The subscription-based business is in vogue. The number of businesses running on this model has doubled from the year 2011 to 2016. Furthermore, subscription websites witnessed over 80 million visitors until the spring of 20, which clearly connote the growth rate of this type of business. Business nowadays seeks to target almost every sector of the society and in this attempt, it opts for subscription marketplace. Using this type of business model, companies can easily target all the powerful demographics.
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However, merely selling the products in the subscription-based model is not enough. In order to leverage the benefits of this business model to the fullest, businesses should know how to effectively manage their recurring billing customers. A subscription management software can be used for this purpose. It serves as a billing software that simplifies the process of billing the customers recurrently.
What is Subscription Billing Software?
It is a robust tool that allows businesses to effectively manage automated invoicing, billing, and payments on a recurring basis. The software helps the businesses in managing and enhancing subscriber’s experience through features such as automated notifications, billing, invoicing and payment facilitation process.
It is also known as recurring billing software as it helps in managing recurring customers and their payment cycles. Thus, subscription management platform reduces the burden for the accounts department by automating the billing process and removes all the bottlenecks in the payment system.
In this way, subscription billing software apps also helps to assists the companies in launching the products promptly and it even offers the feature of expanding the product catalog. So, businesses nowadays are opting for this software.
The market is loaded with a myriad of subscription billing software which often perplexes the companies in making a choice. So, we are here to the rescue.
Top Features to Consider Before Selecting the Right Subscription Billing Software
We are enlisting top features that you should consider before selecting the ideal software for your business:
1. Flexible pricing
The demands of customers keep on fluctuating. So, the subscription-based businesses can flourish only if they can address the discerning needs of the customers. Thus, a business should opt for that subscription management software which helps in catering to the needs of the customers and handling the pricing change. The subscription billing software should offer flexible price plans and be able to handle all the pricing changes flawlessly.
2. Managing coupons, discounts and promotional deals
Many times, businesses wish to launch special discounts or promotional deals whereby they reduce the cost of their products for a certain time period. This makes it difficult for the account team to manually track and manage the prices as they are just using simple accounting software in India. This is an imperative task as the businesses may lose money if the discount is not removed on time. On the other hand, it may lead to customer churn if the discounts are indicated earlier than expected, but the customers are being charged the exact price of the commodity.
Businesses may even want to experiment with different discounts and offers, making it quite difficult to manually track during the entire lifecycle of the customers. So, a subscription billing software comes as handy in such situations. It can easily track, maintain as well as manage promotions, discounts, and coupons and even apply them as and when the company wants.
3. Supporting Bulk Operations
There are several changes that take place in the business with the changes in the outer world. Furthermore, adding or removing products and reducing or increasing the prices of production is a constant process. For example Many times, the business may increase the overhead charges or apply a surcharge on products due to an increase in the value of fuels or other factors that affect the product cost. Maintaining these changes manually on every invoice is a cumbersome task. However, a robust subscription invoicing software apps can be deployed to make these changes in a flash of time.
4. Feature to add corporate branding on invoices
In today’s competitive world, corporate branding acts as a proof of credibility for the businesses and it even exemplifies their professionalism. According to stats, more than 89% of marketers lay emphasis on creating brand awareness prior to sales and lead generation. The customers can relate to the brand and build a relationship with it if a brand uses its corporate branding smartly. So, businesses tend to use their logo on letterheads, business cards, marketing material and even in the invoices to give it a professional touch. A subscription billing platform enables the businesses to get the corporate branding printed on the invoices.
5. Customers can choose preferred payment methods
Nowadays, customers make use of different payment methods according to their convenience and benefit. So, they’d make a purchase from a brand that offers multiple payment options such as credit card/debit card, cash on delivery, payment via mobile wallets, net banking etc. In such a scenario, providing a multitude of options to the customers garners customer satisfaction. It reduces the chances of customer churns and augments the revenues of the business. So, the business should opt for subscription billing platform that supports a variety of payment methods.
6. The platform is PCI compliant
Payment Card Industry (PCI) is an organization that lays standards to protect the financial information of businesses from data breaches and theft. Thus, the e-commerce businesses must be compliant to PCI as there are chunks of financial data that is stored during the process of recurring billing to automatically process billing.
In fact, a business that is not PCI compliant may face an exorbitant fine for violations. So, a business needs to take care of all these mandates to keep it thriving. However, the process of auditing is a cumbersome process. This can be made simpler if a business uses a subscription management software.
7. Tracking deferred and earned revenue
A company earns two types of revenues- deferred and earned. Deferred revenues refer to the revenues for recurring service during the sign up while earned revenue is the revenue that is generated at the end of the billing cycle when the services have been used. Every day, a small portion of revenue is dripped from the unearned to earned revenues and this need to be calculated as well as tracked regularly. However, tracking deferred and earned revenues can be a tedious task. So, you should always choose a subscription billing platform that can monitor the revenues recognition schedule. It should facilitate recognition of revenue at the product level and earn one-time fees.
So, these are the seven factors that you should consider while making a decision regarding procurement of subscription management software catering to your business. You can consider some or all of these factors to select the most suitable subscription billing platform for your recurring billing business.
Amaey Anand is a certified accountant with over 10 years of experience in the finance industry. He has worked with various organizations to streamline their petty cash management processes and reduce inefficiencies. He has also written several articles on financial management for leading publications such as Zensuggest and The Wall Street Journal.