The Subscription Billing Model: Do the Benefits Outweigh the Liabilities?
Consumers and merchants don’t always see eye-to-eye. One thing most parties will agree on, though: they love the subscription billing model.
This billing method offers advantages for both merchants and customers. For buyers, they get indefinite access to the products or services they enjoy most, and often for less than the cost of a one-time purchase. For merchants, they get return business, built-in payments, and locked-in clientele.
On the surface, subscription billing models are a dynamic and lucrative approach to eCommerce. Beware, though: these benefits come hand-in-hand with additional liabilities.
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What is a Subscription Billing Model?
- Subscription Billing Model
A subscription billing model is a sales strategy allowing a merchant to bill customers on a recurring basis in exchange for indefinite use of a product or service. This is in contrast to one-time billing, as in a typical purchase.
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Subscription billing models are big business in eCommerce.
Forbes found that subscription billing ballooned over 100% each year between 2013 and 2018. By 2019, around 70% of US shoppers had initiated at least one subscription service. The average American has three monthly subscription-based payment services, at $10 or more per month.
Given the popularity of services like HBOMax, Netflix, and Hulu, most people are fairly familiar with the subscription billing model by now. This has encouraged many businesses to expand their service offerings in order to compete.
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What Are the Different Types of Subscription Billing Models?
When it comes to subscription models, there are four primary pricing models that merchants typically use to attract and retain subscribed customers. These are:
Fixed / Flat-Rate Pricing
Pricing based on a single product, a fixed set of features, or a fixed price per month.
Pricing is based on a tiered system (i.e. basic to premium), with more features added as the price increases.
Pricing is selective according to the number of users (this model is most often employed by online software systems).
Pricing is based on the amount of data transmitted, or the CPU power used each month.
Most merchants tend to combine one or two of the models above. They also often provide incentives to upgrade to higher commitment levels. We can divide these popular methods into three categories. Let’s break them down now:
Benefits & Drawbacks of the Subscription Billing Model
Whichever classification, all subscription billing models have a few key benefits in common. In all cases, subscription models let businesses secure a consistent stream or revenue each month while offering great benefits for customers. It's a win-win for both parties.
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Banks and processors recognized these potential complications early into the recent eCommerce subscription boom. In response, most set certain criteria for merchants looking to utilize subscription billing software.
Subscription Billing Requirements
Not every business is set up for subscription billing…and for good reason. Without a structured framework, operations at this level can lead to complications like increased disputes and chargebacks.
There are a few basic requirements you have to meet before successfully integrating subscription billing. These include:
Get Expert Help
No doubt about it: subscription billing models are a lucrative payment solution for most eCommerce businesses. You must remember, though, that no opportunity comes without risk.
The good news is that you can pursue a subscription billing model while still managing your chargeback and fraud risk.
With over a decade of experience in the chargebacks and payment industry, the experts at Chargebacks911® are uniquely placed to help in the fight against chargebacks. Call us today for a free demo.