Ezeokeke Uche
Aug 14 · 6 min read

In this article I will explain how to use Subill, a subscription billing platform for automating Subscription billing. Subill is designed to be the billing engine enabling businesses to sell subscription services.

Subill Manages the Subscription Lifecycle

Being able to manage the subscription lifecycle is paramount to selling a Subscription. This means having automated processes which react to specific billing events, such as subscribing or cancelling a service. Typically, subscription billing is made up of the following events:

  • Subscribe — A new customer signs up for your service.
  • Trial Expiration — The free trial period expires and the customer is billed or access is restricted to the app.
  • Upgrade/Downgrade — The customer changes their subscription to a differently priced tier of service. For example, upgrading to premium Netflix for access to ultra HD video at a higher price.
  • Cancellation — The customer cancels their subscription.
  • Resubscribe — A former customer returns to your service.
  • Self-Service Portal — A self-service portal where your customers can view and download all their invoices, add or update their credit card, upgrade/downgrade/cancel their subscriptions, approve charges etc.

The ability to set an application to react to these events (for example, restricting access if a free trial expires without a payment source), is the core to billing management for Subscription.

Subill is designed with this in mind and gives a company the ability to add business logic around these events.

Service Templates and Service Instances

Subill powers Subscription billing with two main constructs. The Service Template, containing the details of what customers are subscribing to, and the Service Instance, which represents the service a customer has subscribed to.

Pricing Tiers

The Pricing tiers is needed to create different pricing tiers of the service Template.

Service Template

The Service Template is the blueprint needed to deliver an application to a customer. The template contains details such as the pricing and field definitions the end customer needs to fill out. For example, a business may want to collect a phone number or other information when on-boarding new customers. Their service template would contain a required input field that needs to be filled out in order to create a new service instance.

Setting up a Service Template’s payment details and tiering using Subill
Creating custom checkout form using subill

Service Instance

Once a customer subscribes, a service instance is created based on the service template and the information they filled out. For Subscription billing, hooking into the lifecycle of the service instance is key. Instances can be upgraded, cancelled, or trialing — meaning all a company needs to do to implement billing is integrate their application with the different events that occur within Subill.

Here are some of the important features that make service instances a great fit for Subscription:

  • Upgrade / Downgrade capability — If a Subscription offering has different pricing tiers, modifying the tier will change the price and apply proper proration.
  • Cancellation — Cancellation of a service instance should stop all subscriptions as well as restrict access in the Subscription.
  • Custom Charges — If a Subscription offers professional services, or various one-time charges, a service instance can have charges applied to it and be paid automatically.
  • Free trials — With free trials being one of the best ways to sell a product, service instances support the ability to offer a trial service, as well as the power to credit users with extra trial time.
manage a user’s subscription using subill

Usage and Meterd Billing

Metered/Usage billing is a pricing model in which the customer is charged based on their actual usage of a product or service. With Subill, you can charge your customers a standard subscription fee for a plan with a set usage limit. Should a customer use more than what the base plan allows, metered billing charges them an appropriate per-unit fee for any overage.

User Authentication with Subill

Subill Auth gives you embeddable widgets to allow your Subscription users to sign-up, login, manage subscription & much more. Add your SaaS offering & embed Subill widgets into your web application or use our free template that’s already integrated with subill, that’s it. Save time & money with the only platform that has authentication and billing all in one place. All you need to do is specify what happens after a customer presses “subscribe.”

Embeddable subill signup and login page

Embeddable Billing Management

The other embeddable which Subill provides is an account management form. When you embed this in your Subscription, your customers can add their credit card, change their plan to a different tier, view all their invoices, cancel their subscription, or resubscribe. You just have to paste pre-generated code into your application and Subill takes care of the rest.

Embeddable Subill Billing Management Portal.

Email Automation And Workflow

Subill makes implementation of emails such as password resets, email verification, payment failure, payment reminder and much more similar to your app seamless. Use pre-built email templates or update your own with no-code editor. Subill can automatically schedule invoices to be sent to non-recurring subscriptions(Mobile money, Bank transfer, Mpesa, etc) in addition to or replacing the standard expiration notifications. Invoices allow the subscriber to extend or renew on their own terms instead of the automated recurring billing options.

Webhooks for Lifecycle Management

One of the best ways to alert your app to billing changes, such as a trial expiring, is with webhooks. Webhooks allow apps to communicate real-time information to other apps. In this case, Subill would be providing your SaaS with billing information.

Using Subill, webhook endpoints can be defined so whenever a billing event occurs, the endpoint will be notified and action can be taken. For example: if a trial expires, a webhook will be sent to the Subscription and the customer can be locked out of the software until they pay.

Easily integrate with anything using Subill’s webhooks

Conclusion

We at Subill believe that the process of getting paid for your software should not be a difficult task. Subill is different by focusing on the service being provided, making it much easier to tap into the subscription lifecycle. Got to https://www.subill.co to get started.

SubillHQ

Subill — Africa Subscription Management and Automation System

Ezeokeke Uche

Written by

SubillHQ

SubillHQ

Subill — Africa Subscription Management and Automation System

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