“We wanted a holistic, end-to-end subscription model. GoCardless has helped make that possible.”

Marc HartogCEO, British Journal of Photography

Key benefits

Total control over Direct Debit, improved visibility of payments, best-in-class checkout experience.


Company name

British Journal of Photography

Services

Monthly photography magazine, photography and creativity awards, exhibitions

Number of employees

25

Number of customers

4,000 monthly subscribers

Previous Direct Debit provider

Dovetail Services Ltd.

Showcasing world-class photography

Founded in 1854, the British Journal of Photography, now owned and managed by 1854 media, has been recording and showcasing brilliant photography from across the globe for over 160 years.

The monthly magazine, which has 4,000 subscribers, and an overall circulation of 6,500, uses its standing within the industry to promote both new and emerging talents, along with established photography professionals.

BJP also runs events and exhibitions, including Portrait of Britain, as well as various awards to give budding photographers a chance to have their work exhibited at renowned art galleries.

A sudden need to change provider

Previously, BJP had used Dovetail Services to manage all aspects of its subscription management, including Direct Debit, but had become increasingly frustrated with the lack of visibility and the difficulty of improving the customer experience. 1854 Media CEO Marc Hartog explains:

Previously, we were unable to provide a good experience for customers. Money would land in our account, but we had no visibility on where it came from, and which payments weren’t coming in on time.”

1854 Media’s urge to change provider was accelerated when Dovetail announced that it would be shutting down entirely at the end of 2017. British Journal of Photography suddenly needed to find a whole suite of subscription management solutions in a very short space of time.

An assured API

1854 brought in Tom Royal from MN Digital Media Ltd to oversee the creation of a new subscription management platform from scratch and he quickly identified GoCardless as the right solution for the Direct Debit piece of the puzzle.

Tom praised GoCardless for its robust API and webhooks, which allowed his team to create and manage Direct Debit customers, mandates and subscriptions quickly and easily.

The API and webhooks were exactly what we needed - they allowed us to build Direct Debit into the 1854 subscription system using the same basic principles as other online payments. Once we saw the API documentation we knew this was a system we could work with.”

As part of a platform that handles everything from account creation and payments to print distribution lists, email and print communications and subscription finance management for 1854 Media, MN Digital Media was able to get GoCardless up and running for BJP in just two weeks.

Building a best-in-class checkout

One of the key aims of the new system, enabled by the custom payment pages available in GoCardless Pro, was to completely redesign the checkout flow for new and renewing customers to maximise sales.

We wanted to make the checkout experience as frictionless as possible - whether the customer is paying by card or Direct Debit - and we were impressed by how we were able to build bespoke Direct Debit signup pages to accomplish that.”

The new subscription sales website is responsive, so customers can subscribe or renew from any device, and can personalise the user journey, by recognising, for example, which country the user has arrived from on its site and offering only the relevant offers.

The only option for Direct Debit

Both Marc and Tom would recommend GoCardless to industry colleagues, with Marc citing its role as an integral part of an end-to-end subscription model. Tom suggested that GoCardless is the only option for businesses in the subscription market:

If you need a modern, API-connected Direct Debit integration, go with GoCardless. It’s as simple as that.”

British Journal of Photography wants to continue to increase the proportion of subscribers using GoCardless for Direct Debit, as it estimates it has a 90% renewal rate for Direct Debit, compared to around 60% for other methods. The improved checkout flow will allow the Journal to continue to incentivise new subscribers to pay by Direct Debit.

The magazine is also enjoying growth in international markets. With GoCardless supported in many of these markets, with further international Direct Debit schemes on the way, BJP has a future-proof Direct Debit solution in place when the time comes.


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