Selling access to an app on the store, outside of the store itself

Discussion in 'iOS Programming' started by AJClayton, Jul 5, 2016.

  1. AJClayton macrumors 6502

    AJClayton

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2007
    Location:
    Dorset, England
    #1
    I suspect I already know the answer to this question as Apple aren't going to make it easy for people to bypass their 30% revenue stream on app sales... but here goes anyway!

    I've developed an app for a customer and they love it (so far so good). They were originally planning to sell it on the App Store, but are now wondering if it's possible for them to sell access to the app as part of a package. They are a visitor attraction and so would like to sell access to their venue and a few other bits and bobs bundled in the single price - one of them being their iOS app.

    I wondered about adding a password to the app to unlock it that behind the scenes would be authenticated with a web service (so that it can only be used once). The problem with that approach is what happens if someone changes their iPad or wants to install it on more than one device? I also wonder whether that would get through the approval process (I've had password protected apps get through before, but the reason for the protection was different in those cases).

    I doubt it's going to be possible to do what the customer wants and they'll have to accept that they'll need to sell it in the traditional fashion, however if anyone has any bright ideas or variations on my password thought above then I'd love to hear them.

    Thanks!
     
  2. iphonedude2008 macrumors 65816

    iphonedude2008

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2009
    Location:
    Irvine, CA
    #2
    Well this sounds less like an iOS programming question and more like a business question. As I see it, their main revenue focus should be selling access to their venue. The app should be free and easy to use as part of improving the experience of visiting their venue. Selling access to the app does not should like a good business idea, akin to selling access to nicer bathrooms or cleaner water.

    If they still insist on selling the app (which seriously sounds like a bad idea and just a greedy move that will hurt customer perceptions), I think a username/password setup is the best option since giving them a one use code would not allow them to change devices, while a multiuse app access code could be shared among other people.

    One last thing to keep in mind is that username/password stuff is very annoying to deal with for a customer, and you may end up losing a lot of users because of it if their account does not offer them enough personalized content to justify them going through the trouble of creating an account and logging in. The 30% cut is annoying, but being able to sell on the store with all the benefits it brings are worth in IMO.
     
  3. PhoneyDeveloper macrumors 68030

    PhoneyDeveloper

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2008
    #3
    You might be able to use iBeacon or some other location technology to only enable the entire app or parts of it when the device is at their location. It could also depend on being on a particular wireless network or be enabled by a particular QR code that's only available at their location.
     
  4. AJClayton thread starter macrumors 6502

    AJClayton

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2007
    Location:
    Dorset, England
    #4
    Thanks for the suggestions.

    I perhaps didn't explain myself very well. Their main revenue focus is selling access to their venue and will continue to be that. Access to the app is just an extra, which won't just be for use at their venue but something for people to look at after they return home (like you would with a guide book, for example).

    I think they're just looking to make the process easier for their visitors so it's a "pay once - receive-some-things" kind of approach. I don't think making huge amounts of money from the app is their main driver. Also, if the app is for sale on the store then it's not a benefit of visiting the venue as anyone could purchase it.

    My personal opinion is that it should either be free (in order to help drive visitors to their location) or if they want to help recoup some of the development costs, then it could be sold on the App Store for a very low price (perhaps eventually dropping to free when they've made a little income from it.)

    Thanks for the feedback from iphonedude2008 and PhoneyDeveloper, it's very much appreciated. It doesn't look as if I've missed anything too obvious to suggest to them, which was my main concern.
     
  5. jkeating2005 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2009
    #5

    What about when they sell the ticket to their venue and the customer receives a "Coupon Code" for access. For example:

    Hypothetically, we will cal their venue a Zoo. and they want people to be able to read about the care of the animals and live stream video, etc....after they have visited the Zoo.

    The Zoo Owner (Your Customer) wants to make $5 for every person who has access to this.

    included with the ticket is a "Coupon Code" that says "Want to continue watching the Great animals you've seen today? Sign Up today at AJClaytonsCustomer.com/AppSignUpPage using coupon code "Get50%Off".

    Now Price the Item at $10 on the page ($5 after the Coupon). Let them sign up with Facebook (Qucik and Easy) After the Customer signs up, auto redirect them to App Store that matches their device to download the app

    They open the app and can again quickly login with facebook
     
  6. flyinmac macrumors 68030

    flyinmac

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2006
    Location:
    United States
    #6
    What I think others are proposing is essentially just giving the attendees a code to download at a reduced rate. I could be misunderstanding them.

    But personally, I'd offer the program for free on the App Store, and limit its functionality so that the free version does essentially nothing until an unlock code is entered into the program.

    The unlock code could be distributed at the event. And, if you wanted, you could provide a purchase price as an in-app purchase to unlock if they didn't attend the event. Price the in-app purchase to be more expensive than attending the event.
     
  7. iphonedude2008 macrumors 65816

    iphonedude2008

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2009
    Location:
    Irvine, CA
    #7
    This is probably the best idea in the thread, though there should be a way to tie the invite code to that person, perhaps Facebook as suggested above
     
  8. flyinmac macrumors 68030

    flyinmac

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2006
    Location:
    United States
    #8
    Perhaps incorporating an unlock process in the app that requires the unlock code to match the name already assigned to that code, or perhaps an Apple ID account/username that has previously been assigned to that code.

    Requiring people to register for the event with the same email address that they use for their iTunes / Apple ID should do the trick.
     
  9. iphonedude2008 macrumors 65816

    iphonedude2008

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2009
    Location:
    Irvine, CA
    #9
    I don't see how you using the same email address would work. Apple doesn't give you access to the user's Apple ID as far as I know
     
  10. AxoNeuron macrumors 65816

    AxoNeuron

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2012
    Location:
    The Left Coast
    #10
    I would suggest to your client to actually make it all free and just charge for the actual visit itself. Sure, it might seem like they'll lose money at first, but I'm betting it will probably raise the number of visitors in the end.

    You might also consider using the Apple Pay API. It doesn't have that 30% fee.
     
  11. firewood macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2003
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    #11
    B2B is the Apple approved method of selling access to apps outside the App Store. You customer(s) will need to register as a volume purchase plan business with Apple for this to work, so it only works for apps where your price (for example: many thousands of dollars in custom app consulting fees) is much higher than the inconvenience and cost of registration in the volume purchase plan.

    See: https://developer.apple.com/programs/volume/b2b/ and http://www.apple.com/business/vpp/
     

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