Some businesses offer freemium or free trial plans as a way of letting prospective customers try out their products and services before purchasing. Free trials are a great way to attract new customers with the intention of upgrading such customers to a paid plan. Free trials can be time-limited, good for a certain duration of time, or they can be endless and never expire.
Free trials can be administered outside of Zuora or within Zuora:
Zuora offers multiple ways to offer free trials. The following sections provide examples of free trial options.
The customer has a free trial to a basic version of the product which has a limited set of features and functionality. The free trial does not have an expiration date, and the customer can upgrade to a paid product at any time to access additional feaures and functionality. If they do not upgrade, they can continue to use the free trial version until otherwise notified by the service provider.
Zuora recommends administering endless free trials (non-paying customers) outside of Zuora. When the customer decides to upgrade to a paid plan, you can create the paid subscription in Zuora and manage all billing and payments in Zuora. Endless free trials tracked in Zuora still require a subscription to be created for a $0 amount. These subscriptions also get picked up in billing runs and $0 invoices are generated. If you have a high volume of free trial subscriptions, you will be processing a lot of data and generating bills without any revenue. Thus, managing non paying customers in Zuora does have an impact on your billing operations - bill runs will take longer and you will need to sort out your reports to segment data for free trial versus paid customers.
The customer has a 30 day free trial for a basic product and after 30 days, the customer is notified their trial is expiring and given the option to to sign on for a paid plan (for the same version of the product they were using or a premium version) in order to continue using the product. If the customer does not sign up for a paid plan, their access to the product is disabled.
The customer has a 30-day free trial for a basic product and after 30 days, customer is automatically converted to a paid plan.
When a customer signs up for a paid subscription, you can offer them the option to be billed on a monthly, quarterly, semi-annual, or annual period. Or, you can define a customer period such as every 13 months.
When creating a free trial subscription, you must consider how to use subscription dates and charge model types.
To support free trials in Zuora, we recommend using at least two of the three subscription (billing) trigger dates. Zuora provides three different dates to give you flexibility and control over when your subscription charges to begin billing.
For example, the Contract Effective Date can be the date the free trial begins and the Service Activation Date is when the customer begins paying for the product. In this case, a customer who signs up on January 1, 2011 for a 30-day free trial will have a contract effective date of January 1, 2011 and a Service Activation date of January 31, 2011 (the day after the 30 day free trial ends). On January 31, 2011, the customer is converted to a paid product and are immediately invoiced and charged for payment.
When you create a subscription for your free trial, you will add products and charges to the subscription. The free trial product can be created using a flat fee charge model with a flat fee amount of $0. Alternatively, you can use a discount charge model to display the regular charge amount and a corresponding discount amount.
For example: charge is $10 and discount is ($10), total amount = $0 = free trial. Whether you use flat fee charge model or discount charge model depends on your business rules and whether you want to show the customer the list price for the product in which they are getting for free during the trial period. The discount charge model allows you to control the duration of the discount, making it very easy to set a discount to expire after a specified period, for example, after one month, two months.
The following three examples demonstrate how you can create free trial offers.
The customer has a 14 day free trial for the Bronze product package starting on January 1, 2011. After 14 days, the customer is automatically converted to a paid subscription for the same product billed on a monthly basis. At any time, the customer can choose to upgrade to either the Silver or Gold package.
The customer has a one month free trial for a Bronze product package, starting on January 1, 2019. After one month, the customer is automatically converted to a paid subscription for the same product, billed monthly. At any time, the customer can choose to upgrade to the Silver or Gold package.
The customer has a one month free trial for the Bronze product package starting on January 1, 2019. After one month, the customer's free trial subscription term, which sets to one month, expires. Customer can renew the subscription for another 12 month subscription on a paid plan and customer chooses to renew with an upgrade to the Gold plan.
All amendments will have a contract effective date and service activate date of February 1, 2019. This is the date the paid plan begins.
After you made the subscription amendments, subscriptions detail screen shows three amendments.