What is innovation at scale?

Innovation is key to the success of any subscription business. It's what keeps customers engaged and coming back for more. There are many ways to innovate in the subscriptions space, but some of the most common include:

  • Adding new features or products: This is a great way to keep customers interested and engaged. For example, a streaming service might add new movies or TV shows to its library, or a meal kit delivery service might add new recipes or meal options.

  • Improving the customer experience: This involves anything from making the website or app easier to use to providing better customer service.

  • Finding new ways to reach customers: This could involve using social media, email marketing, or other channels to reach new customers or engage with existing ones.

  • Partnering with other businesses: This can be a great way to reach new customers or offer new products or services. For example, a streaming service might partner with a telecommunications company to offer a bundle package that includes both streaming and internet service.

It's important to note that innovation doesn't always have to be big and expensive. For example, a streaming service may change how it displays its content, or a meal kit delivery service may change how it packages its meals. Sometimes, the smallest changes can make a big difference–especially in your bottom line. 

  • Listen to your customers: What are their pain points? What do they want to see from your business? The best way to innovate is to understand what your customers need and want.

  • Be agile: The world changes rapidly, and you must adapt quickly to new trends. This means being willing to experiment and try new things.

  • Invest in technology: Technology can help you to scale your business and innovate more efficiently. Leveraging a platform such as Recurly allows you to more rapidly innovate at lower costs.

Scaling a business is difficult, and it's even more challenging to do so while maintaining a culture of innovation. Additionally, it becomes increasingly difficult to keep the agility required to bring innovation to market–it’s important to leverage technology and platforms to innovate at scale while managing costs.

Shifting to product-led growth

Sales-led and marketing-led growth is quickly taking a backseat to product-led growth (PLG) initiatives, whereby customer acquisition, expansion, conversion, and retention are all driven through the product itself. This elevates the need for engineering teams to build end-to-end product lifecycle experiences that can be personalized at scale across diverse customer cohorts, multiple product offerings, special events, and complex pricing/plan scenarios. 

PLG is based on the idea that the best way to sell a product is to make it so good that people want it–creating valuable, easy-to-use products that solve real problems for customers. There are several benefits to PLG:

  • It can be more cost-effective than marketing and sales-led growth because businesses can spend less money on advertising and sales teams. 

  • It can be more scalable because once a product is built, it can be used to acquire new customers without investing in additional marketing or sales resources.

  • It can lead to higher customer lifetime value (CLTV) because customers attracted to a product by its value are more likely to stay engaged and continue using it over time.

Of course, there are also challenges associated with PLG. It can be difficult to create a product that is truly valuable for consumers; additionally, PLG can take longer to generate results than marketing- and sales-led growth.

Despite these challenges, PLG is a powerful growth strategy to help subscription businesses achieve sustainable growth. If you're looking for a way to grow your subscription business, PLG is worth considering.

How Recurly innovates

It’s not impossible to innovate at scale. However, it does require a concerted effort from the entire company. Here are a few tips for innovating at scale. 

  • Create a culture of innovation: The most important thing is to create a culture of innovation within the company–encouraging employees to think outside the box and develop new ideas. For example, Recurly holds “Innovation Days,” an event that provides employees from across the company with dedicated time to focus on their ideas. We then provide the support and resources to bring these ideas to market.

  • Empower employees: Employees need to be empowered to make decisions and take risks–giving them the resources and authority to get things done. Recurly, for example, defines clear ownership for each segment and empowers the teams responsible for areas for innovation and improvement. This level of ownership allows for more rapid ideation in critical areas.

  • Invest in technology: We’ve already mentioned the importance of investing in technology, and Recurly is no exception. Our platform, built on cloud-native technologies such as containerization, allows us to move quickly and empower teams to innovate with the confidence that what they build will be able to run on our high-performance, secure, and scalable infrastructure.

  • Celebrate success: Celebrating success is key, both big and small–this will encourage employees to continue to innovate. Recurly provides weekly opportunities for teams to share successes with the broader company and regularly calls out internal and external achievements.

How Recurly powers innovation at scale

It’s easy to look at Recurly as a subscription management product that can be used with minimal integration to power subscriptions. Some of our customers can even use Recurly with zero code to power a subscription business.

While this is certainly powerful, Recurly really shines when you leverage it as a platform that provides the tools to build and innovate your subscription business. Some of our most powerful tools are:

  • APIs and SDKs: We take an API-first approach to our development–all functionality on the Recurly platform is available via RESTful API to build upon.  Additionally, we provide open-source SDKs in the most popular languages making it easy to innovate.

  • Webhooks: Our webhooks allow you to receive notifications on events that Recurly is driving on your behalf.  By listening to the webhooks generated by Recurly, you can build rich functionality and customer experiences by leveraging the platform's tools.

  • Analytics: Our analytics provide powerful insights into your business, allowing you to dive deep into the performance of your customer base.  With our Report Builder, you can customize reports and dashboards to provide your organization with rich business intelligence and forecasting.

  • Partnership: Our experienced teams of Support professionals, Technical Account Managers, Customer Success Managers, and Solutions Architects partner closely with your teams to bring to life the next innovation for your subscription business.

Learn more about scaling subscription infrastructures

Scaling IT infrastructures is a common problem for subscription businesses–especially in the direct-to-consumer sector. Technology teams are often spread too thin across demands for product innovation, business scalability, and running a subscription management and recurring billing system. 

Not anymore. 

Join Tony Allen, Recurly CTO, and Andrei Rebrov, Scentbird CTO, and discover how to build an unshakeable foundation that supports the performance, security, and compliance risks subscription companies face.