The list of must-have technologies for subscription and membership businesses gets longer every year. So, how do you decide what’s absolutely necessary to grow your online business and avoid the dreaded shiny object syndrome?
The expanding universe of options, platform tools and applications can make your head spin. (No wonder subscription and membership business owners feel overwhelmed.)
To complicate things even more, not only do online businesses have to think about the best apps, tools and systems to use, but they also have to know how these systems ‘talk’ to each other to create the best strategies for customer retention and more profits.
We like to keep things simple, so here are some technologies that every subscription and membership business should use in 2019. But, before we start on our list, you need to do one thing, which is to define your business so you’ll have a better idea of what tools you need.
Ask yourself questions like:
- Is your subscription or membership business based on a physical product?
- Are you selling digital products?
- Are you selling subscription boxes?
- Are you selling conferences and events?
- Do you provide a mixture of the above?
Once you’ve answered these questions, the following technologies must be implemented into your subscription and membership business in 2019.
1. Recurring billing system
A recurring billing system is the heartbeat of any subscription and membership business. This is where the merchant automatically charges the customer for whatever goods or services are being sold at a schedule that’s arranged beforehand.
This payment system is set up by the subscriber when they give their credit card details, so that he or she can be billed on a regular basis. Payments will continue to be taken until the subscriber cancels the subscription or it expires.
A recurring billing system is a win-win for you and your customers. You have consistent revenue and it’s convenient for customers to forget about making payments every month. This system provides one of the basic elements for boosting customer retention in subscription and membership businesses.
2. Order management system
Subscription and membership businesses ensure that subscribers get specified products and services at different periods. Sometimes, customers get to choose the frequency of their orders while, at other times, products are available 24/7.
For example, with SaaS businesses, the product is available around the clock and all the customer has to do is log in to use it. This technology is useful for membership and subscription businesses that provide services at different periods, per customer.
Handling different customer requirements when it comes to scheduling goods and services can be challenging. However, with an order management system, you can be confident that your customers will get the products and services they want at the right time.
3. Payment processor
Payment processors are important to every business — and especially subscription and membership ones. Payment processing allows membership and subscription-based businesses to accept payments from card issuers.
To make the most of this technology, take some time to understand payment processing terms and the requirements of different banks. You also need to know how the processing will integrate with your other systems for a smooth-running business.
However, payment processors aren’t one-size-fits-all. A payment processor like Fattmerchant makes payment processing easy for businesses of all sizes. In fact, their subscription-based membership means you’re paying the lowest possible cost of interchange.
4. Payment recovery solution
Most businesses rely on payment recovery software, also known as dunning or dunning software, to manage credit card payment declines.
How it works is that, when the solution you’ve used for billing identifies a charge that has been declined on the customer’s account, the software will automatically send a notification to the customer to let him or her know that their card has failed.
Many subscription and membership businesses still use dunning because they believe it’s the most effective option for payment recovery. The software is often sought out because a large part of a subscription and membership-based business involves reducing customer churn.
This metric is really important for subscription and membership businesses, so it makes sense that many entrepreneurs and business owners put all their eggs in the dunning software basket when it comes to customer retention.
But, does dunning software really work?
When thinking about dunning and how effective it is, you have to realize that most customers ignore automated emails. Or, even worse, these emails go straight to the junk or spam box.
It follows that a really important service that’s needed for subscription and membership businesses is one that will altogether replace the need for dunning software.
Payment recovery solution that works
With Gravy, your dunning solution is amplified because we work with different CRMs, processes and product delivery systems to rev-up the effectiveness of the technology.
Gravy provides full-time, U.S.-based customer retention specialists dedicated to recovering failed payments and retaining customers. This provides a human element to dunning that is appreciated by customers because they see that you’re dealing with their payment recovery issues with empathy, through the eyes of a human being instead of just automation.
We’ve developed and fine-tuned engagement strategies, conversion technologies and the best scripts to offer a new type of customer retention service by recovering failed payments and card declines — in effect, lost revenue.
We follow up failed subscription and membership business payments quickly and if necessary, set up in-person appointments to ensure that you’re the first person your customer hears from. This means that your company and brand are presented in a professional, helpful and caring way.
In the end, while you may choose dunning in an effort to save money, you are actually losing more in the end. Gravy not only recovers failed payments and retains your hard-earned customers, but our service saves you money as it costs a fraction of the price of hiring someone full time to recover failed payments.
Gravy adds a human touch while preserving your brand’s integrity — which your customers will appreciate, especially when asking for something as sensitive as money.
5. Content management system (CMS)
With an effective CMS, it should be a breeze to create and market subscription and membership content that retains customers. A CMS allows you to stretch the reach and the life cycle of your messages and other types of content.
A CMS is a must-have technology because it makes your content work harder while you do less. This enables you to meet potential customers’ needs better because you can personalize different segments of your product or service to specific members.
6. Marketing and marketing automation
Customer retention rests on how you market your subscription and membership business. Marketing isn’t only a way to get new customers, but also the main way to keep those who are already with you.
Marketing automation includes email marketing and a ton of other functions to help you to market and sell, your subscriptions, memberships, online courses etc. Target different members based on repetitive behavior when using your services or goods. Your marketing automation should use the insights gained from buyer behavior and turn them into a way of providing better and improved products, a larger product offering or just a better service in general.
Making use of the right analytics can help increase customer retention, reduce customer churn and ultimately, deliver a better service. Crunching your numbers can shine a light on various parts of your business. For example, show you how your content is doing, which customers are stalling at different times and why they’re abandoning your subscription or membership site.
Most technologies come with analytics features, but you may need separate software to meet your business needs. Some stand-alone analytic platforms are simple while others are more complicated and cost more. For example, Google Analytics is easy to use and is free, while Adobe Analytics comes with a hefty price tag but has a lot of different options.
Whichever analytics platform you choose, make sure you’re using it properly to measure the right metrics and then take action if necessary.
Analyzing Customer Churn
One area of subscription and membership business that’s normally underrepresented when it comes to analytics is customer churn. Sometimes, simply looking at the figures from your payment processing, dunning software and other technologies won’t give you the full picture of how much these failed payments are affecting your bottom line.
At Gravy, we’re experts in working with subscription and membership businesses, to provide a deep dive into their analytics to show how much they’re actually losing. It always comes as a total shock to many online business owners that they’re losing more than they thought. This is because of the compound effects of failed subscription payments.
If you own a subscription or membership business and want to find out how much you’re losing through failed payments, book a free, quick and simple discovery chat with us today.
We’ll then let you know how we can help you recover your revenue and customers by using techniques that supports dunning software with a human, empathetic and, most importantly, successful process.