Want to Start a Subscription Business? Don’t Forget the Billing!

Many customers want to try the latest products but don’t have the time or energy to search stores and websites for the next big thing. Shoppers who have been disappointed by misleading advertisements in the past may be hesitant to buy unfamiliar products.

Benefits of Subscription Services

Subscription services have become popular because they offer customers the opportunity to try out a wide range of products that are chosen by companies they trust. A customer can find a business that sells products related to a particular interest, such as health and fitness, clothing, pet care, entertainment, or toys and games for children, and receive a sample of products on a regular basis. If the products are consistently useful and of good quality, shoppers will feel that their money is being well spent, and the company will develop a loyal customer base and a consistent and sustainable source of revenue. The company’s positive reputation will also bring in new customers.

Identify Your Target Customers

If you are thinking about starting a subscription business, the first thing you need to do is figure out what type of customers you want to attract and what they want and need. Your target demographic can include college students, professionals, parents, senior citizens, pet owners, athletes, world travelers, or any other group. The more specific you are in terms of identifying and understanding your target customers, the better you will be able to find products that will enrich their lives.

Make Subscribing Easy

The thing that customers value the most about subscription services is convenience. The ordering and billing process should be as straightforward as possible. Your website should make it easy for customers to get an idea of the types of products they might receive. If you offer subscriptions that apply to different interests, clearly explain what customers can expect from each one. If you offer two or more subscriptions related to the same interest, but they vary in terms of the number or type of items included, make that clear.

The billing process should be simple. Offer as many payment options as possible, including a variety of credit and debit cards and the ability to use a bank account or a service such as PayPal. Clearly explain the pricing and show customers how they can save money if they purchase a long-term subscription. If there are additional costs for taxes and shipping, spell them out.

How Subscription DNA Can Help

Subscription DNA offers billing software that can make it easy to process recurring payments. Customers can enter their billing information once and know how much they will be charged and when. Your company will have a regular source of income without the hassle of processing individual payments, and since the billing process will be clear to customers, you won’t have to field a lot of calls and emails with questions. Contact Subscription DNA today to learn more.

How Often Should You Bill Your Subscription Customers? (Part Two)

In part one of this post, we covered the options that subscription businesses have today when it comes to billing customers. It’s important to achieve balance between the needs of the business and the preferences of customers. Having a flexible subscription management solution in place allows you to offer customers options that work for them. This makes sense, but you may not be completely sure what your customers’ preferences are.

Determining Customer Preferences

This is where a bit of market research could come in handy. You may want to communicate with a core group of subscribers and ask them what they believe the value of your product or service is, and how it best benefits them to pay for it.  An alternative method is to A/B test several price points and see which has the higher conversion rate. This kind of research is important because it can help you determine not only the best billing frequency but also the best price point. Be sure to consider the customer lifespan value: if you discover that a higher price has a lower customer conversion rate but higher customer lifetime value, it may make sense to go with a higher price.

Consider the “Freemium” Model

If you’re providing entertainment content, you may find that the “freemium” model works well. This means offering one tier of content for free but restricting access to premium features to paying subscribers only. It’s a good way to allow users to “test” whether they like your products or services before they commit to payment.

“Forced” Free Trials

Amazon Prime is the best example of this model. Most customers pay for Amazon on an annual basis, but they get the first month for free. In fact, there is no way to sign up for Amazon Prime and pay immediately…users must go through this first-month trial. It sends a strong message to customers: we’re so sure you’re going to get value from this service, that we’ll give it to you for free for a month. Audible, the audiobook service, immediately provides new subscribers with a free audiobook upon signing up.

A good place to start is to examine your competitors’ subscription details. How can you improve on them (while still making money, of course)? What need can you fill in subscribers that your competitors aren’t?

Communicate with Your Subscribers

Communicating with your subscribers is critical, which is why your cloud-based subscription management platform should allow you to extensively communicate with and market to your subscriber base. Subscription DNA’s communication tools allow you to easily engage in drip marketing, communications, and membership management.

How Often Should You Bill Your Subscription Customers? (Part 1)

It’s already been established that the “subscription economy” is upon us. Younger consumers, accustomed to subscribing to the services they need rather than purchasing them (up to and including cars, it seems), are looking for more ways to pay for only what they need. As companies switch to subscription billing, however, it’s worth taking some time to determine what your customers want in a subscription. Do they want to pay monthly? Annually? Quarterly? Or a la carte?

What Are the Pros and Cons of Different Billing Frequency?

There are benefits to a business with every subscription frequency. Annual recurring payment plans provide a full year of revenue upfront, easing cash flow concerns for the business. This is particularly important for a startup business. Annual billing guarantees customer retention for at least one year, and it eliminates the costs associated with monthly invoicing or collection issues. This is good for the business.

You do, however, need to consider what’s going to attract the most customers and keep them happy. Monthly recurring payment plans offer less risk to customers who may be skeptical of an upfront commitment, particularly with a new or high-risk product or service. The monthly model also provides a lower barrier to entry, which should increase customer acquisition, and makes the sales process shorter and more cost-effective.

If you’re selling products or services popular with young consumers, weekly, daily and even a la carte payments could encourage more spending.

Flexibility Is Easy with a Flexible Subscription Management Platform

As you can see, there are pros and cons to every model, so it’s important to evaluate the best fit for your business and your customers. To do so, you need to ensure you have a strong subscription management solution in place that will give you the flexibility you need to offer flexible subscription plans. This way, you can offer customers a choice in how they want to be billed.

Once you decide which types of subscriptions plan to offer, it is easy to set them up in a full-service, cloud-based subscription management solution like Subscription DNA. With our robust tools, you can administer all aspects of your subscription business. You can not only build your subscription billing process the way you want it but also communicate with target user groups, quickly mine and analyze numerous reports, view transactions, send customizable email auto responses, engage in marketing, track member login usage and statistics and more.

Subscription Services Here to Stay

Subscription services are no longer some new, trendy topic for new age businesses catering to the millennial generation and younger. Today you can find subscriptions for everything from food and clothing to movies and even cars.

The explosive success this industry has had is related to the fact that it helps people save time, money and make decisions that benefit them.

With the market for cloud billing (which includes subscription billing services) predicted to reach $16.59B by 2021, now’s the time for businesses to get in the game.

Here’s why subscription services are here to stay and why your business should seriously consider offering the option.

Personalized

Personalization comes in very close second when talking about the ways for companies to succeed today. In line with innovation, this tactic is one of the best ways to gain customer loyalty, show customers you care about their needs and increase the likelihood of a sale.

Subscription services cater exclusively to this need. Most people who sign-up of are considering the service are already in need of it. Consider a clothing subscription service that delivers outfits to match criteria preset by each customer. Items shipped to them are sent in the right size, color and perfect for a specific occasion.

Personalization for your target market is just one of the many ways a subscription service can instantly boost business.

Efficient

The thing that many subscribers are coming to realize about subscription services is that they end up saving money in the long run. Cost savings easily add up and are a major buying factor for most consumers. Subscribing to a service for delivery of toiletries on a monthly or as-need basis, for example, can come with price discounts and more importantly means cutting out the cost and time spent driving around to shop at a brick and mortar grocer. If there’s one thing everyone is short on today – it’s time. This convenience alone is a great selling point for those looking promote subscription services to the market.

Subscription DNA’s enterprise subscription billing software platform automates recurring billing, can set one-time or future billing, and can even support complex payment scenarios. We also offer paywall authentication options to protect or allow access to premium content, media, software, and more.  Get in touch today to learn more!

3 Reasons to Set-up a Paywall

As people have increasingly turned to the internet to find information, newspapers, and magazines have seen their circulations decline. One way that many companies have been able to make money in the internet age is by setting up paywalls.

A paywall is a system that requires users to pay to access online content. It can be configured in a variety of ways to allow users varying levels of access. Companies decide which type of paywall to use based on the type and quality of the content they offer and the goals they hope to achieve.

Why Set-up a Paywall?

The main reason to use a paywall is to generate revenue. With fewer people subscribing to newspapers and magazines, publishers can earn money by requiring users to pay to access their content online.

Having users pay for access to content instantly raises the value of that content in readers’ eyes. People assume that the content they need to pay for will be worth the money. Of course, that means that writers need to deliver, or people won’t pay.

Some companies allow users who have paid for access to their content to share it on social media. This is free advertising for the company that created it. If someone sees quality content that a friend posted on social media, he or she may go to the source and subscribe to get access to more content.

Types of Paywalls

The simplest type of paywall is a membership. Users pay a monthly or annual fee to access content on the website. A company can have an all-access membership or levels that offer different amounts of access at various prices. Using memberships can help businesses develop long-term relationships with readers.

A pay-per-view model requires users to pay to access individual pieces of content. This works best for content that is in high demand by a limited number of people, such as a scientific research paper or medical journal.

Some companies make their content free for a time to allow users to get a taste of what they have to offer. After the trial period is over, users can pay for a subscription. The goal is to give users enough time to get hooked on a site’s content and then generate revenue through subscriptions.

A metered paywall allows users to access a limited number of articles before needing to subscribe. As is the case with a free limited-time trial, a metered paywall is designed to get users hooked so they will be willing to pay to continue to have access to content on a regular basis.

Set-up a Paywall

With so many companies publishing content online and in print, businesses need to compete to capture people’s attention. A paywall can help your company attract and retain readers and generate income. Subscription DNA can help you set up a paywall to control access to your content and boost revenue. Contact us today to learn more.