$58 BILLION dollars.
That’s what Gartner Research projects mobile app store revenue to reach globally by 2014. That’s a hell of a lot of money and there are specific reasons why people often spend more than they need to at the iTunes App Store just to put an application on your smartphone.
- It’s EASY. Deliberately easy. TOO easy.You just purchased “Due”, IMHO one of the best iPhone reminder apps ever made. Really. It’s like having a nagging grandmother or spouse hovering over you until you get something done. “People who bought ‘Due’ also bought X, Y and Z, Add to Cart?”
From a psychological standpoint, you don’t know if there are better apps our there that do the same thing, so you do what 99% of mobile users do and hell you buy and download all of them because, you know, you have to be absolutely sure you are using the best app for that function. In marketing and sales, this is called up-selling or cross-selling. The sole purpose is (obviously) to increase the dollar size of your purchase from one $2.99 app to four or five, increasing the dollar size of your order. Even though you may end up never using the other four, yes, the money still leaves your pocket and bank account. Sorry.
- Curiosity.The mobile sector is moving so fast these days that new apps are being generated daily, perhaps even hourly.
A new Task Management app is produced and low and behold when Apple emails you your app store receipt, it provides yet another opportunity to buy “similar” apps to what you purchased, right from the email.It’s very smart marketing and the up-sell / cross-sell is a primary reason why mobile will hit $58 BILLION in revenue by 2014. And as end users, we really can’t fault Apple for making great products and being good at marketing. After all, it is a business and the goal of every business is to generate revenue and profits.
How to Save Money When Buying Mobile Apps
I have a very, very simple trick that I use to save money when buying mobile apps that I’d like to share with you. This trick works whether you’re using an iPhone, iPad, Android phone and even a Windows phone, so it’s what we in the coding world call “Platform Agnostic”.
The reason why it works on everything, in every app store, is because it’s:
- Easy to implement.
- Plays on human psychology.
Placing Deliberate Barriers Between Impulse and Purchase
The app store folks have done a wonderful job of making the purchasing process nearly seamless; so what we’re going to do is plant a few land mines that make it a bit more difficult for us to buy. We’re going to add steps to the buying process that give us time to consider whether we really need that one or five apps or not.
This small trick has saved me literally hundreds of dollars and kept them from leaving my bank account:
- Every time you buy an app from the app store – ANY app store – you’re prompted for your app store password.
- 99% of mobile users – perhaps 99.9% create an app store password that they can easily remember by heart. That’s literally THE problem.
- So we’re going to create a far more secure password, that almost nobody can hack, and – most importantly – that you will never remember by heart; so every time you want to buy an app for the iPhone, iPad or Droid, you’re going to have to DELIBERATELY look it up, because you have absolutely no idea what it is.
- I call this tactic “Re-Incorporating a Barrier to the Sale” or “Deliberately Adding a Landmine”.
- From a psychological standpoint, all we’re really doing is making it more difficult to buy an app, we’re adding a few more steps; and in doing so, we’re also making your app store account login much, much more secure as well.
Step #1: Visit https://lastpass.com/
LastPass is a Password Manager and much more. While there is a free version, this is one of those moments when you’re going to want to pay the $12 annual fee for the Premium Version (a buck a month – give up a latte and you’ll be fine). The reason why is because with the Premium Version comes mobile app access to LastPass, and they have mobile app versions for Linux, Windows, iOS and Android smartphones.
- Open an account
- Download and install the laptop version for your operating system
- Then head over to the app store and grab the mobile app for LastPass and install that on your smart phone
Doing this will allow you to use LastPass from your laptop as well as your mobile device. Remember that after you’ve installed a browser plugin, you must quit the browser completely and restart it in order to use the plugin (on most browsers).
On Chrome browser, and most others, you’ll see this little icon on your browser.
Step #3. Open any Text Editor
I use TextPad or BBEdit, but all operating systems have text editors installed. To find it on a Mac, click the Spotlight in the upper right corner and search for TextEdit, OS X’s default text editor. On a PC, search for the Notepad application. If on a Mac, you can also use Sticky Notes. All we’re doing is creating a temporary area to drop a password into for a few moments to copy and paste.
Step #4: Use LastPass from your laptop to create a NEW, secure app store / iTunes store password
- In your web browser, click the red star icon in the toolbar to access LastPass
- A menu will open up. Go down to Tools, then up to Generate Secure Password
You should see something like this:
According to Apple, as of the date of this writing, the password criteria for creating an Apple ID password are as follows:
Check the appropriate boxes and generate a random password. I usually use 10 characters for additional security. Copy and Paste this new password to your favorite open text editor or sticky note temporarily, in case you lose it during the setup process.
Still in the LastPass box, click the “Accept” button. The box will disappear.
Use the LastPass browser icon to relaunch the box and open up My LastPass Vault in a browser window or tab.
While in My LastPass Vault, paste the new password into the search box at the top of the page to locate the folder it is in. If for some reason it is not able to be pasted, go to your text editor or sticky note backup and highlight-copy it again.
While in the My LastPass Value, on that entry that you just created, click the Edit link to the right and RENAME the entry: Apple ID and click the Save button.
Step #5: Change your Apple ID Password to the new one
How to Use What You’ve Just Created
The entire purpose of this exercise, other than that now you have a far more secure password that even you don’t know, is to place barriers and add steps that make it more difficult to buy from the app store, which means psychologically that you’re less likely to make impulse purchases because you’ve deliberately added steps to the purchasing process that give your brain more time to consider whether you actually need to buy SIX Task Management apps or not.
By the way, this tactic also works for any online store from Amazon.com to Zappos.com to whichever one you spend the most money at.
So the good news is that once it’s set up, it’s not hard to use.
You feel the need to buy an app on your iPhone or iPad, you impulsively launch the App Store App and browse or search until you find one that looks good, hit the BUY button.
At this point, as always you’re automatically prompted to enter your Apple ID password, but … you have absolutely no clue what it is because it’s so random, which forces you to go through the steps on your iPad or iPhone to actually:
- Locate and launch the LastPass app
- Use the app’s search feature to search under “apple”
- Touch the COPY button to copy the random password
- Change back to open the App Store app
- Touch, hold and paste the random password into the Apple ID box
So you’ve actually just added a total of FIVE steps that you are forcing yourself to go through before you can successfully spend your hard-earned money.
Why This Works
- The easier it is to spend your money, the more impulse purchases you will make
- The more difficult it is to spend your money, the fewer impulse purchases you will make and the more money you will keep in your pocket
What it looks like in action
Here are a few iPhone / iPad apps that I use frequently and find very useful:
- Due – Alarm / Reminder
- Base – Sales / Deals / New Customers
- Clear – Task Management
- Commit – Changing Habits
- Day One – Journal that syncs with Dropbox
- Paperless – Reusable checklists
- Pomodoro Pro – Focus intently working on one thing for 25 minutes, then break for five. See how many you can get done during a workday. Fun game that helps with focus.
- Evernote – Text and image database
- Zite – News
- Flipboard – News
- Trello – Project Management
- Nike+ GPS – Fitness
- GroupMe – SMS text messaging app for small groups
- Outliner – Project outliner
- Square – Take credit cards from your smartphone
- Recorder HD – I record audio memos and email them right from the app to my Assistant, who makes calls, sets appointments, calls and meetings, puts them on my calendar, calls me an hour before each appointment to remind me, follows up for me and (most importantly) manages me and allows me to leverage my time to focus on what matters most.
If you found this article useful, please share it via internal email at your company for via social media channels and consider subscribing by email below to be notified when a new post goes live on this blog.
What’s on your iPhone or iPad that you value most? I’m listening in the comments below. Let me know!