Salesforce.com Launches the AppExchange Store Builder

To help businesses fully leverage the functionality of the Salesforce AppExchange, Salesforce.com has introduced the AppExchange Store Builder, a tool that will help companies build and design their own app stores.

While traditional app marketplaces, like the Apple App Store, offer solid experiences for consumer apps, selling business apps requires a different environment that is created with business needs in mind, Jim Sinai, senior director of the AppExchange and platform marketing at Salesforce.com, says.

One of the key aspects that differentiates the app stores built through the Salesforce AppExchange Store Builder from traditional marketplaces is that the custom-built apps stores can house several kinds of applications. Unlike the Apple App Store, which only offers apps for devices that run on iOS, Salesforce's custom-built app stores offer iOS, Android and desktop applications all in one place. They also serve up a mix of custom-built apps and popular business apps, such as DocuSign.

"When you look at something like the Apple App Store, it's great for consumers. They can browse and explore, and it's a good experience. But business professionals need a very different experience. They need to get in, find what they need, and get out. With an app store built on the AppExchange Store Builder, they have apps for all of their devices and operating systems in one place, and they can get to what they need quickly," Sinai says.

Building the store is a simple process that's facilitated by an intuitive, wizard-like guide, according to Sinai. The app store can be customized to offer a single view of apps or break them down into categories, such as sales, marketing and customer service, as well as human resources and enterprise resource planning.

The custom-built app stores also give companies more creative flexibility. Companies can design stores with their own branding and logos so that when partners and employees access it, the experience has a familiar feel, Sinai explains. "The idea is to ensure that the app store is tailored to the company that is building it so that they're able to get the most out of it," he says.

For app developers, the custom-built stores provide a unified feedback loop that delivers insight on how apps are performing. Through marketplace analytics and dashboards, developers can track clicks and downloads to determine which apps are popular and effective and which ones are underperforming. On the end-user side, company employees can use the Chatter feature to comment on apps, ask questions, and engage with other employees to build a feedback community around the app store.

"It's important for app developers to be able to develop an understanding of how apps are being used and what works. And, it's important for users to be able to engage with each other in knowledge-sharing activity when it comes to using the apps. Chatter is going to play a big role in fostering communication in the store environment, and that's something every organization wants," Sinai says.

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