The subscription economy continues to thrive and grow rapidly, with companies utilizing subscription licensing seeing significant success. However, there is a growing concern about the balance between providers’ profits and customers’ outcomes, particularly in the software-as-a-service (SaaS) industry. Software prices have been increasing, and layoffs are happening across the tech sector, indicating that the subscription model may not be delivering the promised value to customers.
Despite the rapid growth of the subscription economy, customers in the SaaS industry are experiencing increased prices and layoffs. This raises questions about the value that customers are receiving from their subscriptions.
The Imbalance in the Subscription Economy
Software providers in the subscription economy have the opportunity to drive growth by passing on the benefits of cloud technology and subscription licensing to customers. However, recent price hikes by major companies like Meta, Netflix, Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, and Salesforce suggest that the economies of scope and scale have fallen out of balance. Customers are bearing the burden of these price increases on a monthly basis.
Instead of widening this gap, software providers should focus on adding value to their customers. The longevity of the subscription economy relies on improving the productivity, agility, and bottom lines of business customers. By delivering on the initial promise of the subscription model, providers can enhance the health and sustainability of the entire ecosystem.
Approaches to Adding Value in the Subscription Economy
There are specific strategies that software providers can adopt to address the imbalance in the subscription economy:
1. Encourage Flexibility
Migrating from one software tool to another can be a challenging and costly process. To address this, providers should offer more flexible trial accounts that allow customers to experience the full functionality of their software. By broadening the length and scale of trials, providers gain insights into the impact of adding users on their performance, resources, and costs. This enables them to modify delivery and pricing without affecting existing paying customers.
Additionally, offering flexibility and choice to customers can drive new business growth. Studies have shown that customers prefer to try a product before making a purchasing decision. By allowing customers to explore different solutions and build trust with the vendor, software providers can increase their chances of converting them into long-term subscribers.
2. Provide Customized Solutions
Every business has unique needs and requirements. Software providers should focus on understanding their customers’ specific challenges and offer tailored solutions. This can involve customization options, additional features, or integrations with other tools that enhance the value of the subscription. By providing a personalized experience, providers can differentiate themselves in a competitive market and demonstrate their commitment to customer success.
3. Deliver Continuous Innovation
The subscription economy thrives on continuous innovation. Software providers should invest in research and development to ensure they are constantly improving their offerings. This can involve adding new features, enhancing user experience, or incorporating emerging technologies. Regular updates and improvements not only keep customers engaged but also provide them with ongoing value for their subscription.
The subscription economy has seen remarkable growth, but there are concerns about whether customers are receiving the value they were promised. Software providers can address this by encouraging flexibility, providing customized solutions, and delivering continuous innovation. By refocusing on customer value, the subscription economy can remain sustainable and beneficial for both providers and customers.