It’s so exciting to be back at trade shows and talk to people in person again. I find it’s a great way to collaborate. Recently the Segpay team participated in SubSummit 2022, a conference that focuses on subscription sites and subscription boxes. It’s amazing how many are out there and are thriving. My personal favorite is a monthly succulent box. How could anyone not get enough of those cute little plants! While at the show, one of the things our team noticed was how little these merchants knew about payment processing and the features they could take advantage of, versus paying additional fees for third-party services. For example, at the event, there were service providers that offered rebilling, chargeback representatives, and event reporting. In the adult space, all these services are standard with gateway and payment facilitators.
Just recently one of my long-term clients who manages a network of membership sites asked me about some of the basic system features we offered, and I was shocked that they weren’t aware of them. This month, I thought it might be a good time to refresh everyone’s memory on what subscription features are offered by gateways and payment facilitators servicing our market.
Build Lifetime Partners
The lifetime value of a customer is a key indicator for subscription websites. It’s important to check with your payment service provider to see if they offer retention tools. These allow you to present a discount or a new program when the customer expresses a wish to cancel. It’s also important to find out if they have call center representatives trained to help save the sale. At Segpay, we commission our team for each sale they save. Offering an incentive like this may make a big difference in how they handle the potential cancelation request. There are several other important questions to ask your provider, such as, can the consumer easily update their credit card on a membership to continue processing? Does your payment service provider have a tool to help your consumer make basic updates like updating their email? While not available yet to the adult world, payment service providers also have access to card update files from their banks. This notifies the payment service provider when a credit card number has been changed. We keep pushing our acquirers for access to this for the adult space with the hope all inbound direct marketing or merchants labeled with the merchant category code (MCC) 5967 can take advantage of the service.
Reporting tools are helpful and should be available to you from your payment service provider. Most should offer cancel reports in their back office allowing you to remarket to those consumers. We post back to merchants whenever we receive a cancel request from a consumer. Typically, the consumer will have additional days on their subscription right before losing access. Taking that notification and marketing to the consumer at a reduced rate or by giving them a new offer might keep them as an active member.
Optimize Your Billing Solution
Is your billing solution optimized? Do you have your account set up for rebill re-tries? You could be missing some important things. Most payment service providers have a feature that will re-try a declined transaction up to three times before completely cutting access for the consumer. We see 11% recovered through the rebill re-try process and it really makes a difference. Providers will allow you to establish the time frame in which you can re-try declined transactions. The location where your customers are located is important, too. If you have a large amount of EU or rest of world volume you can increase your approval rate for those consumer transactions by setting up in that same region. For example, we see up to a 10% approval increase when our EU merchants with a large amount of U.S. consumer traffic open a merchant account through a U.S. bank. The same is true for U.S. merchants that are looking to expand into the EU. By setting up in the same geography as where your consumers live you will eliminate cross-border fees charged by banks. These cross-border fees can add up and upset your customers causing an increase in chargebacks.
Excellent Customer Service Always Wins
Ensuring your program has strong customer service will help you retain members and encourage consumers to come back to your program. If you can’t provide 24/7 customer support, check with your payment service provider. Maybe they can help you as many of them offer customer service. Providing good customer service will also help eliminate chargebacks. Chargebacks could cost you the sale and you could end up paying bank penalty fees of up to $35 per chargeback. A good thing to do is check with your payment service provider to see if they have implemented the latest dispute resolution services from Visa and Mastercard. If these solutions have been implemented, you can be alerted of an incoming chargeback and create a refund before it becomes a chargeback. Also, see if your payment service provider has a 3-D secure solution to better authenticate your customer. In Europe, part of the payment service directive that went into place in January 2020 requires that all consumer-initiated transactions are double-authenticated. While this is not a requirement in the U.S. it is a best practice to help combat fraud and chargebacks.
Increase Your Reporting Skills
Your payment service provider should have a wealth of data available for you to review and to further help you optimize your subscription site. This helps you be able to see what price points are selling and rebilling the best. If you own a network of sites, it is helpful to see sales by URLs so you can see what content your best seller is. You can also see what countries your consumers are coming from. One of my clients noticed they had a lot of traffic coming from India, a place where they weren’t doing any marketing. After a bit more research into consumer interest, they then shifted their marketing plan to include India and are growing their audience in that region spectacularly. If you have a solid rebill report, you can see what’s in the pipeline and how long you’re able to retain your members which can increase your profits. And if you’re not familiar with all these reports, just ask your payment service provider’s support team to walk you through their back office. They should be willing to help.
Have Partners in Marketing
Marketing partners can help you cross-sell or even upsell within your membership area. Check with your payment service provider to see if they can present any that would be a good match for you. You could add a one-click upsell to an additional website in your network or partner up with a CAM solution to offer a streaming option for your customers. These would be great ways to keep your customers engaged and help you make some additional money.
When profit margins are tight, knowing what you’re getting out of your processor is key. We’re all in it to be successful. By asking these questions you can avoid paying for things you don’t need.