Since the release of Informant 5.0 for iOS and the switch to the subscription pricing model we have done surveys and taken a lot of user feedback on the topic. We also deferred much of the pricing discussion until we had the app quality and functionality issues back to a level we felt comfortable. Now (as of July 27, 2017) we have over 1,000 reviews on the new Informant for iOS 5.2 and we have an average rating of 4.5 stars. We are pleased with that. However, of the 1069 reviews there are still a handful of reviews where we are receiving 1-2 stars and the topic most frequently cited is “Price”.
Pricing is a very important topic. By that I mean that it is a topic that must be considered very carefully. We must consider our target audience and and the needs of the business and make sure that we come up with a solution that works for both. Please know that we are doing just that and will continue to do that. Ultimately, our perspective is that “Price is a reflection of product value” and that Informant is a Premium product when you consider all the functionality and customization that it has. Let me say that another way. We want Informant to be “the” Premium Organization product, specifically design for people who are “serious about their organization“. Therefore, it should have price that reflects that value. We definitely want Informant to be an exceptional value (Price vs Quality) and do feel that $25/year is an exceptional value for such a power packed app. We also know that at that price it is not an exceptional value for EVERY one of our possible customer segments. (See this post about the 4 customer segments). Now, by putting a stake in the ground and saying that Informant is a “Power Organizer’s Power Tool” we risk alienating some people, and that is OK.
Summary: The majority of feedback we have received has been supportive of the $25/year (USD) price point. There are many customers agree that Informant provides well more than $25/year in value. So, short story, short answer: the price is going to stay, for now.
What about the people who think $25 is just too much?
We do have a plan… Here are 7 things that we are doing, or planning to do in order to accommodate more of the customers who would love to use Informant at a lower price.
- We plan to continue to have a Free version available. Although limited in total functionality, we feel like this is the most reasonable way to expose the app to as many people as possible. This allows for anyone to download the iOS version of the app and get a feel for it before paying.
- We are planning to enable longer & even periodic free trials so that anyone who wants to test the full version can do so. We want to give anyone that wants it, the chance to fall in love with the power of Informant. We realize it might take some people longer than others to fall in love.
- We want to provide incentives for loyal customers who share informant with their friends. We plan to introduce a “Give One, Get One” option that will allow existing users to share Informant with a friends by incentivizing both you and your friend with a free subscription. It is our hope that this strategy will help us achieve both our growth goals, and our customers “get it for free” goals. We have stubbed in this feature in the current 5.2 version behind the: Enjoying Informant >> Yes >> Share with a Friend buttons. (Note: This is not in its final state yet and may be pulled during development if we can’t keep up with the demand. I am curious to hear your thoughts in comments section about how much “free time” a single referral is worth.)
- Periodic Discounts: We will be offering periodic discounts and coupon codes for people who might be waiting for “just the right deal” to jump in to a full version of informant. These will be infrequent, and primarily made to people who like our Facebook page, or have signed up for trial accounts of Informant Sync.
- Consider Region or Country Specific Pricing. We are based in the U.S. That means we have the best feel for pricing here. It is possible that we may not understand the value of the app in some other countries and we might be best served by changing the pricing from country to country. We may consider lowering the price in certain markets to experiment if lower pricing would change the demand for the product.
- Create Bundled & UN-Bundled Options. We do know that our current pricing structure causes a bit of confusion sometimes, especially for people who want to buy all versions of our products. For example, buying from PocketInformant.com is kinda weird sometimes. We can do coupons from PocketInformant.com but can’t do coupons from iTunes. Mac is still 1x purchase, Informant Sync is subscription, We are planning to launch a new Informant Sync with Outlook Desktop that is a 1x purchase for part, but requires a subscription to Informant Sync. So, we know that this can cause some confusion and we do want to simplify it. We are interested in creating some options for people who want to just pay one price and have everything, and we also are interested in letting people just pay for what they need.
- Create Un-Bundled options. I have left this one as last because it is probably the last thing we would do, or would consider doing. Ultimately we want to have as many people as possible on Informant. If we get to a point where our subscription base of customers is solid and growing, we might consider un-bundling the iOS app from the Informant Sync subscription. Fair warning to anyone reading this, this will probably NOT happen until after we launch a web based interface for Informant? What, did I say web based interface? Yes, we are entertaining that again….See more about upcoming plans and road map here. Blog Post: Whats Next?
But what about those who just don’t like subscriptions? We have decided that subscription is the best way forward for us as a company. The simplest way for us to explain this decision is to point to the comments of Phil Schiller from apple in a recent interview, “I think for many developers, subscription model is a better way to, go than try to come up with a list of features, and different pricing for upgrade, versus for new customers.”
Lastly, I am sure that there are some cynical readers who will think that this is all just a game and “why don’t we just lower the price for everyone”. To that I will make this plea: We LOVE what we do (building & supporting Informant) . We are passionate about doing it. We would love to do it for free, but our spouses would all make us go get a real job so we can pay the bills. We ARE running a business here. We need to pay the bills. I think most of the people reading this realize that companies need to make money and usually at least a small profit to stick around. We are doing our best to make good decisions from pricing, to product management, to ensure that Informant stays at the forefront of our category in apps and that we can build a solid business here. We want to be your power organizer for a long time to come.
Please understand that the items here shared from the intent to provide you with some visibility in to our strategic direction and not all of the items listed may be available at this time, and some may not ever happen.
Please add your comments below. I am very curious to hear your feedback on the items above and will address each of the comments.