Every ISV wants to maximize sales and revenues and one obvious way is expand the sales channel by selling online 24/7. With the plethora of marketplace and e-commerce website plugins available, getting up and running should be easy but there are challenges. Effectively selling online is about more than taking existing product offerings and automating the sale process. To gain maximum advantage the software vendor needs to look both at how his application is optimally packaged for online sale and how the sales process can be fine-tuned to ensure a positive buyer experience. This is where Smart Licensing can really prove itself.
Most people agree that broadening the sales channel by going online with sales can grow revenues but growth will be limited if the sales process is not customer centric. 24/7 Online sales is by its very nature, an automated process and requires a different approach to sales that involve human interaction. Firstly it is important to make it easy for a customer to purchase by making offers such as trials or freemium editions available. Then, when it comes to purchasing, the customer experience must be seamless whether via a website or from within the application. Secondly, expanding the range of packaged editions from a “one size fits all” to options like Standard, Pro etc. is a better way to ensure a customer can get access to the exact package he requires with the most appropriate pricing terms.
More choice for the customer will usually lead to more sales but only if is easy for the customer to purchase. The customer experience from initial browsing, through app selection, trial, download and eventual purchase, must be simple, and hassle free. There is no point in implementing a sophisticated e-commerce website if the supporting business and operations systems are not seamlessly integrated to deliver a smooth overall customer experience.
Supporting multiple editions can be a daunting task if it involves multiple code bases and significant engineering time. Traditional licensing provides a certain amount of control and copy protection but does not provide the granular level of feature management required. As an alternative, Smart Licensing of apps is a relatively easy solution to the problem of optimizing online selling. Smart Packaging supports multiple SKUs or editions of the same application (e.g., Trial/Freemium, Standard and Premium etc) to ensure that customers can tailor their purchases to their requirements. Smart Licensing allows simple integration of licensing and packaging with sales and e-commerce systems to ensure that the customer experience is seamless. A customer can easily request a trial, evaluate and purchase a suitable edition automatically with no need for human intervention.
Selling On Premise applications online bring software vendors closer to a SaaS business model. With Smart Licensing it is possible to go even further. With more control over what and when the customer can access within the application it is possible to introduce new pricing and business models such as subscription and pay per use. Even pre and post pay models can be supported, opening up a greater potential customer base.
The benefit of Smart Licensing is that all of this can be achieved with a single application code base, minimal product changes and once implemented; it is easy for Product Management or Sales to update as required. Payback periods are relatively short and the return on investment can be truly compelling.