Subscription Commerce: Why and How to Harness it Well

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By Miva | April 7, 2017
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What if you could increase the customer lifetime value for your business, predict revenue, reduce overhead, and get rid of the headaches of inefficiency, in one?

Subscription commerce enables business leaders to maximize profit and predictability and empower customers in their day-to-day. With consumers opting more and more for convenience, the option to “set and forget” a recurring order not only enhances their quality of life but loyalty to your brand, too. After all, nearly 41% of retail revenue in the U.S. comes from the 8% of visitors known as repeat purchasers, yet only 18% of companies focus on retention (Invespcro).

“Because a high percentage of the revenue of a subscription-based business is recurring, its value will be up to eight times that of a comparable business with very little recurring revenue.”

—John Warrillow, creator of The Value Builder System (Entrepreneur)

Subscription commerce is transforming the lens through which businesses of all verticals view their offerings, and their customers. The more you can innovate to empower consumers in their day-to-day, the more your customer relationships will thrive—and your bottom line.

The subscription model: who is it really for?

Where makeup, movies, and magazines once flourished exclusively, companies of all verticals are now asking themselves what they can offer their customers on a recurring basis. With a variety of subscription models to choose from, such as curated boxes and “subscribe and save” replenishment services, today’s online merchants are successfully using subscription commerce to sell everything from essential oils to auto parts.  

“Look at your business and see how you can innovate a subscription model for one or many of your products or offerings.”

—Kevin McGrath, MivaPay Sales Manager, Miva, Inc.

The limitations of subscription management software

Subscription management software stores payment data from a number of different payment methods, along with customer information and processing for recurring revenue. This software adds on to the one-time payment functionality of a payment gateway, automating billing and contracts and ensuring customers are charged the right amount for a regular order of goods or services.

Companies looking for subscription management software often look for flexibility and scale, choosing between two products: a software suite, which manages the entire subscription process, and a standalone tool which comes with add-ons, allowing businesses to add subscription models to their current offerings. Unfortunately, these early adopters have also started to feel the effects of their long-term limitations, including:

  • Software touting unlimited flexibility and customization requires a skilled programmer on staff, or for hire, to make any change.
  • The upfront cost for the tool does not always account for buried fees, such as the 1-3% of the sales charge.
  • Out-of-the-box products may be quick and easy to implement, but are limiting long-term should the need to scale arise.

The issues with integration

Aside from these hurdles, one big weakness of external software is clunky integration—a huge drawback considering the entire feature set depends on how well it works with your ecommerce platform.

Most integrations either:

  • Don’t exist. You’d have to custom build it, which costs hundreds of hours and tens of thousands of dollars.
  • Have limited functionality (e.g., they don’t create orders in your ecommerce platform each month), or
  • Rely on third-party tools.

These caveats leave the door open for too many failure points and broken stores, not to mention the amount of work and personnel necessary to fix and maintain the software.

A new solution for subscriptions

MivaPay is a subscription management service that opens up a wide range of payment functionality for Miva Merchant store owners. It is the only solution of its kind available to the mid-market, implementing logic to meet our clients’ out-of-the-box needs, while still enabling customization for others.

At the core of the MivaPay service is top-of-the-line security through hardware tokenization. Customers can feel safe knowing that when they enter their credit card information, it never passes through your website, ensuring a payment experience that is convenient, secure, and PCI-compliant.


“No other ecommerce platform at our price point can offer this level of integrated solution.”

-Brennan Heyde, VP Developer Relations, Miva, Inc.

Here are more reasons to install MivaPay today:

  • We control the entire experience for you, from payment and recurring orders to customer management and emails (card expiration reminders); discounts and taxes, and reporting and PCI Compliance and Security.
  • It’s the only solution of its kind built into the ecommerce platform, so you don’t have to worry about clunky integrations or management.
  • Because we do our own tokenization via MivaPay, you can offer subscriptions with any payment gateway we support, removing the need to change payment gateways for recurring billing/subscriptions.
  • The customer is in control of his or her subscription. Customers can view their subscriptions; change the next reorder date; change subscription frequency; change the shipping method or credit card info, or even cancel the subscription.
  • You, as the administrator, also have more control with robust tools which allow you to view upcoming subscriptions, cancelled subscriptions, or issues (e.g. a declined payment).
  • Through the admin/customer service management tools you can view customer subscriptions, orders, and notes all from one location. This reduces the need to work in multiple systems.

Revolutionize business with MivaPay

“The subscription model owes its success to the optimal balance of value it provides to both the company and the customer.”

—Chuck Longanecker (Entrepreneur)

Consider starting a subscription service to add value to your customer and to your bottom line. MivaPay is the only subscription management solution enabling a new level of control and customization for your customers, as well as for you and your team.

Learn how you can revolutionize payments with MivaPay here.

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Author's Bio


Miva offers a flexible and adaptable ecommerce platform that evolves with businesses and allows them to drive sales, maximize average order value, cut overhead costs, and increase revenue. Miva has been helping businesses realize their ecommerce potential for over 20 years and empowering retail, wholesale, and direct-to-consumer sellers across all industries to transform their business through ecommerce.

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