Volusion experts Virtina takes Volusion subscriptions to the next level – Automating 5 payment workflows
Virtina’s expert team of Volusion developers has recently automated five subscription workflows for the leading financial software development company, Treasury Software’s Volusion based subscription business platform. The automated five subscription workflow makes the operations 10x efficient and cost-effective. Virtina achieved this milestone despite limited control over the server side code and closed architecture of SaaS platforms, like Volusion.
Treasury Software Corp. is a subscription-based SaaS (software as a Service) financial software development company, providing cash management and electronic payment solutions in the United States. It provides services for ACH[N1] file creation for electronic funds transfers, anti-fraud software for positive pay and high-speed matching and reconciliation engines for bank reconciliation.
Virtina is a leading US-based eCommerce solution provider, focused on designing, developing, supporting, and marketing online stores across the globe. It is one of the very few certified experts for Volusion, a top-tier eCommerce software Company and a Service (SaaS) platform, which is headquartered in Austin, Texas with over 40,000 stores on its platforms.
“In a SaaS platform, the degree of challenges involved in automation highly depends on the number of APIs available. Volusion’s limited APIs throws us a big challenge. Additionally, unlike other SaaS platforms, Volusion does not offer a way to create plugins or apps or extensions. This further increases the challenge for automation and integration other systems with Volusion,” quotes Virtina’s CTO, Gigi J.K.
Unlike open source eCommerce platform like- WooCommerce, Magento or Prestashop; SaaS platforms do not allow developers to easily make changes and adapt to online retailers’ business processes. In many cases, to create a solution that is robust, complete, and efficient for an organization using the provided APIs, are simply not enough.
In this case study, we will see how Virtina’s Volusion experts have overcome the limitations of Volusion’s subscriptions and augmented with additional features to give better user experience for Treasury Software’s clients and its internal team. We will also see how Virtina team created middleware to
(a) Compensate for the lack of access to the server side the SaaS platforms
(b) Act as logging, monitoring and notification hub for business processes
(c) Provide admin functionalities for managing the settings and custom email templates
(d) Provide redundant features to initiate automated processes, in case of failures
Below mentioned are the 5 challenges in Treasury Software’s business processes to which Viritna team found solutions – to improve efficiency, reduce operational costs, and give Treasury Software client’s a better user experience.
Challenge One: Treasury Software provides its services on a subscription basis leveraging Volusion’s subscription features. Even though Volusion is a secure PCI compliant eCommerce platform to store credit cards for subscriptions, it does not offer a way to notify subscribers or store owners of an upcoming credit card expiry before the monthly processing date of the stored credit cards.
Notifying subscribers of the upcoming expiry dates of their credit cards proactively avoids unexpected service interruptions and associated user frustrations. This feature allowed the store owner, Treasury Software to reduce customer support calls, resulting in the increase in operational efficiencies and reduction in operations cost.
Solution: Virtina team created a scheduled task in the middleware to pull active subscribers calling Volusion APIs. However, the data provided by Volusion customer API does not have credit card expiry dates. The team created scraping process to retrieve the expiry date from the admin interface for each active customer record found in the API results. If any customer record has an expiry date in the upcoming month, the middleware[N2] notifies the subscriber and the store owner by multiple emails over a number of days. The whole process is set to run well in advance on specific number of days and starts off prior to the first date of every month.
The number of notification emails and the content of the email itself can be managed by the store admin in the middleware, on these specific numbers of days. Additionally, Virtina team developed two reports: i) to view all upcoming subscriptions with an upcoming expiry and ii) report for all subscribers, who have been notified of their upcoming credit card expiry. All reports are exportable to CSV or excel. Admin can also trigger a manual notification email by the click of a button to one or more subscribers.
Challenge Two: Some of the software components provided by Treasury Software requires an active License key. The algorithm to generate a new license key is provided by a proprietary software created by Treasury Software . Every time there is a new subscription; the store admin manually enters the key data required by the licensing algorithm. The licensing key generated by the algorithm was emailed to the customer manually by the admin.
Automating the whole process eliminates the time lag between a new subscription request by a customer and then receiving their license. This automation with Volusion also reduces the work needed for provisioning of new accounts for the Volusion store owner.
Solution: As a first step, Virtina team encapsulated the licensing algorithm in an API and exposed the API endpoint on Treasury Software’s servers securely. Then, the Virtina team integrated Volusion’s customer product and order APIs with the new license generation module API. APIs on both sides were tied together in a custom middleware API. On successful orders, this custom API was called from the ‘Order Thank You Page’ of Volusion. The custom API called Volusion’s customer products, and order APIs extracted the data needed for the licensing API.
The resulting license code is stored in the middleware and send to the customer by email instantly. A log of all license activations is recorded for logging and reporting purposes. As a failover mechanism, another middleware function was added to the Treasury Software admin to “replay” the whole process for any customers, by simply clicking a button. Exceptions are cleanly handled in the event of failure or erroneous order placement.
Challenge Three: Every time Volusion processes a subscription, it sends a receipt automatically. However, some of the customers of Treasury Software did not want to clutter their inbox every month. Treasury Software needed a solution to control Volusion’s default behavior and give an exact user experience expected by their customers.
Solution: Virtina team solved this problem by turning off Volusions’ default email receipts function. The team created a middleware function where the Volusion store owner could select the customers, who have opted to receive email receipts. Subsequently, an automated process was created to send receipts from the middleware on a particular date of the month, which was selected by the admin. Similar to the previous features, functions to report, failover, log, and customize email were given to Treasury Software administrators.
Challenge Four: In a subscription scenario, it is common for stored credit cards to become invalid over a period of time for various reasons such as – address change, cancelled credit cards, insufficient limits; etc. Treasury Software wanted a way to notify the credit card customers with the exact reason for the failure to process and guide them to the evolution account page, where they could update their credit card information.
Solution: Team of Volusion experts from Virtina developers created a middleware function to pull the subscription processing data from Volusion APIs and combine with data from the credit card processor. The resulting data was then merged with an admin managed middleware lookup table to retrieve failure descriptions. The whole function was set to run on a particular date of the month as scheduled by the store admin. Also, this run date could be controlled by the store admin. Once executed, the middleware sends emails to subscribers, who have their credit cards failed automatically. This email contained a link for recipients to click and login to their Volusion account, and further update their credit card information.
Once again Treasury Software wanted to serve their customers better by giving the right information, requesting them to take the right action timely while achieving the efficiencies and reducing the operational costs. Virtina’s Volusion expert developers went beyond Volusíons’ limitations and delivered a solution that fits client’s exact needs.
Challenge Five[N3] : Volusion Subscription form requires the user to check a checkbox labeled “allow future payments”. This checkbox is not checked by default. Often customers may not pay attention and try to submit the form without checking this checkbox.
Treasury Software wanted to make the user think and click less to not give a fluid user experience but also to increase their conversion rates.
Solution: Virtina’s expert Volusion developers implemented a script to automate turning on of the checkbox for future payments and set it as ‘checked’ by default. This function turns on customer subscription automatically.