How to develop a SaaS marketplace software?

Got plans to create the world’s best SaaS marketplace software platform? Here is everything you need to know to get into the SaaS software marketplace.

Marketplaces make it easier than ever to discover a wide range of products and services at great prices. As an example, you can: 

  • Use Airbnb to find a cool place to stay on holiday
  • Look at Etsy to get an awesome present for your friend’s birthday 
  • Search Deliveroo to see what delicious food you can order for lunch.

Software as a service (SaaS) based marketplace means software companies can sell their products to people across the world. People who may not necessarily have heard of them before.

If you have the next big idea for a SaaS marketplace, here’s what you need to know to help get it to market.

  • What is a SaaS marketplace?
  • Examples of SaaS marketplaces
  • The benefits of creating a SaaS marketplace
  • How to create a SaaS marketplace platform
  • In summary: Developing a SaaS-based marketplace is easier than you might think

Before we start though, let’s review what a SaaS marketplace software is…

What is a SaaS marketplace? you are launched

What is a SaaS marketplace?

A SaaS marketplace is a marketplace where providers can promote their software or apps to interested people.

Customers search for the type of software they are looking for and are directed towards some examples that they might like. Alternatively, if they know the name of the software they want, they can go directly to it.

They can then either purchase a subscription for the software or access a free trial version.

A lot of marketplaces are developed by software providers so they can direct customers towards integrations that will help them save time or offer a better experience.

Most SaaS marketplaces let customers review the software they have bought, either through a star-rating system or by leaving a comment.

Looking to create a SaaS mobile app rather than a SaaS-based marketplace? This blog article has all the information you need.

Note, that you might face a Chicken & Egg problem. And here we gathered a list of tactics how to solve the chicken and egg problem.

Examples of SaaS marketplaces. urlaunched

Examples of SaaS marketplaces

Some SaaS marketplace platforms that are popular with users include:

You can find more examples on the SaaS marketplace website which is ironical, a marketplace for marketplaces!

There are also review sites like G2 and Capterra. While these aren’t SaaS marketplaces as such, they provide software reviews, with links to purchase the product through the company’s website.

The benefits of creating a SaaS marketplace software. you are launched

The benefits of creating a SaaS marketplace software

More and more businesses are buying their products from marketplaces, with over half of IT spending shifting to the cloud by 2025.

This means by having a SaaS marketplace in place, you could have a captive audience of buyers.

The benefit of creating any type of marketplace is that they:

  • Are easy to create with a low barrier to entry
  • Are easy to scale
  • Encourage repeat purchases from existing customers
  • Offer recurring revenue models
  • Help create an online community
How to create a SaaS marketplace platform. urlaunched

How to create a SaaS marketplace platform

Building a SaaS marketplace is not without its challenges. The average marketplace only has a lifespan of five years.

However, get it right, and you’ve got yourself a successful business.

There are a few things you need to consider to ensure success. Here are our top tips for developing a SaaS-based marketplace.

Understand what pain points your marketplace will help solve.

1. Understand what pain points your marketplace will help solve

35% of startups that fail do so because they tried to solve a problem that nobody had

This means that before you start to develop your marketplace, you need to understand your target audience and how your SaaS marketplace can help them out.

What SaaS products will you sell, and how will it solve your key demographic’s problems?

A lean canvas can be really useful for determining problems and how you can solve them.

Know what type of platform you want to be

2. Know what type of platform you want to be

When you understand your target audience, you’ll know whether you want to focus on a specific type of SaaS solution or if you want to be more generic.

Vertical marketplaces concentrate on a particular niche, while horizontal marketplaces sell a range of various software across all different industries. More details you can find over here.

For example, a vertical SaaS marketplace platform could focus on software that helps graphic designers work more efficiently, or help finance departments save time on payroll.

There are pros and cons to both types of marketplaces but in our experience, it’s easier to start as a vertical marketplace. You can always expand into a horizontal marketplace later once you become more established.

You’ll also need to consider the competition and the type of SaaS marketplace they offer. While a bit of competition is healthy, you don’t want to enter an overly saturated market.

Decide which development platform you want to use

3. Decide which development platform you want to use

When developing a SaaS platform, you can buy an off-the-shelf solution or build it from scratch.

The benefit of an off-the-shelf model is you can get to market quicker, but the benefit of creating it yourself is that you can customize it to your own specific needs. If you’re looking to offer a unique selling point, this could play to your advantage.

The final choice will depend on your timescales, budget, and the type of marketplace you want to create. It may be the case that you start with an off-the-shelf package and move to a custom platform later in your startup life cycle.

If you choose to create your SaaS marketplace yourself and you don’t have the web development skills, you can hire someone to build it for you. Find out more in our guide to hiring developers for your startup

You’ll also need to decide if you want to create an app version of your marketplace. This will allow customers to search and buy software on the go, without having to sit at a computer.

Bring in checks to build confidence

4. Bring in checks to build confidence

You want to make sure your users are trustworthy and that they are who they said they are. 

Security is very important on platforms like this. For example, if a dubious user uploads spyware or malware to your SaaS marketplace and another customer downloads it, you will get in a lot of trouble.

Carrying out background checks as well as providing ‘verified seller’ icons for proven SaaS companies can help instill trust and give buyers confidence that they’re getting the real deal.

Use technology to your advantage

5. Use technology to your advantage

By keeping on top of the latest tech trends, you can build an intuitive platform that everyone wants to use.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) can be used to provide a high-quality user experience. For example, you can use AI to recommend software based on a customer’s previous purchases and search queries.

Alternatively, you may elect to let customers pay using cryptocurrency as an alternative to Google Pay or PayPal.

Think about how you'll make money

6. Think about how you’ll make money

Marketplaces can make their money from users in a variety of ways, and it’s important to work out how you’ll make a profit. Options available include:

  • Charging a commission for every transaction. As SaaS software is typically a subscription, will you charge a one-off commission or for how long the software is used?
  • Charging a monthly or annual fee
  • Charging for a premium or sponsored listings
  • Offering to advertise if your SaaS marketplace will be free to use

Some marketplaces charge fees on a sliding scale. The more revenue a user brings in, the less overall commission or money they are charged. This can be an excellent incentive to encourage big companies to use your platform.

Bring in analytics

7. Bring in analytics

Your users will want to know how their software is doing in your SaaS marketplace. For example, what search terms bring up their product, how many times have customers clicked on their page, and how much revenue have they made?

You’ll need to offer a solid analytics package so customers can see how successful they are and if they need to make any adjustments to their product offering.

Think about what stats you want to make available. Will an off-the-shelf analytics package do the job, or will you need to code something bespoke?

Create an MVP

8. Create an MVP

A minimum viable product (MVP) will mean you can launch your SaaS marketplace sooner. 

An MVP is a no-frills version of your marketplace that you can use to get customer feedback. Over time, you can add more features.

Only 55% of features in software are used, so by eliminating them before you launch, you can save a lot of time and money!

When you develop your MVP, think about the features you want to implement. Which features will your customers want to use, and which are ‘nice to have’? 

For example, while you might like the idea of two-factor authentication, this might be something that can hang on until later. 

Find out more about building an MVP.

Make sure your SaaS marketplace software is discoverable

9. Make sure your SaaS marketplace software is discoverable

One of the main advantages of marketplaces for the people that use them is that all the search optimization and marketing is done by the marketplace. This saves them money, time, and effort.

What does this mean for you? It means that you need to market your new site extensively to keep users happy. You’ll also need marketing in place to encourage SaaS businesses to promote their software on your marketplace.

When determining your budget, you will need to have a significant amount of money put aside for promotion and SEO. Will you do this work in-house, or will you outsource it to someone else?

Find out more about digital marketing strategies for startups

In summary: Developing a SaaS-based marketplace software is easier than you might think

In summary: Developing a SaaS-based marketplace software is easier than you might think

With over 15,000 SaaS companies in the United States alone, there are potentially lots of prospective customers that can use the SaaS marketplace software you develop.

These companies may find it challenging and expensive to sell their software on their own website. By creating a SaaS website, you’re giving them a platform to find brand new customers.

Let’s review what you need to bear in mind when developing a SaaS marketplace:

  1. Do your market research and see if there’s a need for your marketplace idea;
  2. Know if you’ll be a horizontal or vertical SaaS marketplace software;
  3. Think about whether you’ll build your platform from scratch or use an off-the-shelf package;
  4. Verify sellers for your customers’ peace of mind;
  5. Use technology to improve the user experience as well as offer a unique selling point;
  6. Consider how you’ll monetize your SaaS marketplace software;
  7. Set up analytics so users can see how they’re doing;
  8. Put together an MVP so you can get to market sooner rather than later;
  9. Have a strong marketing strategy in place so customers can find your marketplace easily.

Set on creating a SaaS marketplace? We wish you the very best of luck!

Want to know more about launching a marketplace startup? These blog articles will give you the information you need to succeed!


You are launched is here to help you create the perfect SaaS marketplace software

If you’re looking to create the next big marketplace, we have the experience and skills you need to get ahead of the competition.

We’ve been working with startups, accelerators, and venture capital companies since 2014. If you want to support developing a SaaS marketplace, we’ll help you determine your key features, identify your brand positioning, and get you to market.

Contact us today and see how we can help your SaaS marketplace software thrive

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