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Choosing a Web Shop partner: Expertise is a key factor

May 13, 2024
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The rise of direct-to-consumer game sales

A wave of platform changes is one of the more impactful events to spark new interest in direct-to-consumer game monetization. The shift is in response to Apple’s Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) tracking program, followed by its App Tracking Transparency (ATT) policy, the Epic vs. Apple case, and other lawsuits worldwide. Designed to challenge major online game marketplaces’ dominance and create a more equitable digital space, The Digital Markets Act (DMA) nurtures fairer competition by placing obligations on large gatekeeper platforms. Further, alternative billing regulations implemented around the world sparked the introduction of many new alternative billing options that offer significant opportunities for mobile game developers to chart their own monetization and revenue strategies. One of the more effective solutions for quickly launching a D2C program is Xsolla Web Shop, created as a response to requests from newly empowered mobile developers. Xsolla Web Shop’s popularity has sparked other companies to claim they offer D2C web-selling solutions.

The power of web shops

Game developers' struggle to grow revenue, reduce costs, and maintain profit margins gave rise to web shops—feature-rich, white-label, customizable digital stores where developers sell in-game items and exclusive virtual currencies, set up promotions, give rewards, and more to transition, engage, and retain gamers—all from a game-branded website. xsolla-blog-expertise-differentiator-cover-image-2112x1146.webp Web shops are key to driving direct-to-player sales and can significantly increase your revenue and enhance player monetization.
  • 10-16% increase in game revenue
  • 40-60% increase in conversion rates from login to purchase
  • 30-40% average capture rate
  • 60% of Xsolla Web Shop players make repeated purchases
  • 200+ successful Xsolla Web Shop launches (including 40 of the top 100 grossing mobile games.)
However, as a developer, your primary focus is your game’s operations and LiveOps. You can be most effective by searching for a partner specializing in helping resource-hungry game companies achieve long-term profit and success. But how do you choose a partner to help you create and run your game's most effective web shop, maximize profits, and create lasting player relationships? read on to learn the key differentiators (technology and beyond) when selecting a web shop partner.

Choosing a partner - key differentiators

When choosing an online store partner, look for one with solutions that cater specifically to the gaming industry rather than just general ecommerce. Expertise in the mobile gaming market is a huge plus. Beyond simply launching a web shop, they should understand how best to monetize your game through LiveOps. A good partner will also grasp player motivations and which mechanics drive engagement. While not all web shops require hand-building (robust tools like Xsolla Instant Web Shop offer templates and automation for a quicker launch) you still need an internal team and a savvy partner to craft and manage a successful LiveOps strategy, including what to sell and how to incentivize players. Experience When evaluating web shop solution providers, gaming industry experience is critical to your long-term success. Established marketplaces and publisher storefronts have existed for years; however, dedicated web shop solutions for video games are a more recent development, emerging around 2023. Look for partners who know how to build a recurring loop from game to web shop and back again - those who lack this specialty are unlikely to create a successful web shop. Project portfolio and proven results are also key. Look for a partner with a substantial live game web shop portfolio. This experience—both successful and unsuccessful—translates into more informed recommendations for your project. An ideal partner will have documented game genre experience guiding the monetization strategy of games similar to yours. This deep insight ensures they understand the nuances of marketing and selling within your genre, leading to a more targeted web shop experience for your players. Post-launch prowess Don't just focus on a prospective partner’s success from development through launch. Your web shop requires ongoing iteration, optimization, and development to thrive. Choose a partner with a proven track record of helping clients refine their web shops and drive long-term revenue growth through data-driven improvements. By looking beyond launch, you ensure your web shop remains competitive and engages your players for years. In short, pick a partner with a company with a deep understanding of the video game market and a proven ability to deliver successful web shops that grow with your game. Team size Additional key factors to consider when choosing the right partner are team size and the quality of that team’s previous work. Both factors heavily influence your project's success. A larger team can translate to:
  • Faster time to market. With more team members, development progresses quicker, putting your game in front of players sooner.
  • Enhanced web shop quality and complexity. A larger team can handle intricate features and a robust online store for your game, creating a smoother user experience.
  • Provide ongoing feature releases.
  • Reduced development costs. While a larger team might seem expensive upfront, their efficiency can streamline development and keep overall costs in check.
  • Clear communication. An experienced team streamlines creating an effective web shop development and support environment.
An ideal partner has also demonstrated the ability to deliver high-quality work with a team size appropriate for the scope and complexity of your game. This ensures efficient development, clear communication, and a successful launch. Payments expertise When embracing the direct-to-consumer (D2C) model, having a reliable video game commerce partner is like finding the perfect in-game companion—they take care of the heavy lifting so you can focus on what matters most: your game. You want to team up with a Merchant of Record (MoR) who can handle the back-end complexities and manage the legal responsibility for transactions. An MoR frees you from worrying about several vital issues.
  • Fraud protection. Your MoR implements robust measures to keep your transactions safe.
  • Tax remittance. An MoR ensures you comply with all relevant tax regulations, saving you time and headaches.
  • Local regulation. No need to become an expert in every market – your MoR handles regional compliance.
  • Refunds and chargebacks. They manage the process efficiently, freeing you to focus on supporting your players.
By outsourcing these tasks to a trusted commerce partner, you can streamline your D2C operations, reduce risks, and ultimately, deliver a smoother experience for your players. For more information on why a MoR (Merchant of Record) is your best choice of partner, read our recent blog post about why you need a gaming-focused Merchant of Record.

Choosing the right partner for your web shop’s success

Some potential commerce partners may promote creating a simple landing page with purchasable in-game currencies to meet your web sales goals. While every studio has unique needs, a landing page may not be enough to drive sales and change player behavior. Beyond simply looking “pretty” and saving on platform fees, most mobile game commerce landing pages don't satisfy most developers' goals because they aren't optimized to convert gamers to paying players. The partner you select must consider the overall player experience and value proposition. Here are some crucial issues to discuss with potential web shop development partners to ensure they can deliver optimal results for your game.
  • Team size and expertise. Inquire about the size and experience of the team assigned to your project. A larger team with proven experience can provide a smoother development process.
  • Post-launch support. Choosing a partner who can offer ongoing maintenance and support for your web shop after launch is vital.
  • Player communication strategy. Discuss the best practices for informing players about the web shop within the platform's guidelines.
  • Target audience. Identify your web shop's target audience. Different player segments have their own needs and motivations. What can your partner offer to help you engage with each of them?
  • Motivations for purchase. Consider what incentivizes players to purchase on your web shop rather than through the game platform.
  • Repeat purchases. Develop a strategy to encourage players to return to your web shop for repeat purchases.
  • LiveOps integration. Discuss how your team can integrate the web shop into your LiveOps strategy to keep players engaged.
  • Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Collaborate with your partner to define the key metrics you'll track to measure the success of your web shop, both at launch and over time.
A successful web shop partner goes beyond the ability to process payments and manage development. Let’s review key attributes to look for when evaluating potential partners for your web shop.
  • Monetization Strategy: expertise with a history of successful LiveOps throughout games’ lifecycles.
  • Experience: a proven track record of creating a successful web shop
  • Industry expertise: Proven savvy about gaming, mobile commerce, and your game’s genre
  • Post-launch support: A history of helping clients refine their web shops and drive long-term growth.
  • Efficient team: A record of efficient development, high-quality deliverables, and clear client communication.
  • Payment expertise plus the ability to take responsibility for legal, tax, and global requirements, i.e., a qualified Merchant of Record (MoR.)
By considering all these factors and launching your store with a qualified web shop partner like Xsolla, you can build a digital shopping destination that enhances the player experience and drives sustainable revenue for your game.

Xsolla Web Shop - the exemplar

One final thought: Xsolla Web Shop is the proven flagship online selling solution for game developers. Our expertise is well documented and known throughout the video game industry, including Tilting Point, Hutch Games, Tinybytes, Azur Games, Playkot and many more. xsolla-blog-expertise-differentiator-featured-image-01-2036x1146.webp If you’re ready to quickly create your Web Shop, contact Xsolla, a video game-savvy market leader and preferred Merchant of Record. Schedule a time to talk with one of our experts.
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