The Rise of the Subscription Business Model
Subscription business model is one of the most promising emerging models and involves charging the customers a recurring price at regular intervals. This model eliminates the need to make a large upfront payment for buying a product or service. While earlier this model was popular with print media and other specialized domains such as service providers, now more and more business segments are experimenting with subscription business model.
Subscription model is quite resilient and may be customized to meet the specific requirements of a business. While some models provide a fixed menu of products or services, others may offer unlimited use of their offerings for a fixed period of time. The flexibility of the model is one of the biggest reasons behind the success of this phenomenon. However, this is not the only advantage of this model. With a subscription business model, you can reap the following benefits:
- Predictable Revenue Stream: The subscription model allows a business to make educated prediction about its future revenue and therefore is immensely helpful in planning and budgeting.
- Customization: The subscription model is also conducive to customization of plans. You can design different types of subscription payment schemes to meet diverse demands of your customer base. Such customization also enables the business to attract new customers as they can get payment terms and conditions to suit their requirements.
- Optimizing Costs: Since the subscription model allows businesses to predict their demand pattern, it becomes easier to design purchase plans in an efficient manner. Such planning enables the business to optimize their costs and processes.
Once you have decided that you want to turn your business into subscription-based enterprise, there are certain pointers you need to keep in mind. These points will help you in smooth transition and efficient execution.
- The Right Pricing: Just like conventional revenue models, even subscription model requires the business to determine the right price point. Since your subscription plan will not only impact your current customer base but also the size of your potential market and future subscriptions, it is important that you pay proper attention to different factors such as the income level of your market and the likely demand to determine the price to be charged.
- Simplify Billing: While it is important to have simple yet clear billing in any business model, the need for simple billing is all the more important in subscription-based models since the invoices are sent more frequently. The businesses should ensure that the bills provide all the details in a concise and clear manner. Reliable invoices help in creating transparent and strong processes, inculcating confidence in customers.
- Develop Deeper Customer Relationships: Robust customer relationships form the base of the subscription model. As the customers grow, it is important that the quality of customer relationship processes is maintained and improved over a period of time. As the subscription model entails more frequent interactions with the clients, it is important that the business is sufficiently strong to take on the additional burden.
- Measure and Iterate: The success of the subscription model largely depends on a business’s ability to measure the results and take swift actions to remedy the situation. As the model is still in the evolution phase, it allows for customization and quick changes. It is equally essential that the processes are scaled in response to the introduction of the model. Such a model may also require frequent changes as you may have to introduce more innovative plans to meet customers’ requirements.
The subscription model is here to stay as more and more verticals pick it up for boosting their customer base. While the model offers many advantages, it also has certain shortcomings such as customer fatigue, wherein, clients may grow weary of the same products and services. The model also requires the business to stick to scheduled deliveries with minimal deviation. If the supply side is unpredictable, it may not be possible for the business to maintain such delivery schedule for its customers. Overall, it is important to ensure that the subscription model is suitable for the business in question and that adequate attention is paid to different factors while designing this model for implementation.