Top 9 Subscription Management Software Companies

Abstract – The introduction of subscription-based pricing introduced aggressive changes to the standard business model. E-commerce has created a consumer demand for continuous digital service, and the subscription model facilitates the necessary access methods. Both the user and the business benefit from a transition into subscription formats. For companies looking to adopt the pricing tiers of the subscription model, the most effective setup scenario is through a subscription management company.

Subscription management companies facilitate all aspects of a customer’s journey throughout a subscription lifecycle. From user integration to re-engaging lost customers, subscription management software oversees all elements of customer retention. The better the subscription management company, the more engaged the customer interacts with the service, leading to extended revenues. When researching the most optimal subscription management solution for your business, make note of several selection criteria – Pricing Agility, Charge Tracking, Self Service Interface, Dunning Management, Compliance, and Integration. Several of the top management companies are compared and reviewed to help describe individual program features.

E-commerce merchants have enjoyed explosive sales growth throughout the recent internet marketplace boom. Digital sales channels account for a majority share of global retail, and that demand has brought with it an increase in innovation. New and improved program applications have disrupted formal sales tactics, and software services continue to bring about rapid change to out-dated business models. Experts expect e-commerce vendors to exchange over five trillion dollars in 2021 – now is the time to pivot your business into the digital space.

One of the most prevalent advancements e-commerce created is the shift into subscription-based pricing models. Previously, the transfer of goods and services occurred as a single event – a consumer handed over one-time payments in return for a product. But with e-commerce, businesses enjoy extended and repeat contact with their customers. Instead of making multiple payments on single items, users prefer to make recurring payments for reliable, scheduled services. Consumers want continuous access to a range of digital platforms, and the subscription pricing model fits that need.

Once e-commerce gave the space for subscription pricing to develop, most merchants switched to the subscription model. Dollar Shave Club set up a monthly shaver delivery service, Netflix revolutionized television streaming, Classpass combined personal training and the home gym with weekly video workouts, and Hubspot changed customer management software with its business platform.

What Makes The Subscription Model Better?

The subscription-based business model benefits both you and your customers. For users, the key advantage is accessibility. Low-cost fees at set intervals give consumers limitless connection to a desired service. Automatic bill payments offer peace of mind, and customers can control their system preferences through a smartphone, a tablet, or a desktop. The need to travel to a physical store for repeat items disappears, and the convenience of delivery removes any barriers to purchase.

For your business, the subscription model offers an optimized sales lifecycle. Single money transfers hold far less long-term value than the recurring payments of a subscribed user. Under the subscription model, the average expense from a customer increases by 67%, even from repeat buyers inclined towards traditional sales methods. The consistent payment plan of subscription billing allows you and your company to make smart financial decisions, and the set subscriber base provides accurate revenue projections. Auto-renewals grant businesses the ability to weather aggressive market shifts, and acquisition costs can shrink. Best of all, subscription services work as a continual remarketing campaign – the more the consumer uses the service, the more engagement they have with your brand. Increases in business-to-consumer communication lead to heightened customer trust, and under the subscription model, each of your customers represent continued profit.

Benefits Of The Subscription Model:

For Companies:  
– Easier to scale
– Predictable revenue
– Clear financial picture
– Flexibility towards economic shifts
– Increased engagement with customers  

For Customers:  
– Set it and forget it
– High return on low investment
– Auto-renewals
– 24/7 access to a service
– Reliability

What Types Of Subscription Services Are There?

Subscription structures break down into four general models:

  1. Software-As-A-Subscription
    • Software-as-a-subscription products target B2B customers with digital applications designed for the business domain. Companies that need software tools for their business employ software-as-a-subscription services; instead of buying programs outright, a company can pay licensing fees each month for access. Once a merchant signs on, the subscription service adjusts to the vendor’s individual needs. Many software-as-a-subscription platforms offer free trials, and enterprise functions are accessible through a paywall. Customer management software applications are well-known examples of software-as-a-subscription platforms. 
  2. Subscription Boxes
    • Also known as subcoms, subscriptions boxes include delivery and courier services. Niche market items that target specific demographics are boxed together and shipped to consumers. The most successful subscription box service is Birchbox, a company that delivers monthly product crates to consumers with the intent to upsell into higher-priced sales items.
  3. E-commerce Subscriptions
    • Combining merchant storefronts with recurring delivery convenience, e-commerce subscriptions package and deliver items bought through an e-commerce platform. Groceries stores and home decor vendors that courier household items (food, paper towels, toilet paper, etc) fit within this subscription type.
  4. Accessibility Subscriptions
    • Accessibility subscriptions work through a digital interface, and they offer customers access to a desired software. Customers pay a recurring fee to gain entry to this type of service. Netflix and Amazon are well known for this subscription structure, while insurance brokers and rent payment collectors have begun to adopt the accessibility model.

If you are looking to upgrade your current business model into a subscription-based profile, select a type that best suits your customers’ needs. 

How Do I Integrate A Subscription Management Service Into My E-commerce Store?

Merchants can opt to code their own unique service, but the easy and efficient way to set up a subscription model is through a subscription management service.

Subscription management solutions are ready-made software applications that organize each aspect of an e-commerce subscription service. The platforms function as one-size-fits-all digital interfaces, and they simplify the technical setup. No coding is required, and much of the applications are customizable to your business. All the back end software is ready for use – all you need to do is integrate with your current e-commerce store.

Subscription Management Services focus on three sales stages:

  • Initial Customer Engagement – After a customer signs up for a trial period, management software builds a customer profile to begin the sales funnel. For example, the application might store customer info inside your customer management software (CMS), send out any email leads, and organize all remarketing campaigns towards the target buyer. As the customer progresses towards a conversion, the software can create chat channels for customer service, and it can upgrade or downgrade the service to the customer’s wishes.
  • Repeated Consumer Access –  Once the customer has converted into a subscriber, subscription management services handle all clerical tasks. Some customers need payment details for pro-rated months, and the management service creates transfer data in a system of record. Management services can track incorrect billing charges, make refunds, and apply credits to a users account. Additionally, all privacy and security controls are upheld by the management service.
  • Customer Cancellations – The loss of a subscribing customer is not the same as the lost sale of a single item. When you lose a monthly customer, it is the loss of all recurring lifetime sales. Subscription management services ease customer through the cancellation process, which can help turn exiting customers back into return users. Management software also attempts to maintain direct customer contact by asking for reviews, offering potential upgrades, and implementing service changes to re-entice consumers.

Note: subscription management is not the same as subscription billing. Even though subscription management and subscription billing services work in tandem, they are not always packaged together. If you hope to create a complete subscription service, a secondary subscription billing service is often required. The billing service handles all invoices, integrates with payment processors, and sends all money transfer information back to the subscription management service. The two applications work hand-in-hand, so be wary of this fact when selecting a management service.

Subscription Management Vs Subscription Billing  
Subscription Management – Management services govern all subscription service elements, and the program  administers the necessary software access points to a customer.  

Subscription Billing – Billing services are more automated, and they only handle the exchange of funds between the business and its customer.

Which Subscription Management Companies Should I Use?

When looking for a high-quality subscription management company, there are six core features you should look for:

  1. Pricing Agility
  2. Change Tracking
  3. Self-Service Portals
  4. Dunning Management
  5. Compliance and Privacy
  6. Integration
  • Pricing Agility: How you price your subscription service is a key factor for platform success. Some products are delivered in tiers, while others do best with levelled platforms (e.g. Basic, Business, Enterprise). Other merchants need volume payments to match the increase or decrease of platform usage. In all cases, the subscription management software you choose should have multiple variations of pricing. The more distinct ways you can price a subscription, the better you can meet your customers needs.
  • Change Tracking: Users will make numerous adjustments to their service, and you need a management software that can perform each data update in real-time. For example, a subscriber might switch out their credit card, or their personal information can be deleted from the server. Some customers upgrade and downgrade a service multiple times throughout a sales cycle. Other companies like insurance brokers change price amounts based on incoming data collected by the management service (e.g. drive speed, braking patterns, fuel economy, etc). The best subscription management services are flexible to a wide variety of charge methods, and they can make rapid changes to customer access.
  • Self Service Portals: Top-level subscription management software companies have high-level UX/UI design. Customers expect simple movement through a purchased service, and they desire a user-friendly interface. The better the software, the more control the customer feels, leading to a longer sales lifecycle. Along with ease of use, the service portal should be completely transparent – customers want direct access to invoices, bill payments, movement between pricing tiers, and emailed receipts. With a clear and consistent platform, customer queries to tech support decrease, while overall satisfaction with the product increases.
  • Dunning Management: For subscription business models, customer-to-business communication is critical for continued revenue. One of the most detrimental factors to subscription-based methods is churn, the passive loss of a customer. Churn can occur for several reasons: credit cards expire, insufficient funds trigger account closures, or a server can malfunction. To combat churn, subscription management companies employ dunning management. To dun means to demand payment, and subscription management companies offer set protocols to re-engage lost customers. Dunning management can send preset email templates for card expiries, will notify when a subscription service is closing, and can issue alerts for missed payments. Many businesses experience payment delays from a standard bank, and dunning management ensures that proper payment plans retain high-priority customers. When researching potential subscription management companies, make note of the included dunning options.  
  • Compliance and Privacy: Since monthly bill payments pro-rate, you can defer revenue streams within a subscription business model. Government law now requires user compliance in regards to revenue recognition. To combat this time-consuming task, subscription management companies employ the necessary financial back end programs to monitor and enable compliance. Additionally, software services should apply the same protections towards privacy laws and customer information. As cybersecurity and fraud management expands, software services must include secure data storage – subscription management software takes on that responsibility for you.
  • Integration: The final feature to look for in a subscription management service is its integration abilities. If the subscription service cannot seamlessly connect to your existing software, the efficiency of your business will suffer. The software must integrate with all other aspects of your business so that bill payments, money transfers, product shipping, and user experience can all flow together with zero outages. High-quality integration is critical for user engagement, and it will improve workflow. Hire a subscription management company that can blend into your existing infrastructure.

The Top Subscription Management Companies

As businesses turn towards subscription-based pricing models, several management companies have grown in popularity. Take a look at some of the top subscription management services currently on the market. Each service brings unique program elements – select the interface that best fits you and your customer’s needs.

  1. Chargebee

Price: $329 / $599 / Per Month

Pros: Ease-Of-Use, Pricing Agility, Audience Retention

Cons: Lacks Advanced Function, Limited Customization, Not Applicable For Enterprise

Website: www.chargebee.com

Reviews: Chargebee

Chargebee is an excellent option for start-ups and ground-level businesses. The flexible pricing agility is built for the consumer in mind, and the service has excellent integration compatibility. Customers select Chargbee because of its price formats and for the excellent service portal. The software also comes with some useful dunning management, and it is simple to use for both the consumer and the merchant. While the entire platform is made for audience retention, the customization is lacking. Plus, Chargebee does not focus on reporting or revenue retention like some other services do. Since it is an accessible program, young companies can take advantage of the benefits Chargebee offers – enterprise customers may want to look for more in-depth subscription services that present an increased ROI.

  1. Recurly

Price: Base tier is 149$ per month

Pros: Scaleable, Advanced Features, Good Dunning Management

Cons: Confusing Back End, Difficult To Adjust Payment Profiles, Some Navigation issues

Website: www.recurly.com

Reviews: Recurly

Recurly is an enterprise platform. It has advanced accounting features ready-made for customization. It is designed to help businesses scale, and it operates for large-scale operations with high customer demand. It contains a very user-friendly interface, and it can manage a wide variety of pricing structures. Recurly has dunning management coded into the platform, so its proprietary revenue recovery process maintains and remarkets lost customers. Still, the charge tracking and the service portal is lacking – many customers speak about the difficulties of making changes to customer information. Additionally, the wealth of features Recurly offers can make the service confusing for both e-commerce businesses and their customers.

  1. SaaSoptics

Price: Quoted based on company revenue

Pros: Best Reporting, Top-level Financials, All-in-One Billing Payments

Cons: Unappealing Service Portal, Low-quality Customer Service, Limited Dunning Management

Website: www.saasoptics.com

Reviews: SaaSoptics

With revenue recognition becoming a consistent difficulty for subscription management services, Saasoptics built a management service with a complete focus on financial reporting. Saasoptics is known for its high-quality data collections, its fast server function, and its in-depth money reconciliation solutions. Platform users state that Saasoptics helped eliminate weeks worth of reporting expenditures. Companies also consider it one of the best management software services for revenue statement accuracy. Saasoptics’ focus on billing does come with some drawbacks, as it has low-quality customer service, a complex interface, next to no dunning management, and known integration issues. As a software solution, it is used by large scale enterprise customers that need immense computing power.

  1. Chargify

Price: Tiered $599/ $1,499 / $3,499 per month

Pros: Ease of Use, Simple Interface, Good Uptime

Cons: Not Scalable, Few Transaction Structures, Less Focus On Reporting

Website: www.chargify.com

Reviews: Chargify

Chargify is an uncomplicated program with a primary focus on B2C operations. As a service, it attempts to remove any confusing elements involved with subscription setup. It is well known for excellent customer support, and it has some of the best processing functions for standard user payments (e.g. Visa, Paypal, etc). It fits best with e-commerce purchases, and the program has good charge tracking. Companies that use Chargify speak highly of the fee testing, the coupon and discount implementation, and the clean interface. Chargify has one of the best service uptimes for a subscription management company, making it a reliable service. The application is best for software-as-a-subscription models and e-commerce subscription models.

  1. FastSpring

Price: Quoted

Pros: Excellent E-commerce and Subscription Box Platform, Effective Checkout Solution

Cons: Lacks Global Currency Acceptance, Narrow Technical Ability

Website: www.fastspring.com

Reviews: FastSpring

Fastspring is one of the most optimal subscription management companies for the e-commerce subscription model. It has a very customizable interface, and it is one of the most effective checkout solutions around. The software is designed for the customer, and it excels in information management. With its focus on digital vendors and e-commerce merchants, its integration is effective. As a software solution, Fastspring lacks the API designations or technical requirements that come with advanced subscription platforms. Privacy and data storage, global currency acceptance, and in-depth billing payment are all missing from this service. E-commerce customers will find the payment fulfilment option as the perfect solution for subscription boxes.

  1. Paddle

Price: Transaction Fee

Pros: Easy Setup, User-Friendly Software, Good Dunning Management

Cons: Limited Pricing Flexibility/Reporting

Website: www.paddle.com

Reviews: Paddle

Paddle has one of the easiest setups for a subscription management company, and it offers a useful service portal. Paddle put its attention into the back end function, making sure that charge tracking and all customer issues from the business side are easy to alter. The details of compliance and privacy are also covered by the application. Abandoned cart fixes, user suggestions, and excellent customer service make Paddle a great option for mid-sized software companies. Unfortunately, the pricing flexibility is not up to par, and its reporting is not as detailed as other enterprise platforms.

  1. Fusebill

Price: $295 / $895 / $3200 Per month

Pros: Automated Bill Processing, Easy Accounting Management

Cons: Lacks The Advanced Features

Website: www.fusebill.com

Reviews: Fusebill

The key benefit Fusebill presents is the automated bill processing and full-scale accounting software. The entire premise of the application is to take one of the most confusing elements of subscription management – payment tracking – and turn it into a simple experience. For small-sized companies that need quick and painless accounting, Fusebill is an excellent option. Unfortunately, the additional features you expect from high-level subscription management companies are just not present with this company. The service lacks high-level dunning management, and it has difficulty scaling into more complex business issues. Fusebill is the perfect hybrid choice for customers looking to streamline bill payments.

  1. ProfitWell

Price: Free / Enterprise Quotes

Pros: Excellent Interface, Dunning Management, Limits Churn

Cons: Integration problems, Less Attention On Compliance

Website: www.profitwell.com

Reviews: Profitwell

Profitwell is designed for user retention. As a software service, it has excellent UX/UI. The interface and service portal is clean, and they have arranged the layout for increased customer use. The application also incorporates high-level reporting as part of its primary goal of reducing churn. Profitwell believes that a good user experience, rapid reporting, and effective dunning management will lead to long term sales. The program has less focus on pricing structures, and customers often note how the software has trouble integrating with other services. Still, for software companies looking for efficient solutions, Profitwell’s interface is a great option for accessibility.

  1. Cleverbridge

Price: Quote / Transaction Fee

Pros: Extensive Features, Scalability, High-quality Software Solutions

Cons: Complex, Confusing Applications, Not Ideal For Small Businesses

Website: www.cleverbridge.com

Reviews: Cleverbridge

As a global subscription management company, Cleverbridge is built for business growth. It is an enterprise solution, and its cloud-based application can propel any business into rapid expansion. The service can handle a wide range of products, and it incorporates flexible pricing systems. Cleverbridge manages different currencies, has world-class data protection, and it operates one of the best service portals available. Because of all the advanced features, companies select Cleverbridge to create multiple pricing structures. Customers that need simple payment options will find Cleverbridges interface overwhelming, and it will be far too complex for small business needs. For those who need unparalleled access and top-level features, Cleverbridge is an excellent choice. 

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