Learn E-Commerce from Louis C.K.

Louis C.K.  was a guest on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon this week, talking about his new special new special, Live at the Beacon Theater, which he self-produced and new special, x through his own website for five bucksLouisCK.

When the interview turned into a clinic on e-commerce best practices:

Impulse Price

Louis CK told the New York Times, “I buy lots of things online and I had a focus group of one. I thought about it, and five bucks seemed almost free and I figured if I took out the hassle, most of the speed bumps, it would almost be like hitting a link and streaming it.”

He offered the video for $5, to ensure it was a comfortable impulse purchase.


He told Jimmy Fallon, he wanted to make it ridiculously simply to buy:

  • The site has one large call to action, “Buy The Thing” cta_buythething.
  • PayPal is the only payment method.
  • He asks only for for your e-mail.  There is nothing to join.  He only keeps your e-mail if you really want him to (he openly mocks sites, that default to opting-in the user for e-mail marketing).
  • In his own words “No DRM, no regional restrictions, no crap. You can download this file, play it as much as you like, burn it to a DVD, whatever.”


Making it cheap, and eliminating all the friction in the purchase process worked.  In the first two weeks he sold over $1 million (200,000 units).  He joked about watching the sales results on his phone (using the PayPal app no doubt).  It’s an awesome story of about eliminating the middle man, skipping all the digital rights management junk, and succeeding without the networks.

Steal his Best Practice

Louis CK is obviously a talented comedian, but he clearly also understands user experience and consumer psychology.  Al of us can repeat his success.  How can you eliminate friction from your purchase process?  Do you really need to collect your shoppers fax number, and their mothers maiden name?  Fill out an animated 3D Captcha?  Seriously, could you at least skip the account creation prompt, until after I buy?  I’ll bet you’ll like the effect it will have on your conversion rate!

Update – Related Stores:

$1M in 12 days via Engadget

Six things to learn from the Louis CK experiment via Econsultancy

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