Boost Your In-App Purchases

Think back to the reason why you built a mobile app in the first place.

I know, this may seem like it was an eternity ago. You’ve gone through quite the experience since the idea to build an app first popped into your head.

Sure, developing an app is cool, but the reason why you built an app was to make money.

Is this going how you initially planned? Whether your app is doing well, struggling, or plateauing, everyone could always use more money.

But if you think that you’ve exhausted all of your marketing tactics and your sales are still stagnant, you may need some help.

Fortunately, you’ve come to the right place. As a qualified expert in the mobile app industry, I know what it takes for an app to be successful. I can offer you some solutions to get you going in the right direction.

I’ll show you exactly what needs to be done to help you increase your in-app purchases. As a result, you’ll have a mobile app that’s a money-making machine.

Here’s what you need to do.

Encourage website visitors to download your app

One of the first things that needs to happen is that more people have to download your app. Downloads will eventually translate to dollars. It’s simple, the more people who have your app, the greater chance you have of them making purchases.

But rather than trying to come up with downloads out of thin air, target the people who are already familiar with your brand.

Anyone who visits your website needs to be encouraged to download your app. This is especially true for visitors who are browsing from mobile devices.

Here’s an example of how 7-Eleven does this on their mobile website.

7 eleven

Yes, in addition to having a mobile app, you need to have a website that’s optimized for mobile devices. But an app is better than your mobile site and will help you increase conversions even more.

So you need to make it as easy as possible for people to download the app from your website.

Refer to the example from 7-Eleven. With just one click, both Apple and Android users can get brought to their respective app stores to proceed with the download.

Just saying, “download our app” without including a link isn’t efficient. Then you’d have to rely on people closing their browsing window, opening up the app store, and searching for your app.

That’s just too many steps. Nobody wants to go through that.

You could even offer an incentive for people on your website to download your app. For example, let’s say you’ve got a mobile commerce platform.

Give customers a discount for their first purchase using the app. Look at how Macy’s uses this strategy to promote their app.


They’re offering 25% off of a first purchase.

Look at what this accomplishes. First, you’re getting new downloads. Second, you’re instantly boosting your in-app purchases.

Once the user realizes how easy it is to buy things from within your app, they’ll continue to do so in the future, even if they don’t have a discount code.

Create FOMO

FOMO is the fear of missing out.

You might be familiar with this term from your social media interactions. People use it when their friends are out doing something fun and they can’t attend. I’m sure you’ve seen people write this all over various social platforms.

But we’re going to be using this concept a little bit differently to help boost your in-app purchases.

Come up with limited time offers.

I’m referring to things like flash sales, limited discounted memberships, or deals that expire. Basically, you can use anything that’s time-sensitive to create FOMO with your app users.

People want what you’re offering. That’s the whole reason why they downloaded your app in the first place, right?

But if they know that 24 hours per day, 365 days per year, your offers are always the same, it doesn’t give them any incentive to buy. They can keep putting it off. Users will have the mentality that they can buy something tomorrow, next week, or next month.

That’s bad news for your in-app purchases. So by spicing it up and creating FOMO, people will buy now, for the fear of missing out on a great deal.

This strategy isn’t just restricted to mobile apps that are selling tangible products. Take a look at how Pokemon Go used this strategy for their game app.

pokemon go 1

For limited days, they are offering incentives that aren’t usually available during normal gameplay.

As a result, this encourages users to play the game more during these days, for the fear that they’ll miss out on an opportunity to advance.

Getting people to play the game more often will ultimately increase in-app purchases as well. Users will spend real money to buy things that improve their experience while they’re taking advantage of this special promotion.

The reason why I included this example is to illustrate the point that you need to think outside of the box when it comes to your promotions.

Sure, offering a 40% off flash sale is effective, but it’s not always applicable for every single app.

Appropriately use push notifications

Push notifications are a great way to contact existing users who have your app downloaded to their devices. That’s because the message gets sent directly to their phone, almost the same way as a text message.

Push notifications have high engagement rates. So it’s the perfect way to promote various campaigns, such as a flash sale, which we just discussed.

But with that said, you need to tread carefully when it comes to push notifications.

Sending these out too often can be perceived as annoying, which can cause users to mute your notifications. This is obviously something you want to avoid.

So it’s important to make sure that all of your push notifications add value to the recipient.

You don’t just want to send a notification that reads something like, “We just wanted to say hello!”

Again, that’s annoying. There’s no value here. But if you are offering a discount or a limited-time promotion, it’s much more appropriate.

However, even if you’re offering a new discount daily, it doesn’t mean that you should be sending it as push notification. Why? Well, research shows that sending too many push notifications on a weekly basis will cause users to disable those messages.

push notifications

So just make sure you don’t go overboard with this strategy, even if you’re adding value to the user. Otherwise, it could backfire.

Come up with various campaigns to send one or two push notifications each month to drive more in-app purchases.

Use geofencing technology

Let’s continue off of our last point about push notifications.

If you want to improve these messages and send push notifications that are personalized and highly relevant, you’ll want to take advantage of geofencing. This can take your push notification strategy to the next level.

Here’s how it works. Geofencing and location-based services track the position of your app users, even when they’re not using the app. Obviously, you’ll need their permission to do this.

Once they enter a designated area, they’ll receive a push notification based on that location.

For example, let’s say you’ve got a local restaurant business with physical locations all over the state.

When someone with your app walks within a few blocks of a location, they’ll get a push notification about your daily lunch special. Offer a discount if they place a to-go order through your app.

It’s an effective way to boost your in-app purchases. That was a simple example, but you can also use geofencing to get creative.

Here’s another example. Think about a business that has an app with a mobile commerce platform. They sell a wide range of clothing.

So if an app user enters a geofenced location that’s near the beach, they could get sent an offer for discounted bathing suits.

The possibilities are endless with geofencing. So you should definitely use this strategy to get more in-app purchases.

Create a customer loyalty program

Simply put, loyalty programs boost sales.

You can use your loyalty program to encourage users to spend more money with each purchase. Here’s an example from the Wyndham rewards program.


As you can see from this image, the member benefits increase as they continue to rise through each spending tier.

So apply this to your mobile app as well. Another reason why customer loyalty will help improve your in-app purchases is because it can help improve the user experience.

With their customer profile, all of their transactions will be saved. This will make it easy for users to purchase their favorite items with just a click or two.

A loyalty program will encourage users to buy through your app instead of going to your competitors. If someone can buy the same thing from two brands, they’ll obviously choose the brand that’s offering them more benefits.

As a result, this will create brand loyalty. Loyal customers shop more often and have higher average purchase orders.

Optimize your checkout process

Take a minute to analyze your existing checkout procedure. How does a user buy something?

Go through each step to see how long it takes to go from the initial want or need to purchase something all the way to the final conversion. If this can’t happen in just a couple of steps, it’s crushing your conversion rates.

Each additional step reduces the chances that the user will purchase something.

Having a mobile app should make it much easier for you to optimize the checkout process. That’s because you can save all of the customer information on file.

That’s why conversion rates are so much higher from mobile apps compared to mobile websites.

app vs browser

Don’t make your customers fill out a form every time they want to buy something. Take advantage of tools that can store their name, address, and payment information so they can make purchases with just one click.

This will also reduce your shopping cart abandonment rates.

Offer premium experiences at a higher price

I’m definitely an advocate of allowing users to download your app for free. The basic version of your app should be offered for free as well.

But if you want to improve the user experience, you could allow them to purchase subscriptions for a fee.

Here’s a great example of this strategy applied by Pandora Radio.


Anyone can use the Pandora app for free to listen to music.

But users who want an improved experience can pay a monthly fee. Pandora has two different paid membership options.

As you can see, there are benefits to both that aren’t offered with the free version. For example, users who pay $4.99 per month can enjoy songs without any advertisements and benefit from unlimited skips.

The $9.99 per month subscription offers the ability to search for any song and the option download music for offline listening as well.

But how can you get people to pay for these services?

Offer a free trial. Once users experience the enhanced version of your app, it might be difficult for them to go back to the free version.

Free trials can get your users hooked so they feel like they have to buy it. Now you’ll get a steady stream of monthly income based on these subscription purchases.

Encourage user referrals

User referrals are one of my favorite ways to boost your in-app revenue because it doesn’t require too much work on your part. You’ve just got to implement an in-app referral program and let your existing users take care of the rest.

They’ll invite their friends and family to join the app, which will improve your download rates as well.

However, you’ve got to offer the current and prospective users an incentive for participating in this program.

Money talks.

So it’s in your best interest to offer both parties a credit or some kind of other monetary benefits.

Here’s an example of how TabbedOut implemented this strategy to their mobile app.

tabbed out

They offer the new user $10 off and the existing user $5 off for each referral.

Now both parties have a reason to continue spending money since they know they’ll get a discount on their in-app purchase.

The new user can start inviting friends and family to join the program as well. So it’s a cycle that will always continue and encourage growth for your app.

You’ll get more downloads and even more in-app purchases.


You built an app to make money, so it’s time for you to start focusing your marketing efforts on improving your in-app purchases.

Start by getting as many people as possible to download your app. Leverage your mobile site as a platform for more downloads.

Offer deals that create FOMO so users feel as though they need to buy something right away.

Send timely and appropriate push notifications to encourage purchases. Use geofencing technology to enhance and personalize those messages.

Implement a customer loyalty program that gives your existing users an incentive to spend more money. Make sure that your checkout process is optimized to get high conversions with low abandonment rates.

Try to get users to pay for subscriptions by improving the basic version of your app.

Come up with a referral program so your current users will invite their friends and family to spend money as well.

If you follow these tips, you’ll notice an increase in your revenue stream from in-app purchases.

What strategies are you using to drive more in-app purchases?