that's too expensive

How much should an app cost? It seems like there's a constant battle between the developers and the consumers. Both parties are very stubborn in their own point of view and it's often quite frustrating to see them arguing over such topic and missing the big picture. Instead of writing on and on about how you should price your app, here's how customers feel when they find an app that intrigues them.

When you are pricing your app before launching, you have three options:

  1. Free
  2. Cheap ($0.99)
  3. Expensive ($1.99+)

Free apps get a lot of downloads, obviously. The customers like to see the big surprise for free. They want to download an app to see what the app is about and if the app turned out to be something else than what they were expecting, they can easily make it disappear from their phones. Consumers love free apps because it's like free lottery tickets.

Cheap apps give the consumers mixed feeling. Your potential customers may interpret the cheap price as a bargain or may have suspicious feeling towards the developer trying to make a quick buck, making anyone who purchased the app look like a fool. However, if you successfully meet the expectation of the consumers who invested a dollar in your app, you will have impressed them and gained their trust. A dollar is a good price for any novice developer who is serious about app development and ultimately, striving towards building a brand.

Expensive apps are an interesting breed. They are asking the consumers to take a leap of faith and trust that it will suit their needs and function as expected. Pricing an app anything more than a dollar is a bold and risky move. Though it will bring you more more money than the alternatives, the risk of losing the trust of your customer for couple of more dollars may not be worth it. Remember, the hefty price of the app will make the users think many times before they finally decide to purchase it.

Bonus: in-app purchases within free apps.
Another strategy, perhaps the best and most overly used one, is to seed the consumers with free apps then offer in-app purchases. Sure, you will need to degrade the user experience to limit the usage of the free app to incentivize the consumers to purchase the in-app item/service but if you know what you're doing, your customers will love you for giving them an option to unlock the rest of the features of your app.

No matter how much you want to charge your customer for your app, I strongly advise you to give your all in each app you produce and give it out for free. Without the users trust, even free app is too expensive for them to download. Giving out high quality apps for free will allow you to gain the trust of your customers and without you knowing, you will be building a fanbase eager to consume your next masterpiece.