In today’s online world, building a successful e-commerce business requires a lot more than just offering great products or services. With an abundance of options at their fingertips, shoppers expect personalized experiences, seamless interactions, and a sense of connection with the brands they choose. To meet these demands and increase customer retention rates, online retailers must constantly look for new ways to appeal to these customers.
Enter: the subscription business model.
Subscription-based services have gained enormous popularity over the last few years. With busy schedules and mindful budgets, more consumers are looking for convenient ways to save money. The subscription e-commerce market is growing so quickly, it's expected to reach a market size of $904.28 billion by 2026.
But not all subscription-based services are created equal. A successful online subscription requires a careful balance of strategies that benefit both your customers and your business. In this blog post, we’ll share some essential steps for getting your subscription model off the ground, along with useful tips for creating the best e-commerce subscriber experience possible.
Benefits of Subscription Services
Subscription commerce is at a high point right now. When done well, this service provides digital retailers with some wonderful advantages, including:
Consistent, Recurring Revenue
Subscriptions bring in predictable income that makes it easier to forecast sales and plan for the future. And since you get paid upfront monthly, quarterly, or annually, you'll be able to map out your fulfillment operations a lot more easily. It also allows you to focus on acquiring new customers rather than needing to allocate additional resources to manage your inventory.
Higher Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)
One of the best things about subscription services is that retention is built into the business model. By offering personalized discounts and membership perks, you have a better chance of attaining long-term customer loyalty, which increases the lifetime value of your customer base.
Lower Customer Acquisition Costs (CAC)
As we just mentioned, a higher CLV from subscription services means lower CACs. All you have to do is keep your subscribers happy, and you’ll be able to significantly decrease your customer churn, lower your new customer acquisition costs, and watch your profit margins grow.
Easier Inventory Management
Unlike the pay-once model, a subscription business model eliminates the uncertainty about how often you'll need to replenish your inventory. This enables you to know how many customers are going to buy specific products in a given period of time, making it a lot easier to assess your stock levels properly.
Enhanced Customer Experience
Shoppers love having control over their purchasing decisions. A subscription service offers this, along with the benefit of discounted pricing. Toss in some personalization and incredible customer service, and you’ve got a recipe for an awesome subscriber experience.
Subscription Tactics and Tips
You can have the best products in your subscription service, but if it doesn’t come with the necessary criteria to delight your customers, it really won’t matter. To make a positive and lasting impression, everything—including these 10 tips—needs to focus on the customer experience.
1. Figure out your USP.
Any successful subscription revolves around a very specific niche. Without a clear unique selling point, your brand won't be well-positioned to spark curiosity around your subscription or deliver the tailored experiences consumers expect.
To start, ask yourself what makes your subscription different from your competitors. Next, ask what your customers stand to gain from your subscription instead of taking the more conventional course. Shoppers value specialized products and services. Being selective about what you choose for your subscription service will help you carve out your niche.
2. Choose the right subscription model.
Depending on what you offer, select the subscription model that fits your e-commerce business best. The three most common types of models are:
The Curation Model
This popular model provides subscribers with pre-selected items based on their personal needs and preferences. This option offers an element of surprise with each subscription box and is particularly good for helping your customers discover new products.
The Replenishment Model
Commonly referred to as the “subscribe and save” model, this type of subscription allows customers to automate the purchase and delivery of everyday consumer products, such as vitamins, cosmetics, or hair products, for a discounted price.
The Access Model
With this subscription, customers pay a regular fee to attain desirable member-only perks, such as select discounts and early access to new products. Subscribers to this model are often attracted to the exclusivity that membership offers.
3. Make signing up easy and flexible.
Once a customer decides to subscribe, signing up should be as simple as possible. Consider offering a streamlined registration process that asks for essential information only, such as name, email address, and password. Customers should also be able to sign up on your e-commerce website, app, or even through social media channels like Instagram, Facebook, or Tik Tok.
You’ll also want to make sure subscribers can choose the frequency of their subscription deliveries, as well as the ability to pause or skip any they may not want. studies show that subscribers who can skip an order last 135% longer than those who can’t.
4. Optimize the subscriber journey.
When a subscriber visits your e-commerce website, they should be welcomed with a seamless start-to-finish experience that provides valuable information, effortless navigation, and easy checkout. Here are some key areas to focus on:
Tailored Subscription Options
Provide different types of subscriptions for your different audiences so they can choose the option that fits them best. You could even include a quiz to help them uncover which option perfectly meets their needs!
Ensure subscribers can find what they are looking for easily by including distinct menus, logical categories, and search functionality. Undertaking navigation testing can help you better understand how users move through your site, and optimize accordingly.
Swift Website Speed
Maximize your website's performance by minimizing page load times, improving server response times, and improving images and code.
Clear and Compelling Product Information
Include detailed descriptions and specifications, and high-quality product images. You'll also want to feature any customer reviews and ratings—92% of consumers feel hesitant to buy when no customer reviews are available.
Streamlined Checkout Process
Simplify the checkout process by removing unnecessary steps, offering guest checkout, and providing a clear snapshot of the purchase summary. You’ll also want to implement secure payment gateways, as well as flexible payment options to make it easier for customers to manage their subscriptions.
5. AI-Driven Personalization
Subscribers are more likely to engage with content when it's customized to their specific preferences and needs. Artificial Intelligence (AI) platforms like Granify help you deliver personalized shopping experiences by leveraging customer data like browsing and purchase history to provide tailored product recommendations. In turn, subscribers feel valued and better connected with your brand.
6. Valuable Incentives
Consumers love deals, discounts, or any other offer that saves them money. By offering this to your subscribers, you’ll be strengthening their desire to save on their purchases. Typically, subscription service incentives revolve around a monetary reduction, but don’t feel like you have to limit yourself to just that. Providing free products (or samples) or access to exclusive services or events are other great ways to increase subscriber loyalty.
7. Social Proof
Social proof like customer reviews, influencer endorsements, and other user-generated content, can significantly impact purchasing decisions. To help build trust with your customers, encourage subscribers to leave reviews and share their positive experiences that you can highlight on your website and social media platforms.
Influencers are another effective way to build loyalty with your subscribers. In fact, 71% of consumers are likely to buy products from an influencer they trust. Just make sure to find the right ones that fit your subscription niche.
8. Effective Communication
Communication is a key element of a fantastic e-commerce subscriber experience. Start by establishing a cohesive communication plan that helps you keep subscribers informed and excited about new products, special offers, and other related news. Then, make sure to correspond regularly and segment your subscriber audiences so you can tailor your messages according to specific preferences and interests.
9. Exceptional Customer Support
A great e-commerce subscriber experience goes far beyond selling products or services. It requires excellent customer service that addresses issues quickly and efficiently.
An astounding 91% of shoppers say they won’t willingly do business again with a company that left them unhappy. To avoid dissatisfied subscribers, prioritize your customer support by implementing these tactics:
- Offer multiple channels such as live chat, email, or phone to ensure customers can reach out through their preferred method.
- Utilize chatbots for support during off-business hours or for commonly asked questions and pain points.
- Include self-service resources such as a thorough FAQ section that encourages customers to find answers on their own.
- Make every effort to reply quickly to customer queries by addressing their questions or concerns promptly.
- Train your support staff to be friendly, compassionate, and well-informed when resolving subscriber concerns.
10. Continuous Improvement
Businesswoman and Author Kate Zabriskie once said, "The customer’s perception is your reality.” If your subscribers perceive your business in an unfavorable way, it’s up to you to change their minds.
One of the best ways to enhance the subscription experience is by getting feedback directly from the source. Analyzing data, reviewing ratings and reviews, and sending out regular surveys to subscribers are all useful ways to understand their needs and expectations better, so you can pivot your subscription services to accommodate them better.
Mastering the art of creating an incredible subscriber service is a game-changer in today's digital world. While it can feel overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be. By following the suggestions outlined above, you can deliver an engaging subscription experience that shines above the rest. Just remember, every decision should be made with your customers in mind. Tailor experiences to your subscribers’ needs, and you’ll have the ability to cultivate lasting relationships, nurture customer loyalty, and propel your e-commerce business to greater heights.
Your AI-Subscription Superhero
A good subscription offers customers a decent product at an okay price. A “WOWZA” subscription delivers personalized products that resonate with each individual subscriber. Granify can help take your e-commerce subscription service to the next level by providing valuable insights that turn shoppers into subscribers, and keep subscribers engaged and coming back month after month.
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