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Zuora updates its platform with ‘unified monetization’

  • The new tool lets merchants package a one-time purchase and a recurring purchase within a single offering.
  • Unified monetization could help Zuora appeal to companies that rely mostly on one-time purchases for their revenue stream, but could see subscription offerings as a way to expand.
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Zuora updates its platform with ‘unified monetization’

Zuora is a subscription software company that enables businesses to launch and manage their own subscription services. 

Zuora became a unicorn back in 2018 and has continued to grow since. For its fiscal 2021 Q4 earnings report, the company reported a total revenue increase of 13% year over year. Its subscription revenue, meanwhile, reached $65 million, increasing by 19% since last year.

Zuroa has some pretty big-name merchants using its platform, as well -- including Zoom, Schibsted, Ford, S&P Global, Schneider Electric, and Zendesk, among others.

Zuora’s services surround tracking, managing, and enabling subscription services:

  • Billing allows merchants to price and package plans in recurring, one-time, or use-based pricing models. They can also automate the revenue recognition process, and make sure the data complies with audit requirements.
  • Collect encompasses Zuroa’s payment collection software to support different payment gateways, as well as AI technology that analyzes transaction characteristics and finds the best retry schedule for each customer, and a payment method updater that helps prevent card failures.
  • Zuora’s central platform allows for integration with existing infrastructure, and is designed to be malleable to fit specific challenges or opportunities unique to the merchant. Real-time analytic tools are also included on the platform.
  • Zuora Revenue automates and manages the revenue cycle in line with compliance requirements. It also provides real-time insights into trends and revenue sources.

Adding a unified monetization solution 

A couple of weeks ago Zuora launched its new unified monetization solution as part of its billing services.

The tool allows companies to monetize one-time purchases together with subscription based products.

The company describes the new tool as ‘anything-as-a-service’. Examples the company gives for how this product would look in action include:

  • Unifying video streaming with live event tickets through content-as-a-service
  • Combining electric car purchase with electric vehicle charging services through mobility-as-a service
  • Offering virtual meeting licenses together with web camera and installation services through telecommunications -as-a-service  

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As the subscription economy expands, unified monetization could help Zuora appeal to a new merchant base

Subscription business revenue has grown by 437% in under a decade, according to a survey by Zuora. The subscription business revenue is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 68%, during the forecast period 2019-2025, according to a report by WiseGuy Research Consultants.

And Zuora is not a lone wolf in subscription services. 

Recharge serves 15,000 merchants and enables subscriptions for 35 million customers. Last year, the company saw 91% growth in merchant subscribers and revenue growth of 136%. During its series B funding, it raised $227 million. The startup is now valued at $2.1 billion.

Meanwhile, other companies are tapping into the game without subscription being their primary definer. Stripe, PayPal and Square, as examples, offer subscription payments as an option on their payments menu, in addition to other things.

Products like Zuora’s unified monetization solution could appeal to new types of merchants -- the ones that rely heavily on their one-time purchases, but could potentially be interested in adopting subscription services to gain a new revenue stream. 

“Now, product-centric organizations can protect the infrastructure investments they’ve already made and use these products as a conduit for new services,”  said Sri Srinivasan, Zuora’s chief product and engineering officer. “Subscription natives can also expand their services to enhance their ongoing customer relationships, such as with hardware or professional services options.”

What’s next for Zuora

On May 25, Zuora acquired the property assets of Live Objects, a platform that helps companies understand complicated business processes through the use of AI.

According to Srinivasan, the acquisition is part of the company’s future plan to leverage AI to improve and customize services to fit different companies’ unique needs.

Zuora also has goals to improve its central platform to make it more scalable and malleable -- specifically for companies just dipping into the subscription services.

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