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The Road to $10K – Part 5

Welcome back to Shuffle’s “Road to $10K” blog series. We are documenting our experiments, changes, and attempt to hit $10,000 a month in revenue. We will try things that don’t work, we will try things that do, and overall we hope to show you what it’s like to grow an app business 10x in what is hopefully a short period of time!

This update for December 2019 is late, but not as late as last week’s update for November 2019. Heading into the Christmas season, we were focused on wrapping up our time with the interns (Rochelle and Trevor), and trying to find someone that could take up the Shuffle web app mantle. We were also struggling to get our iOS development team to push out critical updates to the app.

December’s results continued the downward trend that began in November. Were people conducting less business? Probably. Selling and buying fewer items on online marketplaces? Yes, most likely. Dating less? Maybe! Not sure. Regardless, revenue in December was down, but we soldier on.

What did we do in December?

  • Got as far as we could into web app development; halted as we hit a snag related to security and a lack of understanding on how to resolve this issue
  • Got the front end interface of Shuffle’s web app completed with the exception of some tweaks here and there to match the original designs
  • We were able to obtain a large amount of startup credits for Google Cloud, which we are putting to work to host the web app and which will soon host the back end infrastructure
  • Kept on designing Shuffle for iOS v2
  • Started looking for a new iOS development team that could also handle our other needs (back end, web app, Android, etc.)

The changes above again lead to moderate gains in App Store impressions, product page views, and installs, but not sales.

Revenue in December was USD $1,117 representing a decrease from the $1,388 we saw in November. Operating expenses were lower because of lower usage, but we won’t be able to reduce our fixed costs until we move the back end infrastructure to Google Cloud. Shuffle is treading water, but we definitely need to see sales in the $1,500+ range starting in January to keep this up.

Overall, almost every month-over-month metric was down. Sales per paying user, number of daily sessions, length of session, etc. That, and somehow the back end accidentally got triggered to turn on the free trial mode, which lead to a number of phone numbers and unpaid usage that resulted in only a few purchases by the people who took advantage of them.

Sales by Week: October to December 2019

App units (installs) were up again over November, sitting at 1,719 for the month compared with 1,543 in October. Once we got the accidental free trial mode disabled once more, we were able to convert new customers at 16.6%! As far as conversions go, that’s a great number for us to hit and a goal to keep at and hopefully increase.

App Units (installs) by week: October to December 2019

The app install volume is heading up, but again what tripped us up is the free trial vs. free credit numbers. If we only had the free credit-mode enabled, then we would have spent a lot less money on phone numbers and usage that didn’t turn into paying customers.

We seem to be sustaining over 400 installs per week towards the end of December, and hopefully that will turn into higher revenue in January.

Flurry Analytics – December 2019

If all goes well with the new development team, we are aiming to start shipping significant changes to Shuffle for iOS throughout the first quarter of 2020, and Shuffle Web v1 should also launch before the end of Q1 2020. We will be inviting a number of Shuffle customers to test the web app, while beginning to introduce high demand features like iPhone X/11 display optimization, dark mode, and more features to the iOS app!

To close out this December 2019 update, Shuffle is moving forward with some badly needed updates to the existing app and building new apps. Financially, December wasn’t great, but we are hopeful this was a seasonal dip. It was still a much better month than December 2018, so it’s still a positive in that sense.

Thanks for reading! We’ll see you again next month.