Zoho Subscriptions turned 6 recently, but we've been offering subscription-based products for much longer than that. So we thought this would be a good time to look back at how Zoho Subscriptions was born and take a moment to thank our customers for sticking with us.
Pioneering the model
Zoho has been offering subscription-based products for the better part of two decades now, starting when we first launched Zoho CRM in 2005.
The idea behind it was simple: offer customers a flexible way to pay for quality products, without making them feel like they're tied down to a long-term contract.
As Zoho branched out and offered more products, the subscription model proved to be a success. We found ourselves one of very few companies offering cloud services with a broad product portfolio and an entirely subscription-based model.
As our volume of customers grew, we came to realize that our existing method of managing customers' subscriptions couldn't keep up. We needed a tool that could handle the complexities of recurring billing and subscription management at scale. Something that could cope with the varied pricing models of our multiple products, and something that could play well with our existing systems.
Build vs. buy
It's a classic question that every organization faces at some point. Do you set aside the resources to build your own solution, including a budget, work hours, and a dedicated team? Or do you skip the hassle and buy a pre-made solution instead?
There's not always a simple answer to that question. If you choose to build, you run the risk of spending a lot of resources on a system that couldn't deliver. If you choose to buy, you pay someone else to do the work of creating your solution...but the burden is on you to pick one that does what you need it to do.
At Zoho, we're committed to solving this problem for both sides. That's why we don't make anything we don't want to use ourselves. We use our own products, like Zoho Books for our accounting, Zoho People for HR management, and Zoho Cliq for internal communications–just to name a few.
So, following our usual strategy, we decided to build our own subscription management system. It just so happened that we had a decade's worth of experience in the subscription industry to help us do so.
By 2013, Zoho was offering more than 20 products with a subscription-based pricing model. This gave us real-world experience of what was needed in a subscription management tool. We were all too familiar with pain points like add-on management, tier-based pricing, and consolidated reporting, and we wanted to solve them–for ourselves and for other businesses.
Our (and your) very own recurring billing tool
In 2014, we put that experience to good use and launched Zoho Subscriptions to help other businesses adopt a subscription-based model for themselves. At that time, the subscription industry boom was right around the corner and major players like Adobe were switching to a subscription-based model.
We built Zoho Subscriptions to be scalable, from its set-and-forget simplicity to its open REST APIs. We wanted it to work seamlessly with our existing upstream systems like Zoho CRM and downstream systems like Zoho Books, so this functionality was baked in. We didn't stop there, though. We wanted Zoho Subscriptions to work out of the box for other businesses too, so we made sure it came with pre-built integrations that make it easy to connect with payment gateways and other existing systems.
This means smaller businesses without dedicated development teams can configure Zoho Subscriptions with a no-code approach, and larger businesses with their own resources can use Zoho Subscriptions' APIs to integrate tightly with their own applications.
All of this customization came out of our realization that every business needs to make their subscription management software truly their own, whether they build or buy. When you can make your tools work exactly the way you need them to, build vs. buy doesn't have to be a tough decision. Zoho Subscriptions can help you out.
Our commitment to customers
If you've been using Zoho Subscriptions, thank you! We wouldn't be where we are right now without your support, and we're committed to continuing to provide you with more great features that scale. Our team is hard at work to bring you the best subscription management experience, so you can look forward to major updates in the coming year.
As your business grows, Zoho Subscriptions will be right there with you.
We'd love to hear from you! Drop a comment below and let us know what you think about recurring billing and Zoho Subscriptions.