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The subscription ecommerce market is expected to reach $904.2 billion by 2026, according to the Business Research Company. That represents an expected growth rate of 65.67%. 

This stands to reason, given that the average consumer was participating in five retail subscriptions by the end of 2021, according to PYMNTS. That’s up from fewer than two, on average, just before the pandemic. 

If you’re considering leveraging this booming market to grow your ecommerce business, you’ll need effective subscription management software. Read on to learn what subscription management software can do for you, and how to choose the right one for your business.  

Key takeaways

  • Subscription management software helps companies track and manage all activities related to the sale of subscription-based products and services.
  • Utilizing subscription management software can help with an improved customer experience, increased customer options and affordability, and saving time and reducing error by automating processes.
  • Business owners should seek out a subscription management software partner who accommodates multiple payment options, stores customer data securely, enables notifications, automates workflows, and makes integration easy.

What is online subscription management software?

Subscription management software helps companies track and manage all activities related to the sale of subscription-based products and services, including:

  • Storing information related to customer subscriptions
  • Interfacing with a payment gateway
  • Automating subscription workflows

Subscription management vs recurring billing software

Subscription management software is sometimes called subscription billing management software or recurring billing software. This is a bit of a misnomer. 

Subscription management refers to the exchange between a business and its customers. Plenty goes into this interaction. Businesses must manage every part of the subscription lifecycle, from order and fulfillment to returns, exchanges, and feedback. Recurring billing plays a role, but companies should also gather customer data and create ways to allow subscribers to manage their own subscriptions.  

Recurring billing software can take payments from PayPal and other revenue streams. But these products aren’t subscription management solutions, as they can’t help with the other facets of running a subscription service. 

Advantages of using subscription management tools 

These are a few known advantages of investing in the right subscription management tools: 

  1. Improved customer experience

It’s hard to overstate the importance of pleasing your customers. CA Design Form reports that it’s even more important than price. Disappoint them even once, and you risk losing them forever.

Subscription management software can help you understand what your customers want.  

If renewals spike after you share a product (or you’re hit with extra cancellations after a price increase), you’ve got data you can use to make your customers happier. Using that data could lower your churn rate. 

  1. Increased customer options 

Consumers love flexibility, and they seek it out in their online subscriptions. They may love some of your products and want multiples each month, but they might like to skip a shipment every now and then too.

Subscription management software allows you to offer bespoke subscriptions based on customer preferences and past purchases. A customizable experience is hard to beat, and your order management system can help ensure it’s fulfilled properly every time. 

  1. Increased affordability

Building your own subscription management system, complete with customizable options and pricing plans, would require a whole staff of developers. A subscription management solution could eliminate that expense. Choose an out-of-the-box solution for your business, and you’ll save the most money. 

  1. Automated processes 

Customers are (understandably) nervous about sharing billing information with a company. That discomfort can grow if you don’t process their payment properly or regularly. There’s no room for error in this area of business.

The right software can ensure that orders are processed properly on a schedule your customers can anticipate. This prevents potentially costly human error, and frees you up to focus on other aspects of your business. 

Subscription management software features 

Not all subscription management solutions are created equal. Do your homework and look for a business subscription management software partner that offers these key features:

  1. Multiple payments accommodation 

Your subscription membership management software should accept payments from popular credit card companies, but some go further. Your solution could also work with digital wallets, accept bitcoin, and interact with PayPal or Venmo. The more options you provide, the less likely it is that a customer will abandon their shopping cart. 

  1. Secure storage

Customer subscriptions require payments, and if your service isn’t secure, you risk violating your buyer’s trust. PYMNTS reports that more than half of customers refrain from storing payment information online due to security concerns. If your customers don’t share their data, your billing process for repeat purchases will be considerably more cumbersome. 

To avoid that, your vendor should store sensitive information securely, and protections should be listed clearly for customers. Earning your customers’ trust is worth the effort. 

  1. Notification features

Subscriptions can run automatically, but you will need to interact with your customers periodically. You might have new subscription models to share with them, or your pricing strategies might change. 

Notification features allow you to easily share this information with your customers. You can also use these systems to share promotional options to help increase your average order value. 

  1. Seamless automation

Your software should run in the background, managing customer subscriptions and handling billing processes without direct supervision. This automation allows you to focus on other mission-critical tasks, such as training your customer support staff and developing new products. 

  1. Ease of integration

Integrations are critical. Your subscription management software should play nicely with your existing CRM, payment gateways, and more. 

The application program interface (or API) makes this functionality possible. Without it, you’ll lose time trying to make two pieces of software get along. The best solution is one you don’t have to think about too often.

Streamline ecommerce operations with online subscription management software

An online subscription management tool is critical for any ecommerce business looking to use subscriptions to increase revenue, deepen customer connections, and boost customer retention. 
Assess your current payment management needs and billing platform so you can choose a subscription management software that serves your business and customers.