The app store concept is even more well-suited to SMBs and SaaS applications. An application marketplace gives SMBs one place to look for relevant software that can help them improve their operations. At the same time, the marketplace can serve as a single management and billing portal, allowing SMBs to use one username and password log in, view all of their apps, and pay for all of their subscriptions in one place. This cuts down on a host of business headaches, from having to keep track of multiple vendors, to sorting through a pile of invoices every month.
Application marketplaces are also great for partners. A marketplace can provide the necessary tools to simplify customer management, application provisioning, billing and other complex tasks. Typically, marketplaces operate under revenue-sharing agreements, with the bulk of sales going to partners and a percentage going to developers. This helps ensure a steady revenue stream for partners and developers alike.
Moreover, a marketplace can streamline the app integration process. Instead of delivering software directly to end users, developers and ISVs integrate their applications to the marketplace. This cuts down on confusion and allows partners to have more control over the user experience.
The Benefits of Marketplace-as-a-Service
That's great, you may be thinking, but is developing an application marketplace that rivals iTunes realistic? If you try to build a marketplace from scratch, the answer is probably no. With this approach, you’ll need to invest a considerable amount of time and money into the project.
If you work with an expert third-party provider, on the other hand, then an application marketplace is definitely within reach. These providers, often called cloud service brokerages or Marketplace-as-a-Service (MaaS) companies, can help you launch an application marketplace much faster than following a do-it-yourself approach.
Speed to market isn’t the only benefit a MaaS solution can deliver. MaaS-based application stores usually offer some degree of customization and branding, as many “as a service" solutions do. So a marketplace, for example, can feature a channel’s individual logo and messaging, appearing completely customized. Moreover, some MaaS solutions come pre-built with the complex technology that powers web-based transactions, such as the billing engine, which could take years to develop from scratch.