Slopes Diaries #17: Missed Conversions

Slopes Diaries is my ongoing journey to turn my indie app into a more sustainable part of my business. First time reading? Catch up on the journey so far.

What is Slopes? Think Nike+, Runkeeper, Strava, MapMyRun, etc for skiers and snowboarders.

I had an interesting conversation with a customer. It lead to an ah-ha moment, one which I think will have a noticeable impact on my revenue. Turns out I was missing a very important upsell opportunity in Slopes to get users to buy a day, week, or season pass.

The life-blood of the Slopes business are the in-app passes that unlock premium features. I outlined the structure for the pass back in #4: The Great Wall but TL;DR: if you want detailed stats for each run an lift you took, not just a high-level daily summary, you need a pass. You get lots of other compelling features like upgrade map tile sets (satellite, etc) and 3D views, but that breakdown is the core feature that drives users to buy a pass.

Of course, nothing sells like a powerful demo, so I give that detailed stats screen (w/o the premium maps and other pass-only features) away for free on the first recording users make every season. This ensures first-time users get to try out that awesome feature of Slopes (which is the feature most likely to get them to go "wow" and buy a pass). I use that demo as an opportunity to inform them that they'll need a pass for next time if they want to keep the feature.

OK, so far so good: show, don't tell.

While they're checking it out, I also inform them of the other features they'd get with a pass next time:

But what if they wanted all these other features, like satellite maps, for that first day they just recorded? They want to go all-in on Slopes, now. Fear not: I offer to backdate a day or trip-pass purchase if they were to go buy it within a day or so. All they have to do is go to the purchase screen, try to buy a pass for their next day...

...yeah, notice a problem? I wasn't selling this "unlock now!" capability. If they stumbled into it, users would be pleasantly surprised, but I was missing a key opportunity to instill a sense of urgency into my sales process. I was so focused on selling my core feature for next time that I neglected to think that users might want the other features right away.

After I was done face-palming, the solution was easy enough. Rework that banner to be A) more prominent and B) advertise the backdate option while it was available, before reverting to the old format after the opportunity expires:

This turns the purchase ask from "don't forget!" to "buy now."

Shiny new features make users happy and help attract the press when you ship. But sometimes it's the stuff like this, stuff that doesn't belong in the release notes, that impacts your bottom line the most.