Apple Introduces Volume Purchase Program for Schools

February 28, 2020

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Apple’s Volume Purchase Program can help organizations purchase a large number of apps for their staff and employees. In order to extend these benefits to educational institutions, Apple has introduced the Apple School Manager. For app developers hoping to reach schools and universities, this could be a helpful tool for App Store Optimization.

Apple School Manager

Apple announced that app developers can privately offer customized apps to educational institutions through the Apple School Manager. Apps can be sold at volume purchases, for reduced prices or to specific, identified organizations.

According to Apple: “Organizations that you identify in App Store Connect will see the app and be able to purchase it in volume on Apple School Manager, a service that lets educational institutions buy content, configure automatic device enrollment, and create accounts for students and staff. Educational institutions can also use this feature to distribute proprietary apps for internal use.”

There are a few ways app developers can use Apple School Manager:

Sell in volume at a reduced price to educational institutions

  • Developers can offer a discount of up to 50% off for institutions purchasing 20 or more copies of the app

Make a custom app available to specific organizations

  • Developers can create an app intended for and distributed to a select organization.
  • Apps can be designed for the specific needs of the educational institute, such as adding different profiles for faculty and students.
  • After developing the app, developers specify one or more organizations that can see and download the app by entering the Organization ID.

What This Means for Developers

The Apple School Manager opens up new opportunities for app developers looking to reach educational institutions.

For instance, if an app developer wants to make their app available to schools, they might be unable to due to the premium cost or in-app purchases. Through Apple School Manager, the developer could create a version customized for schools and available at a lower cost.

Similarly, a school could develop a custom app to distribute to its faculty. This could be a customized version of an existing app designed for the school, or an entirely new one built from scratch.

One fortunate aspect of the ability to distribute custom apps only to specific organizations is that it will enable a developer to release different versions of an app without diluting the traffic meant for the consumer version of the  app.

For example, an app could make a paid version widely available on the App Store and optimize it following ASO best practices. It could also create a free version for schools only and distribute it through the Apple School Manager. The educational version of the app would not compete with the paid version on the App Store, as it would only be available to selected organizations.

This could also help a developer distribute its app to a market that would otherwise be worried about the cost, reaching new users who may move on to the paid version after graduating.

Developers interested in distributing apps through the Apple School Manager volume purchase program can find guidelines and instructions on Apple’s website.

Want more information regarding App Store Optimization? Contact Gummicube and we’ll help get your strategy started.

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