Back in the old days, we used to get newspapers, magazines, and even milk delivered straight to our door, thanks to the tried-and-true payment system known as the subscription model. Oh wait, we still do! Well, maybe not milk, unless you’re in London.
Ever since the invention of the printing press, nearly six hundred years ago, businesses from across all industries have leveraged the subscription model for offering low prices, renewed at a reliable schedule, to customers near, far, and wherever you are. The subscription model has seemed to always make sense to customers and businesses alike, so it’s no surprise that with the popularity of cloud computing, apps have started to become subscription based as well.
Why SaaS Apps Are the Future of Work, Life, and Play
Software-as-a-Service apps, or SaaS for short, are commonly understood to rely on the subscription model to bring in recurring revenue as a way to balance out the long-term costs of maintenance as well as offer additional features to subscribers. Popular brands include Adobe, Dropbox, Slack, Salesforce, and, of course, Setapp.
According to the 2018 SaaS Industry Market Report prepared by the CEO of FinancesOnline, “73% of organizations say nearly all their apps will be SaaS by 2020.” This means the age of making one-time purchases for digital tools is nearly over. Whether you need an app for accounting, inventory, taking orders, or marketing your business, it really seems like everything you use to get things done will come at a predictable cost, billed at a predictable time.
Already, our personal lives are being made more interesting thanks to SaaS apps such as Netflix, Spotify, and Amazon’s suite of entertainment tools. Additionally, physical products are mirroring the rise of SaaS brands, by leveraging e-commerce platforms to create subscription boxes that come right to your door.
So whether it’s the internet that runs through your office, the box of fresh food at your door, the membership to the gym, or the kid that mows every lawn in the neighborhood, every subscription you own is a relationship between customer and vendor. And like most business relationships, these subscription agreements need to be nurtured through convenience, curiosity, and value.
Subscribing to Convenience
According to McKinsey & Company's The State of the Subscription Economy in 2018, convenience was the most important consideration for subscribers of replenishment services, such as beauty products and fresh foods. While brands like Birchbox and Dollar Shave Club offer physical products, and SaaS apps offer digital ones, the principle of convenience rings true. “Saving time by reducing regular trips to the store combined with price savings are two catalysts driving the growing adoption of replenishment subscriptions today.”
Mealtime is a good example of a SaaS company that is all about saving time and bringing convenience. In a nutshell, the app takes in your meal plans and spits out a personalized schedule, simplified grocery list, and recipes that don’t take long to cook. Setapp has a recipe manager that works quite similarly, called MacGourmet Deluxe. The ease and comfort that SaaS apps provide on both a professional and personal level mean that working smarter instead of working harder is much more possible.
With the increase in convenience, comes more time for the finer things in life, like exploration and curiosity. Discovering what else is available to the ears, eyes, and interests of a subscriber is another hidden asset of the subscription model.
A Curious Nature of Discovery in SaaS apps
When it comes to the phrase “curiosity killed the cat,” no one stops to listen to the second half: “but satisfaction brought it back.” Apps like Spotify have mastered the art of offering us thousands of entertainment options while also maintaining a feeling of personalization. For only $9.99 a month, Spotify listeners have much more than unlimited access to the songs they like. They also have access to all the songs they could like, if only they had a chance to hear them.
When Spotify launched their algorithm-based playlist “Discover Weekly,” a list of 30 songs based specifically on the subscriber’s taste in music, they inadvertently unlocked the complimentary emotions of curiosity and satisfaction.
"People were saying hilarious stuff," a Spotify senior product owner told AdAge, "Things like, 'Oh, I wish my significant other understood me as well as Discover Weekly did.'"
Similarly, Netflix has opened up a pandora’s box of movie, TV, and documentary options, all available at a moment’s notice. Like Spotify, Netflix also uses algorithms to spark curiosity by suggesting entertainment to a user, based on what and how they watch the content. Perhaps most interesting is that Netflix avoids demographic information such as age and gender, according to a recent Wired article. After all, everyone has the capacity to be curious. Instead, it focuses on watching style (do you binge watch?), timing (when do you watch?), and subject (which genres?), just to name a few. This system has been so effective for Netflix that they even use it when selecting what shows to produce as Netflix Original programs.
In the world of SaaS apps, we are all cats being led by our curios nature to explore more and discover what’s new and exciting. And when we do find something we like, SaaS apps don’t just stop there — they follow it up with buckets of value.
The Hidden Value Exchange of Subscribing to SaaS
Remember 2009? Apple had just recently released their iPhone 3G, and with it came a slogan that quickly entered popular culture: “yup, there’s an app for that.” Sesame Street even made a song out of the slogan, which happens to be sung by a guy who looks like Justin Long, the actor who made fun of PCs in Apple’s “Get a Mac” commercials.
Nearly ten years later, and the truth remains: there really often is “an app for that.” Take a quick scroll through the full list of apps available on Setapp, and you’ll soon realize, that for price of $9.99 a month, you have unlimited access to the “app for that” effect. Forgot your charger and need to stretch your Mac’s battery life for a little longer? There’s an app for that. Turn on Endurance and get an extra 20% more out of the remaining battery time. Wouldn’t it be cool to see how much time you didn’t waste scrolling through Facebook, Twitter, or elsewhere? There’s an app for that. Focus is a must-try app, thanks to the analytics that show how much extra time you gained by staying on task, as a result of temporarily blocking your access to social media.
Whether we’re interested in saving time, money, or both, the subscription model was built to give everyone a little more, if we all chip in the same amount. On top of that, since the subscription-based company relies on their subscribers for both giving them revenue and helping them leverage “economies of scale” expense management, subscribers hold a lot of power in the business relationship. Should they feel disappointed in their purchased subscription, voicing their critical feedback to their friends and online network can easily deter new subscribers or even current subscribers from continuing their financial commitment to the business.
SaaS Subscribers Get the Best of All Worlds
Thanks to the subscription model, both businesses and customers have a real chance to help each other out when it comes to the product or service at hand. With the consistency of a clear and recurring fulfillment schedule, as well as an affordable price, and compounding value, good things come to those who participate in the subscription economy.
Here at Setapp, we’ve done all the heavy lifting needed to provide you with the convenience of an all-in-one SaaS dashboard, where you can easily search, install, and update apps from an extensive collection without any complications. We’ve brought a whole range of SaaS app options and encourage you to find either exactly what you’re looking for, or perhaps even something you didn’t realize you needed until you saw it. Each app is available to you, kind of like in a buffet. And so our value grows while our price stays the same. Take a free trial of Setapp today and enjoy the future of life in the SaaS ecosystem.