Subscription Management: What It Is and 7 Platforms To Help

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A subscription model is so popular because many find that the company and consumer benefit.

In other words, the company benefits from a consistent stream of revenue from recurring billing and increased customer loyalty.

At the same time, customers love receiving a product at their doorstep once a month or receiving unique benefits at an affordable rate.

With the growing trend toward the subscription economy, more and more businesses adopt a subscription business model.

So, as we exist in a subscription economy, businesses must recognize the importance of subscription management and subscription management software.

What is Subscription Management?

Subscription management is a business strategy used to ensure optimal customer satisfaction when using a product or service.

When a user subscribes to content, the provider must make a way for the user to easily sign-up and pay for recurring charges, renew subscriptions, and change subscriptions.

Subscription management software handles these factors associated with subscription-related products and services like recurring billing, deploying new promotions, and configuring prices.

What Characteristics Make-up Subscription Management Software? Characteristics

In general, subscription management software consists of these characteristics:

  • Manage subscription plan and pricing
  • Communicate discounts, special offers, and trial offers
  • Let customers customize their subscription plans with add-ons and payment frequency
  • Track analytics of subscription activity i.e., recurring revenue and sales
  • Secure credit card payment method
  • Automatically cancel or pause a subscriber’s subscription in event of a failed payment
  • Notify a subscriber of their upcoming subscription expiration
  • Support recurring billing processes

Why is Subscription Management Important?

Subscription management is an essential strategy for companies to provide a top-tier customer experience.

Subscription management manages all stages of the customer lifecycle.

The customer lifecycle is the three stages of a subscriber, those being:

  1. Sign-Up
  2. Current User
  3. Unsubscribe

Managing Potential Subscribers

Proper subscription management entices potential customers to sign-up for your product or services.

With a subscription management system, it’s easier to encourage customers to sign-up through free trials, discounts, and rewards.

If a business wants to increase its subscribers, it’s essential to give hesitant customers a reason to subscribe.

Subscription management software allows companies to easily offer these incentives and track the success of their offers.

Managing the Current User

Subscription management can provide hassle-free recurring subscription billing, subscription plan changes, and other related processes.

For example, subscription software allows customers to quickly upgrade or downgrade their plan, and lets companies track these changes.

In addition, subscription management software can track failed payments caused by expired credit cards or unpaid subscriptions.

Companies can also automatically track customer retention and reward loyal customers with awards.

Moreover, companies can integrate subscription management software with other management systems like their billing model software to improve their revenue analytics.

Managing Unsubscribers

Although cancellations mark the end of the customer lifecycle, it’s still crucial for companies to handle cancellations for the sake of the user and the company.

For example, inadequate management of subscription cancellations could result in users having access to their benefits despite canceling.

Subscription management software can allow customers to cancel their recurring payments or cancel immediately.

If a company offers immediate cancellation with a refund, the software will automatically issue a refund.

In addition, subscription management software works to follow through on uncollected payments.

For example, with a failed transaction, the system can notify customers of failed payments and attempt to charge the card again.

Most importantly, subscription management software can ask customers to explain why they cancel.

Feedback is crucial for a company since it explains why companies may be losing subscribers.

Lastly, subscription management software can keep recent unsubscribers in its database, so the customer can quickly reactivate their subscription if they want.

Without subscription management software, companies waste valuable time.

But, with subscription management software, companies don’t need to allocate time tracking the customer lifecycle.

Top Subscription Management Software

Although subscription management software is a powerful tool, it becomes an optimal solution when combined with other managing software like subscription billing software.

In addition, a company looking to ensure the best subscription management solution should integrate it into other tools like its online shopping platform and financial software.

After seeing the benefits of subscription management, here are seven platforms to help efficiently manage your subscriptions and overall customer satisfaction.

Recurly

Recurly is an all-in-one subscription management and subscription billing platform that supports companies in any industry looking to manage their subscriptions.

In 2020, Recurly managed over $7 billion in transactions and over 40 million subscriptions and recovered $610 million in declined credit card transactions.

How it Works

Recurly’s subscription and billing management platform is easily integrable into the client’s current Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software, data systems, accounting systems, and other tech managing software.

Its subscription managing software consists of various subscription tools like billing models, trials, promotions, and personalized offers.

In addition, the company offers other essential tools like recurring billing, recurring payments, customer retention intelligence tools, and in-depth subscription analytics.

The platform offers three plans: basic, professional, and elite.

In addition, it supports 18 languages and 140 currencies.

The basic plan is optimal for businesses with less than $1 million in subscription revenue.

The professional plan is ideal for those earning $1 to $25 million in subscription revenue, and the elite is optimal for those with over $25 million in subscription revenue.

Key Features

The key features of Recurly are:

  • Subscription management:
    • Coupons, gifts, and promotions,
    • Multiple gateways,
    • Multiple payment methods,
    • Multiple currencies,
    • Advanced analytics,
    • Trial performance insights,
    • Secure checkout
  • Payment failover and routing
  • Product and promotion insight
  • Dunning campaigns
  • Revenue recovery
  • Churn analysis
  • Billing management:
    • Machine-learning retry logic
    • Subscription billing terms
    • Tax management
  • Data imports and exports
  • Third-party integrations
  • Multiple API keys.

Pricing

Pricing for Recurly’s subscription management tools is monthly for $249 or annually for $199/month for the basic plan.

Those interested in the professional and elite plans can schedule a demo through the Recurly website.

The platform also offers a free trial here.

Zuora

Zuora is the “only SaaS platform that automates all subscription order-to-revenue operations in real-time.”

The subscription management company offers an all-in-one platform to manage billing, revenue, and transactions.

How it Works

When businesses use Zuora, the company assigns them a customer success manager to help organize their desired outcomes.

The company asks new clients to consider one of their five focuses: subscription design, subscriber experience, financial model, business operations, and technological infrastructure architecture.

From there, the Zuora representative guides the business to choose its initiative based on its chosen focus.

Key Features

The key features of Zuora’s subscription management software are:

  • Billing management:
    • Various pricing models
    • Subscription changes
    • Track subscription lifecycle across multiple platforms
    • Invoicing, collection, renewal
    • Analytics
  • Revenue management:
    • Real-time insights with revenue automation
    • Transaction price allocation measurement
    • Past transactional data
  • Payment management:
    • Over 35 payment gateways and 180 currencies
    • Machine learning payment collection to minimize churn
  • SDK and APIs to integrate into existing technology infrastructure architecture

Pricing

For more pricing information, interested users can call a Zuora representative or fill out the form on its website.

While pricing for Zuora depends on the business size, the subscription management platform offers a free trial here.

Skio

The founder and CEO of Skio created the Skio subscription management software from his experience as an engineer building apps for subscription discounts at Hulu and increasing user conversation on Pinterest.

How it Works

The company’s subscription management helps brands on Shopify manage their subscriptions.

Skio offers a standard and custom subscription management plan for businesses to choose from.

With the help of Skio tools, brands have successfully reduced churn, improved customer experience, increased subscribers, improved payment security, and updated their user interface.

The company offers a standard and custom plan.

Skio’s custom plan is ideal for businesses handling a large payment volume or those with a unique business model.

The company also offers easy migrations of more than 10,000 ReCharge subscribers without affecting payment or customers.

Key Features

The key features of Skio are:

  • 1% + $0.20 transaction fee
  • 3% group revenue pricing
  • No expiration date
  • Supports migrations of over 10k+ subscribers
  • 1-click checkout
  • Gift transfer
  • Password login
  • Hosted subscription portal with new features automatically applied
  • Group subscriptions
  • SMS subscription management
  • Automated SMS subscription management
  • Free shipping for subscriptions
  • Audit login logs
  • Multi-currency and 24/7 support
  • graphQL API
  • Public comparison table
  • Public investor page

Pricing

Pricing for Skios subscription management is $399/month for the standard plan and a 14-day free trial.

For custom plans, interested businesses can fill out Skios online demo request form to talk to a representative for more information.

Recharge

Recharge serves over 50 million subscribers and over 15 thousand merchants through its subscription management platform.  

How it Works

Recharge has a standard and pro subscription management plan.

After choosing a plan, the platform can quickly connect to the existing tech infrastructure and pair it with its payment processor.

Recharge supports leading payment processors like PayPal, Shopify, Stripe, and Authorize.net.

The subscription management company offers its clients a white-glove service, consisting of 24/7 care and consultations to maximize business opportunities.

Key Features

Recharge’s key features are:

  • Supports major payment processors and credit cards
  • Easily integrate with commerce tools, like Klaviyo, Gorgias, Churn Buster, and Avalara
  • RechargeSMS for customers to update and change orders
  • Upsells to increase Average Order Value (AOV)
  • Automated SMS and email notifications
  • Customers can easily delay shipments or skip a subscription instead of canceling
  • Customize automatic payment recharge
  • In-depth performance measurements
  • Real-time product performance
  • Custom subscription models with APIs

Pricing

Recharge’s standard plan has no monthly fees with a 1% + $0.10 per transaction, and its pro plan is $300/month with a 1% + $0.19 per transaction.

While Recharge doesn’t offer a trial period, the standard plan’s zero monthly fees allow clients to install and customize Recharge for free until their first subscriber.

Interested parties can navigate here to start their subscription management with Recharge.

Chargebee

Chargebee is a subscription and billing management and SaaS product company.

Chargebee supports many popular currencies and global customers depending on a business’ payment processor.

The company focuses on subscription automation as a solution to automate every step of the subscription lifecycle.

How it Works

Chargebee allows businesses to easily transition their revenue model into a subscription model without disrupting workflow.

After set up, they integrate the platform into existing tech infrastructure for a company-wide transition towards a subscription-focused business.

Chargebee offers four plans tailored to essentially every stage of a business.

Its plans are rise; ideal for startups, scale; suitable for fast growth scaleups, enterprise; ideal for large businesses, and launch; perfect for startups in their early stages.

Key Features

The key features of Chargebee’s subscription management plan are:

  • Experimental pricing models, like flat pricing, volume pricing, quantity-based, stairstep pricing, and tiered pricing
  • Upsell options like recurring add-ons and bundles
  • Tax management
  • Promotional campaigns like gifts, discounts, and coupons
  • Automated trial reminders and trial extensions
  • Automated billing and recurring payments
  • Configurable set-up for failed payments
  • Subscription lifecycle management
  • Churn management
  • Self-service subscription editing features
  • Supports multiple gateways, payments, and currencies

Pricing

Charbee offers annual and monthly payments for its plans.

The pricing for its four plans are:

  • Rise: annual pricing at $249/month or monthly at $299
  • Scale: annual pricing at $549/month or monthly at $599
  • Enterprise: custom pricing depending on a client’s needs
  • Launch: annual pricing at $0/month or monthly at $0 until reaching revenue of $100k

Stripe

From startups to Fortune 500 companies, Stripe is the global provider for millions of companies to manage their finance and payments through a single platform.

The company operates its processes of over 250 million API requests daily and 135 currencies and payment methods across more than 35 countries.

How it Works

Stripe is an all-in-one payment management, financial service, and business operation platform suitable for all business sizes.

Specifically, its subscription billing management offers a code and code-free way for companies to build their subscription checkout page with additional features for full customization.

The platform allows businesses to immediately begin collecting recurring payments with APIs.

Key Features

The key features of Stripes subscription billing management system are:

  • Allows all billing models, like flat rate, multiple prices, per seat, and usage-based
  • Churn reduction with smart retires, automated retries, and automated payment updater
  • Automated reporting and revenue analytics
  • Code-free end-to-end billing
  • Testable billing models
  • International payments
  • Integrates as an in-between process of CRM and accounting systems
  • Tax management
  • Match brand with customizable invoices
  • Automate Business-to-Business (B2B) payments

Pricing

Stripe offers a starter at 0.5% on recurring charges and a scale at 0.8% on recurring charges.

The platform’s starter comes with a customer portal, automatic collection, and recurring billing.

In addition to the starter plan, Stripe’s scale plan comes with a connector for NetSuite and quotes.

Chargify

Chargify is a Business-to-Business (B2B) SaaS subscription management company for growing companies.

How it Works

Chargify works instantly through a test account for businesses to set up a platform.

After set-up, the client connects to their payment gateway and merchant account to begin collecting revenue.

The platform manages subscriptions by tracking the customer lifecycle to reduce churn and promote better customer relations.

Key Features

Chargify’s key features for its subscription management are:

  • A customizable and responsive sign-up page
  • APIs for seamless integration into existing shopping processes
  • View billing history, balances, coupons, renewal dates, and more
  • Billing adjustments
  • Modify subscriptions
  • Create one-time charges
  • Self-service option for users to change orders and manage account
  • Automated emails
  • Monitor subscription and revenue changes

Pricing

Chargify offers three plans and a custom plan depending on needs.

The plans and pricing are:

  • Essential: ideal for startups, starting rate of $599/month
  • Standard: ideal for businesses with less than $6 million of recurring revenue, starting rate of $1,499/month
  • Specialized: ideal for businesses with more than $6 million of recurring revenue, starting at $3,499/month

For a custom quote, fill out Chargify’s online form to talk to an expert.

Is it Worth it to Use Subscription Management Software?

With the multitude of subscription management platforms available, you may be wondering if it’s worth it to use subscription management software.

We can see how important it is by examining the pros and cons of using a subscription service.

Pros

Here are four pros of subscription management software

  1. Subscription fees are more appealing than one-time fees
  2. Subscription-based business models offer consistent and predictable revenue
  3. Increased customer loyalty
  4. Automated orders, tracking, and deals lessen the time spent manually tracking subscription processes
  5. Reach more customers with affordable pricing, multiple payment options, and personalized offers

Cons

Here are three drawbacks of subscription management software:

  1. The subscription economy means more competition
  2. Business must always update their products to stay relevant after changing to a subscription business model
  3. Contacts can seem less desirable than one time purchases

Final Thoughts

Businesses that invest in a subscription-based pricing model can increase users and customer loyalty through the entire customer lifecycle.

Using subscription management software makes managing a subscription model easier through automation, add-ons, bundles, customer loyalty rewards, promotions, and retries.

While customer retention is increasingly difficult to maintain as more companies adopt the subscription model, e-commerce platforms like the seven listed above can help overcome the cons of subscription management and, in turn, increase recurring revenue altogether.

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