World's best third party app stores

Posted by Daniel Nilsson on April 4, 2016

World´s best third party app stores - the best of the best

Third Party App Stores Inspiration - The best of the best 

To define what really is the best is a difficult task. In the end it comes down to individual taste and needs. My personal perspective for all business is that what is defined as a good solution must come from the customer's perspective. The customers have jobs they want to get done, they want pains to be removed and they want to experience gains when they use a product or service.

Appland was started 2011 and at the same time telcos like Vodafone, Telefonica and Verizon closed down their app stores. Here is an important lesson to be learned when we define the best of the best.


Why did telcos fail with their App Stores?

There are many reasons why the telcos failed but let's make it short and list the top 4 according to Appland CEO, Jonatan Redvik.

  1. The same offering - The Telco’s did not create something new or different. Instead they created the exact same offering as Google Play. The Telco’s was then competing head to head with Google with an offering that had less content and less consumer value.
  2. The Gold Rush - There was a developer gold rush in Google Play. Developers made big money on making very simple apps. This made it harder and harder for Telco’s to attract developers to their own App Store.
  3. Slow movers in fast ecosystem - Telco’s did what they have done so many times before when building something new. They created big complex projects with a lot of stakeholders, discussions, meetings, etc. Compared to the fast moving Google and the entire market the Telco giants became slow and missed the opportunity.
  4. Monetization versus distribution - When app stores were launched apps were free and paid. After a while in-app purchases was introduced and more and more apps became free with in-app purchases. This meant that Telco’s was distributing more and more free apps where they did not make any money. All in-app purchases was made through Google Play. This led to that Telco’s was distributing apps while Google was making the money.

So why am I telling you the story of past failures?

If you don't learn from the past you will not be successful in the future. To understand the market you need to see what did not work and make sure you don’t create the same concept again.

The world's best third party app stores

My list of the world's best third party app stores is about business models and customers.  I am lucky to see the inside of the market where our customers and partners try different models world wide. In my list I will share what I see work right now. Models that are good for developers, customers and the app store owners.

The App Store that focus on a segment

Telco's failed because they went head to head with Google Play. What they should have done is to create a different offering. By focusing on a specific customer segment you can identify unique jobs that needs to get done, pains that should be removed and gains that the customer wants. Here is an opportunity to create a unique value proposition.

One example that I love to bring up and discuss is Caterpillar. The Caterpillar branded phone is targeting blue collar workers such as farmers and construction workers. The phone can be dropped into concrete and is resistant to water and dust. The phone has two App Stores. Google Play and an App Store from Appland with targeted and curated content focusing on the target group. The issue with Google Play is that it is hard to find apps for farmers and construction workers. Caterpillar solve this pain by offering an App Store that is all about the user. In addition, Appland helps Caterpillar to find new apps and publish them to the store. Every week users receive a push message with tips of new apps. The service has great value for users and more than 30 % of users click on the push message every week. Caterpillar helps customers with their job, they removed the pain to find apps and they add gain by helping them find apps they did not even know existed.

The segment focused App Store is here to stay and is a great compliment for brands that wants to help their customers with the app discovery issue. Read more brilliant examples of segmentation in this article - 4 Epic OEM Device Segmentation and you can also check out my article about the App Store games Club from Thailand.

Third party app store that offers an App Subscription Club

App developers and customers have new pains due to market changes. Developers passion is to create amazing apps that people love. In general to succeed with an app today you need to offer it for free in Google Play and then create revenue via ads and in-app purchases that pushes users to pay for gold, swords, turns and other things you did not know you need.

Customers love the free concept but are annoyed by ads and that the games is pushing users to do an in-app purchase. Customers feel that the love for the experience is missing.

The App Subscription Club solves the pain of the customer and developer. It offers full access to premium apps without disturbing ads and annoying in-app purchases for a fixed recurrent fee. Of all available monetization methods for third party app stores this one is the proven best model and you can read more in my article about the 7 monetization methods.


The world's best third party app stores are:

They both have proven their value to the most important person in the world, the customer. There are of course other solutions that could be mentioned like the amazing e-learning solution released by Ericsson, DFID and Finja 5 that contributes to change the life of 21,000 students in Myanmar. The reason it is not in my list is because it is not a store per se. It is an app distribution.

Do you have an opinion about this article? Something to add? Please comment below.


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