If you have an ecommerce business, chances are you offer some kind of subscription service. Maybe you sell monthly boxes of products, or perhaps you provide subscription-based access to your content or services.
Whatever the case may be, subscription management is an essential part of running a successful ecommerce operation, not only in terms of managing the financial side of your business but also taking care of new sign-ups and more. The subscription economy continues to evolve, so if you want to put your business in the best position, effective subscription management is key.
In this article, we’ll give you five ways you can handle subscription management in your ecommerce business. We’ll cover everything from setting up a subscription system to dealing with cancellations and refunds. Here’s all you need to know.
How to handle subscription management
Subscriptions are great for securing recurring payments; however, behind the scenes, they do require a lot of administrative management. Using subscription management software is a great solution as it automates many of the mundane yet essential tasks, makes it easier to see new potential areas for growth, and allows you to create more flexible, customized plans and pricing models. The subscription management platform Chargebee, for example, makes subscriptions easy to manage as you scale. It can slot seamlessly into your existing tech stack, and enhance operational efficiency across the board so you have visibility of every subscriber’s lifecycle.
The right subscription management tools will keep your ecommerce business running smoothly, making it easier to acquire, engage, and retain subscribers while also managing all of your products, promotions, and pricing strategies. The wrong set of tools, on the other hand, will leave your company with blind spots at best, and your team drowning in spreadsheets at worst — so make sure you invest in a software solution that covers all the bases and offers reliable support when you need it.
To handle subscription management in your ecommerce business, start by following these 5 steps:
1. Set up a subscription system
The first step in handling subscription management is getting your actual subscription system set up. You need to think about your subscription pricing model, billing, marketing, and most importantly what your goals are; to get the most out of your subscription management system, it’s always important to have defined goals in mind so you can use the software in the most effective way for your business needs.
The great thing is, getting started doesn’t take long. Using a subscription management software provider, it’s usually pretty easy to integrate a subscription system into your existing website or app, while the interface can be designed without needing to write a single line of code. If you do need support, your provider should be on hand to answer any questions or support with any technical issues. Just be sure to do your research before deciding which software is right for you.
2. Offer incentives for subscribers
Another important part of subscription management is offering incentives for subscribers. This can help increase the number of subscribers and keep subscribers coming back. Many businesses offer discounted rates for their subscriptions, whereas others offer free gifts or rewards to their subscribers. Offering an extended free trial period may also convince wavering subscribers to commit to your product offering.
One important feature of subscription management is the ability to understand each subscriber on a deeper level. Proactive engagement means you can connect with them and identify upsell opportunities for subscription upgrades or product recommendations that could be the perfect add-on. Upselling strategies, when executed correctly, increase customer value while also boosting recurring revenue for a subscription-based business.
3. Monitor your subscription numbers
Finally, you also need to monitor your subscription numbers regularly. Subscription management software makes it easy to oversee your subscription metrics so you can monitor rises, falls, expansion rates, and more. This will help you to identify when you need to adjust your subscription rates, add or remove new offerings, or create new subscription packages in just a few clicks.
Being able to easily look at your metrics is vital for making important decisions around new products and pricing. Since subscription management software is automated, you haven’t got to worry about completing endless admin tasks simply to look at your numbers. Instead, you can benefit from 360° business visibility with subscription analytics and insight-driven dashboards.
4. Communicate with your subscribers
You also need to regularly communicate with your subscribers. This can help to build a relationship with your subscribers and also keep them coming back, but it can also provide an opportunity to upsell to them by encouraging them to upgrade to a premium subscription or purchase add-on products. Emailing subscribers is a great method of communication, and you should treat every contact as another opportunity for growth. Drive conversions by sending relevant reminders to customers based on their lifecycle stage, and drive decisive actions with the right words and by adding a human touch.
Emails are a vital part of subscription management. You not only have the option to send messages at scale, but also personalized messages that grab subscribers’ attention. Better yet, take a look at the status of your emails to see which have been opened, which have bounced, or which have failed — this will help you optimize your email marketing strategy to attract and retain more subscribers.
5. Create a cancellation and refund policy
Once you’ve set up a subscription system, you also need to establish a cancellation and refund policy. This will inform subscribers of the rules that they need to follow in order to cancel their subscriptions and receive refunds. You’ll want to discourage cancellations if at all possible (maybe offer a discounted rate for a limited period to encourage customers to stay loyal), but in the event they do want to cancel, you should let subscribers know how long they have to cancel their subscription and the process they should follow.
Ensure that you’re always clear about the terms and conditions they need to meet to receive a refund, as this will prevent unnecessary problems from cropping up. Being clear and upfront about cancellation policies can harbor a much better relationship with your customers. Plus, with a clear cancellation process, you may find it easier to understand which point in the cycle your customers tend to cancel and what can be done to improve their loyalty.
With these five tips, you can effectively manage your subscription numbers. And by doing so, you can increase your overall revenue for long-term growth.
Does your subscription business require better management?
Sometimes, when you’re so used to running your business a certain way it can be hard to spot areas that require improvement. However, there’s no denying that with the amount of admin that goes into these kinds of business models, efficiency is key to staying on track — and that’s where subscription management software comes in.
Reevaluating your business is essential and if you’re finding it hard to manage, investing in a reliable management tool could be a very smart move. Signs that you could benefit from improved management include:
- You need help creating a seamless payment experience.
- You’re unable to clearly identify opportunities for upselling.
- You want to offer more flexible subscriptions but struggle to manage the admin.
- You want to make better use of subscription analytics to steer your business in the right direction.
A good business owner recognizes when things can be improved, so don’t overlook the importance of new tools and software in helping to achieve your goals.
Managing your subscription business can be made easy with subscription management software. From better analytics to improved messaging, there are so many benefits to consider, not only for your business today, but also for the future.