May 19, 2020

Subscription Management: Tools That Drive the New Ecommerce

Each day technology connects people around the world in ways that once seemed impossible, and our shopping habits have undergone a radical transformation as a result. Commerce shifted from the tangible world of brick-and-mortar stores to the online marketplace long ago, and the online landscape keeps getting more and more refined.

The subscription economy is one of the latest trends in ecommerce, and it’s not hard to understand why. Companies across very different industries are all offering their products on a subscription basis in a way that satisfies the customer and companies.

This sales model allows consumers to receive products or access to a product they regularly use with unparalleled convenience, often for a discounted price. From the company’s perspective, they gain long-term customers who are likely to be loyal and satisfied, given the effortless convenience and the discounts they receive.

Online retailers opting for a subscription model can give their bottom line and logistical operations crucial assistance by utilizing an ecommerce platform specifically designed to boost subscription sales, provide executives with actionable intelligence and deliver the industry’s highest level of security and anti-fraud protection.

Let’s dive a little deeper into some different types of subscription models, and examine the various ways an enterprise-level ecommerce platform can drive success for subscription model online retailers.

Subscriptions Across Industries

Subscription models are being used by companies with very different kinds of products. While the retail boxes may be perhaps the most famous type of online subscription, intangible products are also available by subscription. 

From retail goods, media and entertainment, computer software and even online security, it seems like everything today is available through a subscription.

Subscription Boxes

One of the trailblazers of the subscription model genre is retail products delivered in what’s known as “subscription boxes.” Customers can select the products they regularly use and have them delivered to their door. 

Another kind of subscription box is called a “mystery box.” In this arrangement, the customer doesn’t know what products they’re getting until they open the box. This is well suited to companies that enjoy strong brand loyalty. 

Some companies combine retail boxes and mystery boxes, so people can get the essentials they need while also enjoying a fun surprise.Media

Media

Media conglomerates like Netflix let customers access the entirety of their collection of streamable video content in exchange for a monthly subscription. While Netflix was the early disruptor leading the way, this model has since become so popular that companies Disney and Amazon launched their own rival products.

Streaming video content has become so commonplace, it’s taken hold in large and growing economies like India, which in the last few decades had a more closed system of television and movie distribution.

Anti-virus Computer Software

Keep your computer virus-free by accessing anti-virus software from companies like Norton or McAfee. All it takes is a monthly fee and subscribers get every security update, so they always have the latest security patches. 

Journalism

Readers who pay a monthly fee can access online websites like the New York Times or the Washington Post. This model is very important in digital journalism because unlike in print, it’s possible to gain deep insights into just how readers are consuming stories. 

The subscription approach gives media companies strict control over prices, special promotions, or the flexibility to temporarily and selectively eliminate their pay walls for stories that have true public importance.

Word Processors

Relatively new to the subscription model is companies like Microsoft, which has made its famous Microsoft Word accessible for a monthly subscription. Different versions of Word are packaged for individuals, families and businesses at different price brackets, so consumers can get everything they need without paying extra for unnecessary features.

The subscription model has clearly won over serious companies across sectors, and it seems poised to grow and evolve further. With the help of enterprise-level ecommerce platforms, subscription model online retailers in any industry can unleash this adaptable sales approach and enjoy its full potential. 

Revenue Maximization

The nature of online subscription is mutually beneficial for the company and the consumer, but an enterprise-level ecommerce platform has complementary tools companies need to get even better results for both parties. Industry leading ecommerce platforms drive revenue in ways that help keep customers genuinely satisfied.

Billing Optimization

The sticky.io platform can boost a company’s subscription business with powerful tools that can be turned on and left working in the background, optimizing sales without requiring any additional manual effort.

For example, rebill rates and customer satisfaction will increase with technology that ensures customer credit card data is accurate before a rebill cycle.


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If a customer loses their credit card or it simply expires, no company wants to waste time hounding customers for the correct information so the payment can be completed. Likewise, customers don’t want to have to manually re-enter payment information — sparing the customer this needless hassle improves their shopping experience. 

Worse, the annoyance of having to re-enter their credit card information may make customers second-guess the sale and decide to cancel. Accurate rebilling prevents them from ever having to do this.

The sticky.io platform can keep as many of 4% of all credit cards from slipping through the cracks in this way, which leads to successfully rebilling 80% of these cards. For larger companies that do millions in sales each year, this may represent thousands of sales, and smaller companies can’t afford to let this revenue escape.

Better Cross-selling and Upselling

Naturally, online retailers can’t use sales technicians to physically be with the customers and guide them through their inventory. Sales associates develop instincts from years of training and experience which enables them to read customers and, based on this reading, connect them with a suitable product.

In online retail, the ecommerce platform fulfills this function by using sophisticated artificial intelligence that prompts customers to see the products that genuinely interest them. 

Web giant Amazon pioneered this approach, and now every company suggests products to consumers in its own way. The point isn’t to merely be capable of upselling or cross-selling; industry-leading ecommerce platforms help you out-sell your rivals.

Marketing Insights 

Online marketing is crucial in ecommerce, as is comprehensively understanding the effectiveness of each campaign. With the support of an enterprise-level ecommerce platform, you’ll know the ROI of every marketing campaign.

Directing acquisition spend and ad buys effectively requires this level of actionable intelligence. Executives need to be able to gauge marketing campaigns, channels, verticals, affiliates and sub-affiliates.

The data is presented in real time, so decision makers always have the most current information. This information is always within reach and it can’t ever be lost. Plus, the data is depicted in ways that make the information as clear as possible, so managers don’t waste time trying to crunch numbers.

With more than 200 measurements covering every quality indicator, executives can zoom in for a close-up view of each customer or pull back for a clear macro perspective. With tools for predictive modelling that enable them to improve results, manage risks and enhance marketing efforts, companies can direct money to the marketing approaches that are working and away from what’s failing.

Companies using a subscription sales model need metrics at hand designed to reflect this approach, which the best all-in-one ecommerce platforms supply.

Marketing Automation 

Marketing is an invaluable lifeline between the company and its customers, but companies are prudent to spend wisely and automate whatever aspects of the process can be self-directed. Enterprise-grade ecommerce platforms boost your online marketing while putting certain parts of it on autopilot, such as email nurturing and autoresponders for the funnel and support lifecycle.


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Understand leads and target ideal customers, and utilize our warehouse of data to help acquire new customers, upsell and extend existing relationships. In addition, our deep integrations with third-party email marketing providers and affiliate marketers keep online retailers fully connected to their customers in a way that is natural and effortless.

Analytics and Reports

Perhaps no industry moves faster than online retail, so companies need every crucial data point about their operations available at a glance in order to keep up. The sticky.io platform has more than 20 dashboards covering the total health of a company’s business and customer lifecycle.

The dashboards are designed with data visualization in mind, so the information can be gleaned at a glance. Executives can drill down into individual dashboards with advanced filtering based on several criteria:

  • Traffic source
  • Channels
  • Verticals
  • Campaigns
  • Any custom smart tag as needed

Businesses need a clear sightline into what’s working and what could work better. The big picture and the most miniscule detail about each customer is available in real-time, with visualizations of MRR, P&L, cycle analysis, rebill rates and active subscription forecasting.

Finally, it’s easy to export our reports and analytics into a .CSV file for further analysis, or for your own custom reporting.

Security

Online retail is an immensely lucrative market, and the fact is that some amount of fraud is inevitable wherever people are making a lot of money. It’s a question of when an online retailer will encounter it, not if


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sticky.io offers security that is PCI DSS Level 1 certified, the highest designation the major credit cards expect. Your business and customer data will be protected with tokenization, advanced user permissions, and high-level authentications. 

The security is designed to fight fraud, but it’s also aligned specifically to meet the various needs of an online retailer using a subscription model. In addition to transaction processing, companies can control risks with both automated and fully managed anti-fraud protection, chargeback updates and representment specialists. 

sticky.io’s expertise is complemented by our deep relationships with third-party, anti-fraud industry leaders such as Kount. Together, we can dramatically lower your chargeback rate. Partnerships with other specialists like Verifi and Ethoca help prevent fraud from occurring in the first place. 

Crucially, without sacrificing effectiveness, the security never feels cumbersome or frustrating to online shoppers. Verification works in milliseconds, so customers don’t even perceive the time it takes to work, let alone object to it. 

Online retailers may need to adjust their security parameters for each campaign, balancing the need to boost sales and prevent fraud. Too rigid a security setting can actually prevent legitimate customers from making purchases, so executives need tight control over custom risk profiles.

The platform constantly gathers data, but also keeps refining and updating its anti-fraud rules. This way, the platform continually improves how it leverages data to combat fraud and decline suspicious transactions before they’re processed.

As time goes on and more data is churned and processed, the sticky.io platform becomes better and better at securing online businesses. Whereas security for business used to mean investing in things like a CCTV camera, locks, or alarm systems, modern security for online businesses is designed to keep out intruders without ever negatively impacting sales.

It doesn’t matter whether the product is digital journalism, computer software or retail goods — every company has transactions to secure, and sensitive customer and proprietary information that needs to remain confidential. Protecting a company’s reputation by preventing a breach or a hack can be invaluable, as the financial damage can be punishing, and reestablishing your reputation can be difficult or even impossible. 

Today’s subscription model online retailers need an enterprise-grade ecommerce platform to get security designed for the challenges they’re sure to face.

The online world evolves so quickly that the transformations in business and in our daily lives can be hard to keep up with. Rather than trying to adapt to every single individual change, companies looking to ride the waves and scale up their online business should be looking to ecommerce platforms that handle all their needs.

Any online retailer or digitally native vertical brand using a subscription model needs tools specifically designed for recurring revenue. When business leaders have the backing of an ecommerce platform aligned with their sales model that gives them powerful intelligence, flexibility and security, they will have all they need to thrive.

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