Recently, Elegant Themes, which houses nearly 100 WordPress themes for a litany of different websites, upped its prices for new members. Now, new customers will pay a $69 per year subscription fee, up from $39. However, developer subscriptions were unaffected and remain $89 per year. Additionally, current customers will continue to receive Elegant Themes’ arsenal of products for the same price they have been paying.
Why did Elegant Themes’ price increase? To find out, and gauge the reaction so far, we caught up with founder Nick Roach to get the answers straight from the horse’s mouth.
WPHub: How long has the pricing change for new Elegant Themes members been in the works? Talk about the decision to change the price in the first place.
Nick Roach: How our prices affect the health of the business and the experience of our customers is something that is always a topic of consideration. As the company grows, our customer base expands, our theme collection gets bigger and more time-consuming to manage, and the effect of price becomes more and more apparent.
If we can adjust the price and, in the process, alleviate burdens on our team, then the experience for our customers will improve. The trick is finding the “sweet spot” where the most value can be extracted out of the most affordable price.
WPHub: Why $69 per year for new members? Talk about the logic of arriving at that price and what kind of feedback you have gotten on it so far.
Nick Roach: The price of $69 is “normal” in the premium theme market. I wanted to raise our prices enough to achieve our goals while at the same time remaining extremely competitive. Keep in mind that we offer 87 themes for the price of $69, while most other companies sell single themes in the range of $50 to $100.
The feedback on the price change has been overwhelmingly positive from our customers. I think they see the value in what we provide and recognize the price discrepancy between our offer and those of our competitors. We also grandfather all customers in at their original signup price. This is something we have always done: rewarding our most loyal customers with loyalty in return.
WPHub: The pricing change doesn’t affect developer subscriptions. Why did you keep the $89 per year price tag for developers the same?
Nick Roach: Before the price change, around 50% of new customers purchased the developer subscription. I want to emphasize what a great deal this tier is. I also didn’t see any reason to change it, as I believe this is a sustainable price per customer for us.
WPHub: Was there any thought of raising or lowering the price on the lifetime subscription, which is a $249 one-time fee? That seems like quite a value now.
Nick Roach: We don’t plan on raising the price of our lifetime membership any time soon. Like the developer subscription, I feel that the lifetime package is priced to be sustainable. For web developers who plan to use our themes for a long time, the benefit of a lifetime membership becomes obvious.
WPHub: You are honoring whatever price your existing customers bought at, whereas most companies would raise rates for everyone. Why did you decide to allow the original prices that members paid to prevail?
Nick Roach: It’s not something that we need to do to survive as a company and I think the benefit of keeping our customers happy outweighs the benefit that we would receive from raising prices. Rewarding our loyal customers is important to me.
WPHub: We know you’re growing leaps and bounds and, in fact, you announced you’re hiring. Talk about what your new hires will be doing and why you’re in need of those positions.
Nick Roach: I am focusing on empowering our development team. Our most recent hire, Josh Ronk, is a senior developer that will be assisting us in the creation of new themes and plugins.
Our tech support team is always growing to accommodate our increasingly large customer base. Historically, our team has always been heavily support-focused. Out of our 28 team members, 23 of them work full-time in our support forums. This means our product division is relatively small (five people). That number will be increasing as we find the right people to join the team.
WPHub: How have you been able to be both competitive on price and high on quality when it comes to your product lineup throughout the years? How much of a balance is there between price and quality of product in this industry?
Nick Roach: I suppose the credit goes to our talented and hard-working team. We work hard to provide the value we do at the price we charge.
We have also opted for an inherently more self-sustaining business model: the subscription. This is something I was adamant on from the start, as it was obvious that maintaining our theme collection and tending to our customers would be an equal, if not greater, job than creating new themes.
Charging a one-time fee and then offering lifetime support is a potentially hollow promise. While we charge a very low price to access all of our themes, our customers continue to support us with their yearly memberships while we continue to support them with new themes, theme updates, bug fixes, and so on.
WPHub: A few of your users asked about Elegant Themes support in Spanish and other languages. Is that coming soon?
Nick Roach: Official multi-lingual support is not something we are planning on providing right now. We happen to have some Spanish speakers within our support crew, however.
WPHub: What other changes will we see at Elegant Themes in 2014? Don’t be shy!
Nick Roach: The biggest change you will see, and what many may have already noticed, is that we are spending a lot more time on single products than we ever have before. This means we will be releasing less stuff, but the stuff we make will be straight up awesome. We already have a ton of great themes and to provide value to our customers, we need to really push the limits and make something new.