Subscription shoppers are savvy and loyal. In fact, 52% of subscription shoppers take advantage of loyalty programs, according to Forrester Research.
But generating predictable revenue and deeper customer relationships through subscriptions doesn’t happen in a snap. Brands and merchants need to strategically launch a subscription program that serves as a foundation for future growth.
Our VP of Marketing Thomas Marks shares five tips for launching a strong subscription program:
It’s usually unnecessary to enable subscriptions for every product you offer. Instead, start small by picking a few products that lend themselves to replenishment models. Ask yourself what customers continuously need more of, then enable subscriptions on those select products. It may be effective to offer a subscribe-and-save option on certain products to gauge customers’ interest. For example, if you sell 20 different skincare products, consider creating a subscribe-and-save offer for a facial moisturizer or lip balm because customers would use these products every day.
You can also set yourself up to quickly generate recurring revenue by pairing digital offers with a physical product you already sell. If you currently sell gadgets such as headphones and phone chargers, consider giving customers exclusive membership to a tech publication or online community for a monthly fee.
A major benefit of subscriptions is the consistent data they provide to help merchants make educated decisions and improve subscription profits. When getting started, you can utilize data to discover which products perform the best in a subscription model by launching test campaigns.
Testing allows merchants to start small and expand based on the test campaigns that best resonated with customers. For example, a supplement company can discover which product will do best as a subscription by testing three separate campaigns for protein powder, pre-workout and multivitamins. After running the campaigns for a set period, they can see which products perform the best as a subscription.
Once you have your test results, don’t forget to constantly refine and re-examine your approach to keep pace with changing customer demands.
Another key aspect of launching a successful subscription program is offering customers the ability to self-manage their subscriptions through an online portal. As subscriptions grow more popular, customers value convenience — locking them in a cycle without flexibility will lead to unhappy subscribers. They need the ability to pause, change the frequency or change the components of their subscriptions starting from day one. These capabilities can save your customer service teams time and resources.
Just because customers subscribe to a product doesn’t mean they are locked in for life. Brands and merchants need to continuously use personalization and recommendations to safeguard customer loyalty and extend customer lifetime value. Look for opportunities to upsell, offer discounts and provide transparency to retain customers.
Inspire consumer trust by displaying product reviews and allowing guarantees or refunds. According to our April 2023 Subscription Readiness Report, more than 86% of top-performing merchants display product ratings and reviews to increase transparency and attract new customers.
Additionally, customers expect a seamless user experience with added features for convenience. Many consumers use subscriptions to save time and money, which means they expect subscription benefits like free shipping, discounts and added freebies. Online shoppers’ expectations are constantly evolving — keeping an eye on trends will help improve brand loyalty while enticing new subscribers.
Starting a subscription program can be challenging without the right tools. To maximize revenue and create lasting results, merchants need a subscription management platform designed to track subscriptions, reduce chargebacks and mitigate churn. Merchants already selling through an ecommerce platform can usually integrate a recurring billing application with their current solution to quickly start selling subscriptions.
Plus, reporting and analytics within the recurring billing application should help mitigate fraud and highlight the overall health of a subscription program. With the right data, it’s much easier to avoid the common challenges in recurring billing, such as voluntary and involuntary churn.
It’s critical to have a full set of tools to streamline that process and simplify recurring billing so you can get the most out of your time and money.