In-App Sales are the Future

Had lunch in London with two old friends yesterday, to talk through some ideas on used car media. Within minutes of arriving, a debate had started about SMS versus pure smartphone apps.

I am all for solus in-app purchases and really don’t care for SMS. My partner is for SMS as, if it is quick, cheap and everywhere, why not? I see his point, but cheap and everywhere is not on my wish list. The debate continues!

Marketers are well used to making decisions that will sink or sail a business. Seth Godin’s great blog for today talks about how the decisions consumers take can lead to negative feedback when your product doesn’t fit their self-made environment.

“If you tout a great product that only works on a Mac or a Kindle or on Android or in Norway, all the people who have chosen to use a different piece of tech or live in a different country get angry, that special kind of angry that belongs to the pampered. It’s not that they don’t want to buy it, it’s that they don’t even want to know that it’s for sale.” says Seth.

The blogger and innovative self publisher believes this is because you are reminding them of a decision that was made without knowing what you have to offer. I think you are reinforcing their knowledge that they made a bad decision. In the context of app-only purchasing, I think the anti stems from the non-Apple crowd.

For years after the iPod was first released, I struggled with iRivers and other MP3 players, not wanting to join the herd. No sucking the Apple popsicle in my house. When my 40GB iRiver eventually felt like a lead weight versus a wafer-thin 80GB iPod Classic, on sale at £100, I bought the iPod. Within months, I had binned every iRiver, Dell and Nokia device in the house and was bathing in a pool of Apple iPod, iMac and iPhone popsicles. Apple made life easy: getting all those wasted hours trying to sync information across platforms back was great.

This is the in-app, in-Apple juice. Everything tech is done for you. Anyone using the Times on iPad or eBay on iPhone apps will know what I mean. For those of us who grew up proclaiming punk and anarchy, in-app may bruise our non-corporate souls but, as we’re all now under the kosh of modern time constraints, quick and easy works and is always worth paying for.

In-app lets me buy as soon as I feel like I want to, and get a gratifying in-app reward. I think the crucial part is it reminds me I made a good decision when I bought my device. You may think this is shallow, but take your wins however they come!

Apple analysts recently revised their estimates of iPad sales in 2011, due to constricted post-earthquake supply. The estimates are now at 40 million. 40 million iPads. In one year. Add in competing devices and you have a vast crowd of users, all looking for content.

Information sold in-app is the way forward. Customers who shun the technology required to use your product should be left behind. When an idea is strong enough to kick in-app ass, focus on what you want to deliver, and how you want to deliver it. Do not dumb it down. Those who can’t get to it are the ones who will have made the wrong decision.