The subscription business model is getting ever popular, with more businesses favoring it each day. Its popularity is only natural considering the subscription model’s proven impact on sustainable business growth and customer retention.
But for a subscription model to succeed and have visible improvements to sales, simply setting up subscriptions on your online store, isn’t enough.
It’s true that the subscription model offers better numbers and better growth, but for it to work these wonders, you need to have well-defined subscription management.
In this blog we’re going to talk all about eCommerce subscription management and why it is important.
What is eCommerce Subscription Management?
Let’s start by understanding what subscription management means.
Subscription management covers every aspect of handling customer subscriptions. It is the entire process of dealing with customer subscriptions, and this includes both how businesses handle subscriptions and how customers are allowed to handle their subscriptions by businesses.
Whichever might be the case, subscription management ensures that a smooth and simplified experience is being provided to the customer. Effective subscription management, by combining automation and hands-on action, allows for a well-oiled and smoother subscription model.
What is A Subscription Management Tool?
A subscription management tool or a subscription management solution provides businesses with a variety of features and functions to help optimize their subscription process. It takes care of recurring billing while ensuring a seamless, customizable and personalized customer experience.
Subscription management often requires both manual and automated actions. A subscription management tool can help deal with:
- Order edits, changes in shipping, upgrades, add-on products, skipping deliveries etc
- Manage and issue refunds
- Offer subscribers exclusive discounts
- Carry out essential business functions without wasting money or time
The success of a subscription model depends on how effectively it satisfies customers throughout their purchase journey and how well it meets their expectations.
Only by having the right subscription management software, can a business connect to its audience, offer direct and seamless subscription experiences, and build up better subscriber relationships.
Why is Subscription Management Important?
Subscription is not just about recurring revenues. One of the major benefits of a subscription model is its contribution to building meaningful long-term customer relationships.
But creating loyalty and building good connections with your customers requires more than a simple subscription plan. With the best subscription management software, your subscription-based business will run much more efficiently, which will help to reduce churn rates, provide a smoother customer experience and expect stronger brand loyalty. There are a number of benefits you can instantly notice when you employ a good subscription management solution.
Helps Keep Track of all Customer Subscriptions
Without proper subscription management, you are more likely to feel overwhelmed when managing customer subscriptions. But with the right tool to manage subscriptions, you can have a better hold on the countless subscriptions without burdening yourself. All the necessary data on customer subscriptions will be at your fingertips.
Helps Understand Subscription Patterns
With subscription management software in place, you will be able to have better insight into patterns and trends in your subscription model. You will have data on the average subscription duration of customers, the products they subscribe to, seasons where you gain more subscriptions, etc. All this info can be used to attain a deeper understanding of customer behavior, which can be applied for better marketing.
Helps Provide Better Customer Support
Often customers require the option to edit and customize their subscriptions. For instance, they might want to edit or modify their orders, cancel items or reschedule their subscriptions to a time that suits them. With a subscription management tool, you will have all the data right in front of you and can easily make those swaps and modifications, or customers can do it themselves. This way, you are providing better support and more flexibility for subscribers to customize orders as they see fit.
Helps Prevent Churn
Subscription management tools offer visibility on how many people are likely to leave your subscription, how many are likely to stick with your brand and the products they subscribed to before customers left. This data helps you plan out a better customer win-back strategy to bring them back. Moreover, with a well-functioning subscription model offering a seamless and smooth customer experience, will definitely see a reduced churn rate.
Elements of Good Subscription Management Tool
A properly employed subscription management tool can fetch exceptional results like increased average lifetime value of customers and provide stable revenue while strengthening customer loyalty. Subscription models also help in cultivating strong business relationships and gaining customer trust. Subscription management software lets you provide a flexible and customizable subscription experience allowing customers to choose and modify their orders based on their comfort and personal preferences.
Typically, a subscription software has five major aspects, which are:
- Payment Tools
- Shopper Tools
- Merchant Tools
- Analytics Tools
- Subscription Billing
Let’s have a better look at each of these subscription management elements:
1. Payment Tools
Payments tools are one of the most obvious elements of any subscription management software. They play a critical role in any subscription management software. The best Shopify subscription management apps will have secure and exceptionally good payment tools for payment processing, logistics etc.
Failed payments are infamous for contributing to eCommerce churn rates. Customers are always anxious about conducting payments online and a secure means for processing payments goes a long way in terms of earning trust.
Your subscription management software can help you provide that security. Multiple payment methods can be made available and with a secure channel for payment processing, customer anxiety is relieved significantly. Since credit card payment processing is an important aspect of any subscription model, the payment tools must be considered wisely when opting for subscription software.
Security features like payment vaulting, ensure that customer info is always secure. Payment tools can also help by
- Sharing warnings/alerts to customers when a payment fails.
- Ensuring seamless recurrent bills with pre-authorized transactions.
- Re-attempt or retry failed payments.
2. Shopper Tools
With the combinations of automated and manual actions included in a subscription management tool, businesses can provide customers with the ability to manage their subscriptions themselves. Shopper tools do exactly this.
Customers are allowed to edit or modify their orders, reschedule or cancel deliveries, view their past order history etc. The customer is given a great deal of control, which creates a positive effect on brand loyalty. This flexibility and personal feeling greatly reduce churn rates that might have otherwise arisen from the frustration of having no control over their own orders.
Businesses provide shopper tools within customer portals, where customers can edit the specifics of their subscriptions, view products that they have bought in the past, and more. They can even skip a delivery or add more products or change the shipping address. All these actions are significantly simplified and can be done with the handy customer portal. Shopper tools like transactional messages or SMS further enable buyers to manage orders and subscriptions directly from their smartphones.
3. Merchant Tools
If shopper tools are for customers, merchant tools are only accessible to merchants/businesses. Merchant portals or admin portals act as an H.Q. for businesses to look at their subscription services. Businesses can be sure of a properly working subscription plan only with sufficient insight and a comprehensive overview of subscription management and its effects. Merchants/businesses can even create workflows for different scenarios and include APIs and documentation, with these tools.
4. Analytic Tools
Understanding what’s working well and what needs to be changed in your subscription business model, is the best way to make the most out of recurring billings. For this, you need analytics tools. There are different analytical tools for different subscription management platforms in eCommerce. But to measure progress and success they will all have KPIs or Key Performance Indicators. Some other analytics tools are:
- Customer base overview
- Industry benchmarks allow for comparison against competitors’ performance.
- Performance tracking of product SKUs
- Tracking Customer actions
- Customer retention
- Customer engagement across channels is based on media attributions.
These analytics will aid you in accommodating changes based on customer preferences and help you stand out from other businesses. Only with the right customer data, can a business develop better customer relationships.
5. Subscription Billing
The last element that goes into making a subscription management solution is subscription billing. Offering subscriptions will be impossible without automated payment processing. And hence, billing tools are at the heart of any subscription management software. Billing tools allow businesses to access recurring revenue, contributing to its stability. Some subscription Billing tools are:
- Shipping and base-level tax capabilities.
- Recurring billing engine for automated payment processing
- Prizing customization for incentives.
Choose Best Subscription Management Solution for a Successful eCommerce Subscription Business
For subscription businesses to start on the path of growth, boosting customer satisfaction and improving the average customer lifetime value, having the best Shopify subscription management app is a priority.
Each of the elements of the subscription management app should be carefully considered so that the customers have a seamless experience. And in this particular eCommerce business model, success is defined by the subscription experience that is being provided.