Zapier vs. embedded integrations: What sets your SaaS up for success?

In theory, Zapier provides automated repeat tasks, customisable rules and bespoke connectors with some 5,000 apps. In practice, Zapier is asking customers to learn a new UI and pay for additional features to maximise the platform.

When you think automation, you may think Zapier. Zapier’s mission is to bring automation to the masses, helping end users, such as marketers, salespeople and HR managers, connect the apps they know and love without having to create integrations from scratch. 

The promise? To help less tech-savvy people freely move data between applications, providing a code-less experience that, historically, would have required a developer to accomplish. 

SaaS companies have been led to believe that they can’t provide native integration capabilities themselves, which is why Zapier came along and said, “don’t worry, we’ll provide a platform that helps your customers integrate with any software they’d like!” (Little do they know that they can deliver these capabilities – with ease – but more on that later).

In theory, Zapier provides automated repeat tasks, customisable rules and bespoke connectors with some 5,000 apps. In practice, Zapier is asking customers to learn a new UI and pay for additional features to maximise the platform. And even if they abide by these demands, customers often still can't achieve what they set out to. That’s because, through Zapier, SaaS companies must force their customers to leave their app, lose control over their experience and lose the opportunity to monetise these features themselves.

At the end of the day, Zapier is ‘good enough’ for end users, but something of a nightmare for SaaS providers. Zapier ignores the next logical step in the process – embedded integrations – which gives SaaS companies the means to build quickly, efficiently and cost-effectively. Zapier simply does not, and never will, qualify as a provider of true embedded integrations.

Allow us to explain.

It’s all about Zapier’s rules, not yours

Sure, Zapier allows you to build your own connectors, but doing so isn’t as easy as it first appears. You can set up authentication, create your triggers and actions and hit publish, but you’ll be met with pushback from Zapier’s team. At this point, when all you want is to get your integration up and running, you’ll receive a message advising you that ‘when you’re ready, let us know when you want to take your integration public, and we’ll come back to you with our response and a timeline.’ From this point, you have no say over when or if your integration will be published, which will prove problematic for your roadmap.

The reason? Zapier was never meant to be an embedded solution. Even its Embed offering, despite the misleading name, forces users to create a dedicated Zapier account while still sitting in the original application before making them interact with Zapier’s designer. Simply put, no matter how they package it up, they’re the ones in control – not you.

This strips you of any say over your user’s experience as you’re forced to rely on the support of others, unlike you would with a true embedded solution.

Zapier isn’t native at all

Rather than offering a native embedded solution, Zapier uses its own workflow editor, which makes it difficult for users to navigate and create the workflows they need. In this scenario, you’re leaving it up to your customers to figure out Zapier’s workflow editor, whilst also asking them to work with other software outside of your own – something that further impedes your customers’ experience while stripping you and them of any control over their integrations.

Zapier isn’t a true embedded iPaaS

SaaS companies don’t want to force their customers to use external solutions; they want to use real embedded tech that’s fully native, highly flexible and built to create custom components with ease.

All of this is possible with a truly embedded iPaaS. Here, users will have no idea they’re engaging with any external solutions as they navigate a clear, consistent user interface that is uniform across your software. Only a native integration can adapt to reflect the interface of the SaaS application it’s integrated with.

Beyond this, by embedding an iPaaS solution (such as Appmixer’s), SaaS companies can launch integrations that would have likely taken up to a year to develop, not to mention the ongoing time spent on maintenance. The result is an incredible amount of time saved – time that can be better focused elsewhere in the business.

Getting serious about integration capabilities

Zapier is great at what it does, but it simply isn’t – and never will be – designed with SaaS businesses in mind. It serves only the end user, making it a poor choice for SaaS businesses looking to supercharge their integrations.

While Zapier may market itself as the only choice for SaaS integrations, the truth is that there are a wealth of alternatives out there that can do everything Zapier does, plus so much more. These platforms can provide intuitive integrations, cost-effective capabilities and enjoyable experiences for your customers. 

Through these alternatives like Appmixer, SaaS companies can utilise truly native integrations; they can shorten their development time, save huge amounts of money and improve their solution – in record time. 

To dive further into Zapier’s limitations and a way to build true native integrations your customers will love, read our guide on six reasons why you shouldn’t integrate your SaaS with Zapier here.