December 1st, 2021 | 6 MIN READ

How To Get Ahead of The Competition with Easy-to-Launch eCommerce Subscription Services ?

Written by author_profile_images Shaneil Lafayette

Shaneil is a Commerce Technology Advocate and Data Analyst at Elastic Path. As a part of the Product Marketing Team, she focuses on enabling the market on the commerce solution technology that helps digitally-driven brands drive revenue growth.

Prior to the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw a shift in customer buying habits, as more and more shoppers were in search for convenience and preferred to complete their purchases online. So it’s no surprise that after the COVID-19 stay-at-home measures were implemented, the demand for online subscription services spiked. Shoppers fell in love with the ease and convenience of online shopping for their favorite products and having it automatically delivered to their door steps, without putting their health at risk. In 2020 alone we saw a 48% increase in subscription enrollment, with $3 Billion in orders in the physical goods eCommerce subscription space, with no signs of it slowing down even after the end of the pandemic.

As such, it is a great time for retailers to enter the market and add subscriptions services to their existing physical products or simply start from scratch. By deploying subscription services, it puts brands in an ideal position to drive predictable and sustained revenue, while also generating increased customer loyalty with more affordable buying options. Gartner even predicts that, “By 2024, leading commerce organizations will generate 10% of online revenue from services, such as subscriptions, attached to physical products.” However, they also state that while “75% of organizations selling direct to consumer will offer subscriptions services by 2023, only 20% will succeed in increasing customer retention.

 

Why’s that you may ask?

  1. Firstly, while consumers are easily enticed to purchase subscription services, they tend to cancel those that don’t create extended value and deliver superior end-to-end user experiences. Once they find that the subscription is too limited, they often aren’t able to justify the value and cancel, leading to a high churn rate for brands.

  2. And secondly, it’s difficult for brands to continuously drive convenience, offer personalized and curated choices, and grant exclusive access for their subscription services, when they leverage traditional out-of-the-box subscription management solutions. These types of solutions lack the flexibility to create personalized subscription experiences or are excessively expensive and time consuming to do so. This leaves brands incapable of keeping up with customer demands, which leads to high churn.

So how should brands who are interested in entering the subscription services market go about doing so? In this article, we will dive into understanding if you need a subscription management solution and explain how Elastic Path can help businesses excel when launching subscription management services, thanks to our newly launched Pre-Composed SolutionsTM for Subscriptions.

 

Do You Need A Subscription Management Solution?

It’s important to first understand if your business even needs a subscription management solution. Oftentimes, brands think they need a “subscription management” solution, when what they really need is a “recurring billing” service. These terms are used interchangeably quite often, even though they serve different purposes.

Subscription management is the organization and oversight of the interaction between the business and its customers. This could include:

  • Handling customer information and communications
  • Customizing precise subscription packages
  • Managing bundles and promotions
  • Providing access to customer analytics and more.

While recurring billing is the process of:

  • Generating periodic invoices for customers
  • Tracking and collecting payments on a predetermined basis
  • And storing payment information

 

So as you can see, the two are indeed not the same, but are actually complementary to each other. However, when paired together, they do create a good solution for both managing the services, and what we might see as the most important part, collecting payments that go towards your revenue.

Therefore, if you’re the type of brand that is just looking for a way to allow your customers to sign up with their payment credentials, and have a payment be automatically collected for a specified period, then a standalone recurring billing service may be right for you.

However, if you’re the type of brand that is interested in:

  • Developing schematic pricing
  • Offering limited exclusive discounts
  • Leveraging dunning management to communicate with customers
  • Customizing customer-specific subscription bundles
  • And integrating with an eCommerce solution that allows you to create a unique shopping experience

Then a subscription management service may be right for you. So how can you get started and get up and running quickly? With the new Pre-Composed Solution™ for Subscriptions built by our partner Pixie Labs.

 

New: Pre-Composed Solution™ for Subscriptions

At Elastic Path, we understand the desire to innovate and test new business ventures quickly, while also minimizing risk. That’s exactly why we offer Pre-Composed SolutionsTM. These business-ready solutions are pre-composed from a combination of Elastic Path commerce capabilities, third-party integrations, and customizations that brands can use to quickly deploy a commerce solution; with greater flexibility and less risk.

Our new Pre-Composed Solution™ for Subscriptions, built by Elastic Path partner, Pixie Labs, on top of Elastic Path Commerce Cloud, provides a complete subscription management solution that allows for B2B, B2C, and D2C brands to quickly create and customize unique subscription services for their customers, that drive predictable and scalable revenue channels.

In addition to the Elastic Path core commerce capabilities, this solution comes pre-integrated with:

  • Stripe for payments
  • Postmark for email services
  • And an analytics dashboard

to allow brands to build differentiated subscription services from scratch, or as an addition to their existing Elastic Path implementation.

As previously mentioned, traditional subscription management solutions are often rigid and come predefined, which makes it difficult for brands to create custom subscription services. This Pre-Composed Solution™ reduces the time and complexity of configuring customer-centric subscription services, and thus empowers brands to get ahead of their competition faster. Additionally, the ultimate flexibility of the microservices architecture also enables brands to quickly experiment with new approaches that could give them sustained advantages in their market. Therefore, brands can now feel empowered to create differentiated subscription services that keep their customers engaged and satisfied, allowing them to succeed in increasing customer retention and driving more sustained revenue.

With the joint solution from Pixie Labs and Elastic Path, brands will have access to a complete end-to-end eCommerce subscriptions solution that offers:

  • Speed to Market: You can get up and running in weeks and update with ease as market demands and product offerings change.
  • High configurability: You will be able to cater to customer specific subscription preferences that usually involves complex bundling of products, pricing, and promotions.
  • Sustained and predictable revenue: By offering more cost-effective models to customers through subscription services, you will be able to yield a higher retention rate, which would lead to more predictable revenue.
  • Reduced Cost: You’ll be able to reduce your overall total cost of ownership by eliminating the need to license multiple software vendors, to achieve your personalized subscription management solution.

We'd love to talk about how this Pre-Composed Solution™ for Subscriptions could help you launch your subscription management services in record time. Reach out today or join us for a live “All Demo-No Pitch” session of this Pre-Composed Solution™ on December 14th. Register Here.

 

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