E-commerce platforms, such as Shopify and WooCommerce, have significantly lowered the barrier to entry for merchants to take their business online. No-code web design and easy-to-activate card-payment gateways allow even those with no technical experience to get up and running quickly and with little upfront investment cost. While solutions like these are excellent at getting business owners trading, they soon run into problems when the need to scale eventually arises.
More revenue, more problems
Scaling a business is a complex, stressful and ongoing process. Recurring billing is just one of the many factors business owners have to worry about as they grow their company. As your business starts expanding, customers increase. And, with more customers comes their varying individual needs. A subscription-driven business’s very nature calls for the ability to change rapidly while responding to consumer demands, standing out in a competitive environment and exploring product-market fit.
Various scenarios can crop up in your company’s journey — you may explore a new business model, discover novel requests from customers or even forced, by regulation, to change the way you bill your customers. Due to the inherent complexities involved in subscription billing and management, operating a business can quickly become very expensive.
To effectively address this, billing and subscription-management platforms are leading the way to automate the entire customer billing process, from order to cash.
Brand perception is everything to e-commerce and subscription businesses. How customers interact with you from a billing and payments perspective is just as critical as the product or service you sell.
Subscription-management solutions sit between your products and services, such as your e-commerce site, and the payment gateway. Its primary goal is to simplify the handling of subscriptions through a customer’s lifecycle. From changing billing frequency, adding multiple subscriptions to one account, supporting add-ons, coupons and discounts, offering alternate payment methods and necessitating frequent billing changes that will be beyond your payment gateway’s capabilities.
With consumers’ debt and non-payments on the increase, businesses who are unable to engage with customers throughout their lifecycle stand to lose the most.
In order to protect your business against revenue losses and customer churn, the following capabilities are no longer a differentiation, but a necessity:
Real-time customer engagement capabilities to respond when things go wrong
The average customer holds at least three to five recurring subscriptions at any given time. This, coupled with increasing living expenses, will result in your customers missing at least one payment at least once in their engagement with your business. Yet, not all customer payments that fail are due to insufficient funds. Businesses who are able to identify and determine the exact reason for payment failures and trigger personalised interactions with customers could expect up to 90% successful collections of arrears and reduce customer churn by 85%.
The payment methods your customers expect, and that your business can afford
The growth of payment technology over the last five years has resulted in customers now being able to pay in many different ways. Being able to provide a customer with the payment method most suited to them is critical for sales conversions and collecting ongoing revenue. But with each payment method having different pricing points, using the wrong mix for your business could result in a significant increase when it comes to the cost of doing business. Successful businesses use platforms that easily allow them to add new payment methods as they become available and only select the ones most suitable to their business, product and customer combination.
Billing and pricing strategies to maximise customer conversion
The e-commerce and subscription economy, which is driven through platforms like Amazon and Netflix, has revolutionised how customers pay for products and services. As a result, customers are looking for more flexibility when it comes to one-off and recurring payment obligations. Businesses who are unable to experiment with and provide ‘freemium’ subscriptions, promotions, coupons and flexible pricing structures stand to alienate a large part of their customer base.