A Stingy Person’s Excuses for Not Buying Your App (and How to Get Around Them)
I was talking to a developer about a mobile app he’s building and as our talk progressed he said: “Let me ask you a question: You’re a pretty stingy person, what makes you buy an app?” After my initial laugh I thought, “Well, yes, I am stingy and I don’t buy apps… not often anyway”. We finished our conversation but his question stuck with me, and not just because of the rudeness. I have a lot of apps on my phone but I seldom buy so I studied my screen to really think about why I bought the apps I did, and why I didn’t buy the others.
How important are the features on this app? Could I get the same features for free? If the app is a low priority or not unique (like a card game) I’m gonna pay for it. I mean, why should I? I’m just gonna play it waiting on a line or sitting on the train. I could just flip through my pictures for free.
Note: I paid for Tetris. I downloaded the free version and got locked out after 3 games. I’ve loved Tetris when I was young so when I remembered of how fun the game was I couldn’t resist buying it. I now bust a game whenever I start to feel the slightest bit bored. Best game ever.
You expect me to pay $0.99 cents? Whoa, slow down, I gotta give this a lot of thought. I mean I may want to toss some change to a bum or make an impulse buy at a gas station. I can’t just spend near dollars all willy nilly! It sounds silly but it’s true and as stingy as I am, I’m not the only one. The fact is, we the consumer, have been spoiled with free things since the global adoption of the Internet. Free music, free news, free games, then free apps. It’s only recently when newspapers admitted to bleeding money that they decided to charge for their web content and it really angered people. It still kind of surprises me when people were angry about the New York Times paywall, as if we forgot that we use to pay for goods and services. There’s a real disconnect with the value of things on the web.
We feel entitled to free things, so much so that when our free services go down we complain like we bought the servers ourselves. It’s not that a dollar is too much but compared to free it seems kind of steep. In short, as long as the free version is good enough we’ll use it instead of paying you our pocket change.
Note: I upgraded my LastPass account because I wanted the mobile app. Even though the app was free I couldn’t use it until I was a premium member. Because LastPass is so important to me I didn’t even think about the price (more than $0.99) because it’s so great.
Some savvy mobile developers have put free versions of their apps on the market but remove them after a while. The idea is after you’ve done a brand marketing campaign people will search for your app and download the premium one since that’s the only one they can find.
“How is this app going to make my life better/easier?” That’s what we all think when we’re in an app store. Yes, we get apps because we think it’s going to help us in some way but how is this paid app going to help me. Is it going to sync with some SaaS I use? Is it going to automate processes for me? Will it help me with work? Does it make a me more efficient in some way, shape or form? If there’s no big benefit or added convenience my stingy behind won’t buy it, period.
Note: I bought a flashlight app. The free ones I kept downloading weren’t bright enough. On one dark, car-fixing night my free app just wasn’t cutting it so I bought one that had really good reviews. It got the job done and I’m happy I got it.
The law of Supply and Demand is alive and well so having a product that is really special will make people (like me) open up our wallets. There are a lot of games out there but there’s nothing quite like Angry Birds. There are lots of resource apps out there but if yours is the original/complete version, most user-friendly people who need what you’re offering will pay up. If you carve a space out in your niche and show people why your app is valuable people will buy it.
Note: In my previous posts and on my about page I mentioned that I use Linux at home. In our quest for the perfect media server, my husband and I set up XBMC. It was made to be run on an old Xbox, not a tower computer like ours so we used a keyboard and a mouse to navigate the system for a while but when we found a XBMC remote with good reviews we bought it.
People won’t pay for your version of Solitaire because there are hundreds of free versions to choose from. And if your free app is too similar to your premium one you won’t get a sale either. People will fill up on free samples if you let them, so don’t.
If you want stingy people to buy your app, make it really useful, make it unique, make it easy to use and make the free version (if you build one) very limited so we’re enticed to buy.