Subscription Management: Tools That Drive the New Ecommerce
Savvy online retailers in all industries offer subscriptions, and to get the best results possible they need an all-in-one ecommerce platform.
While ecommerce is incredibly young in the relative history of business, legacy brands already have a lot to learn about how to operate in the swiftly moving digital world. Performance marketing drives a lot of today’s online retail, and it has much to teach.
After years of success, a company may become understandably but dangerously self-assured and convinced they know all there is to know; however, today’s commercial landscape looks nothing like the one in which they succeeded.
Today’s online retailers also focus on some of the same things that preoccupied their brick-and-mortar predecessors, such as cementing a brand, securing distribution channels and perfecting their product. But legacy veterans ignore the new digital marketing at their peril.
The ability to tie marketing dollars directly to marketing results depends on technology which didn’t exist in the days when brick-and-mortar stores thrived. Leading performance marketers have been able to disrupt so many industries because they treat hard data like a science, and rely on enterprise-level support from ecommerce platforms to process and leverage this information in the quickest and most effective way possible.
Legacy brands need to work quickly to understand the principles guiding today’s leading performance marketers, because they are using data in new and powerful ways that were impossible to implement even just a few years ago. Legacy brands don’t necessarily need to overhaul the entire structure of their business, but there are many ways to incorporate elements of performance marketing that will modernize and enhance their operations.
Read on to look deeper into what legacy brands can learn from today’s performance marketers, and all the ways performance marketers lean on modern, enterprise-grade ecommerce platforms to get the best sales results possible.
Legacy brands can’t change their DNA overnight, but the more entrenched they are in the ways of yesterday the bigger their pivot eventually needs to be. Before the technology giving rise to ecommerce was created, businesses didn’t have the tools to measure marketing results with as much precision as they do today.
As a result, companies set marketing targets for that, however clearly defined, were broader in scope. For example, a company may set out to achieve a certain annual growth rate, or a specific growth to ad-spend ratio.
Veterans of older legacy companies may not have the instinct to hold modern data to such a precise standard, but it’s a habit of mind they need to cultivate, because the technology exists now to hold data accountable.
Performance marketing is predicated on the idea that rather than connecting advertising dollars to a vague campaign that’s difficult to quantify statistically, ad dollars are only spent after a specific predefined target has already been achieved.
This way, companies can hone in on specific marketing strategies, and accurately measure their success along the way. They know that the money they are spending is achieving what it is supposed to, because they only pay for it after it has.
Performance marketers are hyper-focused on improving conversions, cost per acquisition, campaign testing and other relatively new metrics modern technology made possible. This approach is even more powerful when combined with the full suite of features found in the best ecommerce billing management, reporting and security tools.
In just the way that leaders of legacy brands aren’t likely to be familiar with the ins and outs of performance marketing, they also need to learn how to use a modern ecommerce platform that lets companies leverage data, know everything going on in their company, and secure all transactions and any sensitive information.
Performance marketers are privy to a lot of sensitive, personal information from clients, as well as proprietary information that needs to remain confidential. The best ecommerce platforms offer PCI DSS Level 1 security, the highest certification that the major credit cards can ask a company to have.
Sophisticated tokenization, advanced user permissions, and high-level authentications will protect sensitive information from ever getting into the wrong hands.
Corporate leaders don’t need to be technically savvy to enjoy world-class protection from their ecommerce platform. There are important features which are specifically designed to run on autopilot.
For example, the sticky.io platform offers Account Takeover Protection, so companies will have their login activity monitored to detect high-risk, anomalous, suspicious behavior. If a cybercriminal is trying to breach your security, they will be automatically caught and rebuffed before a manual response is even possible.
Online security doesn’t rest on its laurels: over time, as the e-commerce platform processes more and more data, the platform constantly refines and updates its fraud rules. The more data that runs through the system, the more effectively the security pre-emptively declines suspicious transactions.
This is one important way that modern, seamless security is actively-passive; there’s no need for companies to pay an employee to manually monitor for fraudulent activity, because the system kicks into gear on its own automatically.
The AI-driven pre-screening feature is a vital first line of defense, and it keeps getting better and better.
Online retail is all about empowering companies to respond to complex problems, powerfully and with agility. The security features in industry-leading ecommerce platforms are designed to further both these goals.
While it may seem counterintuitive, sometimes online retailers don’t always want to have too much security. If the security parameters are always at their maximum setting, it’s true that no fraud will ever manage to penetrate the security, but the overly rigid settings will accidentally bar some legitimate customers who are trying to make purchases.
What’s needed is an approach to security that is modular and flexible without being any less robust. The best ecommerce platforms allow online retailers to create custom risk profiles, so they can optimize the balance of security and sales generation for each individual campaign as they see fit.
In addition to needing to balance strength and flexibility, online security must be seamless and speedy. Security needs to fight fraud effectively, but it can’t take so long to work that it irritates customers.
This may cause a chain reaction of bad outcomes, from reduced customer loyalty, negative online reviews, and of course a reduction in sales. Don’t settle for an ecommerce platform unless it authenticates and verifies transactions in milliseconds.
The last thing an online retailer wants to do is test their customers’ attention span right as the sale is about to close! The best ecommerce platforms have reliable uptimes, so the platform never holds back a sale.
Business leaders from brick-and-mortar legacy brands may be surprised to see how seamlessly online retailers can handle potentially problematic billing issues by combining advanced artificial intelligence and personal attention from experts in chargeback protection.
A chargeback occurs when a customer lodges a complaint with the bank, and the bank sends their payment out of the company’s account and back to theirs. But today’s ecommerce platforms fight chargebacks by notifying companies the instant a chargeback is lodged against them, and then reversing it.
In the next level of protection, a dedicated representment specialist will help fight chargebacks using their expertise on the subject and their familiarity with your business. This level of custom attention is augmented even further by partnerships with third-party, anti-fraud experts like Kount, Verifi and Ethoca.
Ultimately, this single platform is designed to have a robust but agile response to every facet of ecommerce, so online retailers can enjoy peace of mind without having to look anywhere else for a security solution.
Performance marketers obsess over hard data because they want to measure the efficacy of their marketing investments. But there are also data-driven tools built into the platform itself which are automated for revenue maximization.
The best all-in-one ecommerce platforms fix potential billing weak spots before they cause money to leak away, whether it’s a high-volume transaction business or traditional DTC ecommerce. For example, rebill rates improve considerably due to a feature that ensures customer credit card data is always accurate before a rebill cycle, preventing a potential interruption in payment.
Accurate rebilling is a crucial way to preemptively ensure subscription model ecommerce runs smoothly and continuously on track.
The sticky.io platform can keep 4% of credit cards from needlessly slipping away due to inaccurate card data, and manages to successfully rebill 80% of these cards. This is a powerful way to reduce churn rate because it requires no additional labor expenditure.
Performance marketers will appreciate how the platform’s artificial intelligence leverages the underlying data to create powerful cross-selling and upselling features. The data is always working below the surface to give online shoppers a personalized experience based on their digital footprint — the sophisticated AI identifies complementary products they are likely to be genuinely interested in purchasing, and then shows them to the customers.
Legacy brands were founded on one-on-one interactions between sales associates and customers to make sales, but in online retail, data performs this function and drives success. The key is to have better data processing and AI than your rivals; the difference between the right and wrong automated nudge at the right time could be the difference between making and not making a sale.
Online companies need to easily and instantly grasp the status of every aspect of their business, so informed decisions can be made quickly. Competition in ecommerce is unrelenting, and online retailers need a unified view of customer data from every touchpoint to really understand how their customers make purchases.
The key is to bridge the gap between how an online retailer sells and how consumers want to buy.
For this, performance marketers rely on ecommerce platforms which provide more than 20 dashboards into each component of an online company’s business and customer lifecycle. Quality indicators are easy to see at a glance, and executives can drill down into each individual dashboard with advanced filtering based on:
All the data is updated in real time, so decision makers always have the latest figures at their disposal. The data is presented in clear visualizations, so it’s extra easy to understand MRR, P&L, cycle analysis, rebill rates, active subscription forecasting and more.
Zoom in on a per-customer level or pull back and see the larger picture. Legacy brands and performance marketers alike can easily export this data into a .CSV file for further analysis, or for any custom reporting they desire.
The best ecommerce platforms also facilitate multiple integrations for marketing automation and prospect follow-up, so the data can be acted upon intelligently and in a modular way that seamlessly aligns with their operation. Whether it’s email marketers like MailChimp or affiliate marketers, the sticky.io platform has a wide range of third-party partnerships with every kind of support an online retailer needs across the value chain.
Performance marketers instinctively understand that their data-driven approach to marketing needs to be embodied throughout the entire online operation, in a way that’s designed to accommodate the goals of each facet of the online business. Establishing key metrics that are directly tied to pre-defined goals or targets isn’t an approach that needs to be limited to marketing.
Legacy brands don’t need to fear that they are tied down to their existing brick-and-mortar locations, as they can still incorporate elements of a more modern, endlessly flexible online retailer. Exactly which elements to borrow and how precisely to do it depends on the specific nature of the legacy retailer’s products.
Today’s legacy brands need to learn the value of identifying and focusing on the marketing metrics that deliver direct results. When they combine this approach with the powerful security, reporting and billing optimization tools found in the best all-in-one ecommerce platforms, they’ll get the boost from technology every contemporary business needs.