How can recurring billing help your online store?

(Hint: It Makes You More Money!)

Recurring billing is one of the hottest trends to hit online businesses and eCommerce websites.  If you haven’t adapted a recurring-billing system for your online store yet, then the year 2016 is the best time to start.

What You Need to Know About Recurring Billing

Recurring billing is a strategy used by many online businesses to regularly charge or bill customers a recurring fee for services rendered or products sold. This payment strategy is more commonly used by SaaS (Software as a Service) software companies. These businesses—which are often referred to as software on demand—mostly use a subscription-based model. This means customers pay recurrently, usually monthly, to keep on enjoying the software that they are using.  The recurring billing works whether it’s a pricing and product-cataloging system like Salesforce, a gaming-deployment platform like Steam, or an e-mail-marketing service like MailChimp.

However, an increasing number of eCommerce websites have been using recurring billing in conjunction with subscription-based marketing programs.  This helps pull in more customers and to ensure that these customers get billed regularly. For instance, Amazon.com’s Subscribe & Save promotion uses recurring billing to sell a wide range of products (from household to personal-care products) to customers who sign up for this program.

Make Recurring Billing Work for Your ECommerce Business

recurring billingYou can make recurring billing work for you, but you will need to be creative. Most importantly, you will need to come up with a subscription program for your business that you think your customers would like to sign up for, and build from there. A couple of great examples are Dollar Shave Club and Manpacks, both eCommerce businesses. Dollar Shave Club is an eCommerce company that delivers razors and other personal grooming products straight to consumers by mail. With their “Razor Plan” in particular, customers select a shaver they like from the Dollar Shave Club’s website, they choose how many blade cartridges they need per month, and then the Dollar Shave Club mails them the cartridges monthly. These customers are billed recurrently so their blade cartridges will arrive regularly. In the other example, Manpacks is a men’s essentials subscription service that offers underwear, socks, toiletries, and other basic needs. Buyers first create a “pack” of the essentials that they need through the Manpacks website.  The this pack is mailed to them every three months. Customers are billed recurrently every quarter.

Of course, recurring payments work for both physical and digital products, so you don’t need to worry if you can adapt this billing method for your own online business. You just need to do a few things.  

  1. Make sure that you have an awesome idea in place.  
  2. Entice your customers to subscribe to your website, making sign-ups easy for them.
  3. Ensure that you provide a satisfying experience so your customers will keep on using your service or buying your products—and you can keep on billing them for this.

Recurring Billing Can Make More Money for You

More and more online businesses are recognizing that subscription commerce is the business model of the future. Why? Because it helps retain more customers, it retains more customers for a longer period of time, and it makes for a more consistent cash flow for your business.

Simply put, when you start a recurring-billing system or subscription service for your online

business, the consumer who signs up is already mentally prepared and conditioned to make recurring payments.  That mindset could keep repeating in the course of months, or even years. In other words, you are not only retaining the customer for a longer period, but you are also pulling in recurring revenue for your business—that’s definitely a lot better, not to mention more profitable, than the usual one-off purchase.

How to Choose the Right Recurring-Billing Software Platform for Your Business

If you’re looking to successfully launch a subscription-billing business, you need to realize that you can’t do it on your own. You will need to use a great eCommerce platform that offers recurring-billing for your online store so you can charge your customers their subscription payments—and then some. Here are a few important things that you should expect from a subscription-billing software platform:

  1. it should be easy to manage;
  2. it should allow for credit cards to be charged, re-charged, or refunded without getting bogged down by re-entering information,
  3. it should be able to safely store credit card data off a merchant’s systems on secure servers; and
  4. it should be able to handle both recurring transactions and one-time transactions.

These are just some of the basic features that you should expect from a recurring-billing software platform. Other programs may offer advanced features such as customer communications management, an analytics dashboard, more payment options for shoppers, and even support for multiple currencies. Make sure you do your research beforehand and determine what you will need for your business before you decide on a particular recurring-billing software platform.

Conclusion

Recurring billing is definitely a game-changer in the eCommerce industry. And while, admittedly, not every online business can move entirely to subscription billing, it’s certainly worth a shot to try incorporating a subscription model to certain components of your business.  

The bottom line is, the subscription billing is an excellent business model—for both the consumer and the entrepreneur. With recurring billing, you make the customers’ lives easier by providing them a hassle-free payment method while ensuring that your business makes more money through recurring payments from these customers.

Online businesses have started to jump on the subscription model bandwagon in order to capitalize on the incredible revenue opportunities that it presents. It’s high time that you do too. Recurring billing can help increase your profits and help you expand your customer base.   

Do you have more questions about recurring billing?  We’d love to help you out so leave your thoughts in the comment section below. 

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