Fun with IAP – Investing in a Robust Subscription Licensing Model for Simple PoS

About a month ago, I spent some time focusing on the license model for Simple PoS.

I wanted to keep it 100% in store, in keeping with the “simple” motto.  Fast, clean, easy and no hidden scary bits.  It also had to not get in the way of my 1 click App Store install.

Other Point of Sale apps in store often require external sign up to web sites and services. Free to download initially, but there is then a process to enter personal details, contract sign up, payment methods, etc.  I thought surely I could do this beter and all without leaving the safety of the Store.

And you can, with some thought.

IAP Durable has been my mainstay in other apps like Voyer, Chains and Thought Valley;  Buy something and it’s yours for ever. Easy peasy. That wasn’t going to work for obvious reasons on a subscription service as it never runs out.

Then you have consumable with a time limit; This sounds like the clear choice but on closer inspection it would be nasty for the users; Take for example a user buying a subscription for say; 3 months. They would then either:

  1. Not be able to renew until AFTER it expires (which is lazy, and besides; what if someone else without purchase rights is using the app when it runs out?).  Or,
  2. Would have overlapping IAP which don’t compound (I want to ad 3 MORE months to the end, not 3 months from today when I have a week left on current subscription)

So, enter Developer Managed Consumables. Like Gold or Coins in an App Store game I’m accepting the purchase and adding to an expiry in the database (as Simple PoS has a database hosted in Azure and cached locally anyway)

Then that expiry is what the app uses to keep licensed, not an IAP lookup like you would do with the other types.

This also allows us to easily implement my demo scheme which is 100 transactions without subscription. Gives people a great chance to trial the software, while also gaining for me that advantage of the user getting a real taste for the software before committing to it.

So by doing it this way we’ve ended up with a simple 1 button subscription purchase and no click at all for trial.  All contained within the store.

Staying within the store brings.

  1. Familiarity to users.
  2. Simplicity.
  3. Security for both me and the customer.
  4. Ability to share with non Windows store apps in the future as the purchase isn’t retained in the store IAP, but in the database.
  5. Can integrate the purchase button into the app itself anywhere that makes sense.

As a further safety; you can log the purchase in the customers database too.  Then you get to keep an audit trail if there are ever any issues.

It takes more work and thought but it gives a far superior experience to the customer.

Rob,
Valley Software.