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Decide on a pricing model for your app for Office or SharePoint

apps for Office and SharePoint

Learn about the variety of pricing options the Office Store provides for you to decide if and how you want to monetize your app.

The Office Store provides a variety of pricing options, so you have flexibility when deciding if and how you want to monetize your app. You don’t need to set your pricing model until you submit your app, and don’t need to specify anything in your app itself to support the pricing options you choose. However, it’s a good idea to decide on your pricing model as you design and develop your app, as the pricing model you choose may influence the features and behavior of your app. Also, certain monetizing strategies, such as using the licensing framework, or offering ads or additional purchases within the app itself, will require you to implement custom code in your app to support those features.

When you submit an app to the Office Store via your Seller Dashboard account, you specify the price at which you want to offer your app to customers:

  • Free

    The user can download and use the app, in perpetuity, at no charge.

    You can, however, still monetize the app through including advertising or offering additional features or content for in-app purchases, if you have built that functionality into your app.

  • One-time payment

    The user can download and use the app, in perpetuity, for a one-time charge.

  • Subscription

    The user can download and use the app, in perpetuity or until they cancel their subscription, for a recurring monthly fee.

    Subscription apps are offered on a monthly automatic renewal basis only. Subscriptions automatically renew, in perpetuity, until users manually cancel their subscriptions.

You set these options on the Pricing page of your app submission, in the Seller Dashboard:

App pricing options in the Seller Dashboard

In addition, you have opportunities to further monetize your app from within the app itself. To implement these approaches, you will need to implement custom code in your app to support those features.

When you set the app price, you are actually setting a price tier across all currencies, rather than a specific price for each language. The price tier sets the sales price in all the countries where you choose to distribute your app. The price tier you select is translated into the appropriate currency for the buyer. Each price tier has a corresponding value in each of the currencies offered by the Office Store. We use these values to help you sell your apps at a comparable price point worldwide. However, due to changes in foreign exchange rates, the exact sales amount may vary slightly from one currency to another.

Keep in mind that the price tier you select may include sales or value-added tax that your customers must pay. For example, if you sell an app at 1.19 EUR in Europe, a 15% VAT tax is included. Your app proceeds are based on the post-tax amount of 1.03 EUR (1.19 - 0.16).

For paid and subscription apps, you can refine your pricing model even move by offering a trial, or setting a price threshold. These settings are ignored for apps whose pricing you set to Free.

Trial offer

With a trial, the user can download and use the app for no charge for the preset amount of time you choose. At the end of the trial period, the user must purchase the app or lose access to its use. Trial offers do not automatically convert to app purchases.

Information specific to apps for SharePoint

For apps for SharePoint, you can also set a limit on the total number of users on a given site who can use the app as a trial.

This setting does not apply to apps for Office.

If you want to have finer control over which features or functionality of your app are available during the trial, consider implementing licensing checks in your app using the licensing framework. For more information, see Licensing apps for Office and SharePoint.

Price Threshold

Information specific to apps for SharePoint

For apps for SharePoint, you can also specify a price threshold. This sets a limit on the amount a single buyer pays for purchasing multiple app licenses. For example, if you set the price threshold at ten users, then the user would only get charged for the first ten licenses they purchase; any licenses they purchase after that are free of charge.

Another way of thinking about the Price Threshold setting is that it lets you set if and when you want to switch from a per-user pricing model to a site license pricing model. In a per-user model, you charge for each additional user license for your app; in a site license model, you charge a flat fee for the app, regardless of the number of users using it. Set the price threshold at ‘No Threshold’, and your app will never be offered under a site license pricing model: each additional user will be charged the full price you set. Set the price threshold at one user, and you are offering your app under a site license pricing model from the start: the first user is charged the full price you set, but each additional user is free of charge.

This setting does not apply to apps for Office.

You can’t have a single app listing that is both a one-time charge, and a subscription. If you want to offer your app as both a one-time charge, and a subscription, you have to create separate app submissions for each. In such a case, the app package you uploaded for each submission could be identical, except for the product ID you specify in the manifest; the product ID must be unique for each app submission. As a best practice, you’d probably want to specify unique titles and descriptions for the app submissions, to make it clear to customers that one submission is offered as a one-time charge, and the other as a subscription.

You can’t change the pricing on an app from subscription to one-time charge, or vice versa, once you have submitted the app listing. This includes apps you may have submitted before the subscription pricing option was available.

For information on how to set pricing options when you submit your app to the Office Store, see How to: Submit apps for SharePoint to the Office Store.

The table below lists the options available for monetizing for your app, from the most general to the most custom. Note that the table doesn’t necessarily lay out the pricing decisions in the order you need to make them. For example, offering ads in your app would require you to implement custom functionality in your app while still developing it, while offering the app for free or purchase is something you specify when you submit the app to the Office Store once it’s completed.

Charge a price?

Free

Include custom licensing behavior?

  • Implement custom code in your app to perform licensing checks and perform desired behaviors.

Include ads?

Include in-app purchases?

One-time charge or monthly subscription

  • Set price per user

Offer site license? (apps for SharePoint only)

  • Set price threshold

Offer app as a trial?

  • Set trial duration

  • Set user limit (apps for SharePoint only)

Include custom licensing behavior?

  • Implement custom code in your app to perform licensing checks and perform desired behaviors.

Include ads?

Include in-app purchases?

One important factor to consider when deciding on the pricing for your app is the ongoing costs of hosting that app. This is especially true if you offer your app as a monthly subscription; you’ll want to closely monitor how your app is used and how many resources are consumed. Consider hosting your app on Microsoft Azure. Microsoft Azure allows you to host your app in the cloud and provides clarity on both usage patterns and costs. Having this insight can help you determine what limits to set for a free trial of your app, as well as set optimal price thresholds.

In addition, Microsoft Azure enables you to easily scale your app to match demand and reduce costs. Scale your apps up, down, out or automatically and pay only for what you use. You can provision resources immediately and there is no need to overprovision for occasional peak loads.

For more information, see Hosting apps on Microsoft Azure or sign up for a free trial of Microsoft Azure.

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