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Todd Grennan Senior Content Producer Appboy

How Can Retail Apps Get That Essential First In-App Purchase?

Mobile has grown up. And while it may once have seemed like it was enough for your brand to just HAVE a mobile app—the way that, back in the 90s, it once felt revolutionary to have your own website—that’s not true anymore, if it ever was. As the space matures, it’s essential for brands to have a clear strategy to monetize their mobile presence. Some companies (though not that many) have had success charging people to download their apps. Others depend on in-app advertising as their sole revenue stream. But, for a lot of brands, their mobile monetization strategy relies—entirely, or in part—on in-app purchases.


Paying for access to a dating app’s special features. Subscribing to a streaming music app’s premium tier. Buying a pair of khakis from an ecommerce app. Buying more gold bars in Candy Crush. When a customer spends money within a mobile app, that’s an in-app purchase.


It’s a good question. After all, mobile isn’t the only game in town. (Unless, of course, your brand is mobile-only.) If a customer decides to buy those khakis at one of your brand’s mall outlets instead of on your mobile app, it’s not like you only get paid 50 cents on the dollar. A purchase is a purchase, right?

Well, yes and no. If someone sees pants in a store window and then buys them, that’s great. But increasingly, people are so engaged with their mobile devices that they’re using smartphones to research potential purchases while inside stores, or finishing transactions on the web that were begun on mobile. And every time a customer starts the purchase process on mobile and then transitions to web or in-person options to buy, it creates an opportunity for them to get sidetracked or change their mind, putting that purchase at risk. That means brands that can convince their customers to complete purchases using their app are going to be well-positioned as mobile becomes increasingly important to everyday life.

But even if your brand is entirely focused on mobile, the odds are that you have customers who haven’t ever made an in-app purchase, whether because they’re new to your app, or just because they haven’t been moved to spend money with you.


Well, there are a few important steps you can take that will set the stage for customers to make in-app purchases.

Read more at Relate, from Appboy.