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Best Practices: Managing Upgrades and Downgrades

Managing upgrades and downgrades can be done by two methods:

  • Cancelation product list: A group of subscription products set up in the Commerce Assistant considered to be substitutes for each other. When a customer purchases a particular subscription product, the products set up in the cancelation product list are canceled.
  • Subscription API: Upgrades and downgrades are managed using functions of the Subscription API.
Upgrade and Downgrade Characteristics Cancelation Product List Subscription API
Implementation and Maintenance Non-technical users can set up and maintain. Developers must set up and maintain.
Time to Market Can be set up in minutes. Requires hours of development, testing, and implementation.
Supports Immediate Change Yes. Yes.
Supports Change at Next Billing Interval No. Yes.
Flexibility Inflexible: Always applied to the purchase of all products in the cancelation product list. Flexible: Applied selectively to each subscription purchase.
Granularity Always applies to all items in a subscription. Can be applied to one or more items in a subscription.
Customer Experience Customers must complete the checkout process (more steps, so a higher potential for abandonment).

Allows "one-click" upgrades and downgrades, improving customer experience and minimizing abandonment.

Note

The number of clicks depends on the client's implementation.

Possibility of Unintentional Cancelation Existing customers who buy a second subscription in a cancelation product list may want to keep the first subscription, but it will be canceled when the second is purchased. Unintentional cancelation can be eliminated with a well-planned approach.
Reporting and Tracking No relationship is maintained between the original and the new subscription; each is treated as a separate transaction with its own unique subscription ID. The tie between the original and the new subscription is maintained; the subscription ID does not change.

Based on the comparison table above, for most clients the best practice is to use the Subscription API to manage upgrades and downgrades due to:

  • Superior flexibility
  • Optimal customer experience
  • Enhanced tracking and analytics

However, since client business needs vary, clients can use the following lists to select a solution.

Subscription API Required

If any of the following are selected, you must use the Subscription API to handle upgrades and downgrades.

Items in a multi-item subscription will be added and replaced individually.  
Upgrades and downgrades are effective at the next billing interval.  

If a customer purchased subscription product A and subsequently purchases subscription product B, the solution should allow:

  • The replacement of A with B (upgrade or downgrade)
  • The customer to subscribe to both A and B simultaneously
 
Other functions of the Subscription API are required, such as usage billing, quantity changes, and next billing date changes.  

Subscription API Recommended

The more statements selected, the better the Subscription API is likely to work with your upgrade and downgrade needs compared to the Commerce Assistant cancelation product list.

The client's upgrade and downgrade approach might change in the future to include the required functionality described above.  
Upgrade and downgrade transaction revenue and/or transaction volume are a significant part of the client's business.  
Upgrade and downgrade tracking and reporting is important.  

Commerce Assistant Cancelation Product List Viable

The cancelation product list option is viable if all of the following are true.

Customers are subscribed to one subscription product at a time.  
Upgrade and downgrade are effective immediately.  

For More Information

For additional information, guidance, and a personalized recommendation, contact Client Experience.