Point-of-Sale App Stores as a Marketing Channel
Accounting and payroll processing software companies have an alternative to using blog posts and pay-per-click ads to promote themselves. Point-of-sale (PoS) terminal manufacturers operate their own app stores. A point-of-sale app store sells third-party integrations that add features to the terminal’s software. These stores function like the Apple Store, the Google Play Store, and the Microsoft Store. They’re directories where retail store owners can find apps to install. And they provide a great way for restaurant and retail store owners, as well as other types of small business owners, to discover apps that automate tedious record-keeping tasks.
Apps, Modules, and Integrations
Payment processing software companies and PoS terminal manufacturers often use different words to describe the third-party add-ons in their online marketplaces. These companies may call them apps, modules, or integrations. All of these terms are valid. But since these add-ons primarily transfer data between financial software platforms, integrations may be the best way to describe them. For example, the Synder add-on transfers sales data from Square’s payment processing platform to accounting apps like Xero, so it’s effectively integrating Xero with Square.
The Clover App Market
The Clover Store is called the App Market. Clover is a major point-of-sale terminal manufacturer so there are a lot of business and accounting software companies that make apps for Clover terminals. At the top of the app market, there’s a carousel with featured apps from major business software companies like Paychex, Homebase, and Gusto. These apps also appear in the top section on the store page as must-have apps. So these are the apps that Clover really likes. Below that, Clover separates its apps into categories that include notable new apps, newly released apps, inventory management apps, and invoicing apps.
Clover even has separate categories for new and notable apps and newly released apps. This category design indicates that Clover is curating the apps in the new and notable app category. The apps in that category don’t just show up because they were launched recently. Clover decided to highlight them because of their impressive features. And the new and notable apps are still too new to have customer reviews, which suggests that Clover’s team is reviewing them itself.
The App Market profile pages include customer reviews as well. Apps with high reviews include Inventory Management from Shopventory, which has a score of 4.9 out of 5, and Analytics Business Q from Qualia, which also scores 4.9 out of 5. Another popular integration is Google’s Pointy with a Clover review score of 4.6. With this app, an online store can display their inventory in the Google search results directly. The app can also add product displays to a Google Maps page or a Google business profile. Clover gives retail stores additional sales channels so it’s not surprising why merchants like this add-on.
The point-of-sale terminal maker Lightspeed offers Lightspeed Integrations. In this store, an integration from Davo is featured at the top. Davo makes a SaaS app that helps retail stores calculate and pay their sales taxes. This is a money management app as well as a bookkeeping app and the Davo app can set aside sales taxes until it’s time for the business to pay them. The Davo app is very useful but because Lightspeed is featuring this specific app, merchants have to scroll down to see apps from other software companies.
After that, Lightspeed lists the apps in its integration catalog in alphabetical order. So the apps from 2Accept, Accumula, Agendrix, and Amaka show up first. Yesterday I was just talking to SEO expert David Melamed about the history of SEO. Have you ever seen a business with a name like AA Auto Repair in the Yellow Pages? Or wondered why the AAA Auto Club was so successful at selling auto insurance? Businesses figured out how to optimize their names for directory sites long before Google was created.
It’s also notable that numbers appear before letters in the Lightspeed catalog, so a name like 1111 Bookkeeping could help a software company gain visibility. There are currently 62 apps in the Lightspeed integration store so you can still scroll down a bit and see the Vantiv app at the bottom, but with a larger catalog merchants might pick the first app they see that meets their needs.
The Shopify App Store
Shopify also offers a large, well-organized app store where apps are split up into multiple categories. The Shopify App Store has separate sections for trending apps, newly released apps with high reviews, and apps that perform specific functions for merchants. For example, there are categories for dropshipping apps, customer loyalty apps, and invoice creation apps. Shopify also has apps for merchants that display their products on specific platforms such as Google, Facebook, and Pinterest.
The apps in the Shopify store also include customer reviews. Shopify’s using the same scale as Clover, so apps receive a score between 1 and 5. The app store highlights the top apps and a merchant would have to search for other apps with lower scores, so it’s important for an app developer to get a review score above 4 and preferably as close to 5 as possible if they want their app to show up on the app store page.
While Shopify is meant for online stores and might not be considered a direct competitor of companies that make PoS terminals for brick-and-mortar businesses, several of the companies that make Lightspeed and Clover integrations also make Shopify apps. Many retail stores sell products online as well as at their retail storefronts, and it’s more convenient for the business if both of its segments use the same accounting apps.
The Square App Store
Square offers both payment processing for online stores and point-of-sale terminals. The Square terminals are meant to be used with Square software and aren’t designed to support multiple payment processors like the Clover terminals. Square also has its own marketplace, or integration store, called the Square App Marketplace.
The highly rated apps in the Square marketplace include apps from companies like Davo and Shopventory that also support other PoS manufacturers. So many of the leading integration developers are the leaders on multiple PoS marketplaces and that indicates that it would be hard to compete with them.
Square offers a lot of apps designed specifically to support restaurants. That makes sense because one of its main customer groups is the restaurants that buy its PoS terminals. So a company that makes an app for restaurants might want to choose the Square platform instead of a platform where the top downloads are invoice creation apps.
The apps that appear on the Square app store page receive very high review scores. Several of the apps for restaurants have scores of 5 out of 5 with multiple reviews from restaurant owners. This indicates that it could be hard to compete with the most popular apps on this platform. On the other hand, Square also displays a category for newly released apps that don’t have reviews yet, so there are opportunities for new integrations to get discovered on the Square page.
The Key Is Reviews on the App Store Pages
Regardless of what the payment processing companies and PoS terminal manufacturers call their app stores, these stores are still a good way for accounting software developers to find new customers. Most of the major app stores prominently feature integrations that received good reviews, so convincing happy restaurant owners and retail store owners to leave positive reviews would be a very effective SEO method.
The highest-rated apps on the Square store each have around 20 reviews, so a company may not need a huge number of reviews to get its app featured on a payment processor or PoS terminal manufacturer’s store. It just needs to make sure that its customers are happy enough with its software to leave 5-star reviews and it needs to let its customers know that they can support it by leaving reviews on these third-party websites. Many business owners know about the reviews on Google business pages but they might not know about the review pages on the payment processors’ app stores.