Digital Marketplace

A digital marketplace is an online store where customers can go to find and purchase digital products, such as software as a service (SaaS), infrastructure as a service (IaaS), and hardware as a service (HaaS), as well as many other types of digital offerings.

Customers may use a digital marketplace to download applications to devices, such as a computer or smartphone. This strategy can also offer clients a central location to manage and use cloud-based apps and services, supporting customer satisfaction. A marketplace may include a company’s own core offerings as well as third-party applications.

Digital marketplaces can offer business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) software, and customers may be an individual consumer or organization. Businesses create their own or partner with providers of digital marketplace solutions to support their digital platforms, connecting their prospects and current users with relevant use cases by providing both products and support.

Digital marketplace is synonymous with application marketplace.

The Magic Behind the Digital Marketplace

Learn about how marketplaces are giving companies the ability to grow beyond their core offerings and providing customers with a selection of products from third-party sellers.

What you'll learn:

  • Global trends leading to the proliferation of marketplaces
  • Industry use cases and best practices for marketplace success
  • How to overcome challenges of subscription commerce
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Combating Digital Marketplaces Stagnation

How do digital marketplaces work?

An effective digital marketplace streamlines the purchasing, deployment, and use of digital offerings and facilitates access to support services. It makes those processes simple and reliable for customers.

Without a digital marketplace, your business can constrain its ability to connect with customers and display its offerings. The other option is to distribute software through physical media, an outdated and limited approach that digital commerce and cloud-based offerings have largely supplanted. Digital marketplaces are vital for building positive value in your brand and supporting an exceptional customer experience.

A marketplace presents your own offerings and those of any third parties you work with in a format that supports buyers’ needs and takes long-term satisfaction into account. The purchasing process itself is streamlined. There’s no need for customers to navigate to a different website or visit a physical location to complete a purchase. Instead, they can use this platform directly.

By incorporating support, prospects and clients know they can count on effective service in addition to a useful digital offering. Introducing new products developed internally and by partners to your marketplace can encourage customers to make more purchases across the length of the relationship.

How an online marketplace generates revenue

An online marketplace must implement one or more payment structures to capture revenue and achieve success.

Companies often use a subscription commerce model, where customers provide a regular payment in return for continued access to their purchases. Businesses benefit from a consistent and recurring revenue stream that can make it easier to forecast cash flow, prepare budgets, lower administrative costs and support higher business valuations.

Customers, meanwhile, can count on a similarly recurring bill at a stable price that more easily figures into their own budgeting and planning. The subscription commerce model spreads out the cost of a digital product by addressing the barriers to entry that come with a high upfront price.

Revenue is a foundational consideration for every company, and there are proven methods to generate it in addition to subscription commerce. Review these digital marketplace examples to learn more about payment models including commissions, sign-up fees, and product listing fees.

How can my company grow and scale its online marketplace?

Opening a digital marketplace can be a major step forward for your business.

However, your organization needs to effectively target, engage with, and serve its customers to make success with this business model realistic and build its brand reputation. As a marketplace operator, it must also seize opportunities that support its bottom line through processes like automation, as well as partnerships with third parties.

It’s not enough to only offer a product that aligns with a prospect’s needs—successful digital commerce requires building an ecosystem that addresses all major requirements of the customer lifecycle. Building trust throughout the buyer’s journey is crucial. Other important steps include:

  • Enabling education and awareness: Ensure product pages and promotional copy are indexable by search engines, to allow customers to more easily find their way to your marketplace. Using Google Ads can position your offerings at the top of a results page and make them more visible to potential buyers.
  • Making key information visible: Customers want to find the product that best addresses their pain points or aligns with a business opportunity. To that end, consider including tools in your marketplace that allow users to compare offerings. Similarly, incorporating and highlighting positive product reviews and ratings from third-party services can build buyer confidence.
  • Providing support as well as products: Technical issues, questions about specific functionalities and many more issues can arise for companies implementing new software. As a supplier, your business must put the needed systems in place to address customer concerns and enable their success in the long term.
  • Working with third parties: Your digital marketplace can include a wider range of relevant products when your company builds a business relationship with third-party developers. Modules and add-ons make your offerings more versatile and useful, offering an additional revenue stream.
  • Incorporating robust automation: Automating rote and time-consuming but necessary processes related to a digital marketplace reduces the workload of your staff. Instead, they can focus on more pressing needs and use their talents to their fullest.

Starting to build your online marketplace

AppDirect provides the foundation your business needs to launch a white-label software marketplace as well as grow and scale it. Our teams can support you throughout this process with highly relevant experience, from helping you choose between a turnkey marketplace or customized digital platform to deploying rich product profiles and ensuring successful automation.

Request a demo today to learn more.