Keeping the Revenue Flowing with CyberSource Payment Management
Subscription based eCommerce is increasingly popular, but payment can be difficult to administrate without the help of an automation service.
The rise of the “subscription economy” has given birth to a multitude of subscription-based services that consumers can customize to meet their needs. Some of today’s most popular subscription services include:
- “Product of the month” clubs
- Snack boxes for people and pets
- Healthy meal kits
- Rentals and streaming media
- Web hosting
- Membership reward programs
- Software as a service (SaaS)
Offering subscription-based products to customers provides a continual source of income for businesses. There are many factors that will influence success with subscription based eCommerce, including things like marketing, SEO and subscription eCommerce UI, which presents some unique challenges. However, the payment structure involved is intricate and presents unique challenges that can only be met using a robust system built to handle recurring charges.
Challenges of Managing Recurring Payments
Thousands of customers may sign up for a subscription service, creating an enormous amount of data in the process. Free trials, promotional deals, customization options and discounts for semi-annual or annual payments add to the complexity. Once accounts are set up, businesses must track whether or not payments are going through in order to know if services should continue to be provided.
Trying to manage all of these variables manually can drain resources as subscription numbers increase, but setting up a new platform to handle recurring billing also requires time, money and staff. This diverts attention away from other business operations and can result in loss of revenue if the project runs into difficulties. An ideal solution for companies of any size is to implement an existing system that already includes all the functions needed to create, manage and track subscription accounts.
Benefits of Recurring Payment Systems
Automation is the key to managing any kind of subscription service. All but the largest of companies are likely to lack the resources necessary to handle every account that gets created. Even those with a sizeable staff devoted to sales, IT, billing and fulfillment eventually hit a point where something begins to fall by the wayside. Recurring payment systems offer platforms that handle every aspect of the subscription process to take the pressure off employees and ensure that customers get the best experience possible. Consolidation of data reduces the likelihood of errors, thereby improving service and supporting long-term customer retention.
Existing systems for handling recurring payments are much easier to implement and customize than those built from the ground up. Businesses can purchase a pre-created solution, have it installed and train staff in its use in a fraction of the time it would take to develop, design and set up a new platform. Once in place, these solutions connect all departments involved in providing subscription services so that employees in billing, marketing, invoicing, shipping and customer service all have access to the same data as it updates in real time. These platforms also provide the security that consumers are looking for when they entrust sensitive payment information to a company.
The CyberSource Solution
CyberSource provides a recurring billing system that meets potential challenges with the tools every subscription service needs to thrive. Each customer is assigned a unique CyberSource token that acts as a subscription ID that can be tracked and modified as necessary. This allows for the creation and management of unique payment structures that can be tied to special promotions and varying subscription levels. Since subscription services draw such large numbers of customers, this rare option is critical to success.
With CyberSource payment integration to a compatible eCommerce platform, companies can accept every major credit card through their choice of processor. The platform handles all of the logistics involved with charging these cards on a recurring basis and stores sensitive information in secure data centers. Different authorization methods make it possible to set separate approval parameters for varying groups of customers depending on their chosen payment methods.
Batch reporting is included to help companies keep on top of the massive influx of data that occurs as customers create subscription accounts. These reports track both successful and unsuccessful payments and provide resources for following up with customers whose accounts lapse due to insufficient funds, expired credit cards or negligence. With this information, billing departments can easily handle payment reminders, error messages and issues with customer service. CyberSource Account Updater also allows the system to automatically pull updated credit card information from the card company, which helps prevent lapses in payment and service.
By providing all of these tools under one platform, CyberSource offers a one-stop solution to recurring billing that allows businesses to monitor every transaction without having to devote large amounts of resources to the management of customer accounts.
From Payments to Marketing
The information collected when customers sign up for subscription services doubles as a valuable marketing tool. By using the reporting features available from CyberSource, marketing professionals can track consumer purchasing behaviors and tailor marketing efforts to increase engagement and encourage continued use of preferred products. Customer preferences can also be tapped to create targeted campaigns aimed at specific audience segments. For example, a business may provide discounted renewal rates to loyal long-term customers or pitch a related product to people who show continued interest in a particular type of subscription.
Despite strong marketing efforts, cancellations aren’t uncommon in subscription programs, but customers who decide to stop using a service shouldn’t be counted as lost causes. Recurring billing platforms simplify the process of tracking canceled subscriptions and allow businesses to reach out and discover what might be done to bring customers back. This may involve offering a free month, a discounted price for several months or a special annual renewal rate, all of which can be handled through the CyberSource platform.
How Clarity Can Help
Clarity offers a comprehensive e-commerce platform that can be tailored to the exact needs of your business. From handling payments to improving marketing techniques, Clarity provides the power you need to handle and track large amounts of customer data. Contact Clarity for a free consultation to discover how our custom solutions can help you set up and manage a successful subscription service.