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What is recurring revenue?

What is recurring revenue?


Faye Duncan


22 Apr 2024

Read time

4 Minutes



Are you looking for more stability within your business? Would you like to have predictable revenue? Then understanding recurring revenue is essential to reach your goals. In this blog, we’ll explore the definition of recurring revenue, its models, benefits and challenges so that you can leverage it effectively.

What’s in this article?

  • What’s recurring revenue?
  • Popular recurring revenue models
  • Benefits of recurring revenue
  • Challenges of recurring revenue
  • Recurring revenue FAQs

What’s recurring revenue?

So, what exactly does recurring revenue mean? It refers to the predictable income a business generates at regular intervals from ongoing subscriptions, contracts or memberships. Unlike one-time sales, recurring payments ensure consistent cash flow, fostering long-term financial stability. It’s the essence of subscription-based businesses and an increasingly vital component across multiple industries.

Popular recurring revenue models

To expand on the definition, let’s take a look at some of the most popular types of recurring revenue.

Subscription-based model

Customers pay a regular fee for access to a product or service, such as software, streaming platforms or meal delivery services. Two well-known examples include Netflix and Hello Fresh. Subscription-based models have seen a huge increase over the last few years since Covid-19, with consumers and merchants adapting to the change in the market and payment preferences.

SaaS (Software as a Service)

Users subscribe to cloud-based software on a monthly or yearly basis, accessing updates and support throughout their subscription. SaaS subscriptions are widely used within work environments, such as Microsoft 365 and Salesforce.

Checkout page for a subscription service

Membership model

Memberships can be more than just paying for a service; it can be a community. Customers pay a recurring fee for special perks or exclusive content or access, commonly seen in gyms, online courses or premium content platforms. It’s all about feeling valued and connected, and every time a customer renews, it shows they’re happy with what they’re getting.

Benefits of recurring revenue

There are many advantages of recurring revenue. Let’s take a look at the ones that will benefit your business the most:

  • Predictable cash flow: Recurring revenue provides a steady stream of income, facilitating better financial planning and resource allocation.
  • Customer loyalty and retention: Subscribers often develop long-term relationships with the brand, leading to higher retention rates and reduced churn.
  • Scalability: With a stable revenue base, businesses can focus on growth initiatives, such as expanding offerings, entering new markets or investing in innovation.
  • Valuation and investor confidence: Investors and stakeholders have a higher value for businesses with recurring revenue streams due to their predictability and sustainability.

Challenges of recurring revenue

Like anything to do with business and payments, recurring revenue can come with its challenges too:

  • Customer acquisition costs: Acquiring subscribers initially can be costly, requiring investments in marketing, sales and customer acquisition strategies.
  • Churn management: Minimising churn rates and retaining subscribers is crucial for sustaining recurring revenue models and can be a constant
  • Flexibility and adaptability: Adapting to changing market dynamics, customer preferences and technological advancements is essential to maintain relevance and competitiveness.
  • Tracking revenue: Properly accounting for recurring revenue can be complex, especially with diverse subscription plans and billing cycles.

Recurring revenue FAQs

What’s the difference between monthly recurring revenue and annual recurring revenue?

Monthly recurring revenue (MRR) represents the predictable monthly income from subscriptions, while annual recurring revenue (ARR) reflects the total annual income from subscriptions, often calculated by multiplying MRR by 12. To go into detail, check out our blog on how recurring revenue can grow your business.

How can I track my recurring revenue?

You can track your recurring revenue effectively by:

  • Utilising tools: Invest in specialised software or platforms with an array of recuring revenue tools that streamline subscription management and financial tracking processes.
  • Monitoring key metrics: Keep a close watch on important indicators like monthly revenue from subscriptions and subscriber retention rates to gauge the health of your recurring revenue streams.
  • Listening to your customers: Pay attention to feedback from your understand their needs, preferences, and pain points, fostering stronger relationships and reducing churn.

Recurring revenue is an essential pillar of sustainable business growth. By embracing recurring revenue models, merchants can reap the benefits from enhanced cash flow to improved customer loyalty. However, navigating the complexities of recurring revenue requires diligence, adaptability and a customer-centric approach. By implementing best practices, businesses can thrive in an increasingly subscription-driven economy.

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