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Machine learning makes finding the right tech on the Xero app marketplace easier

June 4, 2020

At Xero, we’re on a mission to get more apps into the hands of small business owners, because we know when they’re connected to the right technology, they’re more likely to see increased revenue and greater business efficiency.
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From moving sales online to forecasting cash flow, our app marketplace features over 800 apps to help solve niche problems for our 2 million-plus customers. But with so much choice, we know finding the right one can take time.

That’s why we’re excited to unveil new search functionality on our app marketplace that gives small businesses a more personalised experience and ensures it’s easy to find the best apps for their unique needs. Powered by Coveo, the search engine taps into machine learning to serve up app suggestions based on a small business’ profile when they’re logged into Xero. We’ve also made the toolbar more intuitive, which now presents popular apps and quick links (pictured below).

So for example, the owner of a small construction firm using the new search tool (who’s logged into Xero), will receive app recommendations based on behaviour Coveo has recorded from similar users in the same industry. This is made possible by Coveo’s machine learning algorithms, which over-time learn the apps that are most suitable to present.

Support from the right technology is more crucial than ever for small businesses. From February to April this year, we’ve seen a surge in visitors to Xero’s app marketplace, and a 50% increase in searches for cash flow apps — making it even more important for us to ensure finding the right app is simple. And we know if we can positively impact small businesses using the right technology, there can be huge flow-on benefits. In New Zealand, research from NZIER commissioned by Xero last year, found a 20 percent uptake in cloud-based technology could increase GDP by between 1.2–2.1 percent, adding up to $6.2billion to the New Zealand economy annually.

By tapping into smart insights thanks to machine learning, we’re hoping our improved search functionality will make all the difference in helping time-poor small businesses find the right solution for their business’ unique needs.

We’ll also be able to use smart insights to keep evolving our offering and provide more beautiful experiences for our customers. Coveo, also powers the search on Xero Central so eventually, it will be possible for our customers to view Xero support articles in app marketplace searches, and app marketplace recommendations in Xero Central.

We’re always looking for ways to make life easier for small businesses and give them better experiences through innovation. This investment is one step in our journey towards setting small businesses up for success with the right technology, and we’ll have more exciting announcements coming later in the year.

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