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Online Subscription Management Software: A Complete Guide


So, you’ve decided to start a subscription business. Or maybe you’re adding subscription options to your thriving online business. But, you need a way to handle the recurring payments and customer support requests that you know will come in with these new offerings.

What if there was software that could help you with all aspects of subscription management—including ways to empower your customers to handle their own subscriptions? 

The good news is, this software does exist. A subscription management solution can help you keep your subscriptions running seamlessly, with a mix of automated and manual actions. Recharge is here to help you select the best subscription management software for your unique business needs and give you the lowdown on all aspects of subscription management solutions with this informative blog post. 

Key takeaways

  • A subscription management solution can help you launch and manage subscriptions, giving customers a smooth experience.
  • Empowering customers with subscription management tools can help reduce customer churn and support tickets.
  • There are a variety of software types to choose from—knowing which is best for your business can help you meet your goals.

What is subscription management?

When we say “subscription management,” we’re talking about the process of handling customers’ subscriptions. As mentioned above, it also includes the ways in which you let customers handle their own subscriptions (like through transactional text messaging or a customer portal). 

One of the cornerstones of the subscription business model is customer relationships. When shoppers commit to making recurring purchases with your business, this marks the first step in what could be a lifelong relationship. Keeping their subscriptions running smoothly will make a huge difference in how they perceive your brand and if they decide to stick around. 

Magnolia Bakery offers flexible options for their Pudding Club members.
Magnolia Bakery’s Pudding Club gives subscribers ultimate flexibility by allowing them to choose delivery dates (and delights customers with surprise treats). 

What does online subscription management software do?

How does a brand ensure that their subscription offerings run smoothly? Well, that’s what a subscription management platform can help with. These software solutions offer a variety of tools and features for subscription businesses to use that go beyond recurring billing (though that’s a major part, too). 

Subscription management software can help your business give account credits, issue refunds, offer discounts, consolidate essential business functions, and more. It’s your key to earning high customer satisfaction rates and low churn—making it possible to grow your subscriber base and offer a top-notch customer experience to all your customers. 

Let’s dive into more information about subscription management software, including the essential elements of recurring billing software, and what to consider when you select your subscription management platform. We’ll also highlight some of the different types of subscription management solutions available, so you can select the platform that’s best for your business.

The five elements of subscription management solutions: More than just recurring billing

With subscriptions, you can deepen customer relationships and increase customer lifetime value (LTV). But to do this, you have to create a strong user experience for your subscribers. These five elements, offered by each of the best subscription management software options, will help you do just that. 

  1. Payment tools are focused on payment processing, logistics, and security to ensure everything runs smoothly and securely behind the scenes for recurring billing. 
  1. Shopper tools, such as the customer portal, give subscribers the power to manage their own orders, including the ability to skip an order or edit their next shipment.
  1. Merchant tools are catered specifically to your business, giving you the ability to manage subscriptions for your customers with an admin portal and other tools. 
  1. Analytics tools are another set of tools that are seen only by the merchant, and play a critical role in forming future strategy by offering metrics and insights into important indicators of business health.  
  1. Subscription billing is at the center of every subscription management software and allows for recurring billing to occur seamlessly, along with monitoring tax and shipping capabilities. 
Bumpin Blends offers great customer support to their customers.
Subscription management software will allow you to offer the best customer experience, like Bumpin Blends does with their easy methods of editing orders and chatting with a nutritionist.  

What to consider when choosing your subscription management platform

Our latest interactive guide gives merchants the chance to compare different subscription billing platforms, including their features and various strengths, to select the best subscription management software for their business. Listed below are some of the factors that subscription businesses should take into consideration when choosing their subscription billing software.

Launch timeline: You should have an idea of when you’d like to launch subscriptions and recurring billing. If you’re planning something more complex, give yourself time to access all the advanced settings within your subscription management software. 

Product type: It’s crucial to identify if you’d like to offer physical or digital subscriptions, as there are platforms better suited to each.   

Ecommerce knowledge: For those new to the subscription model, more assistance might be necessary when you launch. Seek out a platform with extensive subscription management tools to help you get started on the right foot.

Business resources: Those with large teams or more resources might not need as much critical support from their software solution as those just starting out. 

User interface: A smooth customer experience always starts with an easy-to-use interface, so seek out subscription service software with well-designed interfaces.

Integrations: Your subscription management system might not include everything you need, which is why it’s crucial to invest in one with the ability to integrate additional tools.

Value: Subscription billing offers recurring revenue, which gives many businesses a sense of stability they were missing. However, you still have to think of your bottom line when you invest in recurring billing software. Make sure you select an option that fits your budget while giving you the power to create strong subscription offerings.   

Different types of subscription ecommerce platforms

This final section will cover the different types of subscription management software options available to merchants. Each subscription billing software will have its own set of strengths and capabilities—the key is determining which will work best for your unique business needs. This platform will help you collect customer payments safely and securely while supporting all your subscription management needs. 

Out-of-the-box-only solutions: These solutions are perfect for smaller businesses or those who want to launch subscriptions quickly. But, they may not be right for brands who know they’ll want to scale. 

API-only solutions: This solution type is great for businesses with a robust development team who’d like to make their subscription options highly customizable. 

Custom-built solutions: This option is great for businesses that want a custom option, but would like to work with a development partner or agency. Custom-built solutions are super flexible, and your partners will work to create all the features you want for your brand.

SaaS subscriptions–first solutions: This solution is meant for B2B software companies that offer digital products. 

Holistic solutions: For merchants that would like to offer physical subscriptions, holistic subscription management solutions, like Recharge, are an ideal choice. They balance an API-first foundation with an out-of-the-box approach, so businesses can launch subscriptions quickly and scale their offerings as time goes on. 

Selecting the best recurring billing software for your subscription business

Offering customer subscriptions is made so much easier with a subscription management platform—not only do you get automated subscription management features, but you can also customize your subscription offerings as much as you’d like. What’s more, your customers will feel empowered to handle their own subscriptions, adding in needed flexibility and reducing churn at the same time. Feel empowered to make the best choice for your business—and let Recharge help you out with our latest interactive guide

Special thanks to our friends at ReCharge Payments for their insights on this topic.
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