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Everything You Need to Know About In App Purchases

In App Purchases

In App Purchases

I talk to a lot of customers about charging for stuff in their apps.

One scenario that comes up a lot is when a customer has a website with premium content, and they want an app. They may have member’s only video content, or premium education courses. They need to charge for the premium content, so they are wondering how that works in the app.

This is where In App Purchases come in, but it’s not as simple as flipping a switch.

When Do You Need In App Purchases?

In App Purchases are required when you charge for something that is used in the app. For example, an ebook, a game upgrade, or premium member’s only content. If you are selling physical goods like t-shirts, you don’t need to use In App Purchases.

If you have a membership site that has free levels and paid levels, you must use in app purchases for the app. You cannot allow people to purchase on your website and then access premium content in the app.

Charging people to download your app does not count as in In App Purchase. If you just want people to pay $2.99/mo to use your app, or $.99 one-time, you can set that up easily yourself when you submit to the app stores. In App Purchases are when you download the app free, and you have to pay to get extra features.

App Store Fees

When you use In App Purchases, the app stores take a piece of your revenue. Their cut is 15% for subscriptions and 30% for one-time purchases.

Can you use In App Purchases with AppPresser? Yes, but they have to be done custom.

Setting Up In App Purchases

We don’t offer In App Purchases out of the box with AppPresser for a couple of reasons.

First, most people don’t want them. They don’t want to give the app stores a chunk of their revenue.

Second, they are pretty complex to setup, and everyone wants them to do something different.

For example, one person wants to charge to remove ads, while another wants to charge for a subscription to their membership site. Someone else has a video site, and wants to charge a separate one-time fee to watch each video. Each of these scenarios would have to be coded up and tested differently.

Speaking of testing, that is another complexity. To test in app purchases, you have to create the purchase in iTunes and Google Play, setup a sandbox tester account, login to that account on your device, and try things out. If you have auto-renewing subscriptions there is a whole other side to validating subscriptions that I wrote about on my blog.

Just the testing part alone is too complex for non-developers.

In App Purchases with AppPresser

If none of the above phases you, and you want In App Purchases in your AppPresser app, we can do that for you.

We have done it before, integrating membership plugins like WooCommerce Memberships, Restrict Content Pro, and Paid Memberships Pro with auto-renewing subscriptions. We have to write a custom plugin for your site, as well as custom code in your app to handle the purchases.

You can also offer one-time purchases for content like videos or for removing ads.

Final Details

Here’s a few final things you need to keep in mind with In App Purchases:

  • You have to sign extra agreements on the app store, the app review process is stricter, and you need an EULA and privacy policy in the app.
  • All purchases go through the app stores, not through your payment processor.
  • You don’t get to see any details of who purchased through the app stores, you only get revenue and subscriber totals. However, your membership plugin (with custom code) can keep track of that.

In conclusion, the way we recommend for most people is to direct customers to purchase on their website, and then use the app as a companion to the site.

A mobile app adds a lot of value to your business. It allows customers to take your courses, interact with other members, and view membership content on the go. You can send them push notifications, allow them to save content for offline, and lots more.

If In App Purchases are critical to your business model, contact us about setting them up.

1 Comment

  1. Bobby on August 29, 2018 at 1:49 am

    Hello Scott,

    Thanks for sharing your informative post with us, your article about in-app purchase is interesting and helpful!!
    With regards

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Scott Bolinger