Apple might not have been wearing a red velvet, fur-lined suit, but on Monday the tech giant played Santa Claus, giving developers access to new subscription features in the App Store. The new features include introductory pricing and limited-time free trials on auto-renewable app subscriptions, reports Apple Insider. The goal is to help developers attract – and keep – new customers.
Apple now allows developers to offer one introductory price type per subscription, per territory for new and returning subscribers. The three options are:
Pay as you go: New subscribers pay an introductory price for each billing period for a specific duration (e.g., $1.99 a month for three months and $9.99 a month thereafter). Apple said this type of offer is ideal for price-sensitive users who may be willing to sample a product at a lower price, but without the developer having to offer that price for the life of the subscription.
The available durations are as follows:
– 1-week subscription: 1 to 12 weeks
– 1-month subscription: 1 to 12 months
– 2-month subscription: 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12 months
– 3-month subscription: 3, 6, 9 and 12 months
– 6-month subscription: 6 and 12 months
– 1-year subscription: 1 year
Pay up front: New customers pay a one-time introductory price for a specific period of time (e.g., $9.99 for six months and $59.99 per year thereafter). This extended time offer gives new subscribers the opportunities to fully enjoy their subscription for a longer period of time which could increase retention. Available durations for this option are 1, 2, 3 and 6 months or 1 year.
Free trial: Utilizing a try-before-you-buy feature, new subscribers get free access to their subscription for a set time period, after which they would be billed the current price per billing period. Free trials are available for 3 days, 1 week, 2 weeks, 1 month, 2 months, 3 months, 6 months or 1 year.
In terms of best practices, Apple recommends that developers using one of these new introductory pricing features communicate this information to prospective subscribers using clear, consistent messaging so users can recognize the value of the app’s offer.
The new features don’t affect Apple’s pricing structure for developers for auto-renewable subscriptions remains the same. Developers will still pay Apple 30 percent of the subscription price for the first year of the auto-renewable subscription and 15 percent of the subscription price after the first year.
On Monday, Apple also announced that developers can now offer pre-orders in the App Store up to three months prior to an app’s actual release. This gives developers an opportunity to ramp up their marketing and generate audience interest prior to a new release. Interested customers sign up to be notified when the new release is available, and the app is automatically downloaded upon its release. If the app is a paid app, the customer is charged prior to download. This feature was not available previously.
These new features are great for developers who want to offer new customers a way to try their subscription apps without having to make a long-term, full-price commitment. Apple gives them a fair amount of flexibility, and Apple provides simple instructions for developers to follow to set up these options for subscribers. These new features benefit developers, subscribers and, of course, Apple with the ultimate goals being long-term subscriber retention and ongoing recurring revenue. It seems these features could have been offered much sooner, but better late then never, right?