With the launch of the Mac App Store in January 2011, Apple was able to take the success of the iOS App Store and create an ecosystem that drastically simplifies the process of selling apps & games to Mac desktop users. Developers selling in the Mac App Store don’t need to worry about licensing their products, set up a way to take payments or even manage their own taxes since Apple conveniently handles this all on their behalf.
However the trouble was (and continues to be) that the Mac App Store has its fair share of limitations, including the inability for developers to know who customers are, restrictive rules about what apps can and can’t do, and a high commission of 30% per sale.
The result? Developers are increasingly becoming fed up and end up leaving to sell on their own, which means setting up an entire infrastructure for licensing, taking payments, analytics and other cumbersome tasks involved with selling independently. Ultimately, it all takes away from the valuable time developers could be using to focus on creating their apps.
Making the decision to sell independently isn’t easy and although there are plenty of larger companies making the transition to sell outside of the Mac App Store, smaller developers don’t quite have the same time or resources to follow suit. Between juggling the responsibilities of coding, marketing, finances and more, the prospect of setting up things like trials, checkouts, licensing and analytics to the list is daunting.
As a solution, Paddle.com, a startup based in London, launched an SDK (Software Development Kit) for Mac in 2013 to simplify the process for developers interested in selling outside of the Mac App Store.
Christian Owens, Paddle’s 20 year old founder and CEO, had worked with app & game developers to promote their products since the age of 14 under his previous company, MacBundleBox (a website that sold a combination of apps together for a discounted price). That business made Christian his first million by the age of just 16, but now that he had a better understanding about the problems developers faced with selling outside of the Mac App Store, he wanted to do something about it.
“We built the Paddle SDK in such a way that developers don’t need to built an infrastructure from scratch anymore. They can have a checkout and trial version of their app ready in minutes, rather than weeks or months,” says Christian. “Because the SDK takes care of licensing & activations, payment processing and even analytics automatically, it frees up valuable time that developers can use towards building great products instead.”
While making life easier for developers is important to Paddle, Christian is fully aware that Apple’s single-click buying process is what makes the Mac App Store so attractive for the end-customer; there’s almost no complexity to it.
“One of the main appeals of buying in the Mac App Store is the seamlessness and convenience of buying products through a one-click system, so we want to make sure developers can give their customers the best possible buying experience,” says Christian. “By tying the Paddle SDK into our eCommerce platform, we’ve been able to create an incredibly easy way for customers to complete purchases using PayPal or their debit/credit card from within the app trial. This functionality helps us to reduce friction during the buying process, and the result is over 65% of our customers buying the product in-app.”
Developers using Paddle have been able to increase their revenue by 20% by offering a trial version and selling outside of the Mac App Store, and with around 65% of customers completing purchases in-app there’s clearly value in setting up an independent store. You can sign up to Paddle for free, and using Paddle’s eCommerce platform and SDKs cost just 5% + $0.50 per sale.
On the subject of entrepreneurship, Christian feels that too many make excuses for why they can’t start their own businesses, blaming finances, lack of time or other reasons. “One of the best pieces of advice I’ve been given is to brush off the excuses and just start — put in the work,” says Christian. “It’s so easy and affordable to start a digital business these days that if you’re really hungry for it, there’s no reason why you can’t run your own business.”