Nov 16 2011

How Apple Saves Millions on Transaction Fees

I’ve joked before that Apple has more revenue sources than they do products. In addition to having great profit margins on hardware they also do well on the Apple iTunes music and app store. In addition to these, Apple brings millions with it’s developer program, with costs $99/year. Since Apple has been doing well with it’s traditional business and because Apple is so private about it’s business I feel business analysts have not had the spotlight on other aspects Apple’s finances, such as how they save millions of dollars a year on transaction fees.

Have you ever notice that when you buy a $0.99 song on the iTunes music store you may be charged two or three days later? I’ve noticed that when if I purchase a movie on a Friday and a song on a Saturday, I often don’t get charged until the following Sunday or Monday and when I do both items are charged together. How does this save Apple millions? Typically, when you have to process a customer’s credit card to charge for goods or services, the bank or merchant account that processes the credit card will charge around $0.20-0.30 per transaction and an additional percentage of the total cost after a certain amount. This is why some small business don’t accept credit cards for less than some amount, like $5-10 dollars. If you are processing credit cards for your digital goods online store, PayPal charges a transaction fee of $0.30 plus 2.9% of the total price.

I’ve positive that Apple has negotiated the transaction cost to less what a brink and mortar business would have to pay, but as an example let’s say they pay $.10 per transaction. If you buy a $0.99 song on iTunes Apple still has to pay a transaction fee for charging your card, in this case $0.10 or 10% of the total charged. If you buy two songs over a span of two days and Apple bills you for the both of the $0.99 songs together, Apple will still only pay the $0.10 transaction cost to process the credit card, or just 5% of the total price.

This is why when you purchase items from iTunes it maybe be several days before you are charged, because it is better for Apple to charge you for multiple items than to charge you for individual songs separately.


Sep 4 2010

Use Google Forms For Building Simple Surveys and Polls

I use Google Documents to manage drafts of blog posts, to keep track of house hold finances, and even to manage an invite list to gatherings at my house. You can do a lot with nothing more than Google Docs. Recently I had to help a friend create a small informal survey to use with her clients and we choose Google Docs from her Google Apps for Domain account. In this article, I’ll go through the motions of creating and using a simple form in Google Docs which can be used in polls, surveys, or questionnaires.

Create New Form in Google Docs

Create New Form in Google Docs

Log into you Google Docs account and create a new Form document. Creating a new Form document takes you to the Form builder which allows you to enter a title and description for your form and any number of questions. For each question, be sure to enter the question itself, any short description to describe the question further, and the question type. There are several question types, most common are the text, multiple choice, checkbox, list, and scale. You can use the text question type for things like persons name, addresses, city, etc. The multiple choice question type is also known as the radio button, meaning that out of several choices you can only select one. The checkbox allows you to check multiple choices at the same time. The scale question type can be use to identify a range between 1 and 5 of how much a person liked the product or service being asked about.

Google Docs Form Editor

Google Docs Form Editor

Once you filled out your form, you can choose a theme. As of this writing there are over 90 themes available, from plain to whimsical. With the form done you can email the form, make it public, or embeddable in a blog or website. If you reopen the form, you will be presented with the spreasheet view of the form. The form data is saved in the spreadsheet, to view or edit the form again, click Form | Edit Form under the main menu.

Google Docs Form Sharing Settings

Google Docs Form Sharing Settings

You can have three basic sharing options. You can make the form public to everyone in the web, or available to only those that have a link for it, or those you explicitly grant access to.

If you run a small business or a large family, you can use Google Docs to create forms for surveys, polls, questionnaires, or even a small customer relationship management system.