Subscription Management Solutions Go Further Than Recurring Billing

While many companies both small and large consider the prospect of selling products and services on a subscription basis, few companies think in advance how they’ll manage the subscriptions. After all, the idea of managing customers on a monthly basis is a little more onerous then selling them something and seeing the back of the for the next few years, or a decade. Subscription management needs a process and a framework to build upon.

Why Do I Need Subscription Management Software?

A subscription management platform integrates subscription billing, subscription management, paywalls, and authentication, and makes it easy to market to subscribers with email, segmenting your subscriber list in any way you choose. The alternative is a series of separate solutions strung together in a patchwork attempt to cover all the business’ bases and the needs of subscribers.

Solutions such as Subscription DNA allow customers to log in and manage their own accounts right from your web site. Using an administrative console, you can quickly manage accounts, automate recurring invoicing, analyze reports, communicate with targeted user groups, process transactions, generate payment requests, track member login statistics and more.

What’s the Difference Between Subscription Management and Recurring Invoicing?

In many cases, the financial software used by businesses has the capability to do recurring invoices. Customer’s accounts can be adjusted to invoice existing subscriptions, usually by choosing the first bill date and setting the interval (monthly, quarterly or annually) and setting a final expiration date on the subscription. While this is handy in a limited set of circumstances, it’s not subscription management.

Subscription management goes much further, allowing companies to engage in usage billing so they can offer a tiered model of subscriptions. (Use more, get a higher bill, useless, get a lower bill). The recurring invoices can usually cope with only a “one size fits all” billing model. If customers decide to move to a higher tier in the middle of the billing interval, a recurring invoice model isn’t going to be able to cope with the change. In this case, billing adjustments would need to be manual.

Finally, many subscription businesses like to offer marketing promotions, which might go something like this: we’ll provide you with a three-month trial offer at a 50 percent discount from regular prices. If you decide to continue your subscription after three months, you can roll your trial membership into a full paying plan. A recurring billing platform is never going to be able to cope with this level of complexity.

Subscription management platforms allow for a virtually limitless number of subscription billing options, as well as customization for groups, reporting, communication tools, and premium content/paywall capabilities. For more information about Subscription DNA, call 513 574-9800 or visit our web site.

Understanding Subscription Billing and Cancellation Laws

Many businesses allow customers to sign up for subscriptions and to have their credit or debit cards automatically billed each month. Consumers often appreciate the convenience and simplicity of these programs, but problems can arise if companies don’t clearly disclose the terms upfront or fail to explain how customers can cancel their subscriptions.

How Some Companies Have Exploited Consumers

While most businesses that use a recurring billing model operate ethically, some have taken advantage of consumers. In some cases, companies didn’t clearly explain the terms of their billing agreements or it made it difficult for consumers to opt-out or cancel memberships. In other instances, businesses offered customers a free or low-cost trial to give them an opportunity to try the company’s product or service before committing to a membership, but then the companies automatically billed customers when the trial memberships ended without explaining that to customers when they signed up.

Legal Changes to Protect Consumers

Those sorts of practices prompted class action lawsuits and changes to both federal and state laws to help customers make informed decisions and avoid being confused, deceived, and exploited. The Federal Restore Online Shoppers’ Confidence Act (ROSCA) prohibits businesses from making recurring charges simply because a customer didn’t opt out; a customer must explicitly opt-in. The terms of an agreement must be explained before a customer provides billing information, and a customer must be told how to cancel recurring charges.

Several states have passed their own laws that clearly explain what information about subscriptions must be disclosed to consumers, as well as when and how it must be disclosed. During the membership sign-up process, a business must prominently and conspicuously display a notice that explains the terms of the agreement in a way that is easy to understand. Some state laws require companies to make it easy for consumers to cancel trial memberships, while others require consumers to opt-in after a free trial ends before a company can bill a credit or debit card.

Get Professional Help Running a Subscription Service

Subscription billing is convenient for both businesses and consumers, but unfortunately, some companies have used unscrupulous practices to take advantage of customers, which led to a series of laws designed to protect consumers. If you want to use subscription billing, it’s important to understand and follow all applicable laws. Subscription DNA stays on top of legal changes and can help your company process automatic payments and comply with state and federal rules. Contact us today to learn more. 

Subscription Service Businesses See Holiday Season Boost

Subscription services have become a hot business. Today just about everything you can imagine from your weekly groceries to the car you drive can be attained with a subscription service. Most appealing about these services is the convenience, discovery and trendy possibilities they provide. For the 2019 holiday season, they were also a hotly requested item on most people’s wish lists.

According to reports, Cyber Monday, which was one of the biggest online shopping days in history – $9.2B in sales according to calculations by Adobe, also saw an increase in people signing up for subscription services.

Box-of-the-month and digital media streaming services topped this list of subscription services people are signing up for today and online courses came in a close third as what people are signing up to pay for monthly.

Giving these as gifts have become a popular choice because of the variety and personalization options possible. For those with beer lovers, foodies, or make-up junkies on their shopping lists, for example, there are a plethora of options to pay for a monthly or yearly delivery of curated boxes without having to do much else for the gift than to set-up the payment method.

For subscription service providers this increase can also be profitable for the overall business. Once a customer chooses to gift a subscription service or box to someone there is a likelihood they too will become customers and create additional profit for the company.

Choosing subscription services for holiday gifts this year was also interestingly followed by a change in payment options for subscription offerings. Many people were found to use payment solutions like PayPal to process their fees which shows an additional push for the ease and convenience that automated, all online commerce and solutions are continuing to have on consumer spending habits.

Are you ready to set-up a subscription billing service? Trust Subscription DNA. Our enterprise cloud billing and membership management software saves you time and money. Our SaaS platform integrates subscription billing, subscription management, paywalls, and authentication so it’s easy to use and implement. Learn More!

How to Manage Group Subscriptions

Group subscriptions are a way for organizations to buy digital access for a specific group of members: employees, for example, or students at a school. When it’s configured properly, a group subscription provides authorized access to a set number of users and allows an account administrator to manage the list of users. Group subscriptions might be paid in advance by the organization, or it might be paid for by subscribers (perhaps with a special discount offered to the group). In any case, it’s important to manage these subscribers as a group when it comes to marketing and communications since it’s likely they have similar interests in your subscription-based business.

Choose a Subscription Management Platform with Group Capabilities

To manage group subscriptions, look for a software solution that allows you to generate group packages and lets a group “owner” manage the members of the group. The solution should allow the group’s billing to be automated according to the group owner’s preferences. In addition, customization for group members is important. Ideally, group members should be able to manage their own subscriptions within the group.

Important Tips for Group Subscriptions

Create a customized sign-up process for the group. Choose a solution that allows for the creation of a unique signup form that each group’s members can use to register into their group.

Find the right balance of group owner functionality and individual member flexibility. Group owners should be able to optionally add members from within their account. At the same time, each member should still remain a unique login and statistic so you can retain visibility into individual activity.

Set up group communications. This way, you can customize email responders and generate batch email blasts to target either the group’s owners or the group’s members and then populate the email body using a number of optional variables.

Market to the group. Look for a solution that allows you to create HTML email templates that can be reused quickly for future emails when it’s time to market to the group as a whole. Email blasts can be scheduled for a future date and time, while responders are triggered instantly on various user actions.

Contact Subscription DNA

Cloud-based subscription management platform Subscription DNA provides subscription billing, membership, and paywall software that can be used to manage and customize group subscriptions. Enrollment tools designed to accommodate group subscriptions help organizations manage, bill and market to groups seamlessly, and provide the flexibility groups need to offer their members easy-to-manage subscriptions. Contact Subscription DNA via Web site or phone at 513-574-9800 to learn how you can add group capabilities to your subscription management.

Subscription Services Continue Upward Movement

For most consumers today, subscription services are quickly becoming the norm. Even for those who aren’t looking for monthly curated boxes, services like Amazon Prime, Spotify, and even InstaCart have made dedicating a monthly subscription fee to have convenience more of a norm than ever before.

One new report uncovered that the subscription economy has moved beyond just products and is also playing a key role in businesses. Here, access to services and digital tools are making it easier to increase productivity and for businesses of all sizes to compete in today’s landscape.

Still, the consumer side is also looking bright for subscription services. A survey conducted by Clutch uncovered that online shoppers today are taking advantage of subscription boxes from top brands with more than half of online shoppers surveyed for their research (54%) saying they already subscribe to a subscription box service. Benefits including a desire for convenience to new, fresh experiences are just some of the reasons why the subscription culture is thriving.

The top 3 subscription services for consumers according to their survey are:

  • Dollar Shave Club
  • Ipsy
  • Blue Apron

These companies ranked highly in terms of additional benefits offered to a consumer outside of just providing a monthly box of goodies. Things like regular replenishment, access to extra perks for being a subscription customer and curation benefits of new items to try – all ranked as the top reasons for their choice.

If you’re a business looking to get in on the subscription economy, trust Subscription DNA to help you save time, money and make the transition an easy one. Our enterprise cloud billing and membership management software means you can automate the recurring billing process and gain access to administrative tools you need to manage your customers.

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