Recurring payments. What are they and how to use them?
One of the newest and most popular e-commerce trends is product and service subscriptions. There is plenty of choice when it comes to subscriptions – from beauty products to software. This e-commerce model is quite simple and straightforward – most online businesses can apply it when selling their goods or services. Yet one aspect remains exceptionally important – it’s the payment process. To ensure an easy flow of payments, it is crucially important to integrate the recurring payment system. So, this blog post will cover the concept of recurring payments and their use in practice.
How to define recurring payments?
First of all, it is essential to understand what are the recurring payments and how they work. They can be defined as payments for goods or services which customers receive on a periodic basis. The charge is repeated automatically every week/month/year. The merchant has to choose the subscription duration prior to starting recurring payments on their business type. If a customer wants to order product/service subscription, he/she has to make the first initial payment to activate the following recurring payments. When making the first payment, the buyer has to enter his credit/debit card information.
The process of recurring payments
- The buyer orders product/service subscription and agrees to activate recurring payments.
- When making the first order, the customer has to enter all of the necessary credit/debit card data just like making a regular payment. However, you will not need to save this information.
- Once the first payment is processed, your system will save the payment ID.
- Cardinity payment system will continue to make further charges automatically using the payment ID. Your customers will not need to return to your website and pay every week/month/year. So, you only need to make sure your product/service reaches the customer.
The frequency of periodic payments
The sellers can asses and choose the right frequency of periodic payments. Weekly and monthly payments are the most common, but other options are also available. When selecting the payment frequency, consider your business type and your product demand. For example, if you sell everyday goods, such as food, offer very frequent subscriptions; respectively if your goods are not common every day products, subscriptions shouldn’t be as frequent.
Are recurring payments secure?
Cardinity is always trying to ensure the highest transaction security level so you shouldn’t be afraid to integrate the recurring payment system into your online shop. First of all, if you want to offer the possibility to pay with credit/debit cards on your website, an SSL certificate is a must. It helps to transmit all the shared data in a secure manner. The information provided when making the first order is tokenized and a payment ID is created. It is later used to make further payments automatically. The real untokenized data is not saved anywhere.
Types of e-businesses which can benefit from the recurring payment system
Some businesses sell their products or services on a periodic basis, so the possibility to accept recurring payments is really useful for them. For instance:
- Long-term continuous professional services, such as graphic designer services, tech support, hosting, etc.
- Subscriptions: you can choose ordinary mainstream subscriptions such as newspapers or magazines. However, at the minute various subscription boxes are becoming increasingly popular. They are perfect for everyday products. Yet you don’t necessarily need to limit yourself with this kind of products – you can also offer subscription boxes for various hobbies, occasions, party supplies, etc. In general, this type of e-commerce can be used when selling various types of goods: food, books, clothing, beauty products, etc.
- Fees/other types of regular payments. It can be any frequently repeated payment for various services, such as membership at the gym or co-working space, kindergarten or club fees or others.
- Donations – various non-profit organizations, animal shelters and other similar institutions can offer a possibility to donate periodically, for example, every month or week.
The main benefits of the recurring payment system
Merchants do not need to worry if they are going to get the payments for their products or services. Recurring payments ensure stable on-going income. Also, it helps predict sales, so managing your e-shop becomes easier and you can make business decisions with more confidence. As the payments are made automatically, you will not need to remind your customers to pay every week/month. It also gives a sense of security and stability for the buyers because they know exactly how much and when they will be charged.
Merchants will agree: it’s quite challenging to attract new customers. If you decide to offer your service/product on a periodic basis, you will secure a stable client base.
Using periodic payments is easy for both – the buyers and the sellers. Customers who already use subscription type services/products mentioned convenience as one of the main criteria for choosing this kind of services. They can avoid boring everyday chores such as weekly/daily food shop. Also, your customers will not need to occupy their minds with remembering to pay every week/month and can focus on more important things. However, merchants have to keep subscription managing very simple and easy to understand. Also, a possibility to stop or cancel the subscription at any time has to be provided.
It is easier to maintain good relationships with long-term customers compared to one-time buyers. Of course, to sustain customer loyalty, merchants need to keep their products/services high-quality. As it was mentioned before, making the subscription simple to manage is also recommendable. Remember that customers expect the possibility to cancel/stop the subscription at any minute. Also, prepare to give all the help/information your customers need because people tend to do more research than usual when ordering subscriptions.
To conclude, we advise to consider these aspects and the benefits of the recurring payment model. If you dare to look at your product/service/business with a new creative perspective, you will definitely find a way to use and benefit from recurring payments. Don’t forget that it majorly helps you to ensure stable income and a satisfied client base.
Also, see the infographic below to find the essential information about the recurring payments!
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