Zapier — Quick and Clean Web Services Integration
This post is part of an occasional series on the AppExchange as Salesforce.com celebrates the seventh anniversary of its launch. The series will focus on some of the most interesting AppExchange applications of the last year.
If Zapier didn’t exist someone would have had to invent it because the service it provides is that critical to many small businesses. The easiest way to think about Zapier is as an integration company for Web services, kind of a mashup on demand. This small company of fewer than ten full time employees, doing business on the AppExchange, acts as part of the glue that brings together AppExchange apps with other web services. Working with the AppExchange API set, Zapier produces integrations — that they call “Zaps” — for more than 160 web services.
Zapier has produced more than 25,000 integrations and though not all of these integrations involve Salesforce, many do. The company boasts more than 1,500 Salesforce customers — many with multiple Zaps — as users with more than two hundred using Zapier to integrate web seervices with Desk.com, Salesforce’s help desk solution for the small business market.
Zaps or mashups couldn’t be easier to make using Zapier. There is no coding to deal with and a user can create a Zap in a browser screen by simply dragging and dropping the relevant product icons and choosing pre-built actions. And just to make sure the result is what you really want, an English version of the mashup is displayed right on the screen. For instance, “When a New Subscriber in Campaign Monitor occurs, Zapier will automatically Create a Lead in Salesforce.” That’s it and there’s no limit to the number of Zaps a user can make between products.
The SMB space is where Zapier does its best work. In addition to Salesforce CRM, the company has integrations ready to go with a variety of services that small businesses (and some large ones) can readily take advantage of such as ecommerce, email marketing, billing, accounting and invoicing and sentiment analysis and more — 23 categories and growing. The actions and their triggers are coded by Zapier and delivered as standard components.
Not long ago a company needed to have significant resources to enable it to coordinate activities between so many diverse applications and web services but that’s changed. Zapier, like all services on the AppExchange is a SaaS solution and the company has four pricing plans starting with a freemium and topping out at $99 per month for a company. Zapier has so far grown more or less organically deciding which products it integrates with through customer requests. Zapier is happy to take customer suggestions and offers a place on its site to make this possible.
Many enterprises using Salesforce CRM will have more traditional integrations with other applications. But Zapier serves a growing market of small companies that need to bring together best of breed solutions through simple integrations at very low cost. The Zapier model works well in this area and serves to breakdown barriers between important web services and potential customers. It’s a great example of a long tail solution — something that may not have huge market appeal but which is a perfect fit for many customers. The AppExchange provides a niche for Zapier by providing a ready clientele and a streamlined sales and marketing process.