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Subscription Commerce: Navigating the Solutions Landscape

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All subscription commerce solutions are basically the same, right? Little known fact is that there are three main categories of subscription providers – and figuring out which solution best fits your business requirements can be tricky.

Even providers that help you boost revenue in the short term might seriously limit your ability to respond to future shifts in products and services, pricing and market opportunities.

So how do you find one that really works?

Included in this complimentary white paper:

• The pros and cons of three types of subscription solutions
• Concrete use cases for each solution type
• Questions to ask yourself when evaluating providers
• Questions to ask potential providers

Published in: Business, Technology
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Subscription Commerce: Navigating the Solutions Landscape

  1. 1. The subscription business model has gone mainstream with companies like Dropbox, Netflix, Adobe and Zipcar because it offers a predictable, recurring revenue stream.
  2. 2. But in their eagerness to earn more revenue and keep up with trends in global ecommerce, too many businesses want to dive headfirst into the subscription commerce pool. With so many subscription commerce solutions available, it can be easy to get locked into a provider that doesn’t fit your specific requirements. Even worse, the wrong solution can limit your capacity to respond to shifts in products/services, pricing or market opportunities.
  3. 3. Commerce platforms not designed for the selling of digital goods are unable to cater to the evolving business models and specific features needed to sell digital goods and services online. eBusiness firms with the constraints of an ill-suited technology will lag behind customer needs, miss out on monetizing digital content, and neglect launching new product offerings1. 1 Market Overview: Commerce Solutions For Digital Products And Services, 2015” by Lily Varon, Peter Sheldon with Zia Daniell Wigder, Diana Gold, Forrester Research, Inc. May 27, 2015. 4
  4. 4. Let’s evaluate the three different solution approaches for recurring billing and subscription businesses. Already selling through an existing solution? This could be a good time to reevaluate a billing solution because it’s likely that there may be areas lagging behind industry best practices. 5
  5. 5. Category A – Billing/Payments Solution A payment gateway provides the technology to securely capture and transfer credit card information from a website shopping cart to the merchant account. A merchant account handles the financial processing of the credit card transaction with the banks and card brand (VISA, MasterCard, etc.). It is very typical to have one company supply the merchant account and another supply the payment gateway because very few companies supply both services under the same roof. Some payment gateways have even evolved to offer simple recurring billing features.
  6. 6. Category A – Billing/Payments Solution Typically the cheapest option to get you up and running with accepting basic recurring payments Get more pros and cons, plus use cases, in our complimentary white paper! Subscription and recurring revenue capabilities are not core functionalities, which will require a lot of custom development on your end Pros Cons
  7. 7. Category B – Subscription Management Point Solution Recurring billing and subscription management point solutions focus on the function of managing when each customer is due to be billed and for how much. The vendor either collects the annual/monthly fee or stops delivering the publication if the customer doesn’t pay by a certain date. A recurring billing platform will manage this information for the vendor, though they won’t necessarily act as the merchant of record and collect payments.
  8. 8. Category B – Subscription Management Point Solution Can offer deep financial reporting on your performance, tracking important sales metrics such as # of users, churn rate, etc. Get more pros and cons, plus use cases, in our complimentary white paper! The initial cost is often significantly less than your final bill after adding in all necessary costs for development and other third-party vendor services. Pros Cons
  9. 9. Category C – Full-Service or Integrated Solution Full-service or integrated solutions have subscription management, but also core commerce capabilities (e.g. payment processing, multivariate testing, localization capabilities, marketing capabilities, fraud prevention, affiliate and reseller support, customer support, etc.). The benefit of partnering with a full-service or integrated solution is that they handle all of these activities on your behalf, freeing up numerous resources for product development that would have been otherwise occupied by ecommerce and subscription activities.
  10. 10. Category C – Full-Service or Integrated Solution Enables you to go global fast with new product or services releases, because localization capabilities are built in Get more pros and cons, plus use cases, in our complimentary white paper! Because more ecommerce and subscription capabilities are built into the solution, you may experience sticker shock compared to the other types of solutions Pros Cons
  11. 11. As you can see, each solution has their place and serves different purposes. The right solution will address your unique business needs and capabilities as well as the needs of your customers who will be interacting with it. Analyze your business needs for today and anticipate for tomorrow before evaluating providers to ensure the correct solution is implemented. To help, we’ve included in the white paper some questions to think about when it comes to your own business, as well as questions to consider asking potential subscription solution providers. Get subscription-savvy in our complimentary white paper!
  12. 12. cleverbridge provides global subscription billing solutions that help companies build long-term customer relationships and grow recurring revenue streams. With its flexible, cloud-based billing and monetization platform, cleverbridge integrates seamlessly with client systems, simplifies subscription business models and delivers an optimized online customer experience. Leveraging cleverbridge expertise, technology and services, clients monetize products and services more effectively, rapidly expand their global subscriber base and maximize customer lifetime value. Headquartered in Cologne, Germany, cleverbridge has offices in Chicago, San Francisco and Tokyo. To learn more about cleverbridge, please contact inquiry@cleverbridge.com or visit www.cleverbridge.com.

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