MAS Success

We have seen that there are lots of Xojo developed apps making it to the MAS. I am interested in what kind of success people are having in the store i.e. what category of apps are being posted to MAS, and what kind of download/purchase rates are being achieved. Also are people marketing their apps elsewhere or relying on them being found in the MAS. I’m interested as I wonder how successful people are being with the sheer volume of apps on the store.

My apps are not the most mainstream, with fonts, check writing and utilities. This shows on the right the proportion of categories since the beginning of the year.

In terms of sales, I was surprised by the numbers. Although most of my apps sell for more than $10.00 numbers are satisfactory. There is no day without sales.

Actual number of sales may not represent much when prices vary largely. I noticed that a lot of developers went for much lower prices like $1.99 and they must enjoy many more pieces. So it is difficult to generalize.

I have sold online with download on my own sites since 1998, but sales on the MAS are much higher.

But do you drive people towards MAS or do you think they trawl through and find what they want?

On the iOS App Store, you either drive people by having a huge brand or having a huge social media campaign. Or you get featured by Apple. Discoverability on the iOS App Store is extremely poor and there’s a tonne of absolute junk on there now. It’s also very hard to sell apps that have an old-fashioned upfront cost to them. People generally expect apps to be “free”. Personally, I don’t even bother with free apps now, because they generally milk you in in-app purchases or they’re junk.

The Mac App Store is kind of like where the iOS App Store was a few years ago. People are still willing to pay for apps, and decent prices too. I suspect this is because Mac owners are generally more affluent and/or mature than the average iOS user and they may have been Mac users for years, coming from a time when you paid a lot more for software.

Discoverability is much better on the MAS too, if only for the fact that there’s only a fraction of the apps available. Plus, as Mac users are probably more tech-savvy than the average iOS user, they know how to find the stuff they want, they know how to dig around.

Just some random thoughts, hope they are useful.

[quote=77154:@Mike Charlesworth]But do you drive people towards MAS or do you think they trawl through and find what they want?

My sites do not send people to the MAS. I have a my own Paypal interface that let buyers purchase software and download it immediately. I used php in the past, now it is a Xojo Web app that let them download.

Sales on the MAS are organic ; people find my apps there and buy them. Sometimes they would inquire first through the support page, but the quasi totality purchase, and I never hear from them. Some support requests, very seldom.

This discussion prompted me to look again at alternatives to the MAS.

Bodega seems like a nice venue. ( ).

It is an app that shows app icons, and when one selects an icon, a one line description appears at the bottom, as well as a download and a buy now button.

I noticed that Sam Rowlands App Wrapper is there. The Download button provides a tryout sample of the app. The Buy Now links to Ohanaware online store.

This looks like a nice way to promote apps that cannot make it to the MAS (sandbox and finicky reviewers). The fact that the actual sale is conducted on the author web site is nice as well, avoiding the 30% share that Apple takes.

The ability to download a free demo app looks like an appealing feature for users. No idea about the actual sales potential, though.

The other “store” I looked at is HackStore ( )

This app is a Mac Store copycat. Looks and feels the same. Descriptions and screen shots identical in presentation. All apps are free and the download installs them automatically in the Applications folder.

Pass the App Store cloning appearance, HackStore looks like a nice way to promote a free app meant as a window for sales.

These two systems make me wonder what the benefits could be for a demo version, intended to drive sales. Somehow, if this is in any way similar to what I know about shareware, sales may never account more than 2% of downloads, so they may remain low. But after all, a try may not cost much more than time. I may give it a go soon.

MAS accounts for 80% of our business. We make a lot more money than we used too, thanks to MAS.

We’ve certainly found that there are still a handful of people who prefer to “Try now” via our site and then they convert into sales. However this number is dwindling, and I can see a day where we don’t have our own store.

In terms of selling elsewhere, it’s a minefield.
What I would say is ignore Amazon! They are incredibly difficult to set-up, their pricing isn’t fair to the software vendor and their numbers are atrocious.
We’ve had limited success with, but again nothing major.
The best bet outside of MAS is to get onto or into a large bundle such as MacHeist, MacLegion or OmegaBundle. MacHeist is the biggest and you stand the chance of making a years worth of profit in a matter of days.

We’re about to experiment with in-app purchase on the Mac App Store, releasing an app for FREE and then charging for premium features. Hopefully in a few months I’ll have some data and be able to report if it works for us.

If anyone else has tried this already, would you mind sharing if it works better for you, over an upfront purchase?

Bodega is nice, although their developer admin needs an overhaul, it doesn’t tolerate high resolution icns files and forces you to create a custom icns file just for them. Over the two years that we’ve been there, we’ve only had a couple of sales as a result of their buy now button, but I couldn’t say for those who download and then purchase later.

I have two different kind of apps in the MAS, and that influences the proportion of sales. Font apps still sell massively on my sites, especially school fonts, probably because the education community has been listing since the nineties.

More recent apps, mainly personal finance and utilities, are sold mainly on the MAS, and direct sales are anecdotic.

Altogether, the MAS is a tremendous business opportunity, and I recommend it wholeheartedly for anyone seriously willing to market Macintosh software. The developer program fees and 30% Apple cut in sales are peanuts as compared to the sales volume.