A product is anything a customer can purchase. Products determine two things:
- How a customer is charged for a product. A charge can be usage-based, fixed one-time or fixed recurring, or a composite charge.
- How a product is displayed on an invoice. This includes details like the names on the invoice and whether charges are grouped. By default, products appear on invoices as line items, with their various sub-elements as sub-line items. This gives you flexibility with invoice presentation by creating labels for billable metrics or fixed costs.
Products determine how a customer is charged (for example, which billable metrics can result in a charge), but they don't dictate how much a customer pays. Rates for usage-based pricing and amounts for fixed charges are entered when you create a plan.
Organize charges into products
Start the design process by thinking about your invoice. For your common use cases, think about what charges might appear. Then turn these charges into Metronome products.
For example, a telephony service should have one product called "Phone," with charges for voice calls and SMS messages. This is a more flexible, and informative, design than two separate products called "Voice" and "SMS."
When deciding how many products to create, consider two factors: invoice presentation and product reuse.
The way you organize products and charges has a direct impact on invoice presentation. Each product becomes one line item, or each group becomes a line item (with grouped presentation).
To see this in action. the Metronome app shows a preview invoice during the product creation process.
If two items should appear under the same line item on an invoice, they need to be included in a single product.
Products are independent of plans and may be reused across multiple plans. This saves you from repeatedly entering the same data. It also simplifies querying Metronome for which products a customer has access to, regardless of what individual pricing they've negotiated.
It's recommended to put tightly coupled charges into a single product (for example, a Phone product with Voice and SMS charges), rather than having two separate products that always get bundled together in a plan.
Be mindful of product reuse with fixed recurring charges. For example, you may think to add "Premium support" as a recurring charge within the "Cloud database" product, but a customer should be able to purchase premium support whether they're using the cloud database or a different product. Defining targeted products like this may make billing for new functionality easier later on.
When designing products, note that credit grants can be assigned against specific products. If your billing often credits customers in targeted ways (for example, additional bandwidth or a month of free support), that could be a good factor in identifying products.
To define products in the Metronome app, go to Billing -> Products -> click Add a new product:
- Provide information about the product, giving it a name that appears on customer's invoices.
- Define the product's pricing, creating usage-based charges from billable metrics.
- Add any recurring fixed charges.
- Preview and customize your product.
Ungrouped and grouped charges
After defining your product and adding charges, you can customize how customers view charges by grouping them or leaving them ungrouped.
Each product is displayed as a line item on an invoice by default, with the product's charges as sub-line items. For example, "Cloud database" is the only line item in this image, with sub-line items for "CPU usage," "max storage," and "base charge."
You can group charges in different ways. For example, customers may wish to see their spending grouped by "cluster" (or some other group key included in the relevant billable metrics). Assuming all the billable metrics are grouped by
cluster_id, you can choose this grouped view instead at the time of product creation:
With this option, there is a line item for each group, for example "Cloud database - cluster_id: analytics cluster." And billable metrics are sub-line items under each group. (Recurring charges don't belong to any group and appear the same whether grouping is turned off or not.)
The option to produce grouped charges is only available if all selected billable metrics are grouped by the same key. In the example above, both "CPU usage" and "max storage" are grouped by a field called
If you intend to use grouped charges on invoices, make sure to group them by the same key.
To enable the option to group or ungroup charges with a product:
Create billable metrics in the metrics creation flow.
a. Specify properties to group the metrics.
b. Add a group key.
When creating a product, select metrics with the same group key.
Choose to use grouped or ungrouped billable metrics that will display as the corresponding charges on the invoice.
Set up identifiers
After creating your products you may want to set up identifiers for them. For example, you can tie your internal SKU to the corresponding Metronome product. This connection can later help with reporting and revenue insights.
Add identifiers to your products using Metronome's custom fields capability.