5 Key Factors for the Success of a SaaS Marketplace
It looks like pretty soon, companies will run purely on SaaS. According to a recent study, 2018 may remain in tech history like the year when a SaaS-exclusive tech market becomes a reality.
Just as we speak, the vast majority of industry-leading systems and applications are receiving their very own cloud versions. And there is no doubt that their SaaS-ification will be well received by the public.
Thus, it is the best of times to consider investing in a SaaS marketplace. To paraphrase Dickens, it’s also the worst of times.
It’s quite simple: while the demand for SaaS products has never been higher, neither has the offer. This means that your SaaS marketplace will face fierce competition.
Let’s take a quick look at the success factors that can make or break a SaaS marketplace:
1. The Catalog
The catalog is the first key to your SaaS marketplace’s success. In a way, it defines your business.
A strong catalog can attract not only end users, but also vendors. And while every SaaS marketplace owner chases the most popular products, you should in fact look at three different types of products:
- Mainstream software – the kind that everyone already knows of.
- Niche software – products from independent vendors or less-known developers. Look for industry or geo-specific software that big players don’t usually cover.
- Own-branded software – market your own applications or white label software under your brand.
You can find more information about what makes a great marketplace catalog here.
2. Critical Mass
This is the old chicken and egg dilemma. Translated to our situation, it would be: “what came first, the user or the vendor”?
As a marketplace owner, you need to concern yourself with both. The critical mass of a business, any kind of business, refers to the growth required for it to survive.
In a marketplace, your critical mass comes from both end users and vendors, as neither can exist without the other. In other words: you need both chicken and eggs at the same time.
3. Efficient Product Discovery and Matching
When a user visits a marketplace, they have a clear intent in mind. They know what they are looking for and it is your job to make discovery easy for them.
Next up, since churn rates are a big problem for SaaS marketplaces, you need to ensure that product suggestions are also very relevant and customized. Turn end users into loyal ambassadors of your marketplace by helping them discover new products at the right time.
4. Secure Transactions and a Trusted Environment
Payment gateways need to be 100% secure. Any flaw here will deter both vendors and users from your marketplace.
While that may be common knowledge, here’s something that is not: in their rush to add more players in their marketplace, owners sometimes forget that quality weighs more than quantity. Make sure that your reviewing and rating processes are easy to use and trustworthy. You need people to be able to rely on the recommendations on your platform. Similarly, vet every vendor carefully and turn down those that are anything short of completely trustworthy.
5. Detailed Buyer Personas
Yes, detailed buyer personas often mean that you have to leave some people or brands out. But specificity will not only make promotion easier, but also give you a privileged market position.
For instance, if you focus on a specific industry (like oil & gas or financial services), you have a better chance of attracting qualified leads. These are the type of leads that prefer buying from a specialized marketplace rather than from a generic one.
Don’t forget that a SaaS marketplace is more than an app store. You have a huge responsibility for both vendors and sellers and you need to make that clear from your very first day.
Need more help ensuring the success of your SaaS marketplace? We’re here for you! Check out how Cloudesire can empower you with all the tools you need to succeed in this cutthroat industry.