The Best Subscription Management Software for Your Business
The subscription business model has many advantages. After all, who wouldn’t want regular recurring income? But there can be a lot of time and work needed to ensure that your subscription processes work efficiently and securely.
Fortunately, there are many subscription management tools available that can optimize your online store’s subscription processes, leaving you free to focus on your business growth. Let’s take a look at some of the best tools on the market today.
What is subscription management software?
Subscription management platforms allow businesses to easily integrate subscription services and recurring payments into their online stores. From collecting subscribers’ data to billing and invoicing, subscription management software is designed to handle every step of the process with minimal effort on your part.
Subscription management software features
Now we know what subscription management software is, let’s take a closer look at the standard features offered by subscription management software solutions.
Subscription, billing, and invoicing
It probably goes without saying that subscription management software allows companies to create and manage subscription plans, set up recurring payments, and send invoices to customers, but it would be remiss of us not to mention it.
Good solutions will allow you to automate all of these processes and a good deal more. This will help you provide a streamlined process for your customers, which will improve customer experience.
Subscription management software needs to integrate with a broad range of payment gateways so they can process payments securely and efficiently and not miss out on business from potential customers using gateways that aren’t supported.
Automated renewals and cancellations
Subscription software should afford the ability to automatically renew subscriptions and send reminders to customers when payments are due. It should also include functionality to manage cancellations and refunds.
Analytics and reporting
Analytics and reporting are core features of Subscription management software. These tools provide insights into key metrics like customer acquisition and retention, revenue, and churn rate.
Special offers and promotions
A robust subscription software needs to seamlessly handle any promotions, including discount codes, coupons, and other special offers. This means having a solution that will automatically adjust prices and incorporate changing inventory levels in line with the promotion.
Why your business needs subscription management software
Although it is possible to manually code in subscription packages, customer information, and a subscription billing system, the process is complicated and costly. It’s far more time and cost-effective to let subscription management software handle the bulk of the work for you.
In addition to lowering the cost and complexity of the subscription management process, some software also offers additional features like allowing you to build a tailored shopping or subscription experience for your customers.
Some of the benefits of using a subscription management platform include:
- Helping people feel more connected to your brand and products.
Customer loyalty is vital to growing your business, and a subscription management solution can let you meet customers’ needs on their terms. A tool that gives customers the power to manage their subscriptions easily and hassle-free goes a long way to building stronger customer relations.
- Gaining recurring revenue.
Subscription management software not only boosts active subscriptions but does a great deal to facilitate the growth of your recurring revenues by automating processes to help you reduce your levels of customer churn.
Upscribe works to reduce customer churn through a proprietary dunning engine. With Upscribe, you have the ability to identify the optimal time to recover declined charges without the need to contact the customer at all.
- Being able to derive behavioral insights from your subscribers.
Top subscription management solutions provide you with key behavioral analytics with which you can better meet your customer’s requirements. By understanding the customer journey through data-driven insights, you have the ability to recognize key drop-off points and initiate a course of action to improve processes to keep your customers onboard.
- Fostering long-term loyalty by building a business around recurring subscriptions, rather than one-off purchases.
By using intelligent tools and data-driven analytics, you’ll not only understand customer behavior but also shape it. Subscription management software solutions are, ultimately, tools that will automate your customer’s engagement with your business as much as they do your internal business processes.
More superior software programs come with analytics dashboards that you can leverage to understand the psychology of your customers and create sales strategies accordingly.
Four Sigmatic, an online store selling innovative crash-free coffee and other plant-powered products, was able to use the data they got from their Upscribe analytics dashboard to decrease their customer churn rate.
Using Upscribe’s integration with Klaviyo, customers were automatically sent emails based on their consumer journey. These emails were designed to retain customers and improve their experience which ultimately led to increased retention and renewals.
So, this type of software won’t just fit in as a way for you to process payments. The data it provides can propel your business forward by giving you a more intimate look into the purchasing behaviors of your subscribers.
What to consider when choosing subscription management software
Ease of Implementation
One of the main reasons why businesses utilize this type of software is because it is far easier and more cost-effective to implement than having to code everything from the ground up. If the software is difficult or expensive to integrate, it defeats its purpose.
Subscription Management Tools
After integrating subscription services into your business, it is essential to have software that makes it easy to effect changes to packages, contracts, pricing, and terms. A comprehensive and superior software tool will have these capabilities, and much more.
Once the customer has subscribed to your service, the management software should have functionality that automatically sends confirmation emails, contracts, and invoices to customers.
Every subscription management tool worth its salt should come with a comprehensive analytics dashboard. In addition to keeping track of all the relevant data points, the dashboards should also display data in a concise, exportable format.
For technical tools like these, good customer support is essential. Your subscription management software of choice should feature a Help center and a means for customers to log support tickets that are attended to timeously and efficiently.
Any subscription management software tool you might consider must be able to integrate with your existing technology stack. Desirable integration features of subscription management tools include
- Payment Gateways
- CRM & ERP Systems
- Accounting Software
- Marketing Automation Solutions
- Analytics & Reporting Tools
- Inventory Management Systems
- E-commerce Systems
The Best Subscription Management Software
Due to its seamless integration with Shopify, out-of-the-box tools and ease of delivering a powerful customer experience, , Upscribe is the best subscription management software for Shopify users that are focused on growing their online store through subscriptions.
Upscribe’s integration and management tools are built to work seamlessly with Shopify. The merchant portal has been designed to make every step of the setup process quick and easy. Actions such as setting up the subscription packages to your subscription pages going live, shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes.
Via Upscribe’s dashboard, you can set up and customize the subscription package offering, product and cart pages. You’re able to fully customize the customer portal to suit the look and feel of your brand.
Upscribe offers a variety of diagnostic tools that you can use to test your newly-created subscription plans and products before you launch them on your storefront.
Once everything is live, Upscribe’s management dashboard will record and present all essential data points about your subscriptions in an easy-to-read format.
This data includes active subscriptions, total orders, customer lifetime value (LTV), and much more. You can leverage this information to grow your subscription base, engage with your subscribers, and, more importantly, strategize how to best grow your customers’ LTV.
In addition to all of the above, you will enjoy 24/7 customer support at no extra charge.
For its ease of use and fast deployment, Upscribe is particularly useful for Shopify businesses that are new to the subscription model. In 2020, Upscribe helped LA-based online store, Ready, Set, Food!, transition over to subscriptions. Slow loading pages and checkout issues were solved, and the result was a significant increase in margins by 25% to 35% per order.
Upscribe offers a straightforward payment plan and far more bang for your buck compared to other services. Upscribe charges $300 a month plus 1% of subscription transactions, they offer free support and onboarding.
- Rapid and easy integration
- Has all of the essential tools you’d want from a subscription management software
- Ability to deliver your subscribers a powerful customer experience out-of-the-box
- Straightforward pricing structure
- No flat transaction fees
- No extra fee for support
- Works only with Shopify
Chargebee is a decent alternative for SaaS, PaaS businesses, or ecommerce sellers looking for a versatile subscription management platform.
Its chief advantage is its ability to work with many third-party tools like Shopify, Salesforce, MailChimp, Zendesk, Slack, and more. If you’re already using these tools in your day-to-day business, Chargebee can fit right in.
And of course, it also does everything else that you would expect a billing management service to do, like automatically logging payment information, generating invoices, and collecting payments every service cycle. Chargebee can work with many popular payment gateways to collect the amount due.
As a subscriber, you will also get many extra features like tax management, usage tracking, trial management, cancellation management, and more.
However, as trusted and popular it is, their onboarding process is notorious for being complicated. Unless you have a separate IT department or person that is already skilled with Chargebee, it may take a lot of time to integrate it into your business.
Comparing ChargeBee’s onboarding process to Upscribe, Upscribe takes the cake by a wide margin. One of the most impressive parts about the Upscribe service, according to a client (Caldera + Lab), is its simpler portal and easier-to-implement dashboard.
The company offers a diverse pricing structure, featuring four plans that can be paid monthly or annually.
- Can be integrated with many other third-party tools
- Comes with many extra features
- Good customer and technical support
- Comprehensive payment structure
- The on-boarding process is difficult
- Complicated dashboard
ReCharge is a good service if, other than managing subscriptions, you’re also looking for a tool to help you build relationships with customers.
ReCharge offers all the standard subscription management software features like the ability to integrate, manage, and analyze your subscription packages from one simple portal. It also works in conjunction with third-party platforms like Shopify.
Setting up your subscription packages and deploying them onto your website takes a few minutes, with real-time performance updates available on the software dashboard shortly thereafter.
You also get engagement features like the ability for subscribers to manage their subscriptions via SMS or a personalized customer portal. Notably, the software is also built with features that can reduce churn rates by giving customers alternatives to canceling.
For example, subscribers can skip a certain amount of payment cycles or delay their payments instead of churning. Alternatively, they can re-subscribe to a different product package that works better for them.
However, all of the extra features the software offers can be difficult and confusing to use.
Additionally, you need to pay extra for the best level of technical support—an obvious disadvantage for small Shopify startups that may not have the necessary capital for these vital services. Upscribe, in contrast, provides full-level support at no additional cost.
The company currently offers two paid plans with one free option that you can use to try out their services.
- Comes with powerful communication and customer outreach tools
- Has features that can reduce churn rate
- Has a free tier
- Relatively straightforward pricing structure
- Has many complex tools that can be confusing (including building the customer portal)
- Extra fees for support
4. Zoho Subscriptions
Zoho Subscriptions is ideal for small-medium sized businesses offering any type or size of subscription service, from SaaS providers to food & wine companies, to digital marketers and freelancers.
Zoho Subscriptions manages the entire subscription lifecycle, including automated and recurring billing, subscription management, and VAT-compliant invoicing. It is highly recognized in the industry and was the winner of IDC’s SaaS CSAT Award for Subscription Billing in 2020.
Billing Automation comes with a number of critical features that allow you to set up billing frequencies and cycles, automate proration, remain tax compliant regardless of the global region in which you are billing, and store all user credit and payment information securely.
Zoho Subscription comes with a wide range of out-of-the-box integrations with various mobile apps, payment gateways, document solutions, CMS, and other popular sites and platforms like Slack, Office 365, and Zendesk.
The service is available on desktop and both Android and IOS, allowing you to retain complete control of your subscriptions wherever you happen to be. It comes with a wide range of reporting functions, including dunning management, subscription metrics, metered billings, and discount & trial management.
Zoho has five licensing models ranging from free to enterprise-level.
A Free Licence comes with up to 20 subscriptions and allows 1 user for no charge.
The Basic Licence allows for up to 500 customers plus 3 users for $49 per month.
A Standard Licence affords up to 2000 customers plus 5 users at a price of $99 per month.
The Pro Licence will give you up to as many as 5000 customers plus 10 users and will cost you $249 per month.
Enterprise Licences are bespoke and available on request
- Easy to set up and use for no-coders
- Broad range of integrations with various business systems and platforms
- Cost-effective solution for small businesses
- Great functionality on mobile devices
- Dashboard lacks some functionality around statistical insights
- The user interface can feel dated to users
- Could have a wider range of customizations in its reports
- Adding new customers can be more complex than it should be
Maxio is a subscription service that specializes in B2B SaaS subscriptions. Generally, they’re a good choice for medium to enterprise-level businesses, as prices can be exclusionary for those with shoestring budgets.
Maxio has great price flexibility features, which also come with A/B testing capabilities so you can identify what prices work best for your customers. It also comes with automated billing, providing an easy way for your users to keep up to date with payments.
You also have access to Maxio’s SaaS revenue recognition management. This allows you to automate revenue recognition scenarios, which can oftentimes be complex to pull off manually. Plus, scenarios are automatically GAAP/IFRS compliant, so there’s one less thing to worry about.
Maxio can integrate with much of your work stack, including Gmail, GitHub, MailChimp, Quickbooks, Avalera, and more, allowing you to streamline your cash-to-revenue processes.
Maxio comes with three plans. The Essential plan is priced at $599 per month, which comes with the Maxio platform, guidance and support from Maxio staff, and the ability to add modules as needed (though at extra cost).
The two other plans (Growth and Scale) require you to request a demo, where you’ll be given a quote. This does make their pricing structures rather opaque, though each of the higher tier plans comes packaged with a host of additional features.
- Great for B2B subscription SaaS
- Integrates with a huge stack of tools
- Very feature-rich
- Great A/B testing features
- Pricing is incredibly expensive
- Lengthy onboarding process
- Difficult for new users
Ready to take your subscription-based business to the next level?
Upscribe can deliver a simple, fast, and easy integration process for your business built on the foundation laid by Shopify. Contact us today to schedule your free Upscribe demo and check out our range of comprehensive subscription management features.