Once again, I'm caught off guard. I'm not sure what I expected, but I didn't expect what greeted me this morning. At first I was encouraged, I saw some double digit download numbers for three countries, GREAT! Then I took a closer look. The price for the first two countries, Japan and Australia, was $0.00, huh? Well, the App Store may take up to 48 hours to update all their databases after a price change. Ahhhh, that explains it. The stores in other countries haven't been updated yet, ok, let's move on.
So, the next highest total was the good ole USofA! We had a grand total of... drumroll please...
So maybe my thought that the App Store was a $0.99 economy is completely wrong. Maybe it's a $0.99 economy for entertainment titles?
I like pictures, so here's a chart of our sales, given our best day at $5.99 (five units), yesterday at $0.99 (17 units worldwide), and our FREE day (1365 units worldwide).
RxCalc will of course remain in the store, and we'll definitely drop a new version, hopefully soon, but these kinds of numbers could cause some to just give up, but writing iPhone Apps is a great hobby.
Back to the drawing board.
RxCalc is squarely focused on Clinical Pharmacists, it's geeky, it does Pharmacokinetics. It's so focused on a certain thing only a subset of pharmacists can use it. We thought this market of highly trained professionals would be OK with a price tag of $5.99. We thought we had something unique to offer, something worth a little more, apparently the App Store has trained everyone to stay at the $0.99 level and below.
You may be asking "Why'd he say that?"
Ah, to the point.
We decided to do a one day "special" on Labor Day. For one day RxCalc would be FREE. We thought it would get us a few downloads. A few downloads is the understatement of the year.
Prior to yesterday here's how things went for RxCalc.
Best Sales Day Total: Five
Best Weekly Total: 17
Total Sales [July 4, 2009 - September 6, 2009]: ~100
We were OK with that. We figured we weren't reaching our target market, or maybe they didn't use iPhone's or iPod Touches. Again, we were wrong.
Here are the numbers for the one day FREE download.
Worldwide downloads September, 7, 2009: 1365
Unique Countries Represented: 41
Ranking: #12, FREE Medical Applications Category
I, for one, didn't expect that at all. I thought we'd see 100 downloads. Apparently we do have a market. Apparently Pharmacists, like everyone else, prefer their applications to be near free. Who'd of thunk it?
So, we've made some changes as a result of our little experiment. Instead of going back to $5.99 after the special our price will now be $0.99, and it will remain there as long as RxCalc is in the store.
To date, by my calculations, we've sold 99 copies of RxCalc. Apple Core Labs has received our first check from Apple, it was a very exciting day! In fact, we're going to celebrate it. Yes, I believe in celebrating your victories, no matter how small.
Something I've come to realize about our chosen vertical market is it's very difficult to reach our target audience. It's very obvious Pharmacists aren't finding the RxCalc product page, or our weblog. After announcing that tomorrow (Labor Day) RxCalc would be completely free for one day I expected to not make a single sale, completely understandable, yet we sold a copy yesterday, yes, a single copy. So, it's very obvious our best vehicle thus far is the App Store itself. To that end I wonder if Apple would be open to adding a weblog like capability to the store so our announcements could be linked off the main product page, or brought to the surface a bit more easily, when potential customers land on the iTunes App Store page for RxCalc. Maybe a "News", or "Announcements", section on the page with a headline that announces current activity for the product?
Of course I leave it to Apple to help us because the App Store is a walled garden, they're in charge of their own, and our, "nightmare." I'm not unhappy with my overall experience, I'd just like to see it get better, and as a little guy just getting his feet wet, I can use all the help I can get.
We've had very little feedback for our little application, and to be quite honest, sales haven't been stellar. We've sold about 100 units since it's introduction on July 4, 2009. Since we haven't received much in the way of feedback we're not sure if Pharmacists are unhappy with the price, maybe they're not using iPhone's or and iPod Touch in their day-to-day job? We don't really know.
This promotion was also driven by a small App Store annoyance. We couldn't give a promotional code to someone in the U.K. (Hi Jennifer!), so we decided Labor Day in here in the States would be a GREAT time to give our target audience a break and let them have the product for FREE.