The Gothere.sg team. From left to right: Dominic Ee, Kuan Chih Yuan, Ang Jun Han and Toh Kian Khai.
Just last week, Gothere.sg decided to increase the price of their popular iPhone app to US$2.99 from US$1.99. iMerlion speaks to Gothere.sg founder Ang Jun Han about the pricing change and finds out more about the company's plans for the future.
App pricing is an art form. Can you explain why you raised the price of the app from US$1.99 to US$2.99?
Haha, I must say that we're all still learning here. What we try to do is price our app reasonably, and help people understand the value of what we've created. Right from the start, we've indicated that the full price of the app would be US$4.99, but we wanted to launch at a discounted price to show appreciation to our supporters, some of whom have been waiting a really long time.
We're not charging the full price of our app as yet because there are still many things that we wanna do, and we're not even half done yet! Our team is fully committed to making gothere.sg app the best travel and navigation guide for Singapore, so you can be sure get great value out of your purchase.
How has Gothere's iPhone app been doing since it launched? Better or worse than expected?
We think it's doing pretty well. It rose to the Top Paid App spot very quickly and stayed there for a week. It's consistently ranked in the Top 10 Paid Apps in the Singapore store ever since, so we're really thankful for our supporters who've helped spread the word.
Well actually, we didn't know what to expect because we weren't sure how Singaporeans would take to an app that is essentially a substitute to the free Maps.app, pre-installed in every iPhone. With the response so far in the App Store, we're encouraged to know that with good functionality and design, a small outfit like us can still provide enough utility to make a difference in Singapore.
What was the team's reaction to the app's performance?
We're quite pleased, but not celebrating just yet. We realise there's still a lot of work to be done in order to reach out to more Singaporeans who haven't heard of gothere.sg and how it can make commuting in Singapore a better experience.
What have you learned from the experience so far?
We've learned not to be too affected by negative remarks on the App Store, because there's really no way you can make a product and expect it to please everybody. Even Angry Birds has some 1-star ratings! What we do is try to understand why people are ranting in the first place, and then figure out if we can make things better.
What are your plans for the app now?
Right now, we're working on an exciting new feature for the next release. We'd like to save the surprise for later on, so forgive us for not sharing more at this time. :)
What have been some of the most requested features and when will we see them?
To be honest, the most common requests aren't for specific features but actually better directions. This is something we're working on all the time, so expect gradual improvements over time. Eventually, we want our directions to be as good as if another human being (who knows the way) gave them to you.
In the light of your experience, what are your plans for the company?
The iPhone app is our main focus at the moment. As mentioned earlier, we're working on a big feature that we expect to be released in the coming months. Our challenge now is to figure out a unique solution to the problem of travel/navigation and price it competitively. If the market validates this approach, then the next step would be to make such a service more widely available.
Any advice for other iPhone developers?
This is true for all of forms of design, not just mobile app design – whenever you want to add something to your product, always question whether it's necessary or if it's just a good-to-have. By relentlessly questioning ourselves, we can be sure that every detail in our product has a good reason to be there.
See our previous story about Gothere.sg's iPhone app that explains how it is superior to their web app.
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