Selling subscriptions

Learn how to sell subscriptions.

If you sell identical or near-identical products to businesses either thru your own sales teams or partners, your sales teams generally have long-term selling relationships with their clients. Your sales team will periodically upsell, downsell, or adjust the contract in some way to promote both engagement and satisfaction with the product.

These deals run off a pricing algorithm but do use "set" pricing during the actual purchase transactions across deals. Additionally, you'll find differences in:

  • The consequence for late payments

  • Enforcing penalties

  • Which payment methods to use

  • Whether the end consumer pays the bill (to Digital River)

  • How to handle upgrades, downgrades, and seat/quantity changes

  • The length and complexity of terms and billing and invoicing

  • A host of other smaller differences between the B2B and B2C software markets

You can now modify a subscription during a midterm change. That includes overriding a price, setting a perpetual price, or reducing the subscription quantity.

Midterm change

A midterm change occurs when a customer requests a change to their subscription before their next renewal. A Call Center agent can use this opportunity to dissuade the customer from cancelling their subscription, encourage their customer to increase the quantity of their subscription, upgrade their subscription, purchase an add-on to their subscription, or sell another promotion. The Call Center agent can use a midterm change to act as a seller to create a deal with the customer.

The Call Center agent must identify the type of midterm change. The Call Center agent can offer a perpetual unit price or offer a one-time price override to clinch the sale. They can also offer to reduce the subscription quantity.

Perpetual unit price

Call Center agents can use the perpetual unit price (perpetualUnitPrice) attribute to assign a perpetual price to a subscription. A perpetual unit price remains the same each time the customer renews the monthly or annual subscription until they change their subscription by adding or subtracting quantity or add-ons. You essentially honor the deal until something changes. The customer can be an individual or business subscription entity.

For example, a Call Center agent creates a cart with a perpetual price. The catalog price for the subscription product is $20.00. When the agent sets the perpetual unit price to $15.00, the perpetual unit price does not change until the deal changes. When the deal changes, the price per unit can change (in this instance, it could change to $18.00).

Use the Perpetual Price resource and Cart resources to assign the perpetual price.

Prorated subscription price

Call Center agents can use the prorated unit price (proratedUnitPrice) to apply a midterm change with price override to the unit price listed in the product catalog during a midterm subscription change request based on a customer's request. The customer may request an increase in the product quantity, a product upgrade, or a product add-on.

Use the Preview and Preview-cart resources to override a unit price, increase the base product quantity, upgrade the base product, increase the add-on product, or add a new add-on via a midterm change. The Preview-cart resource creates a cart behind the scene that shows the customer how much the cost will change. The preview cart includes the credit, subtotal, total tax, and the total amount due to be paid if the preview changes result in an amount due. It also includes a link to the cart with the rest of the payload. The Preview resource does not return the cart details if created in the response. Use the Preview resource if you want to create a cart by subsequently calling another resource. The Preview and Preview-cart resources allow you to chose when and how to initiate a cart.

Once the shopper submits or confirms the immediate midterm change, any subsequent lifecycle operation (auto or manual renewal, product or quantity change, cancel, and so on) on the subscription will take into account the changed configuration of the subscription and add-ons.‌

For example, a customer currently has a subscription quantity of four and wants to increase the quantity to 10. They originally agreed to a unit price of $20.00 for a total of $80.00. The Call Center agent offers a prorated unit price of $15.00 for an additional six subscriptions for a total of $90.00 as an incentive for the subscription duration. The next the customer renews their subscription, the unit price will be $20 for a total of $200.00.

Reduced subscription quantity

You can also use the Reduce resource to decrease the base product quantity, decrease the product add-on quantity (quantity), or remove a product add-on from a subscription. Use the Reduce resource if a Preview resource call does not create a cart that decreases a product quantity or removes a product add-on. Invoking the Reduce resource will update the desired configuration in the database tables.‌

For example, an agent can reduce a quantity of 10 subscriptions to 6 subscriptions at the customer's request.

Scenarios for modifying the subscription price

The following scenarios show how you can integrate your sales recording tool with our billing engine to create, upgrade, downgrade, change the price, change the number of seats, and cancel a subscription.

Customer

Customer Service Representative (CSR)

Digital River

You

A customer purchased a subscription product. The customer is very happy with the product they are using and in need of two more, so they call Customer Service.

The Customer Service Representative (CRS) thinks they can offer a discount to the customer with increased quantity. So after talking to the customer, the CSR builds a modified subscription offer with an increased quantity and changed price.

The CSR sends the offer to Digital River to update the customer's subscription contract. Once Digital River updates the existing subscription contract, we generate the corresponding outbound email or Subscription Service Notification (SSN).

On receiving a notification from Digital River, you send an email to the customer.

A customer purchased a subscription product. The customer is very happy with the product they are using and wants to increase its number, so they call Customer Service.

The CSR has an advanced product with a minimal price increase, so they offer this to the customer. After talking to the customer, the CSR builds a modified subscription offer with an upgraded product and its prorated price.

The CSR sends the offer to Digital River to update the customer's subscription contract. Once Digital River updates the existing subscription contract, we generate the corresponding outbound email or SSN.

On receiving a notification from Digital River, you send an email to the customer.

The CSR calls the customer to offer a change to their product (upgrade) or increase the quantity of the existing product. So after consultation with the customer, the CSR builds a modified subscription offer with the upgraded product and/or increased quantity.

The CSR sends the offer to Digital River to update the customer's subscription contract. Once Digital River updates the existing subscription contract, we generate the corresponding outbound email or SSN.

On receiving a notification from Digital River, you send an email to the customer.

A customer purchased a subscription product. The customer found a similar product for a lower price at a different vendor and wants to cancel their current subscription, so the customer calls Customer Service.

The CSR understands the situation, checks for any discount they can offer to encourage the customer to continue their current subscription. After convincing the customer, The CSR builds a modified subscription offer with a discounted price.

The CSR sends the offer to Digital River to update the customer's subscription contract. Once Digital River updates the existing subscription contract, we generate the corresponding outbound email or SSN.

On receiving a notification from Digital River, you send an email to the customer.

A customer purchased 100 licenses for a subscription product. The customer no longer needs all of the licenses, so he calls Customer Service.

The CSR builds a modified subscription offer with a decreased quantity.

The CSR sends the offer to Digital River to update the customer's subscription contract. Once Digital River updates the existing subscription contract, we generate the corresponding outbound email or Subscription Service SSN.

On receiving a notification from Digital River, you send an email to the customer.

A customer purchased a subscription product with advanced features and now they believe they don't need the advanced features. The customer calls Customer Service to cancel the subscription.

The CSR tries to convince the customer to downgrade the product instead of cancelling it. After convincing the customer to downgrade, the CSR builds a modified subscription offer with the downgraded product (with no price change and refund).

The CSR sends the offer to Digital River to update the customer's subscription contract. Once Digital River updates the existing subscription contract, we generate the corresponding outbound email or SSN.

On receiving a notification from Digital River, you send an email to the customer.