Is your Joomla online store running successfully with great customers and frequent sales? Or not so much? In both the cases, it’s time to think about the next step. Do you want to bill your customers regularly (monthly / weekly / annual) so that you can predict the business revenue better? If so, that could be one of the best decisions you make for your business.
Billing your customers on a regular basis is called recurring billing in eCommerce terms. The recurring billing comes into play when you sell a subscription / membership, or when you let the customers pay partially. A subscription is where the customer can sign up for receiving a product or service over a long period of time. Whereas a partial payment is more like paying in instalments.
Partial payments cannot really be included in recurring billing because, the customer only receives one product and pays for it in multiple instalments. It is helpful to the customers for buying costly products. But in case of subscriptions, the customer keeps receiving the product / service for the entire paid duration. The customer engagement is high because they are reminded of your store frequently with a good new product or renewed service.
That is why this article speaks about implementing recurring billing through subscriptions and memberships. And guess what? You can do it in just 3 simple steps!
How to bill customers monthly in Joomla?
Subscriptions, memberships and recurring billing are all examples that prove that the one-off payment is the common way of selling, but it’s not the only way. So, getting started with billing your customers regularly, say monthly or once in three months, or any interval, isn’t that complex. You need to do 3 things:
- Come up with a great subscription / membership plan. The idea has to be unique.
- Implement the plan on your Joomla site with the help of a Joomla extension.
- Encourage your customers to buy the recurring plan.
Let’s walk you through the steps in detail.
1) Come up with a great subscription / membership plan
Quite obviously, you need something to sell as a subscription, right? You could club the existing products into an interesting subscription box, or it could be magazines, an assortment of bathing supplies, an online service, or anything, for that matter. However, it has to be unique.
For example, take Amazon Prime. Amazon charges $99 per year, plus a free 30-day trial or $12.99 per month for the membership. Prime members can then enjoy a lot of perks like 2 day shipping on most products, access to Prime Videos, Prime Music, and so on. There are other subscriptions like Dollar Shave Club, Birchbox, etc. There is one thing common in all these plans. They all provide a unique experience, not just products.
There is one more thing you need to remember while coming up with the membership plans. The customer behaviour and product demand. A unique product that would be of no use to your customers is only a waste of time and resources. Let’s say, an online toy shop sells subscriptions for women’s beauty products. Nobody would want to buy it because the store is known for selling toys.
So, know your audience and come up with one-of-the-kind and useful products.
- Understand your audience
- Provide something unique
- Provide something of value
Any idea, yet?
2) Implement the plan on your Joomla site
Let’s assume that you have decided on what to sell as subscriptions. Now that you have the plans sorted out, you need some tool to implement them on your eCommerce site. You do not have to look for the perfect one among the plethora of extensions in the Joomla directory.
Let me introduce you to the best-in-class subscription extension for Joomla. The Subscriptions and Memberships App from the best Joomla eCommerce solution J2Store. The app serves the recurring billing purpose with great efficiency and ease. You can create the membership product in less than 10 minutes, and carry on with your marketing and sales. The technical part is taken care of by the app. It is a mix of Easy to use interface + Robust Performance + Hassle Free Selling Experience + Awesome customer support.
The Subscriptions and Memberships extension offers features like:
- Billing schedule
- Sign up Fees
- Expiry management
- Multiple subscriptions
- Create / modify subscription from the backend
- Automatic renewals and payments
- One-time / single term subscriptions
- Variable subscription
- Subscriptions management
- Notification emails
- Exceptional Customer support
and much more.
To start using this extension, here is all you need to do:
- Install J2Store
- Install Subscriptions and Memberships
- Create your products / plans in less than 10 minutes
- Start selling
That’s it! All you need to do now is to tell your customers about the new products on your store!
3) Encourage your customers to buy the recurring plans
Generally, customers are used to the one-off purchase. You should tell them why the new subscription plan is specially made for them, and how they will benefit from it. To encourage your customers to go for the new products, you could:
- Write newsletters briefing about the new plans
- Publish blog posts on your website with useful insights to your customers
- Write guest blogs in other websites to gain more audience
- Create landing pages and banners across your website so that the subscriptions are noticed more
- Provide discounts for buying the subscriptions
Once the subscription product starts moving, you can see the growth.
But but but… Before jumping into action, I want you to know the important stuff. If you want a successful recurring billing for your business, you need to know the benefits and the challenges behind it.
What are the advantages and challenges of recurring billing?
Recurring billing is believed to be a game changer of business for many reasons. There are so many advantages in setting up the subscription business model.
Here are some advantages:
- Increased cash flow
- Increased customer engagement
- Reduced cost
- Predictable income
Despite the advantages, it is believed that implementing a recurring billing on your store is easier said than done. The challenges that come with billing your customers on a recurring basis are:
- Choosing the right software to maintain the subscription plans and payments
- You need to focus a great deal on providing the best customer experience
- The product / service also has to be continually maintained
- Chances of customers opting out of subscription
If you sell the best product and keep on improving its quality, then all these challenges are going to be mere snowflakes on your coat. If not, you may have to rethink the product.
By now, you must have started the innovative thinking. Given that you have answers to all the possible questions related to recurring billing and subscriptions, shape your thoughts into a great subscription product or service, go ahead and implement the best idea you’ve got!