Why should I use IAPHUB?
This is an excellent question, and you're absolutely right to give it careful consideration.
I'd be happy to explain why I believe using IAPHUB makes sense. Additionally, I'll share the story of how IAPHUB was born and what I learned from my experience dealing with in-app purchases for the past 10 years.
Whether you're currently selling in-app purchases or seeking to improve your existing implementation, I'm confident that IAPHUB can help you achieve your goals and take your app to the next level.
What is exactly an in-app purchase?
In-app purchases (IAP) are a way for mobile app developers to monetize their apps by offering additional content, digital goods, or services within the app. IAPs can be one-time purchases or recurring subscriptions and are often a significant source of revenue for developers.
Apple and Google require mobile apps distributed through their app stores to use their respective payment systems, Apple's In-App Purchase and Google Play Billing, to process payments for in-app purchases. Even though I believe it may be overly restrictive, using their payment systems offers significant benefits. For example, the credit card of the user is already saved, and they can easily purchase your products with just a click. Additionally, by using their payment systems, Google and Apple take care of remitting taxes on behalf of developers, which can simplify tax compliance and reduce administrative burden.
How IAPHUB was born
IAPHUB started as a private project to handle the in-app purchases of our mobile apps.
At that time, no service offered a complete solution to handle in-app purchases. The only thing we could use was a few plugins available for React Native and Cordova apps. These plugins only handled a small part of the problem, basically retrieving user receipts from the client-side to process the purchases. It was far from a plug-and-play solution to start selling subscriptions or consumables in just a few days. Furthermore, the libraries were also unmaintained and full of bugs.
I quickly realized that we would need to develop a solution that we could use in all of our future apps. Honestly, I thought this project wouldn't take too long, maybe just a couple of months. But I was never so wrong. The more we dug into it, the more we realized what we needed. It literally never ended. Ultimately, it became clear to me that sharing the project we had developed would be extremely helpful to all the mobile developers struggling with in-app purchases. And thus, IAPHUB was born.
What I learned
Looking back, I would have been happy to pay for a solution like IAPHUB if it had existed back in the day. Developing a custom solution is just too costly and time-consuming. As an entrepreneur, I know that shipping fast is key. Reinventing the wheel to save a few dollars every month isn't worth it. We tend to forget that every hour wasted actually costs money.
Every hour spent on something that could easily be delegated to a third party is actually an hour you'll miss for the development of your app. And it'll be also difficult to match the quality of a sofware developed over the years by a experienced team dedicating its full time to in-app purchases.
Developing a custom solution
I thought it might be interesting to estimate roughly the cost of developing a custom solution to handle in-app purchases. However, it's important to note that the final cost of a custom solution depends on various factors, making it challenging to provide an exact estimate.
Nevertheless, the goal isn't to give you a software cost estimate but rather to demonstrate building a custom solution is expensive, which is the reason using IAPHUB makes sense to save time, money, and a lot of headaches.
It's also worth noting that, even if you're working on a custom solution in your free time, your time is still valuable and should be considered when assessing the true cost of developing a solution in-house. Time is money in the world of entrepreneurship.
Cost of development
Let's make our custom solution as easy as possible. It should be composed of at least four components:
The client side: all the code necessary on your mobile app to manage your products (subscriptions, consumables) and process payments using the StoreKit framework & the Google Play library or any open source package (such as 'react-native-iap' for React Native, 'flutter_inapp_purchase' for Flutter or 'cordova-plugin-purchase' for Cordova).
The back office: to manage your customers and provide some analytics.
The API: that will communicate with the client side, the back office and process server notifications from Apple & Google when a subscription is updated.
The worker(s): that will process all the background tasks (iOS/Android receipts refresh, analytics...).
While the four components of this project - mobile development, front-end development, back-end development - typically require distinct skill sets, let's assume for the purposes of this example that we are fortunate enough to have a skilled full stack developer who can deliver the project on time.
According to salary.com, the average hourly pay of a full stack developer in 2023 is $48 (US). We will provide the developer with a maximum of 6 months to develop a fully functional system to sell recurring subscriptions in our mobile app (IAPHUB is 5 years old and we're still continuously improving it).
With these numbers in mind, if our developer is working 8 hours per day, 5 days per week, it would cost:
$48 * 8(hours) * 5(days) * 4(weeks) * 6(months) = $46,080
Yes $46080 is a lot of money. And that's only the cost to develop a system with basic features, as your app grows you'll most likely need to add more features. Also, an experienced developer with a deep knowledge of in-app purchases would probably cost double of this amount. On the contrary, someone with little experience will cost you less, but it is very likely the quality of the code will be inferior, leading to many bugs that will increase your cost of maintenance.
Cost of maintenance
You'll also need to think about the cost of maintenance of such a system. You'll most likely have to deal every month with the following:
- Bug fixes and improvements of your code. It takes a while to properly test a payment system, it is critical for your business and it needs to work perfectly. Any major issue could be catastrophic.
- Continuous improvement of your code to handle all the edge cases you'll discover along the way.
- Continuous improvement of your code to handle the latest updates of the StoreKit framework & the Google Play Library.
- Continuous improvement of your architecture to scale properly and handle a high volume of users.
- Constant monitoring of the system in order to make sure everything is working properly.
- Occasional outage and bugs of the App Store Connect & Google Play APIs.
It's even harder to estimate this cost. It depends on so many factors. But let's say our incredible developer will only spend a day per week on average dealing with these things:
$48 * 8(hours) * 4(weeks) = $1536/month
As you can see, the cost of maintaining an in-house solution is not negligible.
In summary, implementing in-app purchases is difficult, costly and time consuming. Which is the reason there is a need for a service such as IAPHUB. If you ask me why you should use it, I would say you should consider the following perks:
Perk #1: Easy to install & use
Our mission is to make in-app purchases as easy as possible.
We worked hard over the years to provide an SDK that has all the features you can dream of without being too complicated to use. We also spent a lot of time on our documentation (and we still are) to clearly explain everything you have to do step by step. If you decide one day to give IAPHUB a try, you should definitely take a look at our documentation here.
The only time consuming task is probably the paywall, the paywall is the page where you'll display the products you have for sale. It is obviously up to you to decide how you want to sell your products, and depending how long you spend on your paywall, you could be ready in a day!
Perk #2: Experts available to help
Sometimes our users dealing with in-app purchases for the first time face some issues, and it is often due to a misconfiguration of the Google Play Console or the App Store Connect. In this case you might feel lonely and hopeless looking for any clue on StackOverflow.
But luckily another perk of using IAPHUB that you shouldn't neglect is that you're part of the family and we're here to help! Having someone with deep knowledge of in-app purchases ready to help when things go south is one of the biggest advantage compared to someone maintaining a custom solution. Simply shoot an email at [email protected] and we'll do our best to identify your issue.
Perk #3: Proven solution
Your app is probably giving you enough problems to worry about. By using IAPHUB we're dealing with the problems related to in-app purchases for you, which will probably save you from a lot of headaches. We're constantly monitoring for any issue that might arise and if anything happens our Smart Assistant will notify you immediately. Also with years of development and continuous improvement, our solution has proven to be a highly stable and reliable. Our infrastructure has been battle tested and we're processing the transactions of millions of customers every month.
Perk #4: Affordable
We previously analyzed the cost of developing and maintaining a custom solution. You'll be able to use IAPHUB for a fraction of this cost. We implemented a fair pricing that scales with the size of your business.
We only charge a small monthly fee based on your tracked revenue on IAPHUB. You can test IAPHUB for free and upgrade to our paid plan whenever you feel ready to process real transactions. It starts at only $29/month if your business makes less than $1000/month.
It's also important to note that any paid customer will have access to ALL our features, even if you're a small business on our cheapest plan. Most SaaS will limit the features you can use depending on your plan level. Not with us, we believe anyone should be able to use the full set of features we can offer.
Perk #5: All the features you need
We are excited to offer you a comprehensive suite of features that will help you achieve your goals and take your app to the next level. Here are just a few of the features that we have developed:
Out-of-the-box insights: Get real-time insights into all your sales, subscriptions, and other metrics that you might need. With our easy-to-use dashboard, you'll have all the information you need to make data-driven decisions.
Customer management: Access all the details of a customer, including their past transactions, active subscriptions, and more. Our intuitive interface makes it easy to manage your customers and keep track of their interactions with your app.
Smart assistant: Our smart assistant will constantly monitor any abnormality or issue that might arise. If something is detected, you’ll be notified immediately with some useful information to fix your issue.
Unlimited collaborators: Our platform allows for easy collaboration with others by enabling you to add as many team members or external collaborators as you need to manage your apps on the IAPHUB dashboard.
Listing: Our listing feature will give you the possibility to remotely change the products you have for sale directly from the IAPHUB dashboard.
Smart listing: Our smart listing feature is a powerful tool to increase your revenue. It allows you to return different products based on the user who is loading it, enabling you to personalize your app's offerings and maximize your revenue potential.
A/B Testing: Our A/B testing capabilities allow you to test different product variations to determine which ones perform better in achieving specific goals, such as increasing sales or improving retention.
Webhooks: Receive real-time notifications of important events happening in your app with our webhook feature. You can use webhooks to stay on top of critical events such as user signups, payments, and more.
API: Our API gives you easy access to your data, making it simple to integrate with other systems and services. Use our API to build custom reports, integrate with other apps, or automate tasks.
Perk #6: Continuous improvements & new features
Our team is working every day to improve our service and develop a ton of new features that your app will benefit from.
Among them, we're especially excited about our plans to support new payment processors on IAPHUB.
We know that integrating different payment processors can be a hassle. Each system comes with its own set of libraries and APIs, and managing them can be a challenge. We're already providing an unified system to process payments from the Google & Apple payment systems and we're eager to add the support of more payment processors in the future!
Our unified system will make it a breeze to use different payment systems simultaneously or switch to a different one if needed. This means that you'll be able to take advantage of the benefits offered by different systems, without having to worry about complicated integrations. You'll only need to use the IAPHUB SDK.
We're committed to making payments in your mobile apps as simple and streamlined as possible, and we can't wait to bring amazing new features in the future!