Case Study: Automating Subscription Orders at MonthlyClubs With Rolands Popovs
June 25, 2020
In this blog, we are introducing you to the MonthlyClubs case study, as implemented by our partner Scandiweb. We talked with Rolands Popovs, project manager at Scandiweb. Together we dove into the challenges MonthlyClubs had and the benefits they now have, using Marello for their digital operations.
This article is based on the webinar Scandiweb and Marello organized together, which can be found at the bottom of this post!
MonthlyClubs offers selected club subscriptions for beer, wine, cheese, chocolate, cigars, and flowers in the USA. Customers can choose to receive a selection of one of these product categories, or a mix of these product categories, on a regular basis. This means that MonthlyClubs is dealing with complex subscription order management operations such as payments, fulfillment, and custom orders.
Rolands: “We had previously worked on a migration from Magento 1 to Magento 2, in order to update their front-end experience. Now MonthlyClubs wanted to also upgrade their back-end processes.”
Understanding the Order Process in Subscription Management
To understand why a new solution was needed at MonthlyClubs, it is important to understand how their order process works. As MonthlyClubs sells its products based on subscriptions, their order process includes a few interesting details.
Step 1 – Order Placement: At Monthlyclubs an order can be placed in the Magento webshop, as well as by calling customer service.
Step 2 – Payments: The client has an option to choose whether they want to pay monthly, or if they want to pay upfront for their subscription.
Rolands: “If they pay monthly, we have to keep track of their subscription and reissue invoices and payments.”
Step 3 – Order Customizations: Before the specific month shipment is sent out, customers have the option to make customizations to their orders.
Rolands: “MonthlyClubs differs from other subscription services as their customers can change their subscription orders. This means that if a shipment contains a product that the customer does not want, MonthlyClubs needs to be technically capable of changing that particular shipment accordingly.”
Step 4 – Order Allocation: As soon as the orders are complete, the orders are allocated to the warehouse. This means that all orders are ready for fulfillment. However, a packing slip does need to be created to allow for the right products to end up in the subscription boxes.
Steps 5 and 6: Packing Slips: Rolands: “Monthly paying customers are charged before their orders are shipped. After a successful payment, multiple shipments for each Club are merged within specific packing slips. Those packing slips are then sent to corresponding fulfillment centers.”
Step 7 – Customer Data Change: Marello makes sure that MonthlyClubs can apply to all privacy rules.
Rolands: “Of course, during the process clients can request their customer data to be changed. This includes credit card details, shipping addresses, email addresses, and so on.”
Step 8: Cancellations / Refunds: Rolands: “Finally, there is also an option to cancel a subscription in which the remaining and already paid amount has to be refunded.”
The situation at MonthlyClubs before Marello
Let’s take a look at how orders were managed before MonthlyClubs decided to start using Marello.
Manual Imports and Exports
Every step of the order process that we described had to be done manually. When an order came in from Magento 2, orders, payments, packing slips and even changes in the orders had to be managed by hand.
Rolands: “When an order was placed in the OMS by a customer service employee, or when an order was placed in Magento, it had to be manually exported and then imported into another system to be further processed. There was no auto-sync between these systems. Also, there was no standard process flow for order customizations, which resulted in different order structures, different data, and also allowed for human error.“
Having no sync between the systems also meant that customers who placed an order could not actually track it. For Magento orders, only the order itself would be visible. For orders placed by phone, no insight into the orders was possible.
The benefits of Order Management with Marello
One of the most important parts of this project was to sync data between Magento 2 and Marello.
Rolands: “We wanted to have synchronization between Magento 2 and Marello so that there was no longer a need for manual exports or imports. This means that now all data that is in Marello is also available in Magento 2, and vice-versa. This means fewer manual errors. On top of that, customers have insight into their orders, and customer service can see all orders that belong to their clients”.
After migrating to Marello, customers can still place the order in two ways. They can either use the Magento website, or they can contact MonthlyClubs directly. In the second scenario, an employee places the order directly into Marello. When that is done, the order is automatically synced to the other system.
Rolands: “So if the order is placed on the website, it is automatically synced to Marello and, if it is placed in Marello, then it is automatically synced to Magento. This means that, when an order is placed in Marello by a new customer, a customer account is created in Magento. This way the customer can follow up on their orders, personal data, and coupons”.
Automated Order Flows
Of course, after the data synchronization, it was very important that all order operations were automated. Whenever an order comes in, the order needs to follow various steps before it is sent out to the customer. This includes shipping, order traceability, and other custom parts of the order workflow.
Rolands: “Within Marello, the order is split in monthly shipments automatically”.
As monthly payments are part of the subscription strategy, it is of great importance that payments are checked before the products are sent out.
Rolands: “Checking payments took a lot of time. Therefore, implementing an automated solution was very important. Credit cards can now be validated through an integration with Autorize.net. Clients are also informed to renew their credit card details in case they are no longer valid. This saves customer service time, as they don’t have to call clients every time there is an invalid payment. If they do not pay for a longer period of time, customer service can step in and resolve the problem”.
Pick and Pack
When orders are complete, packing slips are created and sent out to fulfillment centers.
Rolands: “Packing slips are also automatically created by Marello. They are sent to the fulfillment center’s Google Drive directly, so no more manual emails are sent”.
Changes to Orders
Rolands: “We also allow customers to change their credit card and shipping details for ongoing subscriptions. Changes are automatically synced between Magento 2 and Marello. Changes also happen if customers call MonthlyClubs customer service, in which case the changes are made on their customer account within Marello. Then the changes are also reflected in Magento when customers view their orders”.
Next to changes in the customer account, Scandiweb has also implemented a standard one-click process for order cancellation and refunding. This way, all customer service employees do it the same way, removing the possibility for human error. As a bonus, customer service can also add notes to customer accounts and orders to centralize and unify all known information.
Reporting is very important in measuring sales results and developing new sales strategies.
Rolands: “It was very important to migrate all the customers and ordered orders to Marello. Our goal was to create these reports and allow MonthlyClubs to generate them on-demand”.
Want to know more?
This concludes the MonthlyClubs case. If you would like to know more, feel free to download the full presentation, or rewatch the webinar here.
Also, if you have any questions about the project, or if you would like to know more about his case, please do not hesitate to reach out.