When it comes to subscriptions, customization is everything. But that doesn’t just mean customization for your subscribers—it also means customization for your ecommerce business, particularly your tech stack.
After all, every subscription brand has different products, a different customer base, and different business processes. That means there is no be-all-end-all best subscription tech stack—there’s only the right combination of different tools and solutions for your business.
“With how quickly the ecommerce sector is changing, it is more important than ever for subscription merchants to leverage the power of ecommerce tools. Investing upfront in these systems empowers business owners to focus on other areas of the business while having the peace of mind that their systems are communicating effectively. Setting up a good workflow from the onset will allow for greater success down the road.”– Josh Garellek, Co-Founder & CEO at Arctic Leaf
In this blog series, we’re breaking down everything you need to know about subscription management. We’ve already gone over the five different types of subscription management solutions; in this post, we cover the most popular categories for ecommerce integrations.
For more in-depth information on managing subscriptions, download our free ebook, A Merchant’s Guide To Subscription Management.
What are ecommerce integrations?
An ecommerce solution geared toward subscription management typically handles multiple different functions, beyond just recurring payments, that keep your subscriptions up-and-running every day. However, a subscription management solution won’t necessarily cover every need for every online store—that’s where ecommerce integrations come in.
By building out your tech stack with a thoughtful assortment of tools and solutions, you can create seamless ecommerce experiences for your customers.
Like your subscription management solution, any third-party integrations you choose to weave into your existing tech stack center around creating seamless experiences for your subscribers. However, your integrations have more specialized focuses, ranging from your inventory management system to your accounting system to tools for security, CX, data accuracy, and eliminating manual data entry.
Their common thread: These tools allow your brand to enhance your subscription capabilities across the customer journey in whatever way makes the most sense for your unique business needs.
Benefits of ecommerce integration
When paired well with your business and existing tech stack, integrations can automate processes that are key to your ecommerce operations. This saves your business valuable time, maximizes your operational efficiency, and ensures greater accuracy for your key functions.
Ultimately, the impact of well-chosen integrations can be monumental—not only in terms of customer satisfaction, but also in terms of your key performance indicators (KPIs). The right integrations can empower your store to increase average order value (AOV), and lifetime value (LTV), improve customer retention, and more.
Popular types of ecommerce integrations
Now, let’s dive into popular categories for ecommerce integrations. It’s important to note that not every merchant will need every type of online commerce integration.
Determining the right ecommerce integrations for your store all depends on your business maturity, product type, and customer base, as well as your existing tech stack.
Many subscription management solutions offer base-level tax and shipping capabilities as part of their core subscription billing functionality. However, some businesses have greater complexity regarding their taxes and can benefit from these third-party integrations, which specialize in tax calculation and returns remittance.
To determine your tax needs, it’s important to take stock of several factors. These include the locations of any warehouses or distribution centers you have, the states in which you have sales transactions, whether you sell digital or physical products, and more—all of these can impact your tax liabilities. Always consult first with a local tax expert to ensure you’re charging customers the correct tax.
Shipping solutions are particularly important for businesses that offer physical products.
These typically involve some form of aggregator that integrates with popular shipping services like UPS, USPS, and FedEx.
To evaluate your shipping needs, it’s critical to think about how you’re currently handling order fulfillment, pinpoint your business’s ideal carrier rates, and determine how these rates might be applied depending on the subscription management solution you choose.
Fraud & intelligence solutions
Though subscription management solutions offer security measures as part of their core payment tools, many businesses can benefit from additional fraud and intelligence integrations as well. These tools help facilitate the approval of orders and avoid chargebacks.
Retention solutions help create better customer experiences that lead to increased customer loyalty. They often take the form of loyalty programs and referral programs, where customers receive discounts and other perks for certain actions (like referring a customer, purchasing an item, sharing something on social media, and more). These tools are a powerful strategy for increasing LTV, and word-of-mouth referrals can aid in increasing brand awareness.
Customer service solutions
Most subscription management solutions have some amount of built-in customer support in the form of a merchant portal, which allows for behind-the-scenes subscription management. For merchants with additional needs regarding support and customer relationship management, CX solutions can be a valuable addition to their tech stack. These integrations allow merchants to manage customer support for their subscriptions, helping strengthen customer relationships and brand loyalty.
New customer acquisition is a particular focus for brands who are new to subscriptions, but is important for any brand who is looking to scale their business. Acquisition solutions typically drive sales by leveraging subscriber data, and keep customers in the loop with relevant communication.
When it comes to data, subscription brands have a valuable opportunity to study their customers’ behavior over longer periods of time due to the relationship-based nature of their offerings. Analytics solutions allow brands to make the most of that customer data, capturing it and turning any insights into actionable tactics that can allow brands to optimize their offerings and scale more effectively.
Cross-sell & upsell solutions
Cross-selling and upselling both involve providing product recommendations for customers. In cross-selling, add-on products are suggested to a customer’s original subscription; in upselling, upgrades are suggested in place of a customer’s original subscription. Both are valuable strategies for increasing AOV and improving the customer experience, as well as testing the viability of new products.
The caveat: Product recommendations need to be personalized to ultimately deliver value for customers. Enter: cross-sell and upsell solutions, which use customer feedback and data to help merchants make more effective and customized product recommendations.
Payments solutions aim to make payments as accessible as possible for customers, regardless of the method they use. They also ensure that a business’s revenue is securely and easily processed, and assist merchants in integrating payment methods such as Apple Pay, SEPA, and iDEAL. By streamlining the customer experience around payments in this way, merchants can improve customer satisfaction and pave the way for increased conversions.
Strengthen customer relationships through your integrations
When considering the right ecommerce integrations for your business, the most important thing is to consider your own unique business needs. Make sure your ecommerce platform supports whatever tools you choose to integrate with, identify which of your needs are covered by your chosen subscription management solution, and pinpoint the areas you’d like to optimize through your integrations. By laying the groundwork in this way, you can set your integrations up for success and pave the way for better shopping experiences that lead to stronger, longer-lasting customer relationships.
Interested in learning more about the different types of subscription management solutions? Download A Merchant’s Guide to Subscription Management for free today.