans to do something similar in other countries: “Going from one to two is a lot more difficult than going from two to three.” Over time, he predicted that Gumroad could go beyond currency and language to become “smarter” about localization — for example, he noted that a lot of novels in Japan are written for SMS, so Gumroad could add a feature in that country for forwarding novels to a buyer’s SMS account.