FastSpring’s Full-service Subscription Ecommerce

July 18th, 2011
Estimated read time: 4 minutes, 21 seconds

FastSpring’s feature set expanded greatly in the past year and included the introduction of subscription offering with a wide range of functionality built into our ecommerce platform. The launch of subscription / recurring billing was no afterthought for us. It was a focused effort to respond to the needs of software businesses adopting a service model—to provide an all-in-one subscription management solution for companies seeking recurring income, longer-term customer relationships, and a highly intuitive, flexible platform to work within.

Subscription Management Features & Functionality

FastSpring offers the following key pieces of subscription management functionality:

  • Easy product setup: Set up a subscription product, select its billing period, indicate the total number of times a recurring charge will occur, and save the setup.
  • Logical and highly customizable notifications: Over time, recurring payments can fail. FastSpring manages the process of following up with the customer after his/her payment fails using up to four customizable steps.
  • Subscription-specific APIs: Enjoy easy integration with FastSpring’s subscription-specific APIs. Full documentation with code examples is available on our public support site:
  • Detailed reporting: Keep track of your total subscribers, outstanding subscriber charges, and upcoming rebills. Drill down to the subscriber level to see individual activity. Easily export data.
  • Support for on-demand (or variable usage) subscriptions: Charge on an as-needed schedule instead of a pre-defined schedule (such as monthly). On-demand subscriptions are especially useful for services which are credit-based, and have variable usage of the product/service over time.
  • Support for a wide variety of billing increments: Set up products with weekly, monthly, 90-day, 12-week, 6-month, annual, 2-year and 3-year billing periods. Use proactive pre-billing reminder notifications for longer-period subscriptions as they approach renewal, prompting customers to update credit card information (such as expiration dates) as needed.
  • A sophisticated testing environment: Test the whole life cycle of a subscription in SpringBoard’s UI or via our APIs. You can even simulate failures and successful future payments within the test environment.
  • Plan changes, plus pro-rating: Easily switch between subscription plans and change quantities in the middle of a billing period. Use the prorating option to capture the monetary differences created by plan changes.
  • Trial support, including paid trials: Give your customers the full experience of your service right away for free or at the price point of your choice, then convert them to paying customers at the end of the trial period.
  • Support for one-time fees: Use SpringBoard’s powerful Product Options functionality to create product offerings that include multiple components, such as one-time fees or other “bundled” items that make up the final purchase.
  • Installment payment plans for “lease to buy” software: For higher-priced software, offer customers the ability to pay over time until they fully own the product.
  • Secure, branded customer pages for payment method updating or cancellations: Like your order pages, the customer pages allow for a seamless user experience, personalized and branded to the look and feel of your site.
  • Support notes on a per-customer basis: Track support, communications, special requests or any other pertinent interactions with the customer over the lifetime of his/her subscription.
  • Combine one-time and subscription sales: Sell subscription-based services to complement your desktop products, such as tutorials and support. Increase revenue and the life-time value (LTV) of your customers by expanding your offerings to include recurring services.

Growing Revenue Through Recurring Payments

Consider the power of a recurring revenue channel for your own business. Are there web-based services your customers may be clamoring for which fit your product portfolio? Have you considered generating extra revenue by offering access to software tutorials, webinars or premium support billed on a recurring basis? Are any of your existing desktop products likely candidates for porting to SaaS offerings? FastSpring is uniquely positioned to allow desktop software publishers to expand by offering subscription services in this manner.

As more and more software is ported to the web or built from the ground up as web applications, comprehensive and intelligent subscription ecommerce becomes increasingly crucial to business success. FastSpring offers a solution that lowers time-to-market & churn, increases revenue & customer lifetime value (LTV), while providing phenomenal support.

Leverage Core FastSpring Features

In addition to all this, FastSpring’s subscription customers inherit the wide range of existing features that our platform, services and support offer. To note just a few that are value-adds to subscription-based businesses as well:

  1. Multicurrency – the ability to accept international currency payments and display localized prices in rounded numbers for USD, the Euro, Pound, Australian Dollar, Canadian Dollar and Yen
  2. Localized order pages – in 18 languages that display automatically based on IP location
  3. International customer tax collection and management – including support for EU VAT ID validation and exemption for B2B customers
  4. PCI compliance – no need to demonstrate it yourself. All transactions are offsite and credit card profiles are stored as encrypted tokens for recurring billing.
  5. Cross-sells and up-sells – and other revenue-enhancing features
  6. Discounts and promotions – Powerful discounting options
  7. Emails – The ability to sign up your customers to MailChimp or Campaign Monitor email subscriber lists right at the point of sale
  8. Google Analytics integration – for deep metrics on user behavior/conversion on your site and on hosted order pages
  9. SEO, SEM, affiliate marketing – A wide range of consulting services to help you increase your online revenue

Try FastSpring

Get a free account and see why FastSpring is the ecommerce partner of choice for software providers around the world. Try our full-service ecommerce solution today to unlock revenue growth for your online company.