Subscription Commerce: A Shift from Transactional to Relational

Our SVP of marketing and longtime client and founder of Truly Free (formerly called MyGreenFills) teamed up to discuss how subscription models open opportunities to deepen customer relationships. Get the insights they shared at a virtual direct-to-consumer summit.

Truly Free (formerly called MyGreenFills) founder and longtime client Stephen Ezell is using his non-toxic laundry detergent business to combat toxic environments (in and outside the home) and build positive communities. Like many subscription business leaders, Ezell takes a mission-minded approach to selling and scaling. “Transactions pay bills, but relationships build communities,” Ezell said during a recent virtual panel for FounderMade’s direct-to-consumer summit.

Ezell said Truly Free uses profits from their eco-friendly laundry and cleaning products to help trafficking survivors and people with hearing impairments in Jamaica, all while reducing waste with refillable laundry jugs and recyclable packaging.

Whether it’s saving the world or saving customers time, subscriptions offer new opportunities to better serve your tribe. Read the advice and tips Ezell provided for deepening customer relationships and building community through subscriptions.

Tell Your Brand Story

Image showing consumer buying habits for subscription commerce

Customers want to feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves or your brand. In fact, a 2021 Contently report found 65% of respondents answered “Always” or “Sometimes” when asked if they preferred to buy from brands committed to social impact causes.

Ezell encouraged summit attendees to dig deep and communicate their brands’ missions through engaging storytelling. Use blogs, videos, social media, SMS and email to spread the word on not only what you’re offering, but why you’re offering it.

Start With the Straight Sale

As someone who founded a subscription business, Ezell’s method for increasing membership may seem a bit unorthodox. He said Truly Free goes after the straight sale as well, that one-time purchase that doesn’t guarantee recurring revenue. “Write ‘No subscription required’ on your checkout page,” he advised.

While his business strategy takes a low-pressure path to acquiring subscription customers, he said his team works hard to show one-time buyers the value of their products and community to inspire a future subscription purchase. This approach can drive higher customer lifetime value and reduce subscription churn. In fact, they saw a 52% churn reduction.  

Enable Personalization and Customization

Generic packaging and one-size-fits-all subscription options are quick ways to lose customers and diminish your community’s spark, Ezell warned. He told other direct-to-consumer brands to focus on personalizing everything from marketing copy to offers and packaging. This custom approach shows customers you care and builds a sense of community. “From the first day, we understood our customers are human. We found a way to apply that human-first attitude even with hundreds of thousands of members,” Ezell said.

Partner With People Who Support Your Mission

Truly Free subscription laundry detergent

Ezell credited for serving as a strong foundation for the Truly Free (formerly MyGreenFills) subscription program during the discussion with’s VP of Marketing. He said brands need to team up with other companies that fully understand your goals and how to actualize them. He told participants to continuously reevaluate partnerships to ensure everyone is aligned. At the end of the day, you have to pick the partners that will help you do right by your customers.  

Read this case study to learn more about how helped them reduce churn and increase revenue to power their community-focused mission.