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Continuity Programs in Advantage

Did you know that Advantage offers continuity programs for your books and products? A continuity series allows customers to purchase a set of related products that are released to them sequentially over a period of time.  Continuity programs give you the opportunity to periodically remind customers of your brand; the customer gets more exposure to your content and they get to “belong” to a club.  Throw in some premiums and it’s a recipe for happy, loyal customers.

You can set up a continuity program using the Book Club functionality or the Standing Order program.

Here’s how Book Club works. Customers join a club (they become members) by responding to your offers to join, or you can select people and automatically add them.  Alternatively, you directly add them as part of an order (for something else). Book Club enables you to create, run and manage these continuity series.

Continuity series are probably most common with consumer products.  However, there are many applications for them in the business and academic realms as well.  You could easily build a Continuing Professional Education, or Certification type of program around a continuity series.  

Once customers have joined a club (called a product series), Book Club automatically:

  • determines which product or products the customer should receive next 
  • generates orders to fulfill them

Customers respond to these orders by sending payment or returning the product. Their participation records are updated as these responses are received/processed.  You can adjust product offerings and the timing of order generation accordingly to determine the most effective series.

Book Club gives you lots of room to be creative with the offerings--different products, premiums, pre-notifications, timing, pricing--and lots of flexibility in handling customer requests for exceptions.

You set up the customer to receive product at defined increments--every 40 days, for example, or on the 15th of every month. You can even override the timing on a one-off basis for a customer by creating the next Book Club order “now.”

Statistics are maintained as customers move through the product offers at several levels--at the member, series, and sequence levels, for example.  You can analyze the success of the operations through online displays, standard analysis reports, or user-defined reports that you create.

The orders flow through the system and use the same inventoried items that are already sitting in your warehouse.  The Book Club transactions ride along with your normal product business.  

Standing Order works a bit differently.

Say you have a line of products that focus on gardening.  Some of your customers are fanatics on this subject, and they want whatever you publish--“just send me all your new stuff on gardening,” they say.  It’s easy to do with Advantage’s Standing Order.  Standing Order allows you to track these types of requests and generate orders as soon as a new product becomes available.

Standing Order also supports a customer’s involvement with a content stream that is updated periodically.  It allows them to pay for the updates as they are delivered.  This is similar to a print subscription except the customer is not charged up front for a set of future updates (issues), the number of updates in a given period is not known at the start, and there is no expire date.

As with Book Club, you define a product series for each content stream.  Customers join the product series directly or through purchase of an initiating product.  Unlike Book Club, however, customers in a Standing Order product series all receive the same product when a release is generated.

The customer’s participation record is called a "standing order" because their order continues until they tell you to stop--sometimes called a ‘til forbid’ order. The items involved can be any inventory items that you wish to sell and release in series--books, DVDs, periodic updates of insert materials for a binder, digital products, etc.

A Standing Order release will generate orders for the active customers in the Product Series involved.  Before release, you can check each customer’s credit (unpaid orders or unpaid Standing Order balance) with the option of notifying them of any problems--or suspending their Standing Order participation.

Standing Order also includes numerous specialized features such as:

  • catching up new customers
  • handling out-of-stock situations
  • auto-renewal chains (e.g., automatically move the customer to a different Standing Order series when the current one is finished)
  • Standing Order transaction history
  • varying a customer’s order

Your friendly ACS representative would be happy to tell you more about these modules.  Please contact your account manager today to find out how you can create another revenue stream with Book Club or Standing Order.

Filed under: Featured, Homepage-News, Software

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