SaaS is bloody hard, you need to work on getting users, building a product thats great, then trying to keep those users from leaving...because theres most likely 10s of competitors in the market.
And if you're anything like me, you don't like to play the price game, we all know that ends up poorly (I'm looking at you Uber)
I try break down companies into foundational firms and transactional firms. Only a select few make it to the former, the Googles, Salesforces, Zooms and Shopifys. Majority are transactional companies that use the former mentioned companies as a strategy to grow theirs (hence the foundational vs transactional mention)
Marketplaces have to be the most underrated opportunity of the 21st century, there's countless examples of people who've not paid a single cent on acquiring customers but simply list themselves on the many market places that are out there that have their target audience ripe and ready to buy
Not only do you have direct exposure to your exact audience at the budget of the marketplace company that spent money on acquiring those eyes, but you also get the advantage of SEO backlinks (regardless of your opinion of them), the vote of confidence you give google when you get a link back from a Webflow or a Shopify makes a massive difference (We used this strategy to jump from 0-36 DA in 3ish weeks)
So lets go through the list of these marketplaces that you can potentially list your startup and get free traffic, build a great business and if you're up for it sell for a good pay day
Similar to a lot of the previously mentioned services, Zoho also offers a CRM along with a host of other products for businesses. They also have a marketplace where you can read reviews, compare prices, and watch videos.
They've built a well-maintained app marketplace with features looked at by both amateur and professional developers.
HelpScout is technically not as big as Zendesk or Freshdesk, but it is popular amongst small companies as a means to help them with customer support. The directory of apps isn't particularly detailed and doesn't include things like user reviews or pricing.
Customer Support is a core focus of Front, and the feature set reflects their commitment to this.
LiveAgent is a very similar product to Front and HelpScout. Their platform is simpler and you will find a smaller range of integrations
GitHub is the most popular code hosting platform. GitHub is used by millions of developers to store their code.
Heroku's platform allows you to deploy apps, and it includes a marketplace. I haven't seen any reviews of apps available on the marketplace, but this provides a wide range of functionality.
Atlassian develops a wide variety of tools for software developers and product teams. These include Jira, Bitbucket, and Confluence, which together are capable of supporting large projects from initial setup to deployment and beyond.
Cloudflare's platform features a rating system for the different apps, allowing you to see which ones are the most popular.
Salesforce pioneered the SaaS model and is amongst the most mature B2B vendors. Their app marketplace boasts user reviews, live chat, pricing details and more.
You can find a wide selection of apps that integrate with HubSpot including CRM, insight, and marketing apps. Pricing details are available on each app's page
Pipedrive has a smaller userbase than Hubspot and Salesforce, but with over 95,000 companies using them, they're still pretty massive. Their app marketplace listings include ratings, reviews, and optional videos.
DocuSign is a super poplar electronic signature service. They have a basic integration marketplace.
Eventbrite have an online marketplace where developers can build apps to help small businesses.
Webflow is a website builder targeting no-code designers. It's become a tool used by many, but their marketplace is still basic.
AWS has a comprehensive catalogue of features, including pricing, user-reviews, and more.
Google Cloud Platform is the developer services offering from Google. Their marketplace includes pricing information, but there are no user reviews or ratings.
Azure has a good reputation in the marketplace. Their marketplace seems to be pretty advanced as it includes a great selection of products, some with great UI's and pricing details. When you've decided on a product, you can watch a video about it.
Cloud hosting is a model that is widely used to host websites. DigitalOcean is a cloud hosting platform for you to choose from and host your website.
Vercel is an app marketplace. To make sure that apps are as easy as possible to install, Vercel has a direct install feature.
Their product allows developers to easily integrate authentication services into their apps (authentication as a service) and also offers a marketplace for visitor authentication integration.
Shopify is a development platform with a mature app marketplace. The marketplace listings allow app developers to share videos, payments, user reviews, and more. Developers can even advertise their products within the marketplace to reach more customers. There's plenty of opportunity in this marketplace.
WordPress is the most popular website builder out there. It powers more than a quarter of the internet. There are thousands of plugins and themes to help you do what you want. Many are free, and many are paid for. It's another huge marketplace
Squarespace is another popular website builder. If you listen to podcasts, you'll likely have heard one of their ads. They don't have pricing information but do have reviews from their customers.
Box has a very clear focus on industry and business, and is used by companies of all sizes. Their marketplace is also very accessible to developers, with a large number of APIs.
The Wix marketplace is a great resource for any business. You can read our reviews, watch videos, and find more information at any time.
WooCommerce is the e-commerce builder from Wordpress. I think WooCommerce plugins are Wordpress plugins that are packaged specifically for WooCommerce, but there is a separate marketplace for WooCommerce plugins that has reviews, pricing, etc. I assume there's also more willingness to pay for WooCommerce plugins because it's more likely that websites built with it are earning revenue.
BigCommerce is a big player in the e-commerce space, providing a comprehensive platform for eCommerce. Their marketplace includes payments, user reviews, videos and more.
Segment is a Customer Data Platform that makes it easier to share data between various cloud products. Their marketplace is simply that, a marketplace with no reviews or reputation.
Other notable examples for e-commerce are Shopify and Bigcommerce, where the products are already optimised for online shopping.
Another email service provider with apps and integrations that are not easy to discover.
Figma has plugins available that add functionality to the design software. These plugins have been rated highly by the community
While Figma has taken some attention away from Sketch, it is still very popular within the design community. Their plugin directory is very limited, but I do know a lot of Sketch users use plugins and many are happy to pay (usually small amounts) for them.
Their marketplace seems very mature, which comes as no surprise to me given the size of the business. One helpful feature is the ability to search for the right product.
Intercom isn't exactly one thing, but it has many uses. Their chat widget is probably the most famous, but they also have a marketplace listing these third-party integrations.
Adobe create many tools, but I'm most familiar with their design tools under the brand \"Adobe Creative Cloud\" (I'm obviously also aware of their PDF products).
Framer has a plugin ecosystem called "packages" and they're quite popular on GitHub. This market has reviews, but it shows installations not sales.
Zoom is a popular video conferencing software provider. Recently they launched Zapps, which are apps that enhance the Zoom experience. As their marketplace is brand new, and isn't fully launched yet. I have no clue how popular Zapps will become, but I'd bet there are some great opportunities here.
Slack is a collaboration tool that helps teams collaborate more effectively. It's app market place does not have user reviews but its app store is pretty mature. Most teams use a few apps, and in-built features help you discover new apps that your team might be interested in
Microsoft Teams is quickly becoming one of the world's most popular live chat applications.
The G Suite marketplace is a set of solutions from Google, including email, word processing, spreadsheets etc. The marketplace includes user ratings and install numbers. Personally, I wouldn't get my hopes up about this marketplace as Google have a history of being more interested in their consumer businesses than other B2B app marketplaces.
The Airtable marketplace is quite new and simple at the moment, but I think it will become more advanced in the future.
Zapier provides an API that lets developers connect various products so they work better together. Their marketplace doesn't provide user reviews or usage data, but allows developers to discover apps through workflows and guides.
Volusion is another e-commerce website builder that I've never heard of. It doesn't appear to be that big but they do have a marketplace with details of their pricing for plugins
We analyzed the Marketo marketplace and the content is very informative. It includes reviews, videos, and much more.
Mailchimp is one of the more well known email service providers. It's marketplace is one of the more basic ones."
We are similar to Notion in that we are a flexible documentation tool. We also have a shop for adding integrations into Coda. These are similar to plugins on Notion.
Dropbox is a popular file storage and collaboration service. As a result, they have a simple and effective marketplace for integrations.
Freshbooks is an account management system. Its marketplace is fairly basic.
QuickBooks is a powerful accounting tool for small businesses. They have a range of features designed for SMEs, and fully integrated accounting software.
Xero also offers a range of accounting tools and a user-driven marketplace where you can leave reviews.
Hootsuite has an active directory of their products on their site. They have a \"Discover Our Products\" section, which includes links to the individual product websites.
Bubble is a platform for creating no-code websites and mobile apps. Their pricing is clear to see via plugins in their marketplace.
SurveyMonkey is a simple survey builder.
Typeform are a form builder with a marketplace of user-generated quizzes, polls and surveys. They have a basic app directory.
JotForm is similar to similar form builders like Formstack. What differentiates them is the quality and quantity of their addon apps.
Asana is another popular project management and team collaboration tool. The App Marketplace consists of a limited selection of basic apps
Trello is one of the most popular project management tools. The power-up marketplace is very popular and includes install numbers.
Stripe is a popular payment processor. They have a basic marketplace for apps and extensions
Monday has an app marketplace.
ServiceNow is a "workflow tool for enterprise." Honestly, I have no idea what they do. They do, however, have a fully featured marketplace with user reviews and pricing details.
Ring Central's enterprise software services are used by over 400,000 businesses in the world.
Mindbody is a white-label SaaS provider that develops applications for physical health businesses. They have a number of apps such as a booking platform, payment integrations, and a wealth of features.
ConnectWise is a company that makes software for managing IT. It is used by many in house IT departments or outsourced IT service companies.
ConnectWise is used by in-house IT departments and outsourced IT service providers to manage IT across a business.
Some housekeeping to consider
When building for these platforms, there's somethings to keep in mind:
- Whats the actual volume of people using this marketplace
- Is there any data on churn aggresion from customers on this platform
- A rising tide lifts all boats, is the company and its marketplace actually growing ? Are they adding new users for me to be exposed to?
- How bad is the copy-cating ? (Shopify's app store is notorious for this)
- How much cut does the platform take
- Are the customers on this marketplace customers I actually want?
- Do I need to uproot my entire product just to build for this platform or is it a quick build?
- Whats the average price of a product in the market (so i know what to charge)
Some early winners can be Zapps and the Zoom marketplace, Airtables Marketplace
As someone who's launched several products on a fair few of these platforms, I can confirm that the traffic spike you get is real. But like anything else it comes down to what you actually do with that traffic and how you capitalise it. In the end if your product is shit, no one is going to use it regardless of how many people you expose it to