subscription commerce tips to keep customers coming back


June 20, 2024

Learn how to retain subscribers and avoid growing acquisition costs. Extend customer lifetime value and grow revenue with these subscription commerce tips.

subscription commerce customer opening package

As inflation rises alongside acquisition costs, subscription merchants need to buckle down on retention to maintain success. While subscriptions already tend to attract higher-value customers than one-time purchases, subscription merchants can extend customer lifetime value even further by offering their customers value and service not found elsewhere with the help of technology, data and retention strategies.

take control of involuntary subscription churn

If you've ever unknowingly stopped paying for a subscription simply because your credit or debit card expired, you’ve accidentally joined the involuntary churn club. Many businesses don’t actively work to reduce involuntary churn, letting engaged customers and long-term revenue slip through the cracks without their knowledge.

One way to combat unnecessary subscription churn is to invest in a credit card account updater. This tool helps merchants avoid unnecessary declines by automatically updating credit card information, home addresses, emails and other customer data. Account updaters communicate between the payment gateway and the card issuer to automatically refresh a customer’s payment information as the card they have on file expires — ultimately preventing service interruptions, lowering subscription churn and increasing customer satisfaction.

Another way involuntary churn can happen is when a bank flags the payment due to suspicions of fraud. To avoid risking a flagged payment, merchants can use tools to charge subscribers’ payment methods at the safest date and time.

use data to target at-risk subscribers

While involuntary churn can be a cause for concern, voluntary cancellations may indicate an even larger issue within the customer journey such as a lack of communication or shipping delays. Merchants can uncover the root of their churn problem by analyzing customer data to find patterns among churning customers. For instance, many at-risk subscribers will start skipping orders more frequently or remove items from their usual subscriptions. While this could be an attempt at cutting costs, it could also be caused by shipping delay frustrations, excess product or other common factors that push customers toward churning. It’s up to the merchant to recognize the signs of an at-risk customer and understand what may be causing them to disengage. Once that’s understood, it’s important to nurture them with deals and personalized offers to ensure they stay subscribed and engaged.

focus on the subscription commerce experience

42% of subscribers report making fewer visits to physical stores due to their subscriptions

According to our November 2023 report, 42% of subscribers report making fewer visits to physical stores due to their subscriptions. Therefore, the subscription experience should be more fun, easier to navigate and more convenient than in-store shopping to keep subscribers’ attention away from brick-and-mortar shops.

The first experience a customer has with the merchant sets the stage for their entire relationship, so the online buying experience should be short and sweet to avoid churn later on. Merchants should focus on the three pillars of an optimal user experience: a user-friendly interface, genuine interactions and strong customer support. The user interface is arguably the most important aspect of an online store, and should include:

After the initial purchase, merchants should continue to keep the customer in the loop with order updates and personalized offers based on behavioral data. The more valued the customer feels, the more likely they’ll continue the relationship into the future.

connecting with your subscribers

Subscription commerce is all about maintaining relationships, and the most efficient way to do so is by creating a data-backed, personalized experience. While the right subscription platform can provide analytics on customer patterns, it’s up to the merchant to use that data to keep their customers satisfied.

click here to discover the top 20 subscription commerce metrics to track and how to use them for long-term growth.

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