What occurs when you dump the App Store?
In what amounts to one of the purest and most interesting experimentations in assessing value of Mac OSs App Store the founder of Rogue Amoeba posted a description of what happened when he pulled his app Piezo. The result? More revenue as a whole without much damage caused to sales.
The impetus for the move came Apple pulled the Dash app off of the App Store. In the 100 day period since the move, Dash maintained and even increased revenue and found that its users didnt care which platform they were employing 84% of the customers simply moved over to the independent app license from the App Store license. The bottom line? It feels great to have full control over my business and to avoid App Store installing/ updating/ buy issues, wrote Dash creator Bogdan Popescu.
When Paul Kafasis tried to move away from the App Store he was worried hed lose half of his marketings. After all, many months insured about 50% of sales coming from the App Store directly. When he pulled the app a year ago, however, all of those App Store sales turned into direct sales through his website, a fact that surprised and amused Kafasis.
It is suggested that nearly everyone who would have bought Piezo via the Mac App Store opted to purchase immediately once that was the only option, he said. Far from the Mac App Store helping drive marketings to us, it appears we had instead been driving sales away from our own site, and into the Mac App Store.
I certainly wont state that every developer will have this same success if they remove a product from the Mac App Store and distribute it exclusively through their own site. Your mileage will certainly vary, he wrote. He cited the fact that maintaining the app for the app store was costly and much of his revenue went to paying the App Store the regional commissions. Now, through direct sales, he can focus on the product and not the sales channel.
App Stores in general are a good idea. But having more than one sales channel is also massively important. Last summer I talked about something “ve called the” Ripple Rug and how this odd little product basically a carpet for cats was facing arbitrage problems from drop shippers who were hiking up the price of the rug and simply buying it on Amazon and shipping it forward. Then the fell shippers would pass the cost of returns on to the Ripple Rug, thereby making money when the sold the carpetings and when clients complained. The outcome? The inventors of the carpet pulled it from the Amazon briefly but lately brought it back for more than they sell it on their site. To do this the Ripple Rug folks are selling updating report of the carpet on the site and a different version on the Amazon store because Amazon does not allow you to sell immediately for less than it appears on Amazon.
I have to run two production line merely to sell on Amazon, said Fred Ruckel, inventor of the rug.
Why? It induces perfect sense. If you want access to the Ripple Rug or anything, genuinely you can get it through the quick and easy Amazon store or you can go immediately to the seller and get onto cheaper. And most people wanted to get onto on Amazon.
I had to put together a really good strategy to survive amazon, said Ruckel. We basically pulled Fulfillment by Amazon. When Amazon fulfills products for people thats when people arbitrage. But Ruckel knows he requires Amazon just as many app makers know they need the App Stores.
Its a double-edge sword, he said. You have to be on Amazon. Sixty-percent of shopping starts on Amazon. They typically associate Amazon with free shipping and great prices and you have to be on Amazon to be seen now.
But you can fight back. In fact, Ruckels seems like a great strategy: charge more on the App Store as a convenience fee to those too lazy to click around a little to find it cheaper. We knew the Walled Garden would win way back in 2011. We just didnt understand how .
App Stores are storehouses. They are great if youre devoting something away you can grab lots of eyeballs quickly with the right strategy but they definitely take a cut of revenue and could encroach on overall sales. The problem is that were stuck. Were stuck selling through the iOS and Android app stores and, if you sell books, Amazon is the only way to go. When get locked into one route of sales marriage dont insure or accept alternatives and that hurts us.
In the end these three instances should not define a sales strategy. What they do demonstrate, however, is that for certain popular products there is little value in trusting any app store be in Googles, Apples, or Microsofts to work in your favor. Direct marketings are always and option and its quite important to figure out a strategy based on direct sales sooner than subsequently. After all, in the end it probably wont even matter if you pull your product from the App Store du jour.
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