Tag Archives: pricing plans

How To Tell Your Customers That You’re Increasing Subscriber Fees

"Image courtesy of zirconicusso / FreeDigitalPhotos.net".

“Image courtesy of zirconicusso / FreeDigitalPhotos.net”.

Customers like signing up with subscription based businesses because they enjoy the consistent price. However, chances are at some point you will need to increase the price. The reasons for a price increase might include:

  • You want to earn more revenue.
  • Your costs have increased.
  • You want to reposition yourself and appeal to a different target audience.
  • Demand for your service is too high and you want to encourage fewer subscriptions.
  • You have increased your expertness or have a higher brand value.
  • You offer more services or products and wish to incorporate their costs into your pricing.

Whatever the reason, you have to inform your subscribers the reason why prices are increasing. Without the right strategy to inform your customers you could lose a significant percentage of your customers. Here are some tips to maximise your customer retention during a price increase.

Tip One: Terms And Conditions

Include in your terms and conditions a clause clearly stating you hold the right to increase the price. This way your clients cannot claim a price increase doesn’t apply to them.

It also allows you not to state a clear reason why you are increasing prices. However, not stating the reason is likely to cause several customers to leave.

Tip Two: Give Plenty Of Notice

Always give your customers plenty of notice of a price increase. This notice should be at least 2 months. This gives plenty of time for your clients to find the funds necessary for the price increase. It also supports the trust between you and your customer.

During this notice inform you customers exactly when the price will increase and how the increase will be collected.

One subscription based business which rarely gives notice of price increases are energy firms. Though they tend to announce some changes in the news, they rarely write to customers informing them of when the price increase will come into effect.

Tip Three: Don’t Give Too Much Notice

A big mistake on the other hand is to give too much notice. Some companies can give up to six months notice of a price increase. This is too much time and it is likely your customers would have forgotten about the increase by the time it comes in effect.

Tip Four: Give A Reason Why You Are Increasing The Price

Customers like to know exactly why you are increasing the price and how it will benefit them. This will increase the acceptance of your price increase amongst your customers. Ensure that this reason is passed onto your customer service team so customers can be told the same thing when they call to discuss the change.

Tip Five: Present The Price Increase Right

Present the price increase as a percentage. This has less impact in the minds of the customer, especially if the percentage is less than 5% or the price increase has a significant monetary value.

Tip Six: Repackage Product Bundles

If your service includes groups of products or services, re-organise them. Each new package should offer slightly more than it did before but be priced higher than its predecessor. This way you can increase the price while providing a better service to your customers. Something they will appreciate.

To support this, if you are offering a physical product and you have old stock left over, offer this at a discounted price until the stock has run out.

Conclusion

There are always going to be times when you need to increase the price of your subscription. By ensuring you have the right method to announce your price increase you can minimise the loss of customers and maintain strong customer relations.

Do you need recurring billing and subscription management software? Contact one of our experts at info@fusebill.com, call or check out the Fusebill free trial.

How To Use Comparative Selling To Sell Your Subscription Software

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Before making a purchase, many decision makers like to have a firm grasp of what they are buying. Normally this can involve some kind of interaction with the product. With subscription software this can be difficult. A free trial may be a good way to attract customers, but it might not be the best way to convert those who take up your offer.

Therefore, other methods have to be utilised to encourage your target market to purchase a subscription. Another method is to compare your software. Comparative selling can happen on a subconscious and conscious level for the customer and there are several methods to exploit this effective selling tool.

1. Comparing Price To Everyday Purchases

Your pricing may be very reasonable, but without a tangible product for the customer to see, they may find it hard to value the offer. Comparing the product’s price to common purchases creates an impression of product value in the mind of the customer. A common comparison for a subscription is coffee.

Be careful in your choice and the frequency. Four cups of coffee a month is ideal because many people consume more than that.

2. Original Price Compared To Sale Price

To achieve great sales, stating an original price for a product and then offering a reduced price will entice visitors to convert. Often these new customers are ‘bargain hunters’ who want to find a good deal online. This works so effectively it even outperforms the rule of 9 – that is any price which ends with 9 has a higher conversion rate than that of a price point which is rounded up or down.

Therefore it is important to consider demonstrating a higher starting price and then showing a discounted price, preferably ending with a 9 for double effect.

3. Comparing To Useless Price Point

How you price different subscription plans will greatly affect your customer’s perceived value of your product. This in turn will change how they convince themselves of which plan to purchase. Research by Dan Ariely on the pricing strategy of The Economist shows this to great effect.

In the Economist’s subscription options they had three price points.

Subscription Offer One: A web only subscription at $59

Subscription Offer Two: A print only subscription at $125

Subscription Offer Three: A web and print subscription at $125.

Subscription offers two and three don’t make sense being the same but option three offers more. In the consumer’s mind, the second option becomes a ‘useless’ price point and they would be better off selecting offer three. In the study, option three had a high uptake even though there was a cheaper option available. This is because when faced with this type of scenario, consumers become value seekers rather than bargain hunters and will always seek the most value for their money.

This was further demonstrated in further research. The Economist tested what would happen if they took away option two. In this scenario consumers were more likely to purchase option one as they convinced themselves they didn’t need the upgrade.

Therefore having three options with the second option at the same price point as the most expensive option may increase your revenue.

4. Comparing Compared To Competitors

If you are in a highly competitive market you may be tempted to highlight your services or prices against that of your major rivals. This could work in theory, yet research has shown that at times, lower cost products do not always perform well against higher priced branded products.

This is because there is a consumer perception of value on the branded product. Instead you should concentrate on comparing your product’s features and benefits to that of your competitors. Consumers are more likely to buy a product which has favourable benefits rather than a favourable price.

Conclusion

There are several options when you want to use comparative marketing to convert your customers. The above four options are used regularly by many organisations to sell products and subscriptions. Consider what methods you can exploit in your sales process to increase conversions, income and profits of your subscription based business.

Do you need recurring billing and subscription management software? Contact one of our experts at info@fusebill.com, call or check out the Fusebill free trial.

How To Increase Your Prices Without Upsetting Customers

Image courtesy of Kittisak / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Kittisak / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It is a simple fact of business life that as you continue to grow and expand – costs rise. This is a natural process that can occur from increases in numbers of employees, increases in wages and suppliers raising their prices to name a few reasons.

At some point you will have to consider whether or not to raise your own prices, yet this can be met with some resistance by your customers.

Some previously loyal customers may leave your business in order to find other service providers. Others could be speaking more to your customer services, taking up valuable employee time. This is probably why many businesses decide to absorb rising costs themselves rather than face the wrath of their customers.

Increasing your prices without upsetting all your customers is possible. However, it requires a significant amount of planning and skill to achieve. Here are some of the methods you can use in order to raise prices and still maintain the majority of your customer base.

1. Surprise And Delight Your Customers

The first trick starts long before you need to increase your prices. If you are able to satisfy the needs of your customers and excel their expectations they are likely to tolerate the odd price rise. On the other hand, should you only just be managing to support them and they are often finding mistakes or problems with your service, they are not going to want to pay more.

This doesn’t mean the odd mistake should prevent you from increasing your prices as long as you are quick at dealing with any problems to the customer’s satisfaction.

2. Communication

You need to ensure you are explaining when and why you are going to raise the price of your services. Customers like to know in advance for their own financial planning and providing a solid reason for the price increase can help them be more understanding.

Giving at least two months warning is probably the best time frame, enough time to plan for the increase yet close enough that it is not forgotten when the new price on the invoice comes in.
Avoid using the excuse of rising costs. This may be a primary reason, yet some businesses using this model come under heavy scrutiny. Some organisations have increased their prices, blamed on higher costs of resources, only weeks before they announce an even larger increase in profits.

As a business you have to make money but customers will not be kind if they see your wealth increase when you’ve told them you’re facing increased pricing.

Instead time your price increases to coincide with other positive changes to the company, perhaps new infrastructure, i.e. new technology being implemented or something else which will benefit your clients. If they see they will gain from the price increase then it will be received more favourably.

3. Add Extra Benefits

Follow the example of Amazon Prime or magazine subscriptions. When they increase the prices they offer customers more features. In Amazon’s case they add more content to their service, giving customers more choice. Magazines will often become larger or decrease the number of advertisements in their publication.

If you can find a way to add features to your service during your price increase you can be sure customers will not mind so much.

4. Do Smaller Amounts More Frequently

Probably one of the biggest mistakes is that companies do not raise their prices soon enough or do it in too big a jump. Customers are going to be more resistant should you increase your price by $5 every two or three years than if you do it $0.50-$0.75 every year.

Many companies do this because they are fearful of losing customers with a price increase. Yet with good communication and an excellent service, a smaller amount is more likely to be overlooked by customers.

5. Restructure / Redesign Your Products

One way of increasing prices is to restructure your products and hide the increase amongst the bigger changes. Sky TV and other satellite TV providers do this frequently by rebranding and renaming their channel bundles.

In these circumstances it can be tough for your clients to see the price increase. Instead they are likely to be studying the new features and structure and comparing it to the old. This may cause some customer service problems, but your agents could be trained to deflect concerns with explaining how the new structure improves the service.

Increasing your prices is a natural part of being in business. Ensure you inform your customers with a good reason and in a timely manner. Also remind them of the benefits of your service at this time and often the majority of your customers will stay with your business.

Do you need recurring billing and subscription management software? Contact one of our experts at info@fusebill.com, call or check out the Fusebill free trial.

 

Swimming in SKUs? Keep Agile with Subscription Pricing

Swimming in SKUsDealing with changes in pricing is a significant challenge in any business. The rise of subscription based retailing magnifies the complexity – pricing plans and paradigms proliferate, while individual customers require specific charges and adjustments to their accounts. The result? Vast lists of SKUs, ordering complexity, and confusion.

To understand the value of agility in a subscription billing environment, let’s examine a billing lifecycle from two perspectives. First, we’ll look at the lifecycle of a pricing plan – initiated by a marketing program, introduced for sale, and eventually retired. Then we’ll look at the typical customer lifecycle events that create their own pricing challenges.

As a specific example that is easy to relate to, we’ll use a fictional men’s hygiene subscription box with some a la carte options:

  • Razor Blade service $10/month
  • Shaving Cream service $10 / month
  • Premium Skin Creams $20/month
  • Razor handle: $20 one time
  • Premium Razor Set: $50 one time

Now, the marketing team goes to work:

  • Let’s bundle Blades and Shaving Cream together and give a discount to $15
  • Can we sell Skin Creams at a lower price to encourage people to try? Just for those with the bundles?
  • There should be more incentive to sign up for an annual contract. Let’s make Razor 1 free with an annual subscription.
  • What about the Premium Razor – ok, it should be $30 for an annual plan.
  • We should test the bundle at $18 as well.

There are now 96 separate variations of what is, all-in-all, a reasonably simple packaging idea. A customer can order the blade service, or not; the shaving cream service, or not; the extra premium creams, or not; choose one, both or neither razor; commit to an annual plan. Some customers will see one price test, some will be at a higher price point. Over time, more variations are created for further promotions; some are retired; some are grandfathered.

A traditional approach is to translate each one of these variations into a separately identifiable ‘part number’ or SKU. This makes it: difficult to order, track results, and analyze what is working. While it’s easy to tell which individual variant is performing well, even simple questions like “how many customers chose Razor 2” requires aggregating data from multiple SKUs.

Now consider a typical customer experience as seen through the eyes of a CSR (Customer Service Rep)

Typical Customer/CSR experience

In coming weeks, a typical customer might upgrade their package; change razors; upgrade to an annual plan, and receive a free month of service to compensate for a service problem. Each transaction involves removing and replacing SKUs, generating a string of confusing entries on the bill that may generate more questions. Manual attempts to pro rate charges to align with the billing cycle are error prone.

This simple example illustrates how complex it can be to implement even straightforward bundles of products and service. This complexity complicates ordering, customer service and reporting. Further on, accounting groups must also decipher events to apply appropriate revenue recognition policies.

A subscription billing system provides agility by structuring pricing catalogs to minimize the proliferation of products, plans and variations, and automated tools for dealing with common customer service issues.

This article is a taste of what Fusebill CEO Steve Adams will be covering in a new, live webcast on March 20th. If you’d like to know more about this topic, register today:

usebill Webinar RegistrationSwimming in SKUs? Keeping Agile with Subscription Pricing
When: 2:00 PM, March 20th, 2014
Cost: Free
Presenter: Steve Adams, CEO Fusebill

Please Note: This webcast is being presented in partnership with CPA academy and is worth 1.0 CPA credits.
Bonus: As a thanks for attending you’ll get a copy of our popular whitepaper The Impact of Billing on a Subscription World absolutely free!
REGISTER NOW!

Twelve Days of Fusebill Christmas

1

On the first day of Christmas, Fusebill gave to me online invoicing.

2

On the second day of Christmas, Fusebill gave to me 2 mobile swipers and online invoicing.

 

 

3On the third day of Christmas, Fusebill gave to me 3 checkout pages, 2 mobile swipers and online invoicing.

 

 

4

On the fourth day of Christmas, Fusebill gave to me 4 product bundles, 3 checkout pages, 2 mobile swipers and online invoicing.

5

On the fifth day of Christmas, Fusebill gave to me 5 helping hands.

6On the sixth day of Christmas, Fusebill gave to me 6 self-serve portals, 5 helping hands  4 product bundles,  3 checkout pages, 2 mobile swipers and online invoicing.

 

 

7On the seventh day of Christmas, Fusebill gave to me 7 credit card payments,  6 self-serve portals,  5 helping hands, 4 product bundles,  3 checkout pages, 2 mobile swipers and online invoicing.

8On the eighth day of Christmas, Fusebill gave to me 8 robust reports,  7 credit card payments,  6 self-serve portals,  5 helping hands 4 product bundles,  3 checkout pages, 2 mobile swipers and online invoicing.

9On the ninth day of Christmas, Fusebill gave to me 9 coupons & discounts, 8 robust reports,  7 credit card payments,  6 self-serve portals, 5 helping hands,  4 product bundles,  3 checkout pages, 2 mobile swipers and online invoicing.

10On the tenth day of Christmas, Fusebill gave to me 10 pricing plans,  9 coupons & discounts, 8 robust reports,  7 credit card payments,  6 self-serve portals, 5 helping hands,  4 product bundles,  3 checkout pages, 2 mobile swipers and online invoicing.

11On the eleventh day of Christmas, Fusebill gave to me 11 product components, 10 pricing plans,  9 coupons & discounts, 8 robust reports,  7 credit card payments, 5 helping hands,  6 self-serve portals,  4 product bundles,  3 checkout pages, 2 mobile swipers and online invoicing.

12

On the twelfth day of Christmas Fusebill gave to me… FUSEBILL 2014!

Getting to the Price is Right

Assessing Pricing Models in a Subscription World

Fusebill January WebinarsThis Thursday, (January 31st) Fusebill CEO, Steve Adams will be presenting a live webinar that will cover pricing models, client economics, A/B testing, and other topics subscription, or cloud based business need to increase focus on in order to succeed in this new economy.

Registration is filling up fast. Sign up now to guarantee your spot.

Date: Thursday January 31, 2:00 PM Eastern Time

Overview:
In this presentation Fusebill CEO Steve Adams will discuss how to evaluate price models as opposed to price points, review churn and its impacts, what to consider when selecting a price strategy and review some of the most popular strategies for subscription based businesses .

What you’ll learn:
–          How to measure customer lifetime value
–          Pricing and A/B Testing
–          Client economics
–          Pricing considerations

Featured Speaker:  Steve Adams has over 20 years of experience in leading high-technology and software companies, most recently as VP and General Manager with j2 Global, which acquired Ottawa-based Protus. Steve helped propel Protus into one of the fastest growing companies in Canada, with over 555,000 subscribers, before it was acquired in 2010. CLICK TO REGISTER

Fusebill January Webinars

Fusebill January WebinarsThis month we are holding two new, free webinars, An Introduction to Recurring Billing and Getting to The Price is Right: Assessing pricing models in a subscription world both are free of charge, will be about an hour in length, and will end with a question and answer session where participants will be encouraged to ask any questions they may have on recurring billing, Fusebill, and the subscription economy. Please sign up for one of both!

Introduction to Recurring Billing

Date: Thursday January 24, 2:00 PM Eastern Time

Overview:
If your business deals with products or services billed on a recurring basis and you’re considering moving to an automated billing and payment platform, this presentation will provide you with the information you need to gain a solid understanding of what a billing service is and the benefits it can provide.

What you’ll learn:
–          What a Billing service is and how it works.
–          Differences between payment gateways and payment platforms
–          Benefits of Billing Automation
–          Features to look for in a recurring billing services
–          An overview of Fusebill  – both the company and the service

Featured Speaker:  Donna McPhee is Fusebill’s Customer Success Manager. Donna possesses a great talent for relationship management and spends her days striving to empower customers with the tools necessary to solve internal issues, improve workflows, and drive efficiencies.  She has over 15 years’ experience in addressing customer requirements and ensuring a seamless on-board process. CLICK TO REGISTER

Getting to The Price is Right: Assessing Pricing Models in a Subscription World

Date: Thursday January 31, 2:00 PM Eastern Time

Overview:
In this presentation Fusebill CEO Steve Adams will discuss how to evaluate price models as opposed to price points, review churn and its impacts, what to consider when selecting a price strategy and review some of the most popular strategies for subscription based businesses .

What you’ll learn:
–          How to measure customer lifetime value
–          Pricing and A/B Testing
–          Client economics
–          Pricing considerations

Featured Speaker:  Steve Adams, CEO Fusebill Steve has over 20 years of experience in leading high-technology and software companies, most recently as VP and General Manager with j2 Global, which acquired Ottawa-based Protus. Steve helped propel Protus into one of the fastest growing companies in Canada, with over 555,000 subscribers, before it was acquired in 2010. CLICK TO REGISTER