How to Develop Subscription-based Apps.

Author:Kinsbruner, Eran

Apps--everyone uses them, all the time. In fact a recent study by revealed that the average person spends 90 minutes a day on their phone. That may not sound like a lot, but it amounts to 23 days a year and 3.9 years of our lives. As a result, there is a booming market for mobile services and apps, as consumers spend more time accessing information and completing tasks on their mobile devices than ever.

So, it's no surprise that developers want people to use their apps as much as possible, and for as long as possible, making the holy grail of app development subscription-based delivery --where users pay consistently for a service which they can use as frequently as they like. Single purchases are inexpensive for the user, but can prove costly from both a services and R&D perspective, as developers work to keep apps running smoothly with timely updates and bug fixes.

In contrast, subscriptions give users access to content or services from within an app on an ongoing basis, generating consistent revenue for app developers, making more money for the app store, and allowing brands to establish deeper and more dynamic relationships with their customers.

However, whilst the shift is a no brainer for both app stores and its developers, it's easier said than done. It's widely accepted that simple design, a seamless user interface and intuitive navigation will make an app easy and enjoyable to use, and the development of personalised experiences will help keep the mobile app experience relevant and ensure users continue coming back. But the market is cutthroat, and with a plethora of (often free) apps available, monetising mobile applications is harder than it seems.

Today, there are very few successful subscription-based apps. To change this reality, there needs to be a shift in the way apps are developed, delivered and maintained. As users subscribe and commit to paying on a monthly or annual basis, they have clear expectations around service, support, quality and value. To ensure consistent revenue, app developers need to focus on these areas when considering the switch to such model.

So how can developers make the shift? It's not a simple process, but can pay significant dividends. From prioritising premium content, features and services to meet soaring user expectations, to re-evaluating pricing models, here are the top three things to get right.

I : Provide value consistently

There's an ongoing battle in the app world. The...

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