Zuora Review: Pros, cons and is it worth it? | 2024

Alvaro Morales

Are you wondering if Zuora is the solution to simplify your SaaS subscriptions?

This in-depth Zuora review covers its features, pros and cons, ideal use cases, and potential drawbacks to help you make an informed decision about your subscription management needs.

We’ll go over:

  • What is Zuora?
  • What are its features and pricing?
  • What are Zuora’s pros and cons?
  • Who should choose Zuora and who should stay away from it?
  • Is Zuora right for your business?
  • Zuora alternatives

Let’s get started.

What is Zuora?

Zuora is an enterprise-level subscription management platform designed to handle billing, revenue recognition, and subscriber data for businesses operating with subscription-based models. The platform offers tools for flexible pricing, payment processing, and in-depth analytics.

But what does Zuora do exactly? Here are some of its main features:

Zuora features

  • Adjustable subscription billing: Zuora's core billing solution enables businesses to set up and manage a wide range of subscription plans, including usage-based or tiered models. Customizable pricing options allow for experimentation and adaptation of pricing strategies.
  • Subscriber management: Businesses can monitor subscriber data, track subscription changes, and view transaction histories in a centralized location. Zuora seamlessly handles the details of cancellations, prorated charges, and updates.
  • Revenue recognition and analytics: Built-in reporting and powerful revenue recognition tools help companies understand the financial health of their subscription offerings. Companies can analyze subscriber patterns and make data-driven decisions.
  • Global payment processing: Zuora integrates with multiple international payment gateways, allowing businesses to accept payments from customers worldwide. It also facilitates collections with features for automatic retries on failed payments.
  • Customer insights and subscriber experience: Zuora tracks subscriber data, helping businesses better understand customer preferences and behaviors. It also improves subscriber experiences with tools like Zephyr for dynamic paywall and content access management.
  • Integration capabilities: Zuora is designed to integrate with a wide range of business tools, such as Salesforce, Netsuite, and other CRMs or accounting platforms. 

Zuora pricing 

Zuora doesn’t publicly list its pricing information. Instead, potential customers must contact their sales team to get a custom quote based on their business needs and volume. 

Zuora pros

Let's explore what users like about using Zuora for businesses. Here are some of the key advantages:

  • Customization for complex needs: Zuora's features and customization options allow users to manage various subscription scenarios often seen in enterprise settings. 

    One reviewer said
    : "Previously we used the same old structure for the billing. There is no variety, but Zuora gives us different variations for payment modal; we can easily manage and operate, Zuora has a very good matrix, and it provides the option for customizable billing."
  • Support during scaling: User reviews highlight Zuora's ability to help businesses scale up. Users find the platform valuable during transitions and growth phases.  

    One reviewer noted
    : "It was able to automate much of what we needed for subscription management, revenue cycle, revenue recognition, etc."
  • Responsive customer support: Despite some complexity during setup, users generally find Zuora's customer support team helpful and responsive to their needs.  

    One reviewer mentioned
    : "Zuora staff were great to work with. GREAT support and always ready to answer questions. They helped us get everything moving and we confirmed that it could handle all of our crazy use cases."

Zuora cons

Many users have reported some issues with its service:

  • Steep price and learning curve: Many users find the user interface confusing and the platform's overall complexity overwhelming. Some also reported it’s quite expensive for what’s on offer.  

    One reviewer said
    : "It was a constant challenge to have our internal teams work to make sure everything was set up correctly with Zuora payments. It was also pretty pricey, and the teams we worked with were scattered/unable to help often."
  • Inflexible and unreliable in some areas:  Users express frustrations with limitations on elements like payment plans, billing frequencies, and integrations with accounting software. Many also reported several server outages while using Zuora. 

    A reviewer noted
    : "Sometimes, the server would be down and upgrades are not flexible for changing builds while integrating across platforms.”
  • Can struggle with trickier scenarios: Many have reported issues when Zuora tries to handle complex use cases.

    Another review noted
    : "If you have a very simple use case, basic product catalog, and don't require integration with other systems, Zuora might be a good option. For companies with complex use cases, integrations, detailed reporting needs, or who need solid tech support, I don't recommend Zuora at all."

Is Zuora right for you?

Understanding Zuora's strengths, limitations, and your company's specific needs is crucial for making the right decision. Here's a quick guide:

Who Zuora may be good for

  • Enterprise and scaling businesses: Zuora aims to address businesses with subscription models and transactional volumes that simpler platforms might struggle with. 

It offers deep customization, but be aware that reviews are mixed regarding setup difficulty and its ability to handle the most complex scenarios.

  • Companies seeking deep customization: If your billing requirements deviate from standard models, Zuora's flexibility and customization options offer the potential to tailor the solution to your needs.
  • Businesses who need constant support: Despite Zuora's complexity, its customer support team is frequently praised for its helpfulness and responsiveness. This can be crucial when navigating a complex platform.

Who should stay away from Zuora 

  • Companies wanting precise and granular reporting: While Zuora has data collection capabilities, many reviewers find its built-in reporting tools cumbersome and lacking the ability to easily create highly customized, detailed reports.
  • Businesses requiring high-precision event handling: Some use cases require near-real-time processing of events like usage spikes or rapid subscription changes.  Zuora may not be the most agile solution in these scenarios.
  • Those needing a user-friendly experience: Multiple reviewers cite Zuora's steep learning curve and occasionally confusing interface. Businesses that need a quick setup and minimal training time may want to consider other options.
  • Companies with unpredictable workloads: Some reviewers note encountering server downtime or issues during upgrades. Businesses that cannot afford interruptions in their billing process will definitely find this a significant risk.
  • Businesses with highly dynamic needs: If your product subscriptions change frequently, involve real-time usage calculations, or require unusual billing logic, Zuora might struggle compared to platforms designed specifically for those scenarios.

Zuora alternatives

Here’s a list of alternatives to Zuora you should consider:

  • Orb: Top pick for its ease of use, usage-based billing capabilities, and in-depth invoicing features.
  • Chargebee: A user-friendly subscription management platform known for its ease of use and transparent pricing.
  • Recurly: Developer-first subscription billing platform  to handle intricate subscription scenarios
  • Maxio: Offers a vast feature set designed for rapidly scaling businesses with high-complexity billing needs.
  • FastSpring: Digital commerce payment platform for SaaS focused on simplifying tax and compliance
  • Zoho Billing: Cost-effective subscription management solution for businesses already within the Zoho ecosystem.

Ready to solve billing?

Now that you've explored Zuora's strengths and weaknesses, you can clearly see whether it aligns with your needs. 

If you're looking for a solution tailored to complex usage-based billing and want more financial control and flexibility, Orb could be the right fit for your business. 

Here's where Orb stands out against Zuora, particularly for growing B2B businesses:

  • Built for complexity and scale: Orb's core focus is handling usage-based billing with precision. If your pricing model depends on tracking a high volume of usage events (API calls, credits consumed, etc.), Orb's infrastructure is designed for this level of intricacy.
  • Financial flexibility and control: Orb emphasizes ease of use and empowers finance teams with a focus on self-service configuration and clear billing data. This allows for greater control over pricing models and faster adjustments as your business evolves.
  • Better insights: Orb’s reporting and data export capabilities are built to facilitate revenue recognition and deeper financial analysis, especially critical as your business grows.
  • Balancing power and usability: While Zuora offers extensive features, reviews indicate that complexity and a steep learning curve can be drawbacks. Orb aims to strike a balance, providing the depth needed for intricate billing scenarios while prioritizing a more intuitive workflow.

Still unsure about Orb? Try out our demo and see how we can solve billing for you.

April 24, 2024

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