The rains this April were a little more purple, as the world mourned the passing of famous music and cultural icon Prince. What you may not know is that in addition to smashing musical boundaries, Prince was also an ebusiness pioneer. We will miss you, Prince.
It’s hard to believe that there was any news besides Prince this month. Here on the blog we covered ten tips for customer lifecycle campaigns, news of the booming AgTech sector, as well as how brands work to bring customers with them as they shift to subscription billing.
These are the other stories from around the web that you missed this month.
AgTech and APIs
The B2B market often suffers from inflexibility. APIs are changing that. This piece from ChartMogul notes, “Just as the world is waking up to the importance of design and user experience in enterprise products – arguably years after the consumer market saw the same evolution – there is a new breed of B2B solution, which ditches the visual user experience altogether – the API-based SaaS.”
Farmers aren’t waiting around for developers; they’re applying their own knowledge and experimentation to develop new and better AgTech solutions. While some of their innovations are crafted purely for personal use, others are hoping to bring their innovations to market. “Some farmers-turned-techies aim to reap profits on their innovations. Dirt Tech, a startup run by two farmers and two software engineers, is developing a range of mobile applications that help map soil fertility across farmers’ fields, or mark rocks to avoid damage to machinery or allow for yanking them out.”
As we have pointed out, companies must have a strategy for monetizing data. Commenting on a recent study, Erik Brynjolfsson, director of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy, points out that data can even be considered a form of capital. Because data is less tangible than a building, a factory or a vehicle, many companies miss this point. “It’s a blind spot. But this is something that is more and more important to the world economy. It’s not visible, but it’s still something that smart managers have to keep an eye on.”
Subscription Billing in the News
Customer Loyalty 3.0 Is Never About Transactions. It’s About Getting to Know Your Customers | Entrepreneur
Just converting a user to a paying customer falls woefully short in today’s customer-centric environment. Entrepreneur has a message for companies stuck in the past: “loyalty is not transactional — period.” Loyalty a byproduct of strong, long-term customer relationships.
“While the notion of relationships may seem simple, it’s not. Many of the biggest brands have failed to do this despite having multimillion-dollar marketing campaigns. Customers are all driven by different parameters, which means that you need to do a lot of listening and keeping track of the likes, dislikes and drivers of your customers’ behavior.”
Amazon’s move this month to offer stand-alone subscriptions to their video streaming service revealed an important approach to building a subscriber base. With millions already subscribed to their Amazon Prime service, they can pilot new services to see how customers use them and whether they might be valuable enough to sell separately. For a company that has struggled to turn a profit, this strategy could be a sign of how Amazon is bucking that trend.
“Amazon wants to turn the company into a subscription business, one subscription at a time.” — TechCruch
“Amazon has built a subscription launchpad with Prime. The company can try out new services and see if they work. From day one, these new services will have millions of subscribers … Slowly but surely, Amazon could turn its razor-thin margins on ecommerce products into substantial subscription revenue.”
Speaking of Amazon, “Late last month, the Indian government issued additional rules governing foreign ownership of ecommerce companies operating in the country. The government added regulations related to pricing and the sourcing of sales on sites that Amazon and several rivals appear to violate. What is more, the new policy was effective immediately, giving Amazon and others no time to comply.”
Startup investment is up in India, and TransServ is benefiting. TransServ is using that investment to establish a digital payment system that fits the Indian customer.
“Several factors are fueling demand for digital payments in India, including the rapid growth of its ecommerce industry and the increasing accessibility of smartphones. The country’s credit card penetration rate is still very low, however, which means companies need to help consumers find alternative ways of making online payments.”
Learn more about subscription billing and your business on our Subscriptions Resources Page