We don’t like to talk about app marketplace features all too much, since there are a lot of bells and whistles to get carried away with if you so desire. For this article, we’ve made an exception — we are going to talk about features, but in particular, we’re going to talk about some of the weird and wonderful app marketplace features we’ve come across, all of which we absolutely love and recommend as a must-have.
We’ve picked these unusual features not just for their novelty, but because they genuinely improve the experiences of developers and users alike, with functionality you wouldn’t necessarily expect. Since they cater to specific needs and expectations, they’re best rolled out one-by-one to see whether they really do serve your audience — and this is the way you should be thinking about new functionality.
So, without further ado, let’s dive in and see some unique app marketplace features you might one day implement yourself.
Table of Contents
1. Add to Wishlist
Description: Allows users to add integrations to an organization-wide ‘wishlist’.
Originally found at: Igloo Marketplace
On typical internet marketplaces, the wishlist is a staple feature. For some reason, very few app marketplaces implement the ability to Add to Wishlist, and we don’t know why. This is a feature we’ve seen used on the Igloo Marketplace, where it has a whole host of benefits.
For starters, the wishlist feature can be a useful tool for users who’d like to ‘suggest’ a paid app to whoever’s in charge of the organization’s finances. Moreover, a wishlist can be used to collect multiple apps on marketplaces with manual installation processes; that way, when users go to set-up their first integrations, the marketplace’s consultants can already see what they’d like to implement.
Learn more with our case study Digital Workplace Innovator, Igloo Software, Launches Marketplace using OpenChannel.
2. Smart Suggestions
Description: Links users to integrations mentioned inside an app, with one-click installation.
Originally found at: Slack App Directory
What if you could see, and even install, new integrations without ever looking at the app marketplace itself? That’s what the clever team at Slack have done: if you mention the name of a Slack integration within one of their communication channels, the helpful slack-bot will give you a one-click installation link on the chat page itself.
No, this isn’t an excuse to stop maintaining a fresh marketplace directory (as you can see from the Slack App Directory — linked above), but it’s a fantastic approach to giving users another way to painlessly connect with new apps. Also, we just think it’s really clever.
3. Developer Replies
Description: Allows developers to directly reply to marketplace users’ reviews and comments.
Originally found at: Atlassian Marketplace
The best app marketplaces are like living, growing organisms: they can sustain themselves even if you need to take a break or redirect some resources temporarily. This is because they operate as fully-fledged application ecosystems, where users and developers can directly interact with one another to create value.
One of the unusual app marketplace features you can use to achieve this effect is the option for developers to reply to their users’ comments and reviews. We’ve seen this on the Atlassian Marketplace, where it really does complete the loop in the marketplace-user-developer ecosystem. Not only could this feature allow developers to reply to users’ reviews — allowing them to extend thanks, resolve issues, or share timelines — but it could also allow developers to reply to questions and comments from non-users (without those users having to find an alternative communication channel).
4. Usage-Based Pricing
Description: Allows developers to charge users according to the usage of their integration.
Originally found at: Twilio Showcase
You don’t always want to offer usage-based pricing on your app marketplace — in fact, it might be nonsensical to do so in some cases — but there are definitely situations where this unusual feature should be the preferred choice. We refer to the example of Twilio: Twilio itself charges according to a metered structure — that is to say, the more you use Twilio, the more you pay (see the ‘per minute’ pricing option below).
As such, the idea of a usage-based pricing model is already familiar to users, and it has clear relevance when developers use it to price third party integrations. This makes the usage-based pricing feature an ideal option for the Twilio marketplace (which is probably why it’s long-been available), and many others like it.
5. Withhold User Ratings
Description: Allows platform owners to withhold ratings and reviews after first publishing an app.
Originally found at: OpenChannel
The ability to hide users’ ratings when you first publish an app is an app marketplace feature we like so much that we offer it ourselves here at OpenChannel. The reason is that your app doesn’t exactly look like the next best thing when there are only a few reviews floating around on the details page. And yet, this is something every app has to deal with following its launch. By hiding withholding user ratings and reviews for a limited period of time, you can release them all at once to give users a more attractive impression of the integration.
What’s more, the first few organic reviews provide crucial information about the shortcomings every new app has. Instead of early, negative ratings leaving a poor first impression on potential users, developers can hide the reviews while they work with existing users to improve the integration. Then, when all the issues are resolved, users can update their review to something a bit more encouraging — which can really help make an app’s success.
Final Thoughts on App Marketplace Features
Building the best app marketplace isn’t just about cramming it full of shiny features; it’s about tastefully choosing features which will contribute to both your developer and user experiences. We think that the five must-have marketplace features laid out in this article do exactly that, and we’re happy to say that the OpenChannel marketplace solution comes with most of these features by default.
What other unusual marketplace features have you encountered? Is there a particular functionality which you have seen (or employ) that’s available nowhere else? We’d love to know more — be sure to share it with us.