Benefits of Shareware

By: S. Housley

Shareware has been fighting the stigma of being misunderstood for decades. While corporate software giants can no longer ignore the marketing potential of a trial version, small software startups are struggling with new listings and bandwidth costs. Businesses and individual consumers need to take a closer look at the benefits of taking advantage of shareware marketing. The concept of a trial version is not a new one. Consumer expectations, and the need for immediate satisfaction have spurned the industry to realize the need for instant software. The availability of file downloads in the Internet era, is spurning a revolution of purchasers who never leaving their homes or offices. As a result, the Internet has taken the proliferation of shareware to a new level.

Why the Success?

Why developers have succeeded using shareware marketing under poor global economic conditions is fairly obvious. Shareware allows consumers to evaluate an application prior to making a purchase decision. There are no risks to the consumer, if the trial version does not satisfy a purchasers needs, they do not spend the money registering.

Evaluating the software prior to purchasing also increases consumer satisfaction as they gain a complete understanding of the software they are ordering and there is little room for surprises. Trying the software before buying is no longer a novelty it is a consumer expectation.

Traditionally, because the barrier to entry is fairly low, companies participating in shareware marketing are usually small and willing to provide personalized service uncommon in large companies. Customers often speak directly with developers requesting feature enhancements, thus improving the software for all. Software support forums with users helping other users have become commonplace. These allow developers to focus on future upgrades, while repetitive user issues can be quickly dealt with. Software developers, who market via the shareware method, have revolutionized traditional support models.

Many of the shareware directories provide ratings and user assessments. Often the user reviews provide insight to important feature sets. Allowing consumers an opportunity to assess and compare multiple products prior to making a decision.

Let us not forget the delivery advantage the shareware model has over the traditional retail counterpart. Shareware allows for instant gratification, there is no need to wait for a shipment because consumers can download and use the software immediately.

What does this all mean?

Marketing via the shareware method is far less expensive than traditional advertising, the increased customer demands, personalized service and instant satisfaction all provide an added consumer benefits. With Shareware, software developers, have a great method for consumers to evaluate and purchase their software. Consumers can easily determine if the software is suitable. Ultimately, by allowing the software to sell itself, consumers often obtain top quality software that is priced far less than traditional retail applications.

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