November 17, 2010 | Authored by: Vindicia Team Blogs
Where’s My Jet Pack?
There have been some really amazing advancements for digital merchants seeking to optimize customer acquisition and retention.
There have been some really amazing advancements for digital merchants seeking to optimize customer acquisition and retention: new platforms for reaching customers, new payment methods, new technologies to make managing customer relationships and operational infrastructure and much more. It is far easier now to take an idea and turn it into a business than ever before.
In spite of this, I can’t help but think of all the things we don’t yet have, but should. From a billing and monetization aspect, there are several that come to mind:
Less burdensome payment methods – both merchants and customers are primarily still using the same payment methods & infrastructure they were 20 years ago. Mobile billing is coming along, but still has a long way to go before it becomes good for both merchants and customers (e.g., high fees, dispute process issues). Other payment methods may have nice interfaces or ideas, but are still funded by credit cards or debit cards on the back end.
Operational customer reputation profiles – each company builds their own list of good and bad customers, but there are really no systems for verifying, from merchant to merchant, the quality of a customer. Of course, there are many privacy issues that make this difficult, but it would be hugely valuable for every merchant doing business online and could be another great data point for people to evaluate others in a fashion similar to how LinkedIn is used today.
Retry logic for virtual goods purchases / microtransactions – Implementing retry logic is completely feasible now, but would be greatly enhanced with the customer profile concept noted above. If you knew a customer was very likely to pay, it would make sense to treat their payment as a recurring charge. This would result in lower processing fees and allow merchants to retry transactions, greatly increasing their success rates by elimination of most simple failure reasons. We’ve heard that storing a payment method results in 5-10x better monetization from users – adding retry logic would increase that considerably. We’ve used retry logic to boost customer retention rates for subscription merchants for years now and would expect to see similar increases for microtransactions.
There are many more, but these three seem like the most obvious. Given the rate of innovation we see these days, maybe all of these are being diligently worked on as we speak.
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