“American business at this point is really about developing an idea, making it profitable, selling it while it’s profitable and then getting out or diversifying. It’s just about sucking everything up. My idea was: Enjoy baking, sell your bread, people like it, sell more. Keep the bakery going because you’re making good food and people are happy.”
It’s been a little over a month since Locavore launched and I wanted to share some of the progress so far. I like this tradition of iPhone app developers opening up their numbers to the public, and I hope / believe that it’s more about transparency and the curiosity of a new market than it is bragging.
All in all, the app has done a lot better than I had expected it to do in the first month. We have gotten some good press both on big food blogs and on technology blogs. The height of our popularity has come from being featured in the iTunes App Store for about 3 days, which led to rising in the ranks to number 65 on the Top 100 Paid Apps list at one point. Needless to say I felt pretty lucky to have made it that high when there are over 30,000 apps in the store.
New users per day
To give a bit of context to the chart, the biggest day sold almost 1,000 apps. The last few days on the chart hover between 50-70 new apps a day. All together, I’ve sold a bit over 5,000 apps, and made about $12,000 after Apple takes out their 30% cut.
As you can see, even the best press wasn’t as effective as being blessed by the Apple Marketing team. Not sure what that means in terms of how to best market apps… basically, it leaves all of us at the unbeatable first law of marketing and promotion: build something interesting.
Another interesting metric is to see how many people total use the app each day. In other words, do people continue to use the app even after they’ve bought it?
Total unique users per day
So, while not everyone uses the app every day, there does seem to be a general trend going up. Hopefully as the spring and summer seasons continue, people will continue to find the app useful when going to the market. I think this is the true test of a useful app, because if others are anything like me, I’ve got a very low purchase-to-continued-usage ratio for iPhone apps. Some apps even get deleted within 5 minutes of being purchased.
I’m still hard at work on the next major version of the app, which will include integration with Facebook Connect, and an ability to share what local foods you’re eating in your neighborhood… this will make it possible to see what your particular markets are selling at this exact moment, in a more precise manner than is currently possible. And it will also let you see other peoples’ faces, which I think is one of the most valuable features that social technology gives to us. In the end, this is all about connecting with other people, right?
Other people sharing their sales data
Let me know (via comments or by @enjoy_locavore‘ing me on Twitter) if there’s any other data you’d like to see.
A few other good reports of early iPhone app sales:
Kellianne and I are sharing our friends’ community garden at the Belltown P-Patch and today we saw some of the first signs of life. This is our first foray in vegetable gardening, so it’s not going to be the prettiest thing in the world, but I hope that this summer we’ll be able to have at least a few meals with food grown by us.
So far we’ve planted just these four things. Next week I’m going to plant some squash and carrots. And then we’ll see where to go from there. Not sure what to do with our tomato seeds yet.
Here’s a list of the bug fixes and feature improvements for our first update since launching the app a couple weeks ago:
- Fixed Washington DC so it no longer crashes when you’re there. Sorry for the oversight, DC!
- Improved seasonal availability information in Louisiana thanks to @unapologetic‘s help. If anyone has updated information for their state, just link me to the sources via Get Satisfaction, or Twitter.
- Added “Bordering states” information to any state page that doesn’t have anything in season or coming into season soon.
- Fixed some time-calculation bugs so now the time left in season is a little more consistent across the app.
- Updated to the latest version of the Get Satisfaction remote component so that you can now sign up to the service from within my app and submit bugs, ideas, questions, and feedback. It’s really awesome that this is possible, I think. More apps should use this component.
What’s next? Making local food social
I’ve begun design and development on the next set of major features for the app. At the top of the list is the ability to share information about food in your area with other users near you, via Facebook Connect integration. This will mean that, if you go to the market and see that something’s in season that’s not represented in the app, you can share this information with other people near you. This will then help the app learn over time about true seasonality schedules and fluctuations season by season, and year by year.
I will be implementing this in the simplest way possible at first, and see if it’s useful. If it is, I think this could really help us make the data more accurate over time. I think it’s realistic to think that this stuff should take about a month to develop.
Tell me what you want to see
I’m highly interested in hearing from people about ways that they think we can improve the app. Does anyone want to use this information for their own? Does anyone want to see this as a Facebook app? Should there be an eat local game component? What else that I haven’t thought of?