It's not always easy to sell digital products and services globally. Sometimes you get stuck dealing with international fees, while other times you find out that some customers aren't able to pay in their own currencies. FastSpring works to change all that, seeing as how it provides a full-stack ecommerce platform with subscription support and a wide range of currencies and languages. In this FastSpring review, you'll learn about the best features, plans, and how FastSpring helps you out with its world-class customer support.
From recurring billing to a global digital selling module, FastSpring seems to have far more available for connecting with customers than the average payment processor or digital sales platform.
Not only that, but the plans are meant to keep pricing low for all sellers while still boosting your sales and expanding your reach around the globe.
If this sounds interesting to you, keep reading to learn our in-depth FastSpring review.
An Introduction to FastSpring
FastSpring markets itself as an “eCommerce partner” that helps businesses to sell more and connect with their target audience.
In a world where it's becoming increasingly difficult to stand out among millions of other digital companies, FastSpring helps people from all backgrounds to compete in the marketplace. The business built it's product around the growing need for a full-service eCommerce solution, which reduces costs, improves performance, and eliminates complexity from digital selling.
According to FastSpring, it's product allows businesses to sell software across the globe with a unified branded experience that combines an easy-to-use backend with an attractive storefront.
One particularly compelling aspect of FastSpring, is that despite its wide range of features, it still allows companies to stay lean when they're building out their eCommerce strategies. The FastSpring full-service eCommerce solution offers things like an optimized checkout experience, pricing and language features, localized currency and global payment strategies too.
- Easy access to the latest tools and innovations in the global eCommerce market, so you can have a more convenient experience when you're connecting with customers online.
- Reduced risk: Everything is done for you when you sign up to FastSpring. You can access global sales tax information, security services and regulation strategies ranging from GDPR to PCI DSS.
- Simple online payments: It's easier to convince customers to buy your products when they don't have to struggle with a complex payment process. FastSpring offers support for more than 15 different popular payment strategies, including PayPal and Mastercard
- Set up subscriptions: More than just a one-off purchase? No problem, with Fast Spring you can manage all aspects of the subscription selling model with solutions that are adaptable, a recurring billing schedule, and more.
- Branded checkout: Personalize the checkout experience with something unique to your brand. You can brand your shopping experience from start to finish.
- Global taxes and financial support: Make sure that you're ready to expand across a global landscape with plenty of features for your online store, including reporting and tax collection.
- Risk management: Keep chargebacks and other selling issues to a minimum with the advanced 15-factor fraud detection algorithm available only from FastSpring. You'll be able to stay up to date with all the latest compliance regulations, too, including GDPR and PCI DSS.
- Integrations: Expand your full-service eCommerce strategy with a range of seamless integrations into immersive third-party solutions like Google Analytics and WordPress.
What's Included in the FastSpring Plans?
Up until recently, choosing the perfect package for your FastSpring experience was simple enough. The company offered a selection of three plans to choose from, ranging from “Pay as You Grow,” with low competitive rates for beginners, to “Enterprise.”
Now, in an attempt to keep up with the evolving eCommerce market, FastSpring has changed tactics, offering a brand-new pricing structure. If you want to get a price for your service, you need to apply for a quote:
On the one hand, this means that FastSpring can provide a more customized and tailor-made pricing package for each of its customers. However, on the other hand, this change of tactics is sure to scare away some businesses who prefer to see exactly how much they need to pay for their software up-front.
While FastSpring still says that it will help companies to increase its global revenue by up to 30% or more, the fact that you need to contact the company for a quote makes the whole experience feel a bit riskier – particularly for smaller companies.
On the plus side, if you're feeling unsure, you can still take FastSpring for a test run before you request a price with their free full-service trial instead.
FastSpring Review: Standout Services and Products
On the surface, you might see FastSpring as yet another recurring billing platform or just another way to accept payments online. That's not the case.
Yes, recurring billing is supported, but it's more about giving your buyers the opportunity to pay in different currencies and alternative payment methods. You'll also find some other exceptional tools for things like global tax management and compliance.
So, what are some of the elements that truly stand out with FastSpring?
Full-service Subscriptions for Software
If your company sells web-based applications, software services, or desktop subscription products, FastSpring takes over by getting you up and running quickly with the payment gateway and payment options of your choice.
These services work well for small businesses and large corporations, seeing as how the entire system is built to increase your sales. For instance, the dunning management tool sends reminder notifications to people about past due accounts. It also sends out account summaries, collection reminders, renewal notices and more.
One of the reasons I really enjoy FastSpring for subscriptions is because of the pricing flexibility. So, if you have some loyal customers, you have the option to give them tiered pricing, upgrades, or add-ons.
Finally, the FastSpring recurring billing module caters to companies running promotions, with a promotion generator for flash sales, special deals, and more. If you'd like to make a rebate or a coupon, that's all possible with FastSpring.
Flexible Recurring Billing With Numerous Payment Methods, Gateways, Languages, and Currencies
It doesn't matter which plan you choose from FastSpring–each supports 19 currencies, 17 payment methods, 25 languages, and localized checkouts.
The reason recurring billing is so appealing is that it increases both customer conversions and lifetime value. Unfortunately, many of the recurring billing solutions out there don't support as wide a range of payment methods like PayPal. Since PayPal doesn't expire its recurring subscriptions, you're missing out on a huge revenue opportunity.
FastSpring, on the other hand, has support for PayPal, along with all major credit cards. The payments are also localized, so your customers make payments in their own currencies, from the Japanese Yen to the Swiss Franc.
This opens up all sorts of cash flow avenues for your business, and the fact that it's recurring expands the amount of time that these customers are paying you.
Back Office Automation and Outsourcing
Tasks like billing, order processing, and VAT filings get rather tedious when your volume starts to increase. Luckily, FastSpring manages every aspect of your back office, so you can stay secure and compliant throughout the year.
There's no extra cost for this service. So you can focus on growing your revenue and not dealing with tax collection or compliance in foreign countries.
The global tax compliance and management is completed by FastSpring, so all of the payments are made on your behalf, including in the US and EU. What's more is that the extensive FastSpring reports and analytics give you a full view of what's going on in the back office. You understand how much money is coming in and how much went out for things like taxes and compliance fees.
It's also worth noting that FastSpring has the lowest chargeback rates in the industry. The reason for this is because it has a strict account acceptance policy for detecting fraud and stopping chargebacks from happening in the first place.
With this type of automation, it's tough to argue why you wouldn't go with FastSpring. Even if you're testing the waters with a product or service idea and need to keep costs extremely low you can start with their “Pay as you grow” plan.
Speaking of plans…
What's Included in the FastSpring Plans?
FastSpring makes it clear that it tries to keep pricing as low as possible, yet the cost is very much aligned with the value you receive from the platform. Also, FastSpring wants to see your business succeed, so the fees are kept low and you gain access to some powerful tools and excellent customer support, regardless of the plan you go with.
As for the FastSpring plans, you can choose from three options:
- Pay As You Grow – This plan has low competitive rates where your organisation pays per transaction. You can cancel any time, making it the most flexible plan for companies just getting started. The Pay As You Grow plan gets you launched to start selling in minutes, and it provides standard ecommerce services. Along with global currencies and payment methods, this plan looks solid for startups and those testing the waters with FastSpring.
- Business Plan – Here's an excellent plan for established businesses that need subscription tools and some other premium services. The Business Plan still has low monthly fees instead of the transactional payments, and you still receive all of the services and tools from the previous plan. Some other benefits include subscription management capabilities, affiliate network and marketing extensions, APIs, and Webhooks.
- Enterprise – For this plan, you need to contact FastSpring to figure out custom pricing for your own organization. Enterprise customers should have more than $2 million in annual sales. Tiered volume discounts are available as you grow. You can expect all of the features from the previous plans, with some additional services like user experience customization, dedicated onboarding, and ERP, CRM, and legacy integrations. Several additional enterprise services are provided as well.
For the Pay As You Grow and Business Plans you can configure an account right from the FastSpring website. The Enterprise plan requires you to contact the sales team.
As you may have noticed already, one of the main benefits of the FastSpring system is how globalized the payment solution actually is. That's why each pricing plan supports the following:
- 19 currencies.
- 17 payment methods.
- 25 languages.
- Localized checkouts.
- Disputes and chargebacks.
- Navigation of international fees.
- Seller support.
- Buyer support.
Since FastSpring is a full digital commerce platform, there's no need to outsource your payment system. It's all done for you through FastSpring. Not only that, but because of the large volume going through the FastSpring platform, you're given access to lower costs and bulk discounts.
FastSpring Review: How's the Customer Support?
The customer support is one of the primary reasons FastSpring stands out as a full service ecommerce solution. Buyer and seller support is provided for all plans, and the Enterprise customers walk through an onboarding process during launch.
Developers are given access to API documentation and advanced developer tools for making integrations and building your payment system based on your current platforms. The documentation has a setup checklist, a full dashboard, and multiple integration options. You can also find examples on Github.
In addition to all of that, FastSpring offers a free, secure cloud file hosting solution, with downloadable file support for up to 5TB each.
The independent monitoring is quite impressive as well, seeing as how FastSpring partners with third-party monitoring services to get a better look at how the system is running. FastSpring is also fully secure and reliable, with PCI compliance and 256-bit encryption.
As for online resources for non-developers, FastSpring provides a wonderful Resources page. This page includes webinars, videos, and tutorials, along with eBook downloads, reports, and infographics.
This makes for a highly visual learning experience, since most of the time you'll be looking at an infographic of watching a video instead of reading an article. Oh yeah, and there's also a blog with plenty of company updates and tutorials.
The FAQ is broken down into several categories for merchants to peruse. If you'd like to chat with someone directly, a toll-free phone number is provided for the Santa Barbara corporate headquarters. If you'd like the direct seller, buyer, or developer support, each of these categories has its own email support area.
After This FastSpring Review, Who Should Consider it as a Payment Solution?
Quite a bit of automation is included in the FastSpring ecommerce platform. Its support for global payment is unparalleled, and the recurring payments pack in more features than you can think to use.
Along with the automation of tasks like tax filings and compliance fees, FastSpring sets you up for a successful, and headache-free payment processing journey.
If you have any questions about this FastSpring review, let us know in the comments below.
Comments 2 Responses
I have been a customer with FasSpring for years but now I wouldn’t recommend them to anyone. Can’t speak to anyone and have had YEARS of problems with customer service – used to be good but not anymore. We are looking for alternatives. If FS reads this please contact me.
Sorry to hear about that Paul. I hope you managed to solve the problem.