SaaS, otherwise known as Software-as-a-Service, is practically the norm for how consumers engage with tech. A SaaS revenue model unlocks economies of scale and allows you to use a repeatable growth strategy. However, there are certain pitfalls that you must avoid when building and growing a SaaS product early on. By avoiding them, you’ll provide the best chance for you product to scale while managing the digital expectations of your consumers.
To help you focus on building a scalable SaaS product, there are our three things you must remember before building out your SaaS product:
Understanding your target market is the key to success for virtually any industry. The same holds true for a SaaS product. Your SaaS product must incorporate the user habits and language preferences of your primary demographic for it to resonate with your end users. SaaS products often operate in niches and therefore, require a lot of consideration when deciding which features to build.
For example, if you’re designing a SaaS product for the Chinese market and you are using email as the primary login method, your product will like experience a negative reception. The onboarding experience will not resonate with the target audience since Chinese users typically prefer using their mobile phone number or WeChat for signing in and interating.
Similarly, designing a SaaS product for users in one language and localizing your product in another language as an afterthought is almost a death sentence for your app. When taking your SaaS product global, we recommend that you use our Local IQ™ framework to decide the best approach – not only for the message or language, but also for design and features of your target audience – for localizing your SaaS product.
As teams get busy from sprint to sprint before launching your SaaS product, it’s very easy to lose sight of certain things. Regulations and compliance are crucial and must be satisfied for your SaaS product to even operate in a certain region or industry.
For instance, if you’re designing a SaaS product for the European market, you must design your SaaS product to comply with GDPR standards. Or, if you’re rolling out a digital healthcare SaaS product in the United States, the odds are you must be HIPAA compliant.
The repercussions of violating compliance go beyond financial damages. Your brand’s reputation and trust in the public eye also take a significant hit. Therefore, you must collaborate with a company that can navigate you through the clustered channels of legal and regulatory compliance before writing your first line of code. Additionally, you should leverage cloud service providers, like AWS, to derisk your company and offload that risk to them. In doing so you can build and configure your SaaS product to meet the stringent requirements for various compliances.
3. Pricing Strategy
Many SaaS products are overloaded with features that are sensational, but are rarely used. One of the big reasons behind this is an improper pricing strategy. SaaS products often have to choose one of the three pricing strategies: cost-based, value-based or competition-based. Furthermore, it is expected that a SaaS product will offer some sort of discount for a high-volume usage or a substantial upfront payment.
To get this right, we recommend that you conduct research interviews to understand your target market and their pricing preferences. Getting the pricing strategy right is more about experimentation than theory, although you can optimize your strategy with enough upfront research.
Now that you have your pricing strategy in place, you must decide your pricing channels. Are you using third-party integrations? Will you be earning money on both iOS App Store and Google Play Store? Have you done your math for the transaction fees you have to pay to your app marketplace and your payment processing partner, like Stripe? Creating a transparent, painless and efficient payment processing is paramount to your end users. Making sure your SaaS product is able to guarantee a seamless payment system will go a long way in acquiring and retaining repeat customers.
Regardless of the industry, understanding your target market, regulatory and legal compliance, and pricing of your SaaS product will go a long way to ensure the success and growth of your SaaS product.
4. Common Sense
At Uplancer, we love to over-deliver. In fact, there is a forth consideration to keep in mind, common sense! It is imperative that you check a few boxes to avoid Pandora’s Box:
- For starters, you must demand that your development team provide full documentation of how your product works, where those resources are located, and access or credentials to access those resources to YOU. We’ve found that one or all three are kept only among the development team, causing your SaaS product to shut down completely once they leave the picture.
- Make sure that you ask your developers to implement three separate environments: development, staging and production. Creating a proper pipeline to deploy your code with the right checks and balances allows you to avoid costly mistakes, such as releasing massive bugs into your final SaaS product. Additionally, if you guard the production environment, then you should shield any shortcomings that your development team may have caused in the lower environments, such as lost keys or credentials.
- Request an audit of your SaaS product from an external party to ensure that your SaaS product is built for compliance. Skipping an audit can have regulators or even your service providers to shut your SaaS product down. There’s a number of audits, such as ISO, SOC1 and SOC2, and HIPAA.
- Employ quality assurance (QA) specialists to test and retest features before making them live. We cannot emphasize how important it is to do a proper and thorough QA to avoid introducing catastrophic errors into your SaaS product.
The Bottom Line
To build a successful SaaS product, you must understand, inside and out, the impact of market, compliance, pricing strategy and common sense on your app. Reach out to Uplancer today for a free consultation on how to design and develop your SaaS product to succeed in the domestic and international markets.