What is an App Marketplace? | Aircall Blog

What is an App Marketplace?

An app marketplace exposes your customers to a wide variety of complementary software products.
by
Nicholas Price

There are over 2.7 million apps in the leading app stores as of September 2020. Even if you have the best intentions, it’s unrealistic to think you could sort through millions of apps to find the ones that work best for your call center.

At the same time, you don’t want to miss out on apps that you could be using today to help you run your business more efficiently and give you a competitive advantage. Smaller, more targeted app marketplaces make finding impactful software easier for companies, clients, and partners.

Whether you’re running a sales, support, or service call center, a cloud-based phone system and the right apps work together to enhance your operation for your company, your customers, and even your call agents.

What Is an App Marketplace?

An app marketplace is an online platform that lists software applications for desktop computers and mobile devices. It’s also common for desktop applications to have a mobile version of the same app. Apps are usually designed to run a specific operating system such as iOS, macOS, Windows, or Android. This ensures users of all devices have full access to the same innovative products.

An app marketplace displays multiple listings, and provides topical and in-depth information on each app. You’ll find information like:

  • The name of the app and a general category
  • A short description of what the app does
  • A description of the app’s features
  • A description of how to use the app
  • The types of businesses or industries that use the app successfully
  • A short video clip of the app in action
  • Whether the app has a corresponding mobile version

When purchasing business software, a particular SaaS company’s app store will provide instances of compatible software. When an app store is arranged well, it will help you zero in on the types of apps that will work best for your business and which ones won’t.

App Marketplace Benefits

For software companies, app marketplaces offers businesses the following benefits:

Ready to build better conversations?
Simple to set up. Easy to use. Powerful integrations.
  • Credibility – Launching an app store lends credibility to a company. It means that the company follows industry trends and stays current on the latest software developments. An app store is also an indication that software manufacturers view the app marketplace provider as an industry leader that has a good reputation within the industry.
  • Reach Broader Audience – An app marketplace draws a larger audience to the company website. What this means for businesses is that there is more opportunity to use software integrations.
  • Partner with Other Companies – Provides a mutually beneficial and rewarding partnership with other companies. Partners are only inclined to put their apps on highly reputable platforms and that sends a clear message to users that partners and app marketplace owners are following best practices for coding and quality.
  • Security – App marketplaces typically vet apps for issues related to security and privacy. Stronger security benefits all parties including the users.

The Purpose of an App Marketplace

The developer community is constantly innovating to keep up with the latest industry trends. They’ve recently made huge advancements in areas like CCaaS, SaaS, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

In the early years of apps, businesses quickly saw how apps improved their capabilities. In the beginning, it all seemed very simple, and for the most part, it was. App providers quickly flooded the scene and began adding more features.

In due time, the app business became very complicated for users. The wide array of software tools started to confuse users and cause frustration. Business owners need to focus on building their companies and they just don’t have hours of time to waste doing research on the best software solutions. When frustration rules the day, the easy solution is to leave the software behind. That doesn’t help anyone.

The purpose of a curated app marketplace is to make it easy for businesses to see how they can use software solutions individually and together to enhance efficiency and increase revenue. App marketplaces highlight consumer-ready software solutions. This straightforward simplicity makes finding impactful solutions easier and faster. 

An online marketplace shines a light on the choices companies are most likely to find useful.

How Can You Make an App Marketplace Work?

While graphics and multiple listings make an app marketplace appear more official, it won’t be successful unless businesses find it useful. There’s no room for guesswork in putting an app marketplace together — taking the right steps will increase the chances of success. 

According to CBInsights, the primary reason startups fail is they don’t survey the market to see if companies will find their software solution to be beneficial. Beyond this, there are a few other things that go into creating a successful app marketplace: 

Assess demand

Assessing the demand requires evaluating the software to ensure it genuinely solves the problem that it was designed for. Other questions to ask pertain to identifying who will use the software, how they’ll use it, and the difference it will make in practice. The key question to ask is whether it truly solves the pain points for users. Essentially, can the user describe a distinct difference before using the software and after?

Scale up gradually

When there is a base of satisfied customers for a particular app, the next step is to scale. When the target audience is clear and the app reliably solves problems, it’s the right time to scale. It’s always best to grow gradually. The KPIs will indicate when it’s the proper fit in the marketplace.

Segment the market

App users may work in a variety of industries and use the app in different ways. For example, an app marketplace for a cloud-phone software solution may cater to call centers that focus on sales, support, or customer service. A successful app store promotes the benefits of the app for each use case.

Highlight use cases

Storytelling and use cases help users to envision how an app can help them. Blogs engage users and help them experience an app vicariously.

Listen to feedback from customers

This is a great way for app marketplaces to create innovation. A successful app marketplace showcases the latest innovations at first glance.

App Marketplace & the Competitive Advantage

Competition in the marketplace is greater than ever. The business climate is currently one where businesses need to be flexible and adaptable to a diverse set of changing circumstances to avoid losing their competitive advantage. The right software solutions are essential to being able to work efficiently.

There continues to be high demand for good software developers. The need for good technical people creates a heavy burden on companies. When you need them to help you vet and implement new software solutions, you may be pulling them away from critical new projects. Apps that you can quickly install yourself relieve your IT department of their time and makes you more self-reliant.

With few exceptions, every department uses technology in some form. The right software solutions set you on course to act fast and get results.

The offerings in an app marketplace make it possible for small companies to operate more efficiently and gain the same tech advantages as much larger competitors. 

The Importance of an Open API

Businesses are eager to partner with you. Software helps you connect with them. API stands for application programming interface. An API consists of a set of possible interactions with a software solution so the two programs can work together. 

APIs lend transparency to developers and organize code so developers can work faster. Essentially, APIs take the hassle out of making apps work together. An open API makes the process easy for developers.

Take a look at 4 ways that open API offers benefits and new opportunities:

  1. Removes barriers – Open APIs make software endpoints transparent for developers. That gives developers the ability to integrate directly with their own system. If other software solutions don’t fit their needs, they can use the endpoints to create a solution that does. In short, open APIs remove the barriers that prevent one solution from having a long-term relationship with another product.
  2. Promotes innovation – An open interface gives software providers the opportunity to develop new products and share them with others, creating cutting-edge innovation.
  3. Provides new insights – Open API gives companies insight to the needs that other businesses have and that opens up new opportunities that provide value across the board.
  4. Streamlines functions – End users also stand to benefit from an open API. By using multiple software solutions working together, they get a single solution that serves many functions.

Having an open API positions companies well to create and maintain profitable long-term business relationships.

How to Make Your App Marketplace Successful

Your app marketplace provides an environment where companies can easily source solutions. Developers play a strategic role in your app marketplace. As a rule of thumb, app marketplaces should be simple and easy to use.

An app marketplace should be a win for both the user and the app provider. Consider it as a place for one-stop shopping for complementary tools, plugins, and extensions for out-of-the-box software solutions.

A successful app marketplace allows visitors to see how various tools work together to form comprehensive business solutions.

Check out these examples of successful app marketplaces: 

One of the myths of app providers is that only large companies offer them. The reality is that many app developers are hobbyists or developers that work on software solutions to solve their own problems. Regardless of who is doing the development, partner developers often make valuable contributions to innovation.

App Marketplace Features 

The goal of an app marketplace design is to arrange things so that they’re easy and straightforward to navigate. It doesn’t hurt to use appealing colors and have an attractive design.

These elements will guide users to where they need to go:

  • About the company – Write a short bio about the app marketplace provider and the intended purpose for the app marketplace.
  • Section for developers – Lots of developers visit app marketplaces and many of them may be interested in open API. They should be clear on where to find more information. 
  • Listings of apps – Listings are typically arranged in rows and columns. They should have a short description with a link to a page where visitors can get detailed information.
  • Featured apps – Companies and developers are apt to visit the site often. They’ll be interested in seeing some of the latest and greatest apps, and featuring new apps is a great way to demonstrate expertise.  
  • Sidebar listing categories – Visitors may be looking for an app that serves a specific function. Categories for use case and function guide visitors to the right apps. Aircall does this very nicely.
  • Chat tool – Visitors to an app marketplace may have impromptu questions. A chat tool offers an opportunity for them to get questions answered on the spot while they’re interested.

Aircall’s app marketplace is strategically designed to create valuable partnerships. Aircall lists a host of software apps on their app marketplace. All the apps work in ways that greatly enhance the robust set of features included in Aircall’s cloud-phone system. Aircall’s app marketplace creates a mutually beneficial environment for partners, customers, and the company itself. 

The phone system for modern business