SaaS, also known as Software-as-a-Service, is 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 to avoid when building and growing your SaaS. By avoiding them, your app has the best chance of succeeding while managing the digital expectations of your consumers.

When building a scalable software product, consider the following three things.

1. Market Fit

Understanding your target market is the key to success for virtually any industry. The same holds true for a SaaS product. Your product must incorporate the user habits and 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 thought when prioritizing features.

For example, if you’re designing your SaaS for the Chinese market and you are using email as the primary login method, your product will likely experience a negative reception. The onboarding experience will not resonate with your Chinese users since they typically prefer using a mobile phone number or WeChat when signing in and interacting.

Similarly, designing your SaaS 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 the design and features of your target audience – for localizing your SaaS product.

2. Compliance with Regulations

As teams get busy from sprint to sprint before the launch of your SaaS product, it’s very easy to lose sight of things. Regulations and compliance are crucial and must be satisfied to commercialize your product within any market.

For instance, if you’re designing your SaaS for the European market, you must design your SaaS product to comply with GDPR standards. Or, if you’re rolling out a digital healthcare product within 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, collaborate with experts who can navigate you through legal and regulatory compliance before even writing the first line of code. Additionally, you should leverage cloud service providers, like AWS, to de-risk your company and offload that risk to them. In doing so, you can focus on the needs of your customers.

3. An Effective 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 inadequate 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 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. However, you can optimize your strategy with enough upfront research.

If you’ve got a pricing strategy in place, then you’ll need to select the pricing channels. Are you using third-party integrations? Or will you be earning money on both iOS App Store and Google Play Store? Have you also accounted for the transaction fees to use a payment processing partner, like Stripe? Creating a transparent, painless, and efficient payment processing is paramount to your end users. Therefore, make sure your SaaS can guarantee a seamless payment experience.

4. Use Common Sense

At Uplancer, we love to over-deliver. In fact, there is a fourth consideration to keep in mind, common sense! We’ve got a few callouts to avoid a Pandora’s Box for your app:

  • For starters, you must demand that your development team hand over full documentation of how your product works, where those resources are located, and access or credentials to access those resources to YOU. We’ve seen situations where one or even all three weren’t handed over, causing your product to shut down completely once dev leaves the picture.
  • Make sure that your developers use three separate environments: development, staging, and production. Creating a formal pipeline for code deployment with the right checks and balances will avoid costly mistakes, such as releasing massive bugs into your final SaaS. 
  • Request an audit of your product from an external party to ensure that your SaaS was built for compliance. Skipping an audit can force regulators or even your service providers to shut your SaaS down. There are a number of audits, such as ISO, SOC1 SOC2, and HIPAA, so audit accordingly.
  • Employ quality assurance (QA) specialists to test and retest features before releasing them on production. We cannot emphasize how important it is to do a proper and thorough QA to avoid introducing catastrophic errors in your SaaS product.

The Bottom Line / TLDR

To build a successful SaaS, you must understand, inside and out, the impact of market fit, compliance, and pricing strategy. Reach out to Uplancer today for a free consultation on how to design and build your SaaS for success in domestic and international markets. 

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