Apple recently announced that its App Store will start allowing companies that sell digital subscriptions to direct customers to their own websites to make payments, therefore avoiding app store purchase commissions that have traditionally cost publishers 15-30% of all in-app transactions. The global change will take effect in early 2022. It’s a win for both developers of "reader" apps, who can now insert a link to external websites where users can set up or manage their accounts, and publishers running subscription businesses, who can now rethink their acquisition strategies for iOS users to avoid sacrificing steep payment commission rates.
But Apple’s changes are not without their challenges for the digital publishing world.
As any online consumer knows, switching to a separate on-site payment process often creates unnecessary friction. Requiring users to enter additional information and navigate through multiple steps, from signing up for an account to finding their credit card and entering the details, can often turn them off from registering on a website. The other downside is that many users abandon their sign-up when their only option is to purchase an annual subscription on the spot. Mobile readers are often looking for instant access to the content they are interested in.
The new App Store allowance begs the question, how can publishers create a seamless app-like payment experience, even while pushing users out of the app to a separate conversion process? Enter Piano Frictionless.
Launched in early 2020, Piano Frictionless allows users with active Apple Pay accounts to instantly check out using bio-authentication—just a fingerprint or Face ID. When a user goes through Frictionless checkout, Piano uses the response returned from Apple to create an account under the email associated with their Apple Wallet and then prompt them to complete the transaction. Digital publishers that eliminate an often clunky subscription sign-up process can also tap into new business models and price points. Instead of forcing a commitment to that annual subscription, they can offer paid, 30-day trials, which do not require a new digital wallet and can help nurture a user down the path to a full subscription.
Piano Frictionless takes the speed of an in-app payment and applies it to the entire internet, removing the barriers to purchase for users and building new opportunities for publishers. As Apple implements its changes, digital publishers will be in prime position to streamline their subscription sign-up processes to attract new users. Consider Piano Frictionless part of your toolkit for success.