Software is fast becoming the demanded platform to run any business nowadays. With software, you have access to a more versatile working/service environment where you can manage more resources conveniently.
A properly developed SaaS (Software as a Service) platform can allow you to seamlessly handle multiple operations, including Office 365, Box, Google apps, and several others. SaaS applications are excellent for e-commerce. They offer the best solutions for order management systems, warehouse management systems, shipping software, multi-channel software, and more.
The leverage SaaS offers will help you speed up your business operations through application services that are deployable over the cloud or the internet. Ultimately, among several other things, SaaS provides the finest medium through which you can give the best customer experience. Moreover, with SaaS, you can rest assured knowing that you will only spend a minimal cost for all your business operations.
So, how can you build the ideal SaaS application?
Getting started with SaaS Application for Your Business
Table of Contents
- 1 Getting started with SaaS Application for Your Business
- 2 Why E-commerce Merchants Adopt SaaS
- 3 Advantages of Implementing SaaS
- 4 Final Thoughts
Developing an e-commerce SaaS application can be tricky, but it’s a lot easier if you get the basics right. The good thing is, success or failures with SaaS applications are determined much early on. Therefore, you must start correctly.
Also, there are some crucial pre-development steps to consider before going on to development proper. These precautions will help to ensure that your SaaS application does not encounter any performance issues during implementation. They include:
Performing Adequate Market Research to Know your Competitors
Developers can easily get carried away with the benefits that SaaS provides. However, one critical aspect of SaaS development is identifying your competitors and handling them appropriately.
You must carefully understudy your competition and develop effective strategies to curb the market.
Adequate market research will also help you understand the needs of your users and whether or not they are satisfied with the software.
Choose a Complimentary Technology Strategy
Selecting a technology strategy that meets the various needs of your SaaS framework will help to ensure that all the processes of your framework are well-structured for optimal productivity.
Select the Right Pricing Strategy
Selecting the right pricing strategy can make your app and customers grow tremendously. Choosing a wrong pricing strategy, on the other hand, can make your app collapse drastically.
One tactic that can be applied is by making two versions of the application, a free and a paid version. Typically, the free variant can have limited premium features while the paid one can have all the premium features completely accessible.
Offering a reasonable number of premium features for free attracts a solid customer base. However, it is not necessary to provide all of your premium features at the expense of your pricing.
Having set out these crucial pre-development foundations successfully, we can now begin to build our SaaS framework.
To start, here’s what you need to do:
Don’t Start with the Architecture!
Contrary to the conventional, while starting with the architecture sounds enticing, it may sabotage the results you’re looking for upon completion.
Start with a monolith instead. This is because service-oriented architecture can become too complicated upon implementation. As soon as you have multiple components that need to interact with each other, and any malfunctions, that’s it. Also, the more elements you add, the more complicated it can get.
A more reliable and prolific approach is, to begin with a monolith and then develop your SaaS application upwards.
What is a monolith? A monolith is an organized, unified, and distributable set of services with a monitorable and predictable behavior. The fact that it can be monitored and is predictable makes it ideal for e-commerce SaaS application architecture.
With your monolith set, you can now comfortably proceed into architecture proper.
E-commerce SaaS Application Development
There are three vital prerequisites to consider before you kickstart your application development. You must first:
- Define your ideal customer
- Understand and Define how the application will serve customers, and,
- Research current trends
After you might have defined these fundamental prerequisites, we can now begin to build our SaaS application block by block.
- Select a Suitable Programming Language. There are several programming language options to pick from to build SaaS. Some of the ideal languages are Python, NodeJS, Laravel, Ruby on Rails, and others. These programming languages each have a lineup of useful plugins that are relevant for SaaS development. Some of them include: data tables, excel exports, analytics, charts or PDF, etc. These plugins are excellent for fast SaaS development.
Most developers prefer to use Laravel because the platform offers robust features for SaaS development. However some of these features are not readily available on other frameworks. Thanks to this advantage, Laravel provides leverage for fast development. Apart from several innovative features, Laravel also offers multiple ready plugins, including analytics charts, data tables, PDF, Laravel Spark, etc.
Laravel Spark quickly takes care of SaaS-based project concerns like proration, billing, team and user management, etc. With the rich, diverse features Laravel offers, developers can build their SaaS solutions effortlessly without being perturbed over the technology’s rapid evolution.
- Use an Organized Database. For the best results, it is crucial to use an organized database solution for your e-commerce SaaS. Your database will be responsible for housing all the data on your SaaS application. Some rock-solid database solutions you can work with include MySQL, PostgreSQL, and MongoDB.
MySQL and PostgreSQL are relational database solutions, while MongoDB is a non-relational database solution. For document-oriented database solutions, Mango DB offers a brilliant resource.
- Incorporate a Reliable/Efficient Hosting Server/Cloud Service. Cloud offers a robust, secure, and efficient solution to launch your SaaS project, live. It is crucial to select a suitable hosting server to launch your SaaS application. There are several Cloud Service Providers whose services you can incorporate. Some ideal choices to consider include Azure, GCP, AWS, and a lineup of several others.
Amazon also offers Hosting services, as well. The hosting service is free for the first year; afterwards, the company will charge for the service depending on your usage.
Additionally, Amazon also offers a wide variety of cloud-based products like development tools, storage, databases, compute, analytics, networking, enterprise applications, mobile development tools, and so on.
- Integrate an Efficient Multi-Tenant SaaS Module. Tenancy modules are a critical element among other building blocks in SaaS development. Multi-Tenant modules enable you to make a single installation of software that allows multiple customers (or tenants) to operate individually within that installation. The alternative resource is a Single-Tenant variant, which is a self-hosted software that you can install for yourself, or use to manage for others.
When selecting a Multi-Tenant solution, you must be careful to ensure that you chose one that:
- Supports end-to-end payment and secured third-party payment solutions like PayPal, etc.
- Integrates standard open-source technologies to ensure optimized performance
- Supports easy scaling to ensure limitless product uploads and creation of various categories
An efficient Multi-Tenant solution is the Laravel Multi-Tenant Module.
Some notable features of Laravel’s Multi-Tenant SaaS Module include:
A Unique Business Model
Laravel SaaS module offers a unique business model for creating various business solutions and attracting customers. The platform also enables the admin to incorporate billing easily. Membership fees, transaction fees, etc. can all be integrated seamlessly in a way that it is easy for customers to make payments and also easily monitorable for the admin. This way, one can grow their business quickly, having had the critical aspects handled.
Laravel offers an easily scalable solution. The platform allows for unlimited product uploads and category creation. This feature is especially useful for sellers that are interested in selling multiple product types on their stores. Also, Laravel’s easy scaling solution minimizes any kind of performance issues.
End to End Integration for Payments
Laravel’s SaaS module supports a variety of payment options that are ideal for end-to-end payments. Also, by default, Laravel uses PayPal as the standard medium for payment. You can integrate other plugins if you want.
Laravel utilizes a reliable open-source technology that allows for a powerful and optimized performance throughout the platform. Also, this allows for a scalable and secured framework.
- Ensure Security Through Tenant Isolation. Tenant isolation processes help to restrict any unauthorized access (both by users or intruders) within your application system. The Isolation system stops this by collecting relevant information that identifies a current tenant and restricts any other unauthorized access using programmed security policies/parameters.
Another way it achieves this is by ensuring that codes remain encrypted in a way that prevents any accidental disclosure of customer information to/from other tenants.
- Integrate and Optimize Audit logs. E-commerce generally is susceptible to customers encountering issues like deleted data, and so on. Whenever such problems arise, customers reserve the right to know what happened and why. For the best service delivery, it is essential to integrate an audit log in your e-commerce SaaS application.
Audit logs allow developers to uncover any dangerous operations that may have been executed on a customer’s tenant. These logs can give a detailed account whenever they are demanded.
From an architectural perspective, the best implementation of an audit log function is one that can be called at any time with a single action.
Why E-commerce Merchants Adopt SaaS
There are several reasons why e-commerce merchants are rapidly adopting SaaS and even more reasons why other digital businesses should adopt as well. A majority of merchants agree on the fact that the platform allows them to carry out various business processes more effectively. Most merchants also point out that the SaaS platform is very effective for minimizing operating cost.
Advantages of Implementing SaaS
If you are indecisive on using the SaaS platform, check out these advantages of implementing SaaS include:
#1. Minimized Operational Cost
SaaS frameworks offer a more cost-effective solution for e-commerce. Implementing SaaS is affordable, especially when you consider the range of services it provides, thereby cutting off a massive amount of operational cost.
Even if you decide to build your SaaS framework from scratch, the added functionalities already built into the system eliminates extra expenses on add-ons.
Also, depending on how you deploy your SaaS solution, you can save a significant amount on maintenance.
#2. Added Flexibility
SaaS increases your productivity and helps your business reach its ideal more rapidly by offering a more flexible environment that can adjust to the constant changes in the market and other external factors.
One significant advantage SaaS frameworks offer e-commerce merchants is its flexible delivery model. This flexibility allows a merchant to implement changes whenever their business requires it efficiently. This advantage also allows merchants the leverage to experiment with newer ideas and concepts more freely and in a less risky environment when taking on new projects.
#3. Effortless Maintenance
Minimized maintenance is one of the highlight advantages of SaaS platforms. With SaaS, the provider can host and maintain the software comfortably. The merchant does not need to bother about hosting intricacies.
Hosting services also take care of performance speed, uptime, software updates, and software bug fixes. Merchants that do not have their own IT departments to manage most of the technical stuff can easily leverage such services off their hosting providers.
SaaS-based softwares offer a ready-to-use solution, and in most cases, merchants do not even need to install I directly on their system.
Additionally, SaaS solutions do not only offer a robust range of services to e-commerce businesses, but they also provide rapid speed across each of them during implementation. SaaS also allows you to add more numbers of users according to your needs as your business expands. Meanwhile, you do not have to worry about taking on any expenses on hardware during expansion.
#5. Easy Integration
Running an e-commerce business can demand the services of more than one app. Very often, your business can require the integration of a range of formidable software solutions to deliver both a quality service throughout your customer base, security, as well as the desired revenue. Hence, you may need a smart combination of working tools.
Laravel’s Multi-Company SaaS module offers the ability for merchants to customize the framework easily. With this leverage, suppliers can easily integrate a wide range of extra features and functionalities to their e-commerce frameworks. This advantage allows for easy enhancement of a merchant’s service offerings and so on whenever it is required.
With the luxurious features that SaaS provides, merchants can run large portions of their services from the comfort of their e-commerce platforms. E-commerce frameworks also offer easy integration with your existing POS, ERP, or any other accounting device you may be employing currently. Additionally, most SaaS frameworks have powerful APIs that make the process of integration a lot more effortless.
#6. Easy Administration
SaaS makes it easy to manage multiple aspects of your e-commerce business directly. With the vast range of features and services provided, merchants can make necessary adjustments where they deem fit, and whenever such needs arise.
The functional controls and management tools offered by SaaS softwares help to quickly implement changes across all your integrated platforms with just one click.
#7. Easy Customization
Your business needs a voice—it needs to have its own original and unique tone and flow. SaaS helps various e-commerce companies achieve this among the competition without falling out of line with the mainstream.
Using the vast array of features provided by SaaS, merchants can customize their e-commerce platforms effortlessly. Your business can have its own unique flow that appeals to your customers.
#8. Robust Compatibility
SaaS takes a lot of stress off your subscribers. With the advantage it provides, your subscribers can easily log-on to services that have already been upgraded without their effort.
Subscribers do not have to constantly look out for the latest updates for your services as the entire upgrading protocol can be taken care of completely at the administrative level. Any changes or upgrades made will be affected across all your subscribers concurrently.
#9. Patch Management
New patch updates can be implemented and managed effectively at the administrative level. This advantage also takes away the burden from your subscribers, allowing them to enjoy a user experience that is smooth and hassle-free.
The fact that SaaS solutions can be deployed over the internet makes it easy for customers to access them effortlessly. A customer only needs to have access to the internet in order to utilize any of your services.
SaaS solutions do not require customers to make any installations before they can use your services.
As your e-commerce business begins to grow into a robust company, security becomes a critical concern. SaaS takes away such worries through its secured model.
Merchants can easily monitor and track their various business processes through the security tools offered by SaaS softwares. This way, customers can also enjoy the benefit of a secured e-commerce service on which they can make transactions more confidently.
E-commerce SaaS applications present businesses with a unique opportunity to create and deploy software solutions that rapidly attracts customers. Today, over forty-five percent of e-commerce businesses use various forms of SaaS solutions. The ease of use and easy integration, flexibility, security, and several other benefits that SaaS provides different brands cannot be overemphasized.