Founded in 1960, Jeune Afrique is the most widely read French-language pan-African monthly news magazine. It has a massive reader base across 54 African countries for its political, economic, social, and cultural news coverage.
The Jeune Afrique group aims to have 100,000 digital subscribers by 2025. To achieve this significant milestone, their team has embraced digital transformation, adopting a modern tech stack, and also experiments and constantly innovates to meet the ever-evolving readers' preferences while improving operational efficiency.
Jeune Afrique was managing subscriptions using WooCommerce till 2020. Over the years, they built several layers of the tech stack in-house, such as the billing logic for its B2B customers, authenticating users, and subscription reports.
"On one side, we were expanding to new geographies — requiring us to deal with new currencies, languages, and payment methods. And on the other side, our WooCommerce-led subscription stack wasn't scaling. We knew we had to modernize our tech stack to provide an outstanding subscription experience to our readers worldwide," said Julien Hédoux, Chief Technology Officer, Jeune Afrique Media Group.
Julien’s team wanted a subscription management solution that could:
Allow them to scale to new markets and business models without much development effort
Offer a unified experience to their B2B and B2C customers and handle onboarding and post-purchase workflows for both models
Help them stay agile and adaptive to the evolving readers’ preferences in terms of payment modes and purchase experience
After thoroughly evaluating other solutions in the market like Recurly, Zuora, and Chargify, Julien’s team decided to go ahead with Chargebee as the one-stop solution for all their subscription business management needs. Chargebee stood out for them because of its robust APIs, out-of-the-box subscription reports, and the mature ecosystem it offers to manage B2B and B2C subscription workflows.
Here’s how Jeune Afrique streamlined its end-to-end subscription billing and operations with Chargebee:
Growing across borders: Jeune Afrique unlocked faster global expansion with Chargebee’s out-of-the-box support for multiple currencies, languages, and taxes. Localizing product prices in different currencies helped them attract new customers from different regions. The consolidated revenue and VAT reports offered in EUR, their base currency, offered real-time visibility on the business health and helped manage taxes in one place.
Simplifying invoicing and payments: For B2B customers with multiple business entities, Julien’s team set up parent-child relationships using Account Hierarchy in Chargebee. This helped them define which entity receives the invoice and which entity processes the payment.
Offering multiple payment methods: Being a digital publishing firm, Jeune Afrique understood the importance of frictionless checkout and flexible payment methods, and that these can be huge differentiators when the readers’ decision to subscribe or skip is often made in seconds. They currently accept payments via cards, PayPal, SEPA Direct Debit, and wire transfers and plan to add more localized payment methods in the future.
Gaining insights on customer lifecycle: With over 150 subscription metrics natively available in Chargebee, Julien’s team gets a detailed and real-time overview of the subscriber journey with KPIs around churn rate, MRR, trial conversions, and upselling opportunities.
Integrating with back-end systems: All key subscription events such as the successful purchase of paywalled content, plan changes, and renewals are communicated between Chargebee and Jeune Afrique’s back-end systems via REST API and webhooks, keeping them in sync.
Increased LTV: Since Chargebee automatically follows up on failed payments and retains customers that would have otherwise churned, Jeune Afrique saw an uptick in its Customer Life Time Value (LTV).
Accurate revenue metrics: The insights gathered from metrics such as churn rate, retention cohorts, new activations, upgrades, and failed transactions helped them understand what strategies worked well across different markets.
Low development cost: With Chargebee, there was more time for the tech teams to focus on the product functionalities instead of maintaining the billing and proration logic. "Building our own recurring billing solution and managing it at our scale would have taken at least two years for our in-house engineering team. That’s just to get something off the ground, not to mention the myriad complexities involved in prorating subscriptions, charging the right tax rates, and updating the code base for future business models. Chargebee saves all this time and resources and allows us to collect payments on the web and mobile devices with a zero-code checkout," Julien said.
Faster time-to-market: Jeune Afrique was able to set up a dynamic paywall and end-to-end subscription workflows within a week, acquiring thousands of subscribers in the market.
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