The Catalog: One of the Key Success Factors that Can Make or Break a Marketplace
When you launch your marketplace, your first thought is about monetizing it. This is only natural. After all, everyone knows that software marketplaces are great for generating new streams of revenue for companies of all sizes.
Far be it from us to ever say that marketing your marketplace isn’t important. Of course it is! And you should carefully plan and execute your strategy.
We’re just saying that there might be something equally important that determines the success or failure of your marketplace: the catalog.
What You Sell Defines You
Let’s make an exercise: imagine you invested a lot of time and money in your marketing strategy. Your target audience knows of your marketplace even before it’s launched. Better yet, they can’t wait to access it.
Sounds like a dream come true, right?
But what if, when the big opening day comes, your eager customers discover they can’t find what they were looking for. How long do you think they’ll hang around waiting for you to update your marketplace’s catalog?
Given the cutthroat competition in the field, you shouldn’t expect them to wait at all.
You can’t sell what you don’t have!
Turn the Vicious Cycle into a Virtuous Cycle
To get end users into your marketplace, you need software vendors. To get software vendors, you need customers.
Luckily, there’s a way around that.
Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, called it the virtuous cycle. At Amazon, they played around with prices until they got a large enough customer base to attract more sellers to the website.
Of course, this is one model and it definitely does not fit all.
If, for instance, you are a telecom company, you already have a customer base. So it’s easy for you to attract software vendors. The key here is to attract the right vendors. Quality means more than quantity when it comes to software and your users know that.
THOUGHT – all this paragpraph (article?) is based on sw vendors …. what if we introduce the concept of “digitala sset, made by digital buildinhg blocks. Where DBB are provdied by the provider (the trelco or the bank or whtever) but1 also by vendors trusted partends etc. And where DBB can be sw, services, anything ….. it’s much more effectvie in myopinion. More, for the CIO it should mor intriguing to understand how he could build up digital assets made by different pèrovideres of pieces of services (the dbb)
If you don’t yet have a customer base to help you attract software vendors, you can always rely on your other major selling point to convince them they have to be in your catalog. Easy onboarding, flexible pricing models, relevant products and a coherent marketing strategy are all great points to make when recruiting vendors.
How to Choose the Right Vendors for Your Catalog
Again, size isn’t everything.
Marketplace owners sometimes tend to be blinded by success stories such as Amazon’s and think that they can’t go wrong by selling literally anything.
Still, software buyers are more selective than Amazon ones. Always refer back to your buyer persona when you can’t decide whether to onboard a vendor or not.
In a software marketplace, you can typically have three types of products:
- Mainstream solutions: everybody knows them and they need little publicity. People simply need to know your marketplace sells them.
- Nice solutions: software dedicated to a single industry or a single region. Oil and gas is a very good example here. These products need a bit of help to be discovered by those who may need them.
- Your own solutions: bundling your own apps with either of the two above is a great way to gain some visibility and, of course, new revenue streams.
As a marketplace owner, it is your job to find the perfect mix of the three. You may include a bit of everything or you may choose to ignore two categories and only provide niche solutions for small, but profitable industries.
The answer to selecting the right software vendors for your marketplace catalog resides with your end users. If you get to know them well enough, you’ll know exactly what to populate your catalog with.
For instance, at Cloudesire, we make sure that our customers can jumpstart their growth from their launch day. We offer the CSP enablement for the whole Microsoft catalog, with all their products, but also their Azure catalog repository for distribution across Azure or Azure Stack. This way, our customers can choose between 6000+ software products from the very beginning.
Need help with your marketplace catalog? We’re here for you with advice and even a great catalog example to get you started. Contact us anytime – we’d be happy to help you create the marketplace that redefines your business.