Does anyone have any data (or opinions) on whether to collect payment info during the sign-up process, or after the trial has ended?
Collecting it up front probably converts better (though not always intentionally) while not collecting it probably increases trial activity - but there may be other factors.
Thanks in advance!
We use the idea of friction. We primarily measure decisions by the friction it adds or removes to the process of doing business with us. We're incessantly looking for ways to reduce friction because less friction = more business.
So the questions are fundamentally, "Does collecting payment information up front add friction to the process of doing a software trial?" Sure. Second question, "Is there some necessary reason to get payment info in order to do the trial?" I suspect not.
Why add any unnecessary friction that will lower the number of people trying out your software? Fewer trials means fewer sales and therefore reduced profitability.
The issue of converting trial to paid subscriptions and preventing trial abuse is a hard one.
Many major sites (for example fool.com) require credit card information for a trial and automatically charge them once the trial runs out. Personally, I don't like the practice and it would think twice about signing up for a "free" trial that collects credit cards upfront.
Another option would be to make trials unlimited but reduce or limit the level of service vs a paid subscription. For example, for a stock alert service, only send alerts every other day. For defect tracking software, limit the number of users. Basically provide enough to sufficiently evaluate the service but not enough to use on a regular basis as a trial user.
Where do you get the idea that collecting before a trial is appropriate? It's not a trial then, is it?
I'll personally not even go through with a trial if it asks for too much info, much less try to collect financial info from me.
Collecting payment info prematurely puts your company's integrity on the line. What other important factor could there be?