Subscription commerce, billing and finance company Zuora has partnered with do-it-yourself security surveillance brand, Swann.
The partnership sees Swann leverage Zuora’s relationship business management (RBM) solution, Z-Business, to support the roll out of its new connected device to its consumers.
From humble beginnings making modems in the basement of David Swann’s family home in Melbourne in the late 1980s, Swann now has a presence in over 40 countries and offices in the US, Canada, Australia, UK, Hong Kong, China and Russia. Around 70 per cent of its business is derived from North America.
Two years ago Swann’s management asked themselves a question: how could its security hardware have an edge in a market of consumers suddenly connected to a multitude of remotely operated smart home devices?
Geoffrey Wanless, Swann’s chief technology officer, explains: “We realised the people buying from us aren’t actually looking to buy a camera. What they want is security, a feeling they will be looked after. Our challenge was to develop a more consumer-friendly product, broader in scope but one that would allow us to establish a much closer relationship with our customers, so we could instill that peace of mind.”
Swann set out to move from the box-shifting, single transaction approach of the past to a subscription service that offered a broad range of services. And unlike traditional push services that lock clients in for annual or multi-year contracts, this new offering would be completely flexible, with clients subscribing as and when needed.
“If you look at traditional monitored security services, the prices range anywhere between $40 and $70 per month. It’s a market that has quite a high churn rate, estimated at ten per cent after three years, mainly because perceived value is marginal. If a customer has no burglaries, there’s no contact with the supplier,” says Wanless.
If the consumer only has one touch-point with the supplier – and it happens to be under negative circumstances – it’s difficult to prove the continuous value add of the service. Only by reinventing the way Swann provided value to its consumers could it foster long-term commercial relationships.
Swann set out to scope the technology needed to support its business transformation and the launch of its new connected device. It wasn’t long before it realized Earp’s core capabilities, oriented around one-time commerce and billing models, would not account for recurring subscription commerce and revenue models.
A new technology was sought out for that would focus on acquiring and managing ongoing customer relationships – the lifeblood of the subscription economy.
Swann had several requirements for a recurring revenue-based financial platform. The new solution needed to provide:
- Flexible and dynamic pricing and packaging to drive revenue growth strategies
- Integration of customer-centric data into the Intamac platform and future service apps, to be able to understand its subscribers – what services they’re subscribing to, usage, length of contract
- Unified commerce, billing and finance processes, in a way that puts customer relationships at the centre of its business
- Have blue chip reference customers
After benchmarking numerous systems, Swann selected Zuora’s RBM platform, Z-Business for its ease of use, integration, flexibility and scalability to support Swann’s business and its proven track record for enabling companies around the world to successfully pivot their business to the subscription business model.
Swann has been demonstrating the new subscription-based offerings to major retail clients both in the US and in Australia to an enthusiastic response. The first products will be available on major retail shelves and direct from Swann’s online store by the end of January 2015.
The retail product will consist of a central hub and gateway, to which cameras and sensors can be added. To activate the service, the customer simply has to go onto the Swann website, register the product and create an account. All the information will be captured in Zuora’s RBM platform, Z-Business.
A basic monthly security and monitoring package involving intelligent motion detection, remote camera access and push notifications to a phone will cost consumers approximately $10 per month, depending on options.
“With Zuora, our system will be more sticky. We believe customers will want to interact with their home daily,” Wanless says. He points to applications such as unlocking doors when children come home from school or when tradespeople need access, turning on heating or air conditioning prior to coming home, monitoring electricity usage, or receiving alerts when a window is broken.
“Developing the subscription management skills to handle this model was very important to us. It could be that customers are only paying for monitoring for a couple of days or weeks per month. We expect they will want to stop and start the service. We needed flexibility and that’s what Zuora has given us,” Wanless adds.
“As more and more devices – from appliances to cars – become connected to the internet, device manufacturers are finding that they must pivot to a new business model centered around subscriptions. In this new world, the focus is on delivering an end to end subscription experience to build long term relationships built on trust,” said Greg Cullen, VP ANZ. ” Swann is one of the leaders making this shift and they turned to Zuora because we are the recognized leader in relationship business management.”
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