Launching an app marketplace can be broken down into a gradual, step-by-step process. We suggest you think of it in three stages: define, build (or buy), and onboard apps.
If you're considering launching an app marketplace, your first step should be to define your requirements.
First and foremost, choose the primary use case(s) you want to serve, so you have a clear idea of how the marketplace will augment your existing product or platform.
Secondly, decide on any other requirements. For example, will the marketplace feature self-service app activation for end users, or will they have to fill out a contact form first?
Finally, create a milestone-based, time-bound plan to create your marketplace.
After defining the requirements, milestones, and timelines for your app marketplace, you will either build the marketplace yourself, or a buy an existing solution. We have a full comparison of both options, but we'll provide a summary below.
Building your own app marketplace ensures the end product will be tailored to your needs. However, there is a considerable development cost to building your own marketplace. Additionally, there is also a maintenance aspect to consider.
As a provider of app marketplace solutions, it's only natural that we're biased towards using a proven app marketplace solution. We believe this allows you to focus foremost on use cases and integration with your existing product or platform, before navigating more detailed, yet still important marketplace functionality.
The final step in launching an app marketplace is to start onboarding apps. Ideally, you'd source apps from third-party developers, but you may also wish to create some apps internally or use an iPaaS suite.
Having third-party developers submit their own apps is the primary method (or at least goal method) to add to your marketplace. Of course, this requires you to first onboard some developers.
You can also recruit internal developers to build apps for your marketplace. This is an ideal approach for seeding a marketplace with apps, and can be used as an opportunity to build valuable integrations for end customers which might not otherwise be built.
An Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS) suite allows you to seed your marketplace with "expected" integrations, increasing speed to market. Since there is no third-party developer component, however, this will not lead to a full app ecosystem.