Enhancing the Customer Experience with Your Product Catalog

The customer experience is increasingly important in attracting and retaining longtime, loyal customers. We are in an age where the customer is in the driver’s seat; and the processes, services, and capabilities we offer are built with the customer’s satisfaction in mind.

That being said, the product catalog is one of the most powerful components of your business. Whether B2B, B2C, or B2B2B, having an extensive and extensible product offering that can accommodate a customer’s changing needs over time leads to a fruitful, long-term partnership.

A Reusable Product Catalog

Aria’s product catalog was designed with our customers in mind – we offer the ability to reuse and/or combine components in various ways so clients can iterate and release faster, maximizing the opportunity to gain and retain customers. From various pricing methodologies, to discounts and coupons, to surcharges, having a focus on product management and how the product catalog can be used to meet the demands of your customers is crucial.

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Traditionally, many companies offer products in a one-and-done approach. A customer places an order, the order is fulfilled, the customer is billed, and a payment is received. Even though companies might intend to build that relationship over time, the reality is the relationship ends with a paid invoice. But that’s not how it has to be – you want the relationship to continue long past the first invoice, and even past the term of the agreement. As you move toward recurring revenue, nurturing these relationships becomes increasingly important as customers start looking to establish a relationship with the enterprise.

To keep customers happy and engaged, focus on evolving the product over time to continue to meet the customers’ needs. Consider how your pricing strategy will impact the adoption rate. Whether fixed rates for unlimited access, a usage-based model or a hybrid, you need to take in account what customers are interested in, how they want to purchase, and what they’re willing to pay for.

The standard product lifecycle is five parts: design, configure, test, launch, and retire. Aria’s product catalog provides capabilities to facilitate all of these stages so that you can build your product in a way that takes advantage of the various components that can be created or bundled in a unique way and offered into the market place.

Use Case: Trey’s Entertainment Hub

Let’s put this into perspective. Imagine that I run a successful movie streaming business. For a flat rate of $20/month, customers can watch as many movies as they want. However, I want to expand my product offering and enter the online book market. The first thing I would do is configure a new online book service in Aria that mirrors the movie streaming sector– $20/month for unlimited book downloads. As part of this launch, I offer a 50% discount the first month for customers using the coupon code of “I Love Books.”

Unfortunately, the launch doesn’t perform well, so I go back to my team and tell them we need to iterate our offering. We discontinue the 50% off discount and coupon code, and implement a one-month free trial with a new monthly price of $15 for unlimited access. We also decide to run a head-to-head test by also introducing an alternative pay-per-use pricing model. Instead of paying a monthly fee for unlimited downloads, this option implements a usage-based service where the first two books are free and all subsequent downloads are $2 each. We push the one-month free trial package in Seattle and the pay-per-download package in Portland.

At the end of the testing period, the usage-based service performs the best so we decide to include that version of the book download service into our existing movie streaming plans. What started as a movie streaming business has now successfully expanded into a different market. To maximize our offering, we bundle the movie streaming offering with the book download service and give the customers options to mix and match between the two.

Create, Test, Analyze, Iterate, Test, Repeat.

The formula is simple enough – you create an offering, test its success, analyze the findings, and iterate based on the results. Then test again and repeat the process until you find a winning combination. The solution you use to achieve this should be as simple as the formula; it should take only minutes – not hours, days or weeks – to make iterative changes to your product catalog. Aria’s active monetization platform enables our clients to easily manage their product catalog and configure a wide variety of pricing and discount models to provide their customers with the most complete offering possible.

About the Author

Trey Lindseth
Trey Lindseth, Aria Systems senior director of products, has extensive experience in product management. Trey has worked with early-stage startups and large enterprises across a variety of industries including financial services, analytics, consulting, and SaaS to engage customers and extend market leadership.

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