14 Criteria Buyers Consider When Purchasing Items

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Note: This post hasn't been updated in over 2 years.

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What do buyers consider when purchasing their items? It would be really helpful if authors knew the answer to that question. So ActiveDen and ThemeForest author Bedros asked.

What criteria do they consider? Do they search for items? What would make them return to the same author? What features are they after?

If you’d like to know how real live buyers answer those questions, then read on!

1. Source code is scrutinized.

  • I always switch off the CodeCanyon frame in preview mode and check src code of item, and view with firebug. (SportTipsWorld)
  • I look for clean code, where authors have taken the time to comment each sector where appropriate, this leads me to think if thy can be bothered to explain, then they understand and care about its use. (SportTipsWorld)
  • I also almost always remove the Envato frame as well. I also always look at the code – CSS , HTML and custom JS. I modify the items I buy extensively, and having good clean code is a high priority for me. (TwoJStudios)
  • What amazes me tho is still the amt of files that load js files in head. (SportTipsWorld)
  • As for protected src code files, there is no such thing for client side files. So that isnt an issue, moreover i like to see good segragation, ie not buy something that has one huge style.css file, that has more to do with the demo than what i really need, so more often than not we totally rebuild an item we buy to fit in with our remit. (SportTipsWorld)
  • I absolutely detest tho, the framework style of folderisation .. Assets folders with assetts folders nested within etc, its ridiculously painful to work with. (SportTipsWorld)
  • Well commented code. Even if I don’t have to go in the code of scripts I always check if the code is well commented. If this is the case that another proof for me that the author spend time on his product. (nokiko)
  • HTML themes should also be well commented. These will be used in various CMS systems so it should be easy for me to modify it and not having to go deep in the code and find out for myself where each item block starts or ends. (nokiko)

2. Badly rated items are often not even considered.

  • Author rating does play a role, but a very small one. (TwoJStudios)
  • I don’t look at themes with 3 stars except if I know the author. (CLINE123)
  • Second, when we need to buy a new theme, we check the ones that look suitable and then look at the rating. We don’t buy themes with less than 4 stars, yet we keep in mind that when only two people gave stars, this isn’t something to rely on. (MagentaManiacs)
  • Sixth, we give it our own rating, because we believe in the stars. (MagentaManiacs)
  • If an item has 3 stars or less, I won’t even consider it. (dwhitmore)

3. A demo or live preview is important.

  • I won’t buy anything without a live preview. (SportTipsWorld)
  • I too will not buy any item unless it has a live preview. (CSS Items must have a good vid.) No Preview = No buy for me. (TwoJStudios)
  • Of course there should be a perfect demo. If you want to win me over in buying an item I have to see how versatile something is especially in jQuery plugins if you have a basic a normal and a very different example this is proof enough for me to buy it. (nokiko)
  • Third we run the demo through a couple of tests to see how it reacts on devices, to see if everything works fast and is well programmed. (MagentaManiacs)

4. Buyers sometimes have favorite authors.

  • I don’t actually buy from any one particular author, but I do have preference to certain authors. (SportTipsWorld)
  • I check who the authors are, prioritize them: Any theme from AJ Clarke absolutely without question, authors I bought from before, Elite authors, silver paw and up, the rest based on the theme’s comments the ones I’m familiar with get priority, the lesser known ones I check the comments to gauge them. (CLINE123)
  • I have a few authors that I just buy each item they release because of the quality of the work. Even if I don’t have a project to use it for yet but the quality of the work I am accustomed to I am sure that i will find a use for it soon and this way I support that author to keep on making great items. (nokiko)
  • I find myself checking out out particular authors’ portfolios when one of their items really knocks me out/meets my client needs, but most of my decisions are based on whether the item fits the project, using searches on topic/subject/keyword. (tlacross)

5. Feedback from other buyers in the comments is influential.

  • I guess I base most of my purchases on feedback in the item’s comments. I look for comments that state that the item was easy to use/install. (TwoJStudios)
  • Fourth, when we find a good starred theme that looks and works the way we want, we head over to the comment section to read all comments, from first to last. That’s probably most important for us: great support. (MagentaManiacs)
  • Check for buyer comments to see if there are any potential issues or negative comments. (dwhitmore)

6. Authors look for an item that meets their need at the time.

  • I buy based on logic, and I don’t mean using logic. But I buy a product laterally based on achieving a result, that follows the logic of the item, and fulfils the logic of my requirement however loose that may be. (SportTipsWorld)
  • I shortlist at least 5 them- then check the features to see if I can live with the compromise. (CLINE123)
  • I find myself checking out out particular authors’ portfolios when one of their items really knocks me out/meets my client needs, but most of my decisions are based on whether the item fits the project, using searches on topic/subject/keyword. (tlacross)

7. The look and feel of the item is important.

  • I scan themes that have the LOOK and FEEL I visualized, regardless of what features/function they have. (CLINE123)
  • It’s all about the look and feel to me first before anything else. The theme must suit what I feel is best for my client. This means all these plain vanilla themes that’s been coming of the assembly line lately barely get 2 seconds of preview. (CLINE123)

8. Documentation must be excellent.

  • Documentation is a pre. Every feature should be well documented. If I can not find documentation in the live preview in a file that I am considering buying that I always ask the author to send a screenshot or a few pages so I can see how the documentation is setup. its not that I can;t code ur understand code but i don’t want to spend unnecessary time in understanding how it works. (nokiko)
  • For themes, I look for well-documented offerings and have noticed that the “Elite” authors seem to be much more professional in their support and the packaging of their template/themes, so I do look at those items first. (tlacross)

9. Responsiveness from authors is valued and looked for.

  • I also look for questions asked by the buyers that get responses from the author. Questions asked and never answered stick out for me as a no buy item. (TwoJStudios)
  • One thing that does bother me is when a question is asked, and the author responds with “answered in email”. More then once I have had the same question, and now have to contact the author instead of reading the fix/answer right there where it was asked previously. (TwoJStudios)

10. Unique and original items attract more attention.

  • If there is an item from a new or established author that is quite unique and original I just buy it to support the author even if I don’t have a use for it yet. As Orman Clark mentioned on twitter a lot of the themes lately look alike. Of course an author wants to make money so he creates what sells best so he looks at others best sellers. But ff ther are new authors that do it differently I support this buy buying the item. (nokiko)
  • The more cutting edge/unique the theme is, the better. (dwhitmore)

11. Newer items may be considered before older items.

  • I’ll shortlist newer themes first unless an old one stands out. (CLINE123)
  • Well, we check the new themes daily to keep a good overview of what’s happening out here. (MagentaManiacs)

12. Good support is valued.

  • Item support after the sale is probably #1 for me though I very rarely ask for support, it is nice knowing if I have any issues I can get help. (TwoJStudios)

13. Well-tagged items are easier to find.

  • I am a semi-frequent buyer (graphic/web designer) across several of the Envato marketplaces. I use the search functions a lot, and always appreciate properly-tagged items because I am usually on a deadline and trying to optimize! (tlacross)

14. The number of sales of an item is a consideration.

  • I also look at number of sales (very high might be a bit of a negative, very low makes me think twice about it, but in the end the quality is the tie-breaker.) (tlacross)

Well, that’s the end of the list as it stands at the moment. Did you find anything helpful or surprising? Let us know in the comments.

A huge thank you to Bedros for asking the question and starting the thread on the forums. And an even bigger thank you to the buyers who answered so helpfully.

And if you haven’t checked this forum thread out yet, it’s worth reading – even after finishing my summary. There’s a lot of discussion there that’s missed when presenting the answers as a list.

  • D’zinc

    Great post Adrian. Thanks for taking the time to summarize the thread posts so well. Cheers.

  • http://422.com.au Steve

    Cheers Adrian , I aka SportTipsWorld, thrilled you added my comments and opinions.


  • http://envato.com Adrian Try

    Thanks – it was a lot of fun putting this post together. D’Zinc, thanks for letting me know about the thread. And Steve, thanks for your detailed feedback to the buyers. I’m sure they appreciate it. :)

  • CLINE123

    Great summary. This does well to appreciate the feedback of buyers, especially career buyers like myself. I second the opinion a while ago to institute some sort of paw system for buyers too.

    This is more for Envato than myself as I like how you go about things and I always tell my clients that there will always be someone nipping at your heels who may really be a good guy just like you going about things the right way. This is reason why you should always be innovative to FORTIFY position and FEND-OFF competition (my- hopefully original- marketing maxim).

  • http://nglengkong.blogspot.com Mahisa Medari

    it means quite hard for new designers that want to show and sell their designs because they are unknown.
    like me! hahaha

  • http://www.socialmediaglobal.es/ Fernando – Agencia Social Media

    Great summary and thanks for the information.



  • http://www.alchemystudio.it bosone

    what about audio?? :)