It’s nice to see there’s a developer that actually understands business.
If you sell a low-priced app in the App Store with no free version, you make money from every tire kicker.
Free “tastes” work out best financially only when the cost of purchase (or lifetime customer value) is high and target market size (or sales conversion rate) is low. Consider the difference between Mac apps like Photoshop, Final Cut Pro, Logic Pro and their cheaper/lighter brethren Elements, iMovie and Garage Band.
Almost all potential customers would want to see what they’re getting before plunking down several hundred bucks for the former – the advanced, pro products. Yet if they do like what they see and go on to purchase it, you’re getting a huge chunk of profit from each conversion regardless if the overall rate is fairly low.
For the latter applications that are feature-light and cheaper, you’re relying on a larger market of much more casual users. Yet if they have any mitigating need for the solution you’re offering, a high percentage of this group would indeed pay for it given the right price point.
Developers are doing themselves a disservice to their bank accounts by offering any free trial period at this level for one of two reasons:
1. When given the choice, a large portion of users that would have paid outright will opt for the free trial instead, many of which never converting past that taste test.
It’s like if a car salesman who has just filed all the paperwork, financing, insurance; the customer is in the middle of writing the down payment check; and right before they sign, convinces them to go take a test drive. The biggest sin in sales is not knowing when to shut up and take the money.
2. Most opting for a free trial will not pay regardless of how cheap or great the app is.
Studies in behavioral economics have shown that the psychological difference between $0.00 and $0.01 is enormous. The mere act of opening up one’s wallet is a giant leap that certain people will just not take.
Anyone who fits this demographic will never be your customer. Never. Stop trying to get them. It’s a lost cause. These folks aren’t tire kickers. They don’t even own a car in which to kick said tires. Fuck ‘em.
Selling a thousand dollar piece of software with no free trial period or not even a lower priced feature-light version? You’re probably doing it wrong. If not, that must be one insanely valuable, life-changing, orgasm-inducing app.
Selling a 99 cent app that has a free trial period? You’re probably doing it wrong. Actually, you probably, have a really low threshold for failure, deep-seeded self-esteem issues and should go see a therapist immediately.