Idea Validation: Market demand, Willingness to pay

Dry Wallet

Simulate a 'pay now' experience

Illustration of Dry Wallet
Run a Dry Wallet play

See also: Feature Stub

Difficulty: Intermediate

Evidence strength

Relevant metrics: Unique views, Click through rate, Email sign ups, Price point

Validates: Viability, Desirability

How: Simulate 'purchase now' experience in the form of a simple e-commerce checkout or a pricing page leading to a 'We are not ready yet' page, 'out of stock' message, a letter of intent, or a similar elegant way of letting the user finish without actually billing them.

Why: It takes significantly less time to validate willingness to pay by creating a setup that lets users show their intentions through click behavior than implementing an entire payment system or checkout flow.

This experiment is part of the Validation Patterns printed card deck

A collection of 60 product experiments that will validate your idea in a matter of days, not months. They are regularly used by product builders at companies like Google, Facebook, Dropbox, and Amazon.

Get your deck!

Before the experiment

The first thing to do when planning any kind of test or experiment, is to figure out what you want to test. To make critical assumptions explicit, fill out an experiment sheet as you prepare your test. We created a sample sheet for you to get started. Download the Experiment Sheet.

Don’t leave the user with the wrong impression

Testing whether your potential customers will actually purchase a product, and at what price, by simulating a ‘Purchase now’ experience, is an effective way to assess willingness to pay. The test can take many forms:

  • a pricing plan with links
  • an e-commerce checkout flow
  • a letter of intent request

Although your experiment is just a test to you, chances are it won’t seem like that to participants. To make sure you can live up to expectations, also in the future, make sure that you leave users with an impression that their request wasn’t possible. Simply responding with an “out of stock”, or “we are not ready” can be enough.

However, leaving users hanging with the anticipation of a future response or promise can easily backfire in the future. If you choose not to simply not bill the customer, at the point where they should normally have been billed, explaining why you’re not billing them is good practice.

After the experiment

To make sure you move forward, it is a good idea to systematically record your the insights you learned and what actions or decisions follow. We created a sample Learning Sheet, that will help you capture insights in the process of turning your product ideas successful. Download the Learning Sheet.



Before developing Buffer, a spoof landing was created to explain the future product. Clicking its Buy button led to a “We’re not ready yet” page and revealed a conversion rate that helped validate willingness to pay. Later, pricing plans were inserted in the middle of the flow to test what pricing point performed best.

Source: Idea to Paying Customers in 7 Weeks: How We Did It

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