Adobe predicts that worldwide e-commerce sales will hit $4,2 trillion this year, with US customers accounting for over 25% of that amount. While the US market receives a lot of attention, the global boom in e-commerce sales isn't limited to it. A comparable relative increase is expected across other countries too.
In Europe, the e-commerce industry revenue jumped by $71 billion to $425,2 billion in 2020. This momentum brings great news for e-commerce businesses from all over Europe. The growth trajectory is predicted to remain, until reaching $570 billion in 2025. Although these figures are referred to as e-commerce "sales", the term sales is merely a variable that may be replaced by the terms revenue or income. This also includes income from rentals and subscriptions.
In light of these circumstances having a strong online presence and infrastructure for your subscription business is no longer a competitive advantage, but a necessity. Be where your consumers are and serve them in a way that makes interaction as easy as possible for them, and for you. This starts with their first click on your website, follows through the checkout process, and ends at the moment the subscription ends and must be returned - it’s the total experience that counts.
Building the right foundation
A smart webshop with reliable infrastructure behind, as a customer touchpoint, is nothing that will build itself. Luckily, nobody must do things from scratch as you can rely on existing CMS solutions to work as the foundation for your subscription business. If you do not already have a webshop for your subscriptions, go and check which one’s the right one for you.
If you do, then you’ve achieved something big already. But with your first-hand experience you likely also know that handling subscriptions over such a platform alone is still a lot of work. That’s simply because the process is not designed for you to rent out stuff but rather to sell it. Keep your head up anyway - help is coming. What you must understand at this point is that a solid CMS as the basis for your subscription business will not only allow you to show off your cool products, but also to upload high-resolution photographs, and configure your inventory to display certain variations and attributes, whilst doing diligent stock keeping for you. This is a good starting point.
The CMS alone, however, won’t do all the work. Not because it doesn’t want to but because it can’t. That’s exactly the plot twist where a subscription management tool comes to the stage to cover business-critical functions of the different customer journeys that people experience with rental and subscription products.
Seamless online checkout
Are you using a conventional online payment service provider for your subscription business? Think again if scaling will be possible if you already have to deal with multiple manual transactions. Back and forth - with each customer, each product, each month.
Having an integrated payment solution that automates not only the transaction but enables automated invoicing is what is for both you and your consumers a true win-win.
People can start becoming customers of yours by doing a simple, 1-minute e-commerce checkout as they’re used to from multiple other marketplaces they use frequently. That causes a lot less friction, thus increasing your conversion rates - I mean let’s be honest, nobody wants to request an offer to then go through the hassle of reading lease contracts to then signing a document to confirm their order, right?
That just sucks, and luckily the world has been progressing away from that old system.
It’s not just all about making life easier for your customers but also for you. With the help of a subscription-smart e-commerce payment setup, you can run a credit check and request a setup fee in advance to ensure that your subscription order will be fulfilled successfully, for a happy customer. More about how this looks in reality, you'll find here. This enhances cash flow while also excluding non-serious consumers who may fail to cover their payments, in the long run, thus causing cash flow issues.
Transparent delivery and returns of subscription items
After you've made it simple for customers to place orders online, you can make things even easier for them by providing a convenient delivery day selection.
Schedule and streamline deliveries by allowing customers to handpick their preferred delivery day. Is someone ordering a stroller for the baby that is expected to join the family a month from now? No problem, the item will be delivered right on time! What about that bike or the car your customer needs in a week from now? No problem either! To keep high what matters - meaning customer satisfaction, make sure to simply adapt the subscription start to the delivery day so that no one needs to pay weeks before receiving a product. This will protect your customers from unpleasant surprises and make sure that your cash flows match delivery and subscription end dates, allowing more accurate cash-flow management.
Talking about subscription end dates... Yes, saying goodbye is pretty much always difficult, not only for you but also for your customers. But what if no one intended to say goodbye? Find out by simply following up on your customer with an email before the subscription ending date to learn if they’d like to extend the subscription or even buy the item. I mean, who doesn’t fall in love with certain items? If it comes otherwise anyway, you can still keep your tissues in your pocket, as handling returns and updating your stock will be nothing that causes pain anymore: By using circuly’s asset tracking function, you can simply mark an item as returned once it’s back at your door. Fill out a few points in the system and there you go: task, done. If that still sounds too good to be true, check it out yourself!
Take informed data-based business decisions
Data is a powerful tool, and organizations are increasingly utilizing it to their advantage. The year 2021 will be no exception. However, harnessing the power of data is a challenge. The more successfully you analyze, and utilize data-driven trends, the better off your company will be.
A subscription asset tracking solution might not just be useful in this situation, but is likely to decide if your business will survive in the long run. You no longer need to waste time and money trying to decipher loads of confusing data in multiple spreadsheets. To collect and evaluate data, simply click through the system, which covers all of it: customers, their subscriptions, the attached products, as well as granular details such as the subscription history and status of your assets. Learn more about your business to improve your day-to-day operations. This will not only make business smoother but also headaches disappear.
Having an overview of asset histories that include things like maintenance and repairs, you’ll be in control. Determine whether keeping it in stock is costing you more money than retiring it and replacing it with a new asset. Gain insight into which assets are most commonly subscribed to and ensure their availability by making timely procurement orders.
Investing in subscription software that can not only paint the customer journey but also work wonders in asset management and stock-keeping is a fantastic way to satisfy today's specific demands and scale up to a 20% month-to-month increase on average.