The subscription technology checklist for recurring revenue
If you’re looking to join the subscription economy, one of the most important things you need to do is make sure you’re technologically prepared for it. Because recurring revenue businesses operate online, you can’t afford to miss the target when it comes to your subscription technology.
This article is for you if:
- You are starting a recurring revenue business and want to know what kind of subscription technology you need to have in place before you launch
- You’re looking for a subscription management solution that offers flexibility and convenience
- You are interested in speaking with an e-commerce expert for individual guidance on your situation
Starting a subscription business is no easy feat. Once you decide recurring revenue is the route you want to take with your business, you need a strategy. You must make the initial decisions, such as:
- What recurring products will you sell?
- What will your pricing structure look like?
- What will your upsell strategy be?
- Will you offer a loyalty program?
From there, you will dive deeper into the mechanics, opening you up to a variety of subscription technology options. Questions you will need to ask yourself include:
- Is your website speed up to par?
- Do you want your subscribers to have self-service flexibility to manage their own subscriptions?
- How will you keep track of every customer’s journey?
- What will your support options be?
All of these items center around one important concept — customer experience (CX). Ultimately, if your subscription customers do not get what they need, you will see some churn start to happen. This list covers four essential areas of subscription technology to consider for your recurring revenue business.
Subscription technology item No. 1: Your site speed
Research shows bounce rates increase as load times go up. In fact, 9.6% of visitors bounce when the page speed is two seconds. That number jumps to 32.3% when it takes seven seconds for a page to load. When a customer enters your URL into their browser and presses “enter,” how fast does your website display all of its components? You want to ensure the user’s perception of your website’s speed is lightning-fast.
PowerSync recently worked with LuxAnthropy.com to address their site speed. A developer told site owner Jennifer Hillman that her Magento e-commerce platform was to blame for slow oad times. Truthfully, slow load times are not normal regardless of which e-commerce platform you are using.
While working with Jennifer on another endeavor, we noticed her site was extremely slow. She confirmed the issue was ongoing, and many customers complained. We made a few tweaks that increased the site speed. If you are experiencing a similar issue and need a complimentary assessment, please schedule time on our calendar.
Subscription technology item No. 2: Subscription management software
What software will you use to manage your subscription orders? This is one of the most important decisions you will make as you embark on your recurring revenue journey. We talk in-depth about this in our previous blog post and will recap the main points for you here.
Choose a subscription management software option that is flexible, provides a good merchant and shopper experience and has all of the features that meet your individual needs. For example, if you’re starting a subscription box company, your needs will be different than a print media subscription company. Many products on the market are not one-size-fits-all, so you must do your research to ensure all of your needs will be met.
If you decide to launch your business on the Magento e-commerce platform, our solution — mPower — checks many of the subscription technology boxes. You can watch the demo above for a better understanding of what it offers. (By the way, Magento is a great option for enterprise-level merchants, and you will want to keep scalability in mind when choosing a platform. How big do you want your business to become? Making the right decision now could save you from an expensive re-platform down the road.)
Subscription technology item No. 3: Customer relationship management (CRM)
Knowing your customers on a deep level is the best way to be successful with a recurring revenue model. The most effective way to do that is to develop a CRM strategy. CRM stands for customer relationship management. CRM systems such as Salesforce are centralized places where you can store customer information and data.
CRMs help businesses stay on top of key performance indicators (KPIs) and track customer engagements. While a big part of their function is to store customer and prospect data, CRMs are much more than electronic filing systems.
CRMs benefit both businesses and customers. Not only do they help organize and manage contacts, but they also keep a detailed account of every customer interaction. This paves the way for more personalized experiences.
Without CRM, valuable details that stem from even the smallest customer interactions go unrecorded. Because personalization is something customers have come to expect, failing to remember details is a big missed opportunity for eCommerce brands.
CRMs are the only systems that provide a high level of insight into every customer’s journey. If you are using Salesforce, we also offer a subscription management software solution that works with it called Recurrex. Watch the demo above to learn more.
Subscription technology item No. 4: Identify your support options
In addition to tracking all of the engagements customers have with your brand, you must provide them with multiple channels where they can engage with you. It should be very easy for your customers to get in touch when they have a problem. If your support process is challenging, convoluted or absent, your customers will churn to the competition. Additionally, word will get around that you lack in this important area.
Some questions to ask yourself/your team about your support plan:
- Where do your customers spend the most time? If it’s on your website, make sure it is easy to navigate to the support page.
- If your customers engage with you the most on social media, is there a clear path to support from those channels?
- Does it make sense for you to offer a chatbot?
- Will you stick solely to a ticketing system?
You will also need a plan for who responds to the support requests. If customers will not receive instant support, be sure to make it clear how long it will take before they hear from you. Consider sending a confirmation email to all support requests that are not immediately answered with a message for what the customer can expect next.
Another way you can communicate your support process is by creating a service-level agreement (SLA) that is visible in multiple places, including your terms and conditions. The SLA defines a clear expectation of the level of service you can expect from a vendor, as well as remedies and penalties if the agreement is not honored.
Like any business endeavor, there are many aspects to consider before you can officially launch. Ensuring that your subscription technology is in the right place will help set your recurring revenue business up for success and eliminate the chances for any surprises to pop up later.
The only way you can continue to sell recurring products to customers is to ensure they are always happy. Fast site speeds, flexible subscription management tools, clear-cut support and a CRM strategy will all help you accomplish this.
If you would like to talk your subscription technology over with an e-commerce expert, our $997 strategy sessions have helped several companies this year to grow their revenue by more than 20% in most cases. Reference this article, and the first session is on us.