The Liferay Marketplace has come a long way since opening its doors in August 2012. Since then it has grown almost 5x in number of apps and has registered more than 600 developers from over 25 countries. And we continue to evolve the Marketplace so that it creates value for Liferay customers, while staying relevant to our community of partners and developers.
I'm happy to announce today that the Liferay Marketplace now supports paid apps, using the much-anticipated new E-commerce feature of the Marketplace! The Liferay Marketplace engineering team and our community of Liferay developers have combined efforts over many, many months to bring this fantastic opportunity to our ecosystem, and we hope it meets or exceeds your expectations. With E-Commerce, the vision put into motion several years ago reaches a new milestone, one that benefits everyone that has chosen Liferay for their web platform needs.
How does it work?
If you've developed and published an app on the Marketplace, you are already familiar with the process, but there are some new concepts in play with the advent of E-Commerce:
- License Types and Regional Pricing - As the developer, you have ultimate control over how to price your app. You choose the license type (Standard vs. Developer), license terms (Perpetual vs. Annual), pricing structure (bundled pricing and discounting), and regional availability. You can specify discounted prices for bulk orders, or different prices (and different currencies) in different purchasing regions. You can also optionally offer paid support for your software, giving purchasers peace of mind that you stand behind your paid apps. For example, suppose you offer a perpetual license for your app at a one-time cost of €100. You can optionally add support for an additional €20 per Instance per year. If, on the other hand, you want to offer an annual license, you could charge €100 per Instance per year for an unsupported license, or €120 per Instance per year for a license that includes support (an Instance refers to a single installation of Liferay Portal, which corresponds to one (1) Liferay Portal .WAR file.)
- Payments - The Liferay Marketplace uses PayPal for payment processing, developer payments, and for purchasing paid apps. You will need a PayPal Verified Business Account to publish paid apps. Liferay will automatically collect Sales Tax / VAT for most countries, which is typically one of the most complex issues in international E-Commerce.
- 30-Day Trials - You can also offer free trial licenses, which allows consumers to test drive your apps before they purchase, to ensure that it meets their needs. Once satisfied, your customers can upgrade their licenses at will.
- Revenue Sharing - For each app sale, you will receive 80% and Liferay will receive 20% of the sales proceeds. We believe this type of fee structure is extremely competitive vis-a-vis other online app marketplaces, and Liferay uses its share to continually improve the Marketplace and Liferay ecosystem.
Getting Started and Staying Informed
Be sure to bookmark the new Liferay Marketplace Developer Portal and get access to all of the resources you need to design, develop, and distribute apps for the Liferay Portal platform. Whether you're looking to showcase your capabilities or reach new customers, becoming a Liferay Marketplace developer is your launching point to half-a-million-plus Liferay deployments worldwide, and this new developer portal is the best place to get to all of the resources you will need for app development.
Be sure to register yourself as a developer (either as an individual or a company). You will need a liferay.com account to do this (it's free to register on liferay.com!).
During the app publishing process, you will select whether your app is a Free or Paid app. Publishing a free app remains free (as in beer). The first time you attempt to publish a Paid app, you will be required to upgrade your account to enroll as a paid app developer. This ordinarily requires a $99 annual fee, but for the remainder of 2014, Liferay is waiving this fee for all developers as an added incentive to get started with paid apps (yeah!). You will also need to provide a tax form to identify yourself or your company for tax purposes, and have an active PayPal account to receive periodic payments from Liferay for the apps you sell.
Once you've upgraded your account for paid apps, you're ready to begin publishing!
Develop a Paid App
Since apps are nothing more than collections of individual plugins, your first step in developing a Marketplace app is to develop the functionality in the form of one or more Liferay plugins. The Liferay Developer Guide contains everything you'll need to develop apps.
Security and trust are important concepts, and become even more relevant with the advent of E-Commerce and paid apps. To that end, paid apps must enable the Liferay Plugin Security Manager (this has been optional for free apps, but is required for paid apps). The Liferay Developer Guide has details on how developers can make use of this.
To reach the widest possible customer base, you are encouraged to develop apps for both the Liferay CE and Liferay EE software versions (this is not new, but important to re-iterate when considering paid apps). Developers wishing to target EE can request a free developer license.
Publish a Paid App
Now the fun part begins - getting paid for all that hard work! Check out the latest additions to the Liferay Developer Guide, where you'll find a complete walk-through of publishing a paid app, including details on licensing and pricing options. E-commerce in a multi-cultural, multi-currency, multi-governmental world can be challenging but the Marketplace team has worked with our community to make it as painless and simple as possible, but no simpler than that!
Also, be sure to read the App Pricing, App Metadata Guidelines and App Review Process to understand how each app is reviewed. These guides will help you choose the best options for your paid apps, and ensure a smooth flow during the publication process!
Managing Paid Apps
Once published, you can track the sales performance of your apps, as well as see order histories, and manage purchased licenses across all of your customers. When you're ready, you can publish updates to your apps for customers to provide bugfixes or new features.
Enhanced metrics have been added for developers to track the performance of their apps over time and spot important trends in the lifecycle of their apps.
Buying Paid Apps
Purchasing a paid app is straightforward - The Marketplace uses the familiar concepts of shopping carts and "checking out". During the purchase process, you'll create a shopping cart and specify how many of each license type you wish to purchase. During the checkout process, you'll be directed to PayPal where you can pay with a credit card, existing PayPal balance, or other payment option. You can also elect to pay via a manual invoicing process, which is completed via email. Paid apps will only function with a valid license.
After the sale, customers can upgrade or renew their purchased licenses using the same concepts as in the initial purchase.
Check out the Frequently Asked Questions forum on the Developer Portal to get answers to questions such as "What is the Marketplace Refund Policy?" or "Why is app licensing only on a 'per Instance' basis?" and many others.
If you have additional questions about how the Liferay Marketplace works, please post your questions on the Marketplace Forums. If you have issues with accounting, billing, or finance-related questions, contact the Marketplace team.
The Liferay ecosystem thrives on the creativity and innovation of its worldwide community of developers, service partners, ISVs, and contributors. The Liferay Marketplace and its new E-Commerce capability gives all of us new opportunities to grow with Liferay and showcase the power of a solid Liferay platform coupled with a rich selection of apps and functionality from the community, both free and paid. There are a lot of really great ideas out there, and it's great to see them available through this Marketplace!