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Doug Nebeker ("Doug")
Hi all. Sorry for all the questions again, but it is quiet in here anyway so we need more discussion. :P
Foreword: we all know that sales indicate the popularity of an app. More sales = more incentive to work on and improve it. Agreed?
That said, I have 3 small utilities for sale on my website (plus 1 freebie). Currently, only 1 of those 3 is making sales, leading me to believe that either the other 2 are just crap, or not marketed properly, or probably both. :)
Anyway, I've put up a bundle offer now where the user can buy all 3 with a 10% discount. But, I'm thinking: now that I've done that, I'll never really know at all now, if the other 2 apps are being used and/or popular, or whether people are just buying the bundle to save 10%.
Is this a downside of bundling?
Happy to report that bundling works! :) I've had 2 x $24 payments so far, and interestingly they were both from females.
But that does confirm my question: I'll never know which app out of the 3 is the one that they really wanted, and which 2 they didn't want but paid the bundle just to get the 10% discount.
What I woke up to this morning:
(The other $24 payment was from yesterday).
And yes, I *am* very proud of this:
October has obviously been a good month for me. To go from scratch in January to this in October, is great. It should be an inspiration to other indie developers starting out.
Good for you PSB136.
There's nothing like a win to perk you up no matter the magnitude.
Now that you've sold a couple of bundles, email the buyers thanking for their purchase and asking which is their favourite app.
Are the apps complementary?
P.S. I believe what Racky was getting at is that 2 or 3 sales is (far) too small a sample size from which to draw any conclusions.
If you had 5 babies born at the hospital last night and 4 were boys (statistically possible) would you conclude that 80% of all babies would be boys?
All the best -
Oh, okay. Sorry Racky! :)
To go from 9 long months of sparse $9 sales, to 3 x $24 in just two days with the introduction of a bundle offer; surely that scientifically means something?
The apps are not complementary, no. I like your suggestion of emailing and asking which they like best.
"surely that scientifically means something?"
Yes, that you have 3 data points.
And from that you should be able to draw zero statistically reliable conclusions :)
Can you make them (more) complementary? Something that would have a synergistic effect and provide greater incentive to purchasing them in a bundle rather than individually?
No real way to make them complementary -- they all do different small tasks. The aim was to throw a wide net of usefulness and see what I could catch. Currently, one app leads the pack with, and the other two trailing. By bundling, it gave me 3 sales that I might not otherwise have had, because people apparently love to get 10% off something, even if they don't use 66.6% of it.
Marcus has it quite right. I really did do science as my occupation for a while there in life and it was against all that is holy to draw any conclusion before you had a large enough sample size (like, say, 30 observations in a control condition and 30 in the experimental condition). I mean, it was just fundamental, Prime Directive level sort of stuff. And this point has been made to you many times here but I guess you have a different style of brain and it bounces off somehow, which is fine, but I just couldn't resist making a little joke about it.
To follow up his point and your response:
> To go from 9 long months of sparse $9 sales, to 3 x $24 in just two days with the introduction of a bundle offer; surely that scientifically means something?
To go from 9 long months of 50% male babies and 50% female babies (on average) to 4 out of 5 babies being born male over two days with the introduction of the birthing room being painted blue instead of white; surely that scientifically means something?
(That said, hey, you very well have made such an obviously attractive offer that it is a no brainer that your sales would go up. If Toyota announced tomorrow that they would do a Halloween Madness weekend where all cars were $1, yes, I wouldn't need to see statistics to know a priori that sales would increase massively)
You're not going to believe this. Two of the $24 bundle payments are now being disputed with PayPal, with the first saying his payment was fraudulent, and the second (the eCheque) saying her PayPal was hacked into.
Is this highly suspicious or what? Are they just trying to get licenses for my three apps and then get a refund? I know I have to believe them and give them the benefit of the doubt, but still... such highs and now lows. Welcome to the world of software sales, right?
Sorry to hear that, but it's all part of the 'game'.
Just consider it another statistical data point :)
Beyond just taking it on the chin (this time) you could consider:
1. looking for alternative payment processors with more stringent cc validation to reduce (not eliminate) such occurrences
2. implement a licensing scheme which would allow you to revoke licences remotely.
I did consider FastSpring but their fees take too much money. With PayPal, they take literally just 62 cents from each $9 sale. It's hard to beat that.
The licenses are only interim anyway, so that's no problem. They expire after 50 days of use, without me doing anything. So I've got that going for me.
And before you ask: permanent license codes get emailed out automatically on the 50th day, via a custom mailing app I wrote. That's assuming I don't cancel it in the 50-day period first due to refunds like this.
It's a strange procedure I know, but it's the only way to do it when you don't monitor their PC remotely or have your app phone home. It even works if their PC is never online. ;)
>such highs and now lows. Welcome to the world of software sales, right?
Yep. It can be a bit of an emotional roller coaster. Especially in the early days. You will develop a thicker skin over time.
Thursday, October 15, 2015
Last night after posting an update to MajorGeeks:
Bundling... love it! :) I won't post any more pics like this. I'm just excited to share this with you because you all helped me get to this point. :)
So, another $24 bundle payer has lodged a dispute with PayPal that they didn't authorise the purchase. :( I find this hard to believe because PayPal has two-factor authentication.
Looks like I'll ditch this bundle plan because it's obvious that people are using it to get license codes for all my apps and then a refund. I'm just glad they only got temp codes which expire in 50 days.
I really doubt that your bundle offer suddenly turned most of your customers into cheaters.
I offer an unconditional money back guarantee for 14 days. My software is - for many people - something they just use for a few days and then it becomes useless forever. My refund rate over almost 2K sales is 1-1.5% and only in a few cases I suspected foul play.
IMO keep the bundle offer and the guarantee as well. Once again, you're jumping to conclusions before you have significant amount of measurement points.
Okay, I did keep the bundle offer up for a while, but today I've had ANOTHER dispute of a bundle payment where the customer claims they didn't make the purchase. That's BS.
I've had 8 x $24 bundle payments in total, and now 4 have been disputed, which we know PayPal will refund without question. So that's a massive 50% refund rate in one month! I think it's obvious that people are gaming it.
For comparison, I've NEVER had a refund of the $9 single purchases.
So you had 4 good bundle orders over this period. That's $96. How much did you make from single license orders over the same period? And you have protection in place to prevent cheaters from using the software after 50 days. It looks to me that you have all the information available to make a rational decision on whether offering bundles is profitable or not. Stick to the facts and leave the anger out of your decision.
> looks to me that you have all the information available
Uh oh, just feeding the bear. [see points about n=4 not being nearly enough data to know anything with anything like certainty]. Also, even if he were to conclude anything, he should wait until the point of no refund or Paypal dispute is over, to know what he really sold.
Had ANOTHER dispute lodged today. :( So, from 8 bundle sales there's now been 5 refunds of them. There's no way to dispute them, because PayPal just gives the money back to the buyer.
Here's my current open cases:
And the previous refunds:
Tell me this doesn't suck, and that I'm just jumping to conclusions. You can't. It's all there in black and white. The bundle offer is being abused. It's only a matter of time before the other 3 people dispute their payments too, I'm sure.
No more bundle offer on my Order page.
There could be another explanation then just abusing bundling. It could be that something in the wording of what the bundle contains isn't clear.
Before immediately thinking people are trying to get something for free review how the information is presented to them.
Things to be mindful of. People love deals. People love bundled deals. (One reason why fast food meals are so popular.) They see they can get more for less than the cost of both each and think, its a deal. They do that instead, even if they don't need the other software. Just in case if they may have a use for it and want to avoid having to pay more later. For instance a lot of people buy expensive CAD packages as suites although the majority of companies may use 1/3 (or even just one) of the products in the suite. The suite costs a couple of thousand dollars more than the few products they use cost individually. But the one time they find a use for one of the other products in the suite the price becomes worth it.
I tend to try not to think that the majority of people are trying to steal from me. 5 out 8 returns would tell me I'm not explaining something clear enough. People are interested enough to buy which is good but not getting what they thought they should be which is bad.
Are the bundled products close enough in use domain to make sense of a bundled product.
Thursday, October 29, 2015
PSB, it's sounding like you might be facing the same sort of credit card fraud which hit Candy Japan:
It seems unlikely given the relatively small number of orders processed, but a bot is perhaps now checking the validity of credit cards through a number of store checkouts together rather than one all at once. Fifty orders hit at once would surely raise some red flags in many stores, but five orders or so spread out over two days over ten checkouts could probably squeak by for a bit.
Is your bundle listed as the first option in your store? Were any previous orders-with-refund listed in the same location on your checkout page?
We all run into buy-and-refund jerks now and then, but this sounds a little more 'jerky' than usual.
Senomix Time Tracking
Thursday, October 29, 2015
I don't think it's a case of not explaining something clearly, because all the refunds are for "unauthorised claims" as opposed to something like "not as described". As a newbie to selling on PayPal, maybe that's all they can select, though?
My bundle was listed as the first item on my Order page, yes, and in the same location. Not anymore, as I've removed it. And as mentioned, none of my $9 non-bundle sales have been refunded or disputed. Weird.
I think I may switch from PayPal to FastSpring and only allow actual credit card payments from now on, but part of me thinks that removing PayPal might be a bad idea. Anyone got any advice in this area of selling? Thanks.
I found this, which is interesting:
Looks like I may open a FastSpring account tonight.
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