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SaaS Marketplace vs Integration Marketplace: What is the Difference?

SaaS Marketplace vs Integration Marketplace: What is the Difference?

The number of SaaS marketplaces and integration marketplaces is increasing along with the number of SaaS companies. With more than 15,000 SaaS companies in the United States alone and more being started daily, it's no surprise that we've come up with ways to make it easier for people to see what options are available for SaaS apps and SaaS integrations.

What is a SaaS marketplace?

The term "SaaS marketplace" can have one of several meanings. It can be:

  • A website where a user can discover, review, and subscribe to SaaS products.
  • A SaaS app that is itself a marketplace but can be used to sell anything.
  • A feature of a SaaS app where a user can view and subscribe to add-ons, plugins, extensions, and integrations for that app.

Let's examine each of these in more detail.

Website for procuring SaaS products

The SaaS marketplace (or marketplace SaaS) can be broadly defined. In the case of Amazon's AWS Marketplace, the offerings are tied to a product (AWS), but that product is a platform (instead of an app). Since AWS is the most common platform for SaaS apps worldwide, the breadth of SaaS products offered on the marketplace is probably only matched by the Azure Marketplace. This is Microsoft's equivalent for SaaS apps that run on its Azure platform.

SaaS app as the marketplace

The SaaS app that is the marketplace is also sometimes called a SaaS-enabled marketplace. We only mention it here for completeness, as it serves quite a different purpose than other SaaS marketplaces. Instead of the marketplace being the means of selling SaaS products, the marketplace is merely using SaaS to run the e-commerce platform.

Feature of a SaaS app

Salesforce's AppExchange is an example of a B2B SaaS marketplace dedicated to a single product or suite of products. AppExchange has hundreds of apps, plugins, extensions, integrations, and more. All of these are focused on leveraging and extending Salesforce's functionality. Similarly, Atlassian has a marketplace dedicated to Atlassian's product suite.

What is an integration marketplace?

Integration marketplaces are a subset of B2B SaaS marketplaces that provide integrations with a single product or suite of products. HubSpot's App Marketplace is an excellent example, listing dozens of integrations built specifically for HubSpot.

The integration marketplace is a feature of a SaaS app where customers can explore the app's integration offerings, activate the ones they need, and use self-serve support tools.

An integration marketplace allows a B2B SaaS company to:

  • Provide a high-quality integration experience to its customers that, when embedded, appears to be a native part of the app
  • Increase awareness and adoption of its integration offerings
  • Increase product value, improve product stickiness, and increase customer retention
  • Reduce the integration effort for its teams by allowing users to enable native integrations for themselves
  • Reduce integration-related support calls

Within the integration marketplace, B2B SaaS customers can:

  • Explore all integration offerings
  • Self-activate native integrations that connect to the other apps and services they use
  • Monitor their active integrations using powerful logging and alerting tools

Why do many SaaS companies lack an integration marketplace?

With all the benefits we've listed, why don't more SaaS companies have an integration marketplace?

Building an integration marketplace in-house is incredibly time-consuming and expensive. With core product features competing for scarce dev resources, it's difficult for most SaaS companies to carve out the time and resources it takes to do it right.

But that's where the embedded integration marketplace can help.

An embedded integration marketplace is ideal for companies that cannot afford to build and manage their own in-house integration marketplace. It allows developers to focus on the core product while leveraging the marketplace to provide an outstanding customer experience. And that customer experience can increase app stickiness and reduce customer churn.

What is an embedded integration marketplace?

An embedded integration marketplace is an integration marketplace procured from a third party. A SaaS company can provide its customers with marketplace functionality without investing in marketplace development and infrastructure. It looks and feels like a feature of your SaaS app but costs far less than building everything from scratch.

Complete out-of-the-box integration UX

Customers can quickly locate the available native integrations, configure them to their specific needs, and activate them. Once the integrations are up and running, the customer may use built-in tools to monitor the integrations, troubleshoot issues that arise, and re-configure integrations as necessary. The customer controls each integration and can access important status information.

Looks and feels like your product

The embedded integration marketplace will use SSO and is usually white-labeled and themeable to ensure that you can customize colors and design elements to match your app, giving your customers a native integration deployment experience. If you want complete control over the user experience, you can often design your own UX for the integration marketplace and tie it into the API for the embedded marketplace.

For a fraction of the cost of in-house development

Generally speaking, you can deploy an embedded integration marketplace for a fraction of the cost it would have taken to build it in-house and can often do so in a matter of days instead of weeks or months. Because the vendor provides the embedded integration marketplace to many SaaS companies, the per company cost is far less than it would be if a single company were to set up its own integration marketplace.

Part of an embedded iPaaS

The embedded integration marketplace is usually provided as part of an embedded iPaaS. Embedded iPaaS solutions are end-to-end platforms that provide everything you need to build integrations, deploy them to customers, run them in production, and provide integration support.

Conclusion

SaaS marketplaces are proliferating along with the SaaS apps that drive them. You've probably used a SaaS marketplace of some type, and you may have even considered if you should build a SaaS marketplace for your app.

If you have a B2B SaaS app, and it needs to share data with other common (and not-so-common) SaaS apps, then you need an integration marketplace.

And if you would like to enable your customers’ integrations as part of onboarding, and not three months down the line, that’s where Prismatic can help. Our embedded integration marketplace has all the tools necessary to make that happen. Reach out if you’d like to learn more.


About Prismatic

Prismatic is the integration platform for B2B software companies. It's the quickest way to build integrations to the other apps your customers use and to add a native integration marketplace to your product. A complete embedded iPaaS solution that empowers your whole organization, Prismatic encompasses an intuitive integration designer, embedded integration marketplace, integration deployment and support, and a purpose-built cloud infrastructure. Prismatic was built in a way developers love and provides the tools to make it perfectly fit the way you build software.

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