Pay what you can

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Pay what you can (PWYC) is a non-profit or revenue driven plan of action which does not rely on upon set costs for its merchandise, but rather requests that clients pay what they feel the item or administration is worth to them. It is frequently utilized as a limited time strategy, yet can likewise be the general technique for working together. It is a minor departure from the blessing economy and cross-endowment, in that it relies on upon correspondence and trust to succeed.

Pay what you want is in some cases utilised synonymously, however pay what you can is frequently often linked to the philanthropy or socially situated uses, construct more in light of capacity to pay. Pay what you can is a business model used by various different businesses and organisations. This business model simply lets the consumer decide what that wish to pay for the product or service. Pay what you can is often seen as a donation and not actually purchasing a product for the organization to make a huge profit. Pay what you can organisations often implement this business model once they have achieved profit from previous sales and advertisement, hence the ability to implement to Pay what you can strategy.


Giving buyers the ability and freedom to decide what they are willing to pay for can be very successful, this eliminates the issues of conservative pricing. Buyers are attracted to the fact they are not obligated to pay a certain price for a product, this eliminates all issues of an item becoming overpriced in the consumers eyes, the customer can then make their own judgement on what the product is actually worth.

Pay what you can (PWYC) vs Pay what you want (PWYW)[edit]

PWYC and PWYW are virtually the same business model strategies but have slightly different intentions.

The Pay what you can model is often associated with charities and social uses and the ability to pay, and on the other hand the Pay what you want model is often associated with the perceived value in combination with the intention, willingness and ability to pay.


  • Entices members of the public to engage with the business or organization (Potential future customers).
  • Attracts a large number of potential customers from friends and families of current customers (Word of mouth).
  • Great way of free market research and immediate feedback for the business or organization. For example, if a private book shop was selling its own published books and the customer valued it at £10 ($15) rather than say £4 ($6.15) and was willing to pay that, this would display positive feedback for the company. The organisation could then use this information for personal statistics and data.
  • No barriers to entry, this allows the customers to literally try the product or service for nothing,
  • Great way to differentiate from other business and organisations competitors. Not many businesses use this technique, hence the reason this is a great Unique Selling Point (USP).

PWYC In Operation[edit]

  • American Museum of Natural History
  • In Rainbows An album by Radiohead - This became a public phenomenon when the PWYC strategy was announced via digital download from the Radiohead official website.
  • Lentil as Anything
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art - This museum also has the PWYC model implemented, however they have a recommendation of £13 ($20).
  • One World Cafe - If customers cannot afford to pay anything, they can volunteer to cook, clean the dishes and work on the garden grounds in return for food/drink vouchers.
  • SAME Cafe - Also use the PWYC system, High end cafe which allows customers to pay what they can, also famous for allowing customers to work one hour voluntarily in exchange for one meal.
  • Panera Bread - In 2010, Panera Bread bakery used the model in a St. Louis, Missouri suburb, and has generated further attention by opening more since and is continuing to increase its total revenue.
  • Freeware Applications - These applications prompt the user to donate to the creator/author rather than to the application directly. This is seen as Donation-ware.

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