When running a business there’s always tension between what’s best for your business versus what’s best for your customer.
Dan Counsell’s post on providing access to Mac Apps outside the App Store isÂ a good example of that tension (emphasis mine):
Lets take a look at three of the reasons why not limiting the availability of your software to just the Mac App Store is a sound business decision.
To be fair Dan is not arguing against using the AppStore, he’s simply recommending it be one of multipleÂ channels. However it’s interesting to think through his reasoning.
HisÂ three main points are:
- Pay less in fees
- Earn extra revenue from bundles
- Know who your customers are
I think there’s a few problems with the first point, namely that it’s hard to tell how much first-touch revenueÂ you’d make from selling outside the exposure the AppStore provides. But let’s leave that to the side.
In terms of earning extra revenue from bundles, can’t really argue there. Although the iOS AppStore supports bundles, it’s notÂ yet available on the Mac AppStore (although that will likely change in time).
Knowing who your customers are is alwaysÂ useful, andÂ in this caseÂ Dan highlights the advantages of up-selling, as well as some customer service benefits.
However the main issue (and the comments on the post highlight this well) is that overall the user experience of the Mac AppStore is so much better than buying directly. As a customer I love using the Mac AppStore because:
- The search and purchase process is so simple
- I can check reviews
- There’s no payment hassles
- I get notified of updates immediately and can apply themÂ easily
- When I use a different machine I have instant access to download the apps again
- I can easily recommend an App to a friend and tell them the name (or send a link) and they can easily purchase it too
As a user the AppStore is so much better for me. And the times I have to purchase directly are a hassle (currently this only applies to my Adobe Creative Cloud subscription, and Microsoft Office which I still use).
So there’s the tension. If the benefits for his business are really as good as he notes, then I’d imagine that in time theyÂ will stop selling via the AppStore – since having the multiple channels will requireÂ too much work, plus still have the issues that he highlights. And yes, it will likely be better for his business.
But will it be better for the customer? My point in this post, is simply to ask: if you areÂ a business owner, does this matter to you?