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3 Real-World Strategies To Improve Subscriber Retention


David Cross  |  

With inflation on the rise, eCommerce and retail brands are focusing on customer retention more than ever before. To help you thrive in today’s complex and volatile market, we asked three subscription experts from leading brands to share their best advice for retaining subscribers.

1. Move fast to build relationships

Good Ranchers' strategies to improve subscriber retention

“A strategy we use early on in the customer journey is personalized follow-up calls and hand-written notes for first-time orders. For us, we want to move from a transactional space with the customer to a relational space as quickly as possible, and personal touch points are one of the most effective methods we’ve found to form a genuine connection with consumers.

“Looking beyond the first couple orders, we asked ourselves how we can provide value throughout someone’s entire subscription with us. That’s why we started our ‘locked-in price’ model of subscription. When someone subscribes, their price does not go up even if our base prices do. Retention is all about lifelong customers, but lifelong customers are looking for lifelong value. Retention isn’t about what we can offer someone today but about what we can offer them tomorrow because of their loyalty today.

“Lastly, our ability to put subscription management into the hands of the customer has been pivotal in retaining them. Specifically, being able to push people towards a pause instead of a cancel has been a huge win. If someone needs time to work through their current stock of product, is having a hard month, or is going to be out of town for a trip, the pause feature helps us give flexibility and control to the customer when they need it most. This combats the subscription friction that can so often lead to a lost customer because canceling feels like their easiest and only option.”

Michael McWhorter, Marketing Director, Good Ranchers

2. Double-down on offering a gift with purchase

CBDistillery's strategies to improve subscriber retention

“The importance of customer retention for our brand is at an all-time high. In response, we recently implemented a new gift-with-purchase strategy with our subscription program. With every first reorder, we include a card insert, teasing that the customer will be receiving a free gift with their next order. Then on each customer’s second reorder, we include a sample pack of our Full Spectrum CBD Gummies, which is our product with the highest repeat purchase. By offering this relatively inexpensive incentive, we’ve seen a significant increase to our weekly net subscriptions, as well as an increase to our instant upsell one-time adds program.”

Ellese Symons, VP of Marketing, CBDistillery

3. Ensure subscribers feel empowered

Olly's strategies to improve subscriber retention

“As a CPG business, retention and replenishment is really our lifeblood. In addition to the regular levers like messaging and discounting, we also do a couple ‘surprise and delight’ events with our most loyal customers during the year. With economic uncertainty on the horizon, we also want to make sure that the customer feels like they hold all the power in their subscription. There are no barriers to entry and no barriers to exit. As a secondary strategy, we are in the middle of designing a replenishment SMS strategy for non-subscribers based around each individual product that will trigger communications when it’s time to replenish. That will also help us build out an audience that we can target with special offers to get them on subscription.”

Jennifer Peters, DTC Manager, OLLY

Each month, Ordergroove asks experts to share advice on important eCommerce and subscription issues. If you have a question for our experts or want to be considered for inclusion in future blog posts, email us at hi@ordergroove.com.

Special thanks to our friends at OrderGroove for their insights on this topic.
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