Optimize B2B Subscriptions on a Global Scale | Digital River

How to Optimize B2B Subscriptions on a Global Scale

By: Andy Carrane
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The B2B subscription model is becoming more popular than ever. But along with increasing adoption, expectations for subscription experiences are also rising. To meet and exceed those expectations in global markets, brands need a data-driven strategy that prioritizes localization in everything from language and product pricing to billing optimization and fulfillment.

To help organizations simplify the go-to-market process, Digital River and our partners at Chargify created an ebook: Global B2B Subscriptions Simplified: How to gain a competitive edge and win in new markets. In the ebook, ecommerce subscriptions experts share their thoughts on how brands can streamline internal processes and effectively manage the complexity of entering new geographies. We’re sharing a few insights that can help brands find success when taking a B2B subscription business global.

Establish a foundation for success

Laying a solid foundation is critical for brands that want to achieve significant market penetration and establish deep roots for future growth. Here are five things every ecommerce brand should strive for early in the go-to-market process:

  1. Choose the right market – Use social listening, SEO analytics, and traditional market research to identify the best opportunities given the competitive landscape and total addressable market in each distinct region. Some markets are much more difficult to enter than others, so best practice is to gather as much data as possible while also consulting with experts on the ground about the opportunities they see for your industry.
  2. Build internal support – Build a narrative around why a specific market holds value and educate leadership, sales, and support teams so that everyone is prepared to move quickly and confidently.
  3. Recognize differences in subscription preferences – Just like B2C consumers, expectations and preferences of B2B buyers differ from country to country. That means the playbook you used for entering one market won’t work for another. Take the time to truly assess and understand what makes a market unique and shape your strategies and subscription offerings to reflect those preferences.
  4. Involve compliance teams – Compliance and regulatory concerns affect everything from the checkout experience to data management and tax remittance. Involve in-house compliance teams from the outset to identify challenges early on and consider partnering with outside experts who can help simplify compliance and ensure all your digital properties stay up to date.
  5. Plan for future growth – While a new market may initially represent only a small percentage of revenue, it could still hold significant strategic value. As you implement systems and build out internal processes, keep an eye on the future and how you can position your operation to scale for long-term growth.

Localize the subscription experience

It’s no longer enough to simply translate your website into a new language and expect to form meaningful relationships with customers. To be successful, your brand’s holistic approach to doing business in a specific market should look and feel as local as possible. That means embracing localization techniques at a deeper level and finding ways to align back-office processes while delivering familiar experiences to customers at every touchpoint.

Ideas for improving localization in new global markets include:

  • Collaborate with marketing and website UX teams to offer personalized front-end experiences and promotions that reflect local customs and sales cycles.
  • Offer the payment methods preferred by customers in that market, such as line of credit, POs, and ACH to provide flexibility while cultivating B2C-like purchasing experiences.
  • Make sure data storage and management practices not only satisfy local regulations but are also aligned with the values of consumers in that market.
  • Ensure compliance with local tax rules and regulations. Each new market comes with a different tax structure that often varies by product, which could impact the specific offerings you bring to a particular market.
  • Find a partner with local acquiring networks to enable local payment processing. This can help boost authorization rates and reduce the risk that transactions will be flagged as suspicious or fraudulent.

Optimize billing systems

Optimized billing processes are critical for the success of any subscription business. Because of the costs and complexity associated with cross-border ecommerce, it’s critical for global brands to find ways to increase authorizations and minimize involuntary churn while building out systems for future growth.

As you work to identify third-party partnerships and design internal processes, make sure your billing systems:

  • Reflect local preferences for billing models (i.e., consumption-based models vs. flat-rate pricing models)
  • Account for different fee amounts associated with each payment and billing method you offer
  • Convert transactions into your native currency to streamline accounting operations
  • Deliver a mature renewal experience with thoughtful touchpoints and messaging
  • Maintain compliance with all local, federal, and international regulations

Simplify, succeed, repeat

When expanding a B2B subscription offering into new countries, it’s important to remember that learning doesn’t stop after launch. Your organization should be continuously looking for new ways to meet changing market demands and satisfy the evolving needs of your customers. By investing in systems and processes that simplify cross-border ecommerce at the outset, your organization will be better positioned to grow and optimize offerings to achieve sustained success in new global markets.

Looking for more ways to improve your global B2B subscriptions offering? Download our ebook and connect with Digital River to learn how we can empower your organization to reach new heights and increase revenue.