The free app experience – lessons learned

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By WithoutWire Inventory Sciences


Turbo Tax has tackled a very complex subject – US Tax Law - with an online experience that is quite remarkable.  How many iterations did they go through to achieve a user-friendly experience?  Consider how many tax consultants were put out of a job when Tax Software became broadly accepted.  Seeking to provide our Clients the most affordable, quick and easy mobile inventory tracking experience; WithoutWire embarked on a similar Use-it-Free mobile inventory management experience – that can begin and end with an app download.  In our case, by searching “WithoutWire” on the app store:

Anyone with inventory and an iOS or Android smartphone or tablet can download our app and experience our software … for FREE!  This is a full version, not a “trial version” which limits functionality. We have our Clients experience the complete application to validate that it will create efficiency in their operations, reduce labor and data entry errors and provide a Return on Investment (ROI) of less than 6 months.  WithoutWire has been polishing our inventory application for 17 years, and our free inventory app has been on the market for 18 months, so I would like to share our “lessons learned” in case you are looking to do something similar.

Lessons Learned:

  1. Speak to the user in a way that demonstrates your understanding of their pain points. For us it was critical for us to demonstrate the flexibility to handle a variety of inventory types.  From lot tracked, expiration dated or serialized inventory.  From Manufacturing to Distribution to Field Service.  From Dynamics integration to OPEN API to import/export csv file communication.  You do not want to have your new Prospect questioning whether this simple app is powerful enough to meet their needs.
  2. Communicate the value of your solution – without sounding like your “selling”. Remember that the Client is brand new to your app, and may not be sure what to expect – what simple message can you convey about the benefits that they are about to receive that will encourage them to share a bit of “setup information” and continue further into your app?
  3. Gather only the necessary information (Client data) to provide a great experience. Your Prospect’s time is precious so do not ask for any information that is not required.  If you require Microsoft Azure security, then letting the Client know that this password setup process is for their own protection goes a long way toward continued engagement.  The Uber app performs best when you allow location services.  By Uber explaining the benefit of curbside pickup to the Client it makes it easier to “give up” their location privacy.  If the Client must navigate to their email account for password setup, then you may need to provide a convenient way to get the back to your app.
  4. Does your app compliment other apps on the market? If so, this can provide you with great leverage.  81% of users already have Facebook as an app and it is used for log-in credentials by many other apps.  Do you require payment?  Consider going with a familiar trusted partner such as PayPal.
  5. Create a habit. The number one reason for lost sales is “abandonment”.  The user got bored or found it cumbersome or too complex.  They need a reason to come back, and keep coming back.  The Bible app is one of the most popular apps for this reason.  It offers suggested “daily passages” and or the ability to bookmark within the app.  As the user flags pages, they become “invested” and the app becomes personalized.  This habit creates “stickiness” that ensures a longer engagement.  The longer they engage, the higher the chances of you converting them to a long-term Client!
  6. Free 24x7 Help for when they get stuck. In our case, we took a multi-faceted approach consisting of:  quick-start videos, tutorial videos, online chat, a data setup wizard, an online product knowledge base, an online chat service and product consultants standing by … all at no charge.  You can never have too much help as your new Prospects onboard!


I hope that you find these Lessons Learned valuable as you embark on your new software app.  Do not hesitate to reach out to me if I can be of assistance to you as you get started.  Steve Dwyer 612-315-2122;

By Steve Dwyer


WithoutWire Inventory Sciences

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