Thinking of adding subscription billing to your business website but aren’t sure how?
Recurring billing software usage is rising, with firms like Netflix bringing it mainstream. Sixty-nine percent of households now subscribe to online streaming services. Even the automotive industry is set to see subscriptions grow to 71% by 2022.
Every business type now incorporates some sort of subscription service but what software do they use?
This article looks at the main things you need to consider before paying for a subscription app. We look at their essential features as well as those that will save you money and time in the long run.
Read on to discover what every billing software for small business needs to have.
What Is Subscription Billing Software?
Recurring billing software lets businesses accept payments on an ongoing basis.
The best systems handle the process automatically. Instead of employees manually entering data, these apps do all the hard work. They generate invoices, take payments, send notifications, and update service status.
The subscription cycle can incorporate multiple pricing models and payment methods. Subscribers can choose from different terms and see exactly when their next payment is due.
Upper-tier apps integrate directly into your website to give you the most control. They’re styled to match your brand and even integrate with your existing customer relationship tools.
We’ve gathered together 5 of the main features to look for when choosing the best recurring billing software.
1. Flexible Pricing Models
Companies often hire developers to create software unique to their needs. They have a particular way they want to charge so assume they need a specialized app.
But business models change meaning bespoke software needs to be updated. Not to mention maintained.
The best recurring invoicing software offers multiple pricing models to suit any requirement. They match any scenario thrown at them.
The keyword is flexibility.
Apps that provide flexible pricing let you edit subscription models on the fly. They allow for a range of options including:
The basic, flat price charged to everyone who subscribes to your service. For example, $15 per month.
You should be able to choose the time cycles to bill on like monthly or annually. Customers receive a notification in advance and are able to opt-out if they desire.
Your customer chooses how many of your subscription units they purchase up-front. For example, $25 per fitness session for x10 sessions.
Like the flat fee model, a customer can switch billing cycles when they wish. The pro-rata or prorated system will calculate and charge the difference automatically.
Price is determined by how many units subscribed to. The more they buy the less they pay per unit. For example, $25 per session for x10 or $20 per session for x20.
This discount scheme encourages longer billing cycles. Which in turn provides a higher monthly turnover.
Tiered or quantity-based discounting lets you vary the price based on subscribed units. For example, $6 per unit for x1-2 then $5 for 3+.
This model is great for weight-based items as you can add as many tiers as you want.
A combination of flat-fee and tiered.
Ranged pricing charges a standard price depending on the range of units matched. For example, $12 for up to x3 users and $15 for x4-6.
2. Different Payment Methods
All online vendors accept credit and debit card payments and so should the billing app. But it shouldn’t end there.
Mobile payments from apps like Apple Pay and Google Pay don’t require customers to open their wallets. Stalwart services like PayPal now integrate with subscription apps. The less a customer needs to interact the better.
The subscription billing service should work with several payment gateways. It needs to follow all legal guidelines relating to customer data storage and safety like PCI-DSS. And it should be ready for new technologies like Secure Card Authentication or SCA.
3. Products, Plans, and Cycles
Many old-style billing solutions focused on a single plan for subscriptions. The result was a limited system offering few options and no flexibility.
The best invoicing software provides a combination of plans and billing cycles. And it accounts for the differences in your products and services.
The rule is the product comes first followed by the plan then the cycle. This allows you to focus on what you’re selling and not be tied to how you sell it.
The software should also adapt to unlimited variations.
A Bronze/Silver/Gold service with quarterly, monthly, or annual cycles produces 18 choices. Add a Platinum range and it goes up again.
This billing software solution should include any new service and offer it to your customers in the next billing cycle. And it should take minutes to set-up, not days or weeks.
4. Customized Branding
Monthly recurring revenue or MRR is revenue your business can count on receiving every 30 days. That’s the goal of subscription billing and the software should make this as easy as possible.
It should match your brand so customers feel safe entering their details.
Your logo, color schemes, font style, etc. should reflect in the software itself. Any paperwork like invoices should be identical to those in your office. If it sends emails, the text needs to match the tone from your site and brochures.
Preferably, it should work on your website domain and not redirect to a third-party. And all content needs to be customizable e.g. using the word seats rather than units.
5. Advanced Features
What sets the best software apart are the extra features like:
- Free Trials
- Setup Fees
- Minimum Terms
- API Integration
Free trials are a great way to hook customers into a monthly recurring revenue cycle. Payments only begin when the free trial ends. And customers can cancel at any time.
Setup fees like an initial consultation are separate from monthly invoicing and should be collected at the beginning. Billing applications need to do both.
Customers need to know exactly what they’re paying for and when. You should be able to apply these conditions and set minimum terms. Also, you need to set the rules for early cancellation. The software will handle the rest.
Modern apps offer API integration. This means your website or apps can hook into their service with very little code.
The system runs as a SaaS or software as a service meaning you access it when you want.
API-based apps provide a powerful way to bill your customers. They’re flexible, offer unlimited invoicing scenarios, and can change to suit your needs.
Billing Software and More at WowGold-It
Now you know about subscription billing software for small businesses why not learn something else?
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