While Apple has been leading the smartphone devices sales market ever since the launch of the iPhone, we are starting to see the market level out, with smartphone penetration nearing saturation point. With a new iPhone just around the corner, and a planned expansion to the device line-up, Apple are clearly looking for new revenue opportunities.
The app store earns Apple billions of dollars a year, so it’s a huge revenue generator for the world’s most valuable company. Revenue from the App store grew by 15% between February and July 2013 and remains the biggest mobile app store, with Google Play’s own app store still lagging behind. So can Apple improve their App store and improve revenue even further? Of course they can. Here are four ways we think Apple can improve their App store, whilst also increasing the revenue.
1. App Store Wallet
The big conversation point is Apple moving into mobile payments. They are trusted to hold millions of card details for App store users, yet currently, this is only usable within the App Store. What if Apple created an App store ‘Wallet’ that allowed users to make purchases with their App store wallet outside of this environment i.e. within other apps.
Apple could also take the wallet integration one step further, by combining it with NFC and providing its users with a full mobile payment solution (iStore anyone?), allowing them to make payments using their funds stored on their mobile. NFC has been talked about as being the next big technology to set the world alight, but in truth the take-up of the technology by merchants and users has been slower than expected. An integration into Apple’s devices could really set NFC on its way to becoming a widely-used contactless payment solution, but will Apple consider it?
Apple could improve the way that Siri is used and embed the feature within to the App store, allowing users to search and navigate around much easier. With the App store closing in on 1 million apps, searching for an app can be a laborious task, especially if the app isn’t featured in the top 100 lists.
4. Weve in New Ideas
Apple holds a large amount of data, and it could potentially allow brands access to the huge database to target promotions and products. Weve, the m-commerce joint venture between some of the UK’s largest mobile networks, allows brands to access to a single consumer database to run mobile marketing campaigns and mobile commerce solutions. Apple could follow Weve’s way of thinking, and offer access to it’s huge customer database, and combining this data with location-based services through Apple’s devices, it could open up a huge opportunity to brands.
With Apple’s notorious quality controls in place, these campaigns could be run with the end-user in mind to ensure they only get targeted and notified of relevant and engaging materials. To me, this seems like an obvious direction for Apple to head in. It doesn’t even have to give the data away; it could run the campaigns on behalf of the brands it does business with.