Billing + Fulfillment Terminology and Best Practices (Part 1/3)

The operational lifecycle of a subscription business can be extremely complicated: renewal dates, cut-off dates, and sales windows must all come together to ensure that your subscription business runs smoothly.

These day-to-day processes are a lot less sexy than growth marketing or product curation, but they are essential to your subscriber experience and an efficient operation. Making your subscribers’ experience as seamless as possible will go a long way in creating a following of happy, loyal customers, which will ultimately grow your business.

Cratejoy hosts thousands of merchants, each with their own specific operational needs. Years of working with these unique subscription businesses have helped us determine the ideal operational dates for the majority of our merchants. Below, we reveal the scheduling secrets that will make your life easier and your subscribers happier. This post is part one of three fulfillment-related posts, so be sure to stay tuned for the rest!

It’s All About the Dates

Cratejoy shipping and renewal defaults.
Cratejoy shipping and renewal defaults.

Recommended Renewal Date: 11th of the month!

Let’s face it: subscriptions are generally considered a luxury purchase, not an essential one. It makes sense that if money is tight, the box is the first bill to drop. Setting your renewal date for the 11th does two things: not only does it hit around mid-month payday, but – more importantly – it allows you to stop taking orders at the end of the previous month. It’s easier on your subscribers to remember that if they order in one month, they’ll receive their first box in the next month.

Recommended Cut-off Date: Last day of the month!

As a subscriber, ordering your custom, or currently advertised, box by the last day of the month in order to receive that particular box is more than easy, it’s just intuitive.

Pro tip: Renewal and Cutoff dates determine the windows in which your business operates from both a sales and a shipping perspective. Make sure you’re thinking about your customers’ needs as well as your own!

Sales Windows & Shipment Batches

Establishing Your Sales Window

Since your cut-off date for orders is always the last day of a given month (see above), your sales for each batch of shipments will take place within the finite timeframe of a calendar month.

Shipment Batches on Cratejoy

Previous, Current, and Next. Shipments on Cratejoy are batched according to the sales window in which the transaction occurred. Here’s how to define them:

Previous: The batch that you’ve already shipped. Good Job!

Current: The batch that should be shipped no later than the 4th of the current month. Get to work!

Next: The batch that you’re selling right now. Yay, money!

For your subscribers, this means that if they purchase in the month of October, they receive their first shipment in November. Simple enough. For merchants, this means a clearly defined window in which to sell subscriptions for the upcoming shipment. So rather than splitting between x day of this month to y day of that month, you always have a clear unit of time when sales are taking place.

Need Something Different?

Because we’ve found that this operational structure works for the vast majority of our merchants no matter how you choose to fulfill, we’ve made it our platform’s default option. When setting up your billing/shipping schedule on the subscription product set-up, you’ll notice this exact schedule.

If you need a different schedule specifically for your business, Cratejoy is happy to help. We do not, however, recommend making any changes lightly; this should be done only when absolutely vital to the success of your business.


About Josh Hudson

Josh is the Merchant Success Specialist at Cratejoy. If you've set up a Cratejoy account, you've probably seen a phone call request from him, especially if you've changed the shipping and renewal defaults.

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