Software delivery on CD

Really, who buys software on CD nowadays?

Well, you’d be surprised… For consumer products, this is still important. Many users still like to receive something “physical” in the mail.

And this happens to be even more true for my collector-type audience. You know, the type of people that still buy real books, DVDs and CDs (remember those?).

So we decided to try and see if we could enhance that “package in the mail” moment, by designing a nicer shipping package for our software.
(Of course, we were also hoping to sell some more 🙂 )

The previous package “design”

In the early days, we regarded the “delivery on CD” as just that: a delivery method for people who, for some reason, did not want to download the software. So the package was just a CD-R in a generic paper sleeve. Okay, the CD-R did have a logo, but it looked ugly because it had the white-border logo on a white background.

Note that there was just one generic CD, containing all our 7 trial editions. People buying multiple programs only needed to order one CD.

The new DVD case design

For the new delivery packages, we decided to go for nice DVD cases, with a separate DVD case and CD face design for each of our 7 software products:

The DVD case also comes with a simple 2 page insert, containing installation instructions and the user’s personal license key:

BTW: these new cases and CDs are still created fully on-demand by our fulfillment partner CustomCD. So we don’t have to print the box inlays up-front, neither do we have to stock up on large quantities of pre-pressed CDs.
When we release a new build of our software, we just upload a new CD image to the CustomCD FTP server and the next day we’re shipping the new version.

The AutoRun CD installer

While we were improving the package design, we figured we’d also take another look at what’s on the CD. I mean the AutoRun CD installer, the first thing people see when they insert the CD in their Windows computer.

The old one was quite slick already. I mean, look at those 3D buttons!

But you’ll have to admit the new installer looks slightly better…

Yes, it was about time we gave that one a makeover… 🙂

The results

For comparision, with the old “CD in paper sleeve”, the average number of people opting for “Delivery on CD” was around 300.

So what happened after we switched to the new shipping boxes? Well, in the past 30 days, between November 15 and December 15, we sold 954 DVD cases.

Of course, we started pushing the boxes a bit harder, offering discounted bundle deals like “Pro-in-a-Box” and other bundles of boxed software with one of our barcode scanners. But on the other hand, we also doubled the price.
(previously Delivery on CD was $5 + $5 shipping costs. Now it’s $10 + $5 shipping.)

I am quite happy with these sales results (and I am sure CustomCD is too 🙂 ).
But more importantly: our users now get something in the mail that is worth putting on the shelves, as opposed to a flimsy envelope with a CD-R, which should improve the “after sales” experience.

One thing we noticed now that we have a separated DVD case for each product:
Compared to our other users, Book Collector users are about twice as likely to opt for delivery on CD. Again, this shows that the effect of marketing changes like this will hugely differ depending on the product you’re selling.

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