3rd October 2019
Given the proliferation of SaaS applications and the increasing drive by end-users for interoperability, intelligent SaaS companies are offering more and more native integrations and clever ways for the platforms to interoperate and ‘play nicely’. As a result, embedded marketplaces for third party applications are becoming increasingly common.
What are marketplaces used for?
While the most common usage of marketplaces is typically found in the eCommerce space, SaaS applications have taken to the format for presenting and serving addons to their platforms.
Just like the real world, marketplaces provide a unified place to provide products and services from a variety of vendors. From a SaaS perspective, this allows their ecosystem to enriched by third-party complementary products that enrich the end user experience.
This provides added choice to end users, allowing them to customise their base platform around their needs and garner more efficiency for their operational setup. The tighter a combination of products and services matches their requirements the more “sticky” the base application becomes to their needs.
SaaS is genuinely no longer a series of isolated (powerful) islands but is becoming a more tightly-knit eco-system.
Why are they popular?
The wide usage of online marketplaces means that users are already used to the format. The familiarity of UI, typically a grid based layout with categorised options, implies that users will have a better experience, with a higher likelihood that they will make a purchase/installation unencumbered.
The “better the user experience, the higher the conversions” adage is true of this. Why change something that isn’t broken.
As well as providing a framework to serve products and services, many SaaS’s are able to charge for these features.
Creating an additional revenue stream, SaaS companies are able to supplement their own platform subscription with addons which further customise their product to their users’ needs.
One tactic SaaS companies can use to raise their profile is, not only to have their own marketplace, but also to appearing in other SaaS’s marketplaces. This could be through creating an integration aimed at improving the experience of a subset of the host’s marketplace’s users.
With the advantage of gaining exposure to another complementary SaaS’s audience, it raises the chances of setting up partnerships which benefit both parties.
Saas marketplaces come in several guisses, here are a few of the most common.
Many large platforms have developer communities which create extended functionality in the form of plugins.
Marketplaces provide a mechanism for developers to publish, publicise and deploy their creations to an active and relevant audience.
Embedded integration marketplaces are often found directly within SaaS applications. They act as a format to present and provide self-service of integrations with a wide range of applications.
Much like plugin stores, many integration marketplaces allow for external, third-party developers to present their solutions to users, while SaaS platforms can use the same format for integration presentation, offering their own solutions, even providing direct installation (or instructions on how to do so).
SaaS Review Sites
While not directly part of a SaaS they remain the first port of call for users to discover and evaluate platforms before trying them first hand.
Popular sites like Capterra, G2 and Crozdesk use a familiar marketplace style interface for users to navigate through.
Like all marketplaces, they categorise applications and provide easy access for users to browse applications in a vertical market. Listings are often driven by SaaS’s directly, being open platforms for them to showcase their offerings, as well as displaying reviews and routes to trial before buying.
What is MaaS?
Marketplace-as-a-Service. The growth of marketplaces, in their various styles and functions, has led to the creation of their own classification of SaaS application (the irony – will we ever see a market place application for embedded SaaS marketplace applications??).
These solutions provide user friendly, prebuilt assets for quick and easy styling, while enabling developers to focus on their core product through simplifying the marketplace deployment and management with their external tools.
So keep an eye out for interesting developments within the Cyclr application itself – we may just have an embedded marketplace function in the pipeline……… watch this space.