As with any product or service, the question of pricing is always one of the many challenges of selling a product or service. Many price their products or services low in an attempt to under cut their competition or initially sell a lot and get their name out there. Others charge way more than a person is willing to pay for such a product.
With iPhone development, more often than not, you’re selling a product as opposed to a service, which may be a compliment to your physical or web based service. If your iPhone app is a complimentary product to a service that you already offer and charge for, your iPhone app should probably be free (depending on complexity). Look at it as a value-added feature to put you above your competition and make using your service more convenient and enjoyable. By creating more ways to access your service, you provide more opportunity for your customers to use it more often and really benefit from what you’re trying to offer them.
So what’s the sweet spot for a price for your iPhone app? It obviously depends, but there are some guidelines we came up with.
Be Unique with Your iPhone App
The more unique your application is, the more you can sell it for. By being unique, you have less competition and thus a higher demand.
Complexity of Your iPhone App
If your application can be easily reproduced by a 16 year old kid on a weekend, you either shouldn’t charge for your application, or if you do, don’t charge more than a dollar because that 16 year old kid won’t.
If your application uses proprietary information, software, APIs or other technologies that aren’t easily implemented or obtained, you can charge more for your application. This relates to complexity, but be aware that people will often create equivalent systems if it’s popular enough so proprietary systems and information require a lot of maintenance to keep them relevant.
Usefulness of Your Application
How often will someone use your app? Is it just a novelty or something someone will only use for a certain chore that they rarely do? If so, the demand for the app diminishes and so should your price.
No application should be more than $10 with few exceptions. Remember that you’re developing for a mobile platform and the software is limited and your price should be limited too.
If it’s a game, how is the quality and length of game play? The quality, the game play and the fun factor all play a part in your price. Obviously, people much prefer spending money on entertainment than on a new fancy laundry list application. Games are usually unique (to the App Store at least), are complex and provide a greater satisfaction to buyers, which allows them to enjoy a higher price tag.
Having a higher price on the App Store shows more confidence in your application. Giving your app away usually means you don’t think people would be even willing to spend the price of a soda on your application. These applications are fine, but for some of us, we need to make a living.
Making your app a dollar usually means, I want to make some money, but I don’t think people will pay any more for it. But charging a dollar can also be good if your app has a wide appeal. What you lack in big numbers, you make up with bulk sales. So, if it’s a game, you could potentially have a larger market as opposed to a utility application that the user spends 30 seconds on. So you really need to look hard at your application and keep several factors in mind before you price your app. You can always change it later, so one approach is to start low and see how sales go.