Or: Why you should take advantage of app stores & integration marketplaces.

A bit more than a decade ago, with the launches of Android and the iPhone, the two biggest app stores got born. People took advantage of partnering with these big tech companies - and often it paid off! There was a time when apps from single developers or small teams got featured and grew into massive multi-million dollar companies. In many cases, they are still around, bigger than ever.

The app gold rush has slowed down since then, and people sometimes forget that there are tons of other app stores still out there. Stripe has one, Shopify does too, Wordpress has another one. And yet, people often don't consider using these opportunities to get in front of a massive audience.

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Build with, not for them

I was always a little skeptic about app marketplaces. What if they steal your idea and implement it themselves? What if they revoke your access? Looking at the companies that came out successfully of the app gold rush, there's a distinctive trend: They were multi-platform and never relied on the app store fully.

You have to look at app marketplaces as launchpads for a bigger, overall launch strategy. I recently read about Geocode.xyz: They are a standalone API for geoparsing, and are listed on the AWS Marketplace (where they get a large chunk of their users!). Baremetrics.com famously started as a Stripe Analytics app, and while it still is part of their core business, they now also have analytics for other app stores, Recurly and Braintree.

What I'm trying to say is, that app marketplaces are a great way to get started and gain traction for your product. It's not much work to integrate a fitting product with AWS Marketplace, Shopify or Wordpress, and it presents your app to a growing audience of (possibly) more casual users. Do not rely on these partners for long though, as they can - as discussed - revoke your access at any time or simply implement the feature you are providing themselves. The goal is to get the most value out of these integrations and possibly even convert users to use your product without the integration.

With every product I launch, I now also think about possible integrations, many of my product have plans for 4-5 integrations. If you need help brainstorming, just get in touch.