The world changed for everyone in March—including small businesses. Social distancing policies meant many businesses needed to pivot to online or grow their online market in order to survive.
Zapier customers are overwhelmingly small businesses who use our automation platform to connect all the apps they use. This gives us unique insights into what tools small businesses are relying on, and the data is clear: businesses are adjusting to an unprecedented situation by finding new apps and automating them.
Here are the 25+ apps with the fastest growth on Zapier over the past year, followed by some analysis.
Methodology: Since 2016, Zapier has published annual reports about the fastest growing apps on our platform. Zapier's Apps at Work: Fastest Growing Apps 2020 Report focuses on growth among apps on Zapier’s platform between July 1, 2019 and June 30, 2020. To be eligible, apps must have an active, public Zapier integration and are weighed using Zapier's proprietary algorithm. Usage from trial and employee accounts are excluded.
Businesses are still relying on COVID automations
Half a year into the social distancing era, businesses are still setting up new COVID-related automations every day. Users can assign a name to every automation they set up on Zapier, giving us a rough idea of how many of the workflows are COVID-related. In fact, many of the small businesses we mention throughout the report have changed their workflows because of COVID-19 and continue to use the new automations they set up.
Businesses built websites and online stores in a hurry
If you don't have a website, you don't exist—now more than ever. So it's no surprise that apps like Netlify, Webflow, Leadpages, and Squarespace—all of which make it easy to build a website complete with eCommerce—showed up on our list of the fastest growing apps. Businesses had to act quickly, setting up websites and then building automations to reach new customers, manage inventory, and ensure leads didn't slip through the cracks.
The Perk Coffee Shop in Colorado, for example, had to quickly shift their business model when customers could no longer come into the cafe. Their website was built on Squarespace, so they set up an automation that sent any orders to a Google Sheets form, which then triggered other notifications that an order had been placed.
Classes went digital—and so did the gym
It shouldn't surprise anyone that Zoom ranked 7th on our list of the fastest growing apps—it's practically where we all live at this point. Classes, training sessions, and meetings that once happened in person are now happening over video chat. CraftJam, an in-person crafting host, pivoted to online in a matter of weeks, and Zoom was the center of it all. The founder set up automations between Zoom and all her other apps to make the transition as seamless as possible.
This wasn't just about video chat, either: Thinkific, a tool for building and selling interactive online courses, also made the list.
But it seems that the fitness industry, in particular, shifted online in a hurry. For the first time ever, fitness apps made our list.
Strava, the outdoor fitness tracking application, is the 3rd fastest growing app on Zapier. With COVID-19 closing many gyms across the country, many gym owners and individuals took their workouts outside. Trainerize, an app specifically marketed to gyms and trainers for offering online fitness classes, is 13th on our list.
Gyms are reopening in most states, but gym owners—and their customers—are still using apps, and automation, to adjust.
The fastest growing team chat app is…Discord?
Slack is widely considered the definitive team chat app, and Microsoft Teams got a lot of press this year for their growth. Neither of these apps made our fastest growing list—but Discord did.
This app is popularly seen as being for gamers, but its ranking on this list suggests that people are using Discord for business purposes. And that makes sense, especially for smaller teams. Gamer-centric branding aside, Discord is free, works well for text chat, and offers high quality audio and video calls. Of course small businesses are using it—then connecting it to other apps.
In fact, a Canadian volunteer group used Discord and Zapier to help organize a massive mask-sewing effort in response to COVID-19. Every day, volunteers would receive an automated reminder in Discord to report their daily numbers.
Connecting with customers is crucial
WPForms, a contact form for WordPress websites, is the 5th fastest growing app on Zapier. It's joined by a number of apps that allow customers to get in touch with businesses: Facebook Groups, Calendly, Leadpages, and TextMagic are all good examples. Face-to-face interaction isn't happening for most companies, so it makes sense that they're looking to give customers every possible chance to get in touch.
This year, small businesses were hit the hardest by the economic impact of COVID-19, and a missed lead could have devastating consequences. So it also makes sense that they want to connect those conversations to other apps, to ensure nothing is falling through the cracks. For example, leadership development advisor L Michelle Smith uses Zapier to add new Calendly appointees to Mailchimp to be sure that everyone who gets in touch is added to her email list.
Email marketing tools like Klaviyo, MailerLite, and Mailjet also grew quickly. So did PandaDoc and SignRequest, two tools for signing legally binding documents online. This all suggests that businesses are finding new ways to connect and work with customers online.
Collaboration is everything
ClickUp, a productivity platform, topped our list of the fastest growing apps. It's joined by monday.com, another tool focused on helping teams collaborate. This suggests small businesses are looking for new ways to coordinate on projects as they adjust to remote work.
This also applies to tools that help specific parts of a business coordinate. Zendesk Sell and Dubsado, for example, are both CRMs that made our list of the fastest growing apps, suggesting that sales teams are trying out new tools and connecting them to other apps.
One example is Museum Hack, a museum tour company that pivoted to offering remote team-building services. With changes to their business, their processes needed to change too—so they turned to automation. By automatically notifying people in Slack and Gmail whenever a lead's status is updated in Zendesk Sell, their entire team is able to know about priority leads as quickly as possible.
NoCode is still growing
NoCode is the future of making stuff online, and it's picking up steam. Webflow, Netlify, and Coda are all tools non-programmers can use to build interactive experiences online, and all of them made our list of the fastest growing apps this year. We fully expect this trend to continue.
It's been a challenging year for small businesses, and they've faced that challenge head on by adopting new technologies to help them survive—and thrive.