RingCentral just introduced “RingCentral Glip Pro,” a freemium version of “RingCentral Glip.” RingCentral Glip Pro combines “RingCentral Video” videoconferencing introduced in April with team messaging, file sharing, contact, task, and calendar management capabilities. Offering a freemium plan enables RingCentral to close a gap with competitors. However, providing a freemium offer presents potential pitfalls. Fortunately, there are steps RingCentral can take to avoid mishap.

The new offering provides more than 30 features, a very impressive number for a free service. Some of the more notable items include unlimited meetings; meeting duration up to 24 hours (for customers who sign up by July 2021); the ability to instantly launch a meeting from a messaging thread; video and calendar integrations with Microsoft Teams, Office 365 and Google Workspace; and messaging with both internal and external users.

RingCentral also introduced “RingCentral Glip Pro+” which provides all the features of RingCentral Glip Pro plus additional capabilities for a monthly fee. Customers can graduate to RingCentral Glip Pro+ for $14.99 per month per user when purchased monthly for up to 99 users ($11.99 per month per user when purchased annually) or $13.99 per month per user when purchased monthly for 100 or more users ($10.99 per month per user when purchased annually). Some prominent features are a maximum of 200 meeting participants (versus 100 with RingCentral Glip Pro); the ability to record up to 100 hours of meetings and retain the recordings up to one year (versus 10 hours and seven days respectively for RingCentral Glip Pro); and single sign-on.

RingCentral Glip Pro has no shortage of rivals

The introduction of RingCentral Glip Pro is not without drawbacks. RingCentral is playing catch-up to vendors such as Zoom, Slack and Microsoft who already provide freemium plans with similar functionality. In addition, a freemium plan represents a double-edge sword RingCentral risks falling victim to. While a freemium plan is a very attractive lure, RingCentral could find itself in the same boat as Slack whose profitability has been weighed down by a preponderance of customers adopting its freemium plan. And with RingCentral Glip Pro+ priced at a monthly premium ranging from $11 to $15 per month per user that vision is not far-fetched.

While competitors show RingCentral what to avoid, they also show it how to navigate the freemium terrain. RingCentral should take a “have-your-cake-and eat-it-too” approach which offers customers the “hook” of free service without making itself financially vulnerable. For example, Google offers a 14-day free trial on each of its four Google Workspace plans; 8×8 offers a one-month free trial of its lowest tier X Series plan. By mirroring these efforts, RingCentral could provide customers free service without breaking the bank.

However, if “cake” is not to RingCentral’s liking, there is another option: maintain the status quo of a feature-rich freemium plan standing shoulder-to-shoulder with a paid plan, but gradually widen the capability gap by incorporating robust enhancements into RingCentral Glip Pro+. Although new to the freemium space, RingCentral has ample opportunity to succeed.  But doing so will require carefully monitoring adoption of their freemium plan, adjusting course if necessary and having a plan in place to do so ahead of time.

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