The CheckoutFlow Origin Story and Our Plans Going Forward

Although I, Justin McGill, am writing this, Dominic St-Pierre has also contributed.

I am serving as CEO and Co-Founder of CheckoutFlow, while Dominic is CTO and Co-Founder. We originally launched the LeadFuze software together in early 2015.

Dominic left LeadFuze to pursue another venture, but recently circled back to me to see about teaming up again on something new.

While LeadFuze is still my bread and butter, I’m someone that likes to have his hand in a lot of things. I enjoy the process of creating and growing SaaS apps in particular.

So I shared with him this concept of making it easier to test pricing, add upsells and downsells… things that are proven and being done everywhere in the e-commerce world, yet that have not taken place in SaaS.

The Problem

I have tried the normal page builder type software, have tried and implemented ClickFunnels even. ClickFunnels is great, it’s just not something I could natively use inside of my app. I was resigned to the fact that I’d just have to manage all billing outside of the app if I wanted to stop having our developers working on plan changes every other month for me to experiment with.

At one point, I had implemented a pricing change where we got rid of our two pricing packages and went with a slider option to choose lead credits. This crippled our conversion.

Literally dropped conversion by a third.

So I wanted to go back to a two plan system, with some tweaks. Of course, it took a month to roll out with the design changes.

Simply put, this little experiment caused a moderate drop in new revenue, a lot of stress, and ultimately made the dev team gun-shy about making significant billing changes.

The developer side of Dominic saw the opportunity as well, but from a different perspective. I asked him to give me a quote for this post about his thoughts on why he wanted to tackle this challenge:

“Having built many billing and subscription modules for SaaS, I found that it’s very hard to justify implementing this correctly when you’re focusing on having the core of the product out the door. Often it is the last piece that’s built in a hurry, sometimes even after, or during launch. When the time comes to change pricing, there’s usually so much else to do that it feels almost like working on the wrong things. I hope we can remove the burden of handling billing for SaaS businesses and let them safely make changes to their plans.”

So we both were excited about having a product that served my market (marketers) and his market (developers).

Alignment

We volleyed this idea back and forth discussing how we could tackle the problem and came away in alignment on the following:

  • Offer an easy way to add billing to a SaaS app with “checkout flows”. We literally called it this before naming the company around this concept.
  • Has to be so simple that a developer can launch a whole billing system while marketers can update pricing, create offers, etc – all in a matter of minutes. This means no entire page builder, and instead we need to provide quality templates that can be plug and play.
  • No matter the plan, it has to feel native in our user’s app. No third party checkout URL’s. We want to make sure we pull in brand colors and fonts automatically as part of the onboarding experience to assist with this.
  • Making it easy for new apps/startups to get started so we can grow with them (ie, our free plan), while not burdening our support with non-paying customers (which we overcome through processing fees).
  • No vendor lock-in! ALL competitors require you to manage all billing in their platform and changing that out is a complete mess. We allow you to do it either directly in Stripe (or future payment processors) or in our app. If you want to move away from our solution, we want you to be able to do that easily.
  • Be our own #1 customer to really show off the benefits of an optimized SaaS checkout experience.
  • NO venture capital funding. We want to completely self-fund the business.

Our Belief

We believe pricing can be one of the largest levers to growth for a SaaS app and want to make the process of implementing, testing, and optimizing it as easy as possible.

Our Goal

Ultimately, our goal is for SaaS Founder’s to view CheckoutFlow as the “go-to” billing system for their app.

Thoughts?

Have questions, concerns, or just general feedback?

We’d love to hear from you. Shoot us an email (justin@checkoutflow.io and dominic@checkoutflow.io).

Or hit us up on Twitter @CheckoutFlowApp. We’re going to make an effort to be active here.

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