During the design process for our mobile app, we had to think about funding options, how we would be able to generate money and how we would be able to expand our app for future growth. As a group, we researched into some of the ways in which free apps make money. We found that the most common ways were through advertising, email marketing, subscriptions and in-app purchases. Advertising is one of the main ways to generate money, and usually the easiest, so when designing our app, we made sure that relevant ads are displayed on the app’s homepage to create revenue from users viewing and engaging with them.
Initially we decided our mobile app would be free to download and free to create an account. Users would then be able to decide between three different subscription packages: a free account – Normalo, a premium account – Maximus and a student account – Estudiante (premium but for half the price). Users choosing the free subscription would benefit from access to buy all academic books available, and limited book recommendations based on user’s recent purchases and search history displayed on the app’s home page. However, in order to make money from a free subscription account, delivery would cost £3 for each book.
To generate a steady income, users are given the option to purchase a premium subscription for £4 a month, to gain extra benefits and a more personalised app experience. Premium features include free delivery on every academic book over £10, extra book recommendations as well as Author and Genre recommendations displayed on the home page, a free book for every tenth purchase and an ad-free account. We also decided that, to attract more users to pay for a premium account, we would allow premium users access to buy audiobooks as well as regular academic books. Lastly, users paying for a premium service can choose to receive a monthly marketing email, which would include content such as the most popular academic books that month, new books and audiobooks added to the app and personalised discount codes. As our main target market for our mobile app is students, we decided to offer a student subscription, featuring all the benefits of a premium account, but for half the price.
In terms of future growth for our app, our main target to work towards would be to expand our database of academic books available to purchase within the app. The data currently available on our working app is data that has been physically computed (book title, author, genre, price etc.). Funding derived from the processes mentioned previously would allow us to build a dedicated database hinged on the ISO or International Standard Book Number (unique book identifier found on every book) system. This would be less time consuming than having to manually input each book’s individual data and would allow for more books to be available within the app.