Payment processing giant Stripe has been running it’s take on an app marketplace since late 2016. During this time, Stripe’s Apps & Extensions marketplace has garnered plenty of fame for all the right reasons. Praised for its user-friendly API, intuitive partner taxonomy, and beautiful design, the Stripe marketplace is an admirable example of an app marketplace.
Earlier this year, Stripe decided to refresh their app store with a few small, albeit very effective tweaks. In this article, we’ll dive deep into five of these tweaks, looking at how they offer a serious boost in User Experience (UX). With any luck, you’ll consider making these same small changes on your marketplace!
UX Tweak #1: One-Line Descriptions
One of our favorite changes to the Stripe marketplace is the introduction of single-line descriptions below each homepage listing. Previously, app listings on the homepage consisted of just a logo, name, and category. While this wasn’t a problem if you knew what you were looking for, it made organic app discovery much more difficult for users who were casually browsing to see how apps might bring value to their business.
The new design includes a short, unique description below every listing, instead of a not-as-helpful broad category. Together with an increased page length, this makes it much easier for users to explore the possibilities of Stripe’s many apps.
UX Tweak #2: New Categorization
The next clever tweak to the Stripe marketplace was changing the way apps are categorized on the homepage. Before, apps on the marketplace’s homepage were sorted across four groups, based on Stripe’s approach to distinguishing partners: Extension Partners, Platform Partners, Plugin Partners, and Service Partners. Although this is a useful classification for partners, it’s much less meaningful for end users, and certainly wasn’t a good fit for the homepage.
Now, Stripe categorizes homepage apps by their use case — for example, “Build an ecommerce business”:
This is a clever change for two reasons. First, use cases are a more helpful categorization for browsing purposes: users can just search for the outcomes they need, without having to understand partner taxonomies. Second, the new categories are great for marketing reasons! Users who land on the homepage are now immediately exposed to all the possibilities of Stripe’s apps and extensions, making the marketplace much more enticing.
UX Tweak #3: Improved Search
In addition to changing how apps are categorized, Stripe have further improved browsability by adding new search filters. Previously, the search box allowed for only simple, text-based queries. This made it difficult to find the right app unless you knew exactly what words were used to describe it.
The new search filters include Business Need, Industry, and Location. By far the most practical of these filters is Business Need, where users can select one or more specific functionalities under the umbrellas of Finance, Marketing & Sales, Operations, or Payments. The Industry filter also has its uses, especially when users are casually browsing for apps that might be valuable to their business. Finally, there’s the Location filter, which we’ll come back to in a second.
UX Tweak #4: Supported Countries
Stripe have recognized that both partners and users have certain geographical constraints when it comes to integration. While these constraints may be political in some cases, they can also be functionality-bound; for example, you’ll only want accounting extensions if they tailor to your jurisdiction’s tax requirements.
As a result of this, Stripe have decided to make it abundantly clear what countries each app supports. Not only did they introduce the Location search filter — as described above — but they also added a Supported In panel on each extension’s page. This way, users can save themselves the frustration of finding an app they like, only to discover it doesn’t support their region.
UX Tweak #5: Services Directory
Last but not least, Stripe added a services directory as part of their most recent update. While the marketplace itself still focuses on traditional integrations, recognizing these non-app partners in a separate area demonstrates that Stripe is looking to build a fuller ecosystem of partners, even if they don’t fit into the standard marketplace framework.
That’s not to say Stripe didn’t recognize their service partners before, though. Service partners were previously lumped under the core marketplace, with their own category on the homepage (recall tweak #2). However, this new change significantly improves clarity: users now have one directory for apps and another for service partners.
While some companies have offered similar partner directories for years (as is the case with Salesforce’s AppExchange Consultants), it’s worth noting that we’ve recently seen an industry-wide push towards recognizing service partners to increase customer success. For example, Zendesk recently launched a Partner Directory to go alongside their traditional app marketplace. Similarly, SalesLoft created a Consulting Partner Directory with the help of OpenChannel, which supports multiple directories by default.
Stripe were already an admirable example of an app marketplace, but with these small tweaks, they’re continuing to improve the User Experience slowly and surely. With one-line descriptions below each app listing, improved search features, and new categories, they’ve significantly improved app discoverability. Meanwhile, by introducing supported countries as an app criterion, they’ve tackled hidden disappointment and frustration. Finally, with the addition of a services directory, Stripe have demonstrated they value all members of their ecosystem.