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The rise of the subscription-based economy

Orders can be customized to fit customers' desires and shipped directly to their homes.

Over the years, companies nationwide have implemented different strategies in order to better connect with customers and increase profits. From ecommerce sites to mobile optimization to contactless payments, there is always a new and improved idea waiting for organizations to utilize. That's the way the economy works, after all. However, there is one new tactic that has proven both useful and productive for the past several years and continues to gain in popularity: subscription services.

This enables consumers to sign up and pay for a particular product or service, which is then delivered to them on a pre-determined basis – weekly, monthly and so on. Among the benefits for clients are efficient access, the ability to forecast their budget and convenience. Not only do customers enjoy receiving individualized packages, but companies benefit from the service as well with greater cost efficiency and process automation.

The advancement of subscription within sales has lent itself to the creation of its own economy. For organizations still on the fence about implementing this sales method, here's what to keep in mind:

"Customers want to know subscription businesses are keeping their budgets in mind."

Flexibility is most important to consumers
People are growing tired of paying for products alone. Instead, they'd rather purchase subscription services that offer customization and ease, according to Forbes. Companies aiming to make their subscription offerings as successful as possible can take a page from software-as-a-service vendors: Provide adaptability. Clients want numerous options, especially when it comes to selecting a payment method. Giving consumers various methods to choose from – pay as they go, pay per subscription or a long-term contract – enables customers to find the avenue that works best for their budget. Catering to customer wants can increase loyalty, keeping people signed up for subscriptions longer.

Audiences are growing
It's common for businesses to find themselves in a rut after operating for an extended period of time. They find a number of strategies that work for them and don't stray too far from them. Unfortunately, those techniques can become stale and consumers could look elsewhere as a result.

Subscription-based services, on the other hand, offer enterprises an opportunity to interact with an audience they may not be as familiar with. Since this selling option has a lower upfront cost to customers, companies may see different kinds of consumers take advantage of the budget-friendly option.

The transition may be difficult
While clients may be happy to hear about an organization's implementation of a subscription service, employees may be less excited about the change, according to Fortune. The new business model may not be as conducive to sales and marketing representatives as a former strategy. Since subscription-based options are quite different from traditional selling tactics, employees may not be able to rely on the additional cash flow they're used to from working on commission. Businesses will have to consider that possibility when weighing the pros and cons of making such a transition.

A partner can help with the headaches
Introducing a subscription service to an already existing sales model can be more complicated than companies expect. There are a number of elements to think about when adding this tactic to a current strategy or replacing it completely. For example, organizations must consider how they'll process payments, how much their service and products should cost, how to manage subscription orders efficiently and more, according to Fast Company.

Tackling all these responsibilities can be challenging for companies. To ensure no obligation falls through the cracks, businesses can work with a third-party service provider, such as SFG. Partners can help enterprises implement their subscription service effectively and handle the majority of operational tasks that could leave company executives' heads spinning.

Third parties can also help new subscription providers become compliant with Payment Card Industry standards, reducing the potential for data hacks. This is in addition to providing an order management system that will keep track of all records and shipments, assist in managing interactions with clients and much more.

Subscription partners can help companies manage and ship orders to customers.Subscription partners can help companies manage and ship orders to customers.

The subscription industry is still growing
While the market for customized boxes filled with goodies catered to customers' desires saw its biggest increase a few years ago, the industry shows no signs of stagnation. According to a study from Hitwise, visits to the top subscription sites have risen by 3,000 percent in the U.S. since 2013, with 21.4 million hits occurring in January, Digiday reported.

Companies that implement this type of service have a lot to gain. Although altering processes can be challenging,organizations can benefit from improved client relationships and increased profits. By offering flexibility and an individual experience to consumers, the subscription-based economy provides organizations with an effective strategy for positively influencing multiple aspects of their sales model.

To make subscription models as efficient and successful as possible, businesses should partner with an organization that provides a high level of customer care and offers experience with the subscription-based business market.

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