Monetizing Listing Apps: Vertical Search Aggregators


Has anyone had any experience monetizing listing apps? I am building a listing app for niche retail stores in fashion forward markets. The COVID-19 pandemic has massively shaken-up the retail landscape with physical stores forced to close or severely limit their operations. As a result, retail has seen a rapid channel shift, with almost all online transactions besides essential items.

I am building a subscription-based listing app that connects shoppers in fashion forward markets (starting with NYC) with specialty retailers (Dover Street Market, Supreme, Aime Leon Dore). We use geofencing to notify shoppers when they are close to a store. Shoppers will be granted access to access to exclusive deals, flash sales, and access to events.

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    Reminds me of this article on boutique search engines

    Who are you charging—users, stores, or both? Depending on your answer, you may change how you position yourself or what features you build.

    What options are you considering?

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      That was beautifully written thank you for sharing that.

      Here is what I am thinking.



      • Value Prop: Discovering niche retailers in their community, access to exclusive sales, deals, and content.

      • Revenue model: Free, but will need to pay to view a 3D model of the store where there will be hidden sales in it.
        - Example: https://my.matterport.com/show/?m=kjUVGHVTWJG


      • Value Prop: Geofencing will nudge local users into stores. Retailers will also be able to notify customers via push notifications of limited-time offers that will lead to increased sales from local customers.

      • Revenue model: Charge them per Ad they push out.

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        Ahh, very interesting. The Geofencing, notifications, ads, etc. sound doable. I think charging per ad makes sense.

        Getting 3D store models and hidden sales sounds more challenging, but it reminds me of a treasure hunt. Definitely would take more effort and collaboration to make this work.

        Have you talked to retailers about it? I’m curious what feedback you’ve received.


        I’m also trying to monetize listing apps, but it’s all about design resources in my case. I’m taking the opposite approach—selling with a freemium model to users, rather than stores.

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          What are you going to sell to the users? Also what do you mean “it’s all about design resources”

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            I’m selling a way of searching, categorizing, pairing, and finding similar design resources—fonts, colors, icons, etc (design resources)

            I’m treating it more like a specialized search and recommendation engine you pay for, rather than trying to earn commissions from products.

            Anyway, that’s why your “monetizing listing apps” was so interesting to me—I’m trying to do a similar thing in a different market

            I’ve seen lots of micro products selling listing apps on airtable. E.g. best newsletters to advertise in, best GPT3 products, best SEO tips, aggregated psychology tips, etc.

            I’m doing a lot of custom stuff with AI and the user experience that I think will make a dramatic difference compared to those weekend products. Will it succeed? Who knows 😂 but I’m having fun making it

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