Armed with a problem that impacted his family life, our client came to us with an idea. He wanted to watch his children’s dance performances even if he was traveling. From his market research, he knew that he’d need to launch a fully-developed SaaS product and not just an MVP.
Entering a crowded app market requires a unique strategy. How do you differentiate yourself from your competition when there are so many of them? The dance studio industry is particularly saturated with apps that solve very specific problems. On the administrative side, studio owners have to schedule teachers, manage payroll, pay rent or organizational dues, and pay utilities. On the business side, studio owners need to create class schedules, communicate with parents and students, record payments, accept electronic payments, and order students’ costumes. While one app might take care of scheduling for students and teachers, a studio owner might need three more apps to handle payments, communication, and payroll.
From the parents’ perspective, there are additional issues. Parents juggling class schedules with their own work schedules need impeccable communication to keep track of performances, new classes, class cancellations, payments, and upcoming events. Despite trying to attend every recital, conflicting work schedules often prevent parents from catching every show.
To add to the complexity, the pandemic became a problem that exacerbated current issues. How can teachers safely and effectively teach students during a community health situation? Studio owners need to maximize their class size, but also need to comply with their local health department guidelines. Online classes, once infrequent and rare, became more popular with students. And teachers realized they could reach more students if they could teach virtually to anyone with an internet connection.
Over 55,000 dance studios currently operate in the U.S., and the industry is expected to grow 3.8% year over year. Tens of thousands of studio owners use half a dozen apps to run their businesses. The surprising popularity of online classes has also opened up another revenue stream for studio owners who are prepared to embrace change. It’s clear that the industry is ripe for transformation.
The client went into product development with his eyes wide open. Typical app development focuses on designing a minimum viable product (MVP) before releasing it to the public. However, this dance studio product needed to enter the market with all of the bells and whistles, and more.
Since dance studios can vary in size from ten students to thousands, studio owners need to be able to scale up or down based on the size of their studio. From a UX perspective, this can be difficult. Making accommodations for the disparate sizes of studios can increase the necessary screens and options, and thus increase the time and cost of a project. Smaller studios also find the more elaborate software tools cost-prohibitive because their revenue can’t justify the expense.
As the Ventive team and the client moved through the discovery and design phase, they realized that one app would need to become three. The Agile methodology that Ventive uses gave the project the flexibility to go back and adapt to the client’s changing specifications.
What started out as an idea for making it easier for studio owners to communicate with parents became three separate products: SuitePeach web app (for studio owners), SuitePeach mobile app (for parents and students over the age of 13), and SuitePeach Live (for hosting online dance classes).
The product was launched with a unique payment system that charged studio owners, regardless of their size, a percentage of their fees instead of a flat fee. By using subscription-as-a-service (SaaS) as a revenue model, the client turned an app solution into a fully-fledged dance studio software company with fintech underpinnings.
Our client’s frustrating experience with a dance studio has developed into a SaaS company. Ventive is handing off operations to SuitePeach’s in-house team, including developers, marketers, and a CTO, none of whom existed two years ago. Even though SuitePeach was originally designed for dance studios that serve students from preschool to high school age, with just a little UX copy tweaking, it could run a yoga studio or any other kind of studio setting. The future is bright for SuitePeach.
Ventive is proud to be part of the SuitePeach journey. Do you have a business idea that could transform an industry? Talk to our team today.