The new roaring 20s—ushered in by the pandemic and its implications for retail—have been more turbulent than raucous. Weathering the waves of an unpredictable decade, many merchants have found stability in adding subscriptions to their product offerings. The reasons are simple: Subscriptions turn one-time transactions into long-term customer relationships. Implementing subscriptions gives you predictable revenue, reduced churn, and higher average order values.
What’s more, the subscription market is steadily growing, projected to reach nearly $500 billion by 2025. Subscriptions help you grow a community of your most loyal customers, raising your brand awareness and helping to market your products organically.
So, if you’re looking to grow your subscription business or simply start fresh with a subscription program for your brand, here are five tips to help set you up for success.
Types of Subscription Programs
If you’re new to subscriptions, here’s a quick overview. There are three types of subscription programs: curation, replenishment, and access or membership.
Curation is the most popular subscription model, with 55% of merchants choosing this type over the others. This is where merchants curate a box of one or more products, which are packaged together and shipped at a regular cadence. Kinder Beauty Box is an example of this kind of subscription. With their Beauty Box, they offer five hand-picked vegan and clean beauty products delivered monthly.
Replenishment is the second most popular subscription type with 32% of all merchants choosing this model. As you’d expect based on the name, replenishment offers the same product regularly delivered on a consistent basis. Also referred to as “subscribe-and-save,” this type often works best with CPG brands (or for items that most people use daily). Waiākea, the MuteSix / Recharge client that sells bottled volcanic naturally alkaline water, would be an example of a popular replenishment-style subscription.
Lastly, the third and fastest-growing subscription model (with 13% of merchants using these) is Access / Membership subscriptions. Membership subscriptions are so prevalent because they can be added to typically any subscription vertical and consumers are so attracted to the exclusivity and cost-saving benefits they often provide. You can incentivize a membership program to your brand by offering specific subscriber perks like:
- Access to exclusive products
- Discounts on select products
- Free shipping or priority shipping
- More points toward a redeemable loyalty program
And truly anything your brand can think up to provide extra value to your subscribers.
So now that we’re all up to speed on the different types of subscription models, let’s talk about some specific tips to grow your subscription business in 2022.
Tip 1: Build Community with Shared Values
Customers, now more than ever, want to buy from brands that share the same values that they hold. Your values, that is to say what your brand stands for, are one of the main reasons your customers aren’t buying from your competitor. So, make sure you clearly outline what your brand values are and share them often with your customers, like through a mission statement on your website or in inserts alongside your products upon delivery.
Establish a meaningful rapport with your customers on social media by interacting with them in authentic ways. “Meaningful” means more than just the random like on a comment. Instead, it means engaging with customers with genuine and heartfelt responses to a comment they post on your social channels. It’s commenting from the brand on a photo or video they share that they’ve tagged your account in. It’s resharing their content (with permission, of course) and amplifying their content while showing your appreciation for them continuing to use your products.
Cultivate your own brand community by looking for those opportunities to connect over shared values with your customers.
Tip 2: Offer Flexible Customer Options
On our podcast, Hit Subscribe, we hear time and time again from merchants that all their subscribers want the same thing: flexibility with their subscriptions. If customers are churning because you’re not giving them the options to skip or postpone a shipment, swap a product, pause their subscription, or add a one-time purchase—that should be one of your top priorities to fix.
The reason it’s so paramount to fix that issue is because it’s entirely in your control. This isn’t subscribers leaving your program because they don’t like your products or have switched to a competitor, per se. Instead, chances are they’re leaving you because of your inflexible customer portal, which doesn’t allow for flexibility with subscription plans.
Give your subscribers autonomy over their customer accounts. Better yet, why not give them the option to manage their orders with a simple text message? RechargeSMS is a transactional SMS tool that allows your subscribers to manage their orders with a quick text—no logging into their customer accounts required. Customers can skip, swap, or add a product all by text. We’ve seen transactional SMS work wonders for brands (like a 30% boost in customer lifetime value!), all by easing the friction surrounding communication with your brand.
Tip 3: Leverage Your Internal Analytics
It’s easy to assume you know your customers and what they want. You’re surrounded by your products and brand offerings so much that you can fall into the trap of thinking you know your audience inside and out. However, no two customers are the same.
But the only way to really know what is working with your business is to look at the numbers and see if the analytics back up your assumptions. Otherwise, you’re truly just shooting darts in the dark, hoping you’re getting it right.
If the words “data” and “analytics” intimidate you more than excite you, no worries. You don’t need a Phd in Data Science to get valuable insights from the numbers your brand is collecting on the regular.
Start by finding the answer to simple questions like:
- Where are visitors to my business coming from?
- From each of these platforms, how many visitors are clicking add to cart?
- From these platforms, how many visitors are actually making a purchase?
- When a potential customer lands on my website, which page leads to the most conversions?
Arming yourself with these insights will help you start to make better data-backed decisions and inform you of some of the levers that need to be tweaked to boost your sales.
This is also a great opportunity to sync with a digital marketing agency like MuteSix that specializes in creating value for DTC brands with breakthrough creative, targeted media buying and data-driven results in every step of the funnel.
Tip 4: Hone in on Your Value Proposition(s)
Speaking of creative and optimizing of ads, it is always important to make sure your value proposition is nailed down to its most succinct and impactful basics. Splash it across your website, product pages, and the ads you’re running. Let customers know the value behind your products and services that you’re offering so that a purchase is a no-brainer.
Make it simple and easy to understand the value proposition benefits and selling points that set your subscription brand apart from competitors. Make it engaging and memorable. Above everything else, make sure anyone who reads it knows the promise of value your brand is going to deliver upon purchase, month after month.
Tip 5: Retention Strategy
While the ramifications of Apple’s iOS 14+ privacy changes in 2021 continue to make it more challenging to target and retain customers, focusing on customer retention will become even more paramount this year.
What kind of retention strategy do you have in place to prevent customers from churning? Our Tip #2 addressed that head on, ensuring that customers have as much flexibility as possible over their subscriptions. But what options—besides advanced retargeting with personalized messaging—do you have in place to sway a customer who’s losing interest and considering churning?
Look at providing bonus offers on 1-3-6 month intervals to encourage customers to stay with their subscriptions. Or consider implementing a redeemable loyalty or rewards program to gamify the experience so as to keep customers retained.
Subscribing to Success in the Roaring ‘20s
Though the start of this decade has been anything but predictable, it’s important to remember to control what you can and learn to roll with the punches.
Remember to focus on your value prop(s), outline your brand values, and connect over them with your customers. Trusting your gut is important but so is relying on data-backed marketing decisions. Heed the words of eternal optimist and best selling author, Simon Sinek:
“To future proof ourselves means being ready for the unpredictable… embrace the opportunity in uncertainty.”
If you’re looking for some help embracing opportunities, consider how a partnership with a best-in-class performance marketing agency like MuteSix can help you grow, scale, and reach your goals. And if you’re looking for ways to turn transactions into relationships, experience predictable revenue, and higher average order values—check out subscriptions by Recharge.
Recharge is the leading subscription management solution for e-commerce. Since 2014, merchants of all sizes have used Recharge’s billing and payment management solutions to grow their business by increasing customer lifetime value and reducing customer churn.
Recharge has processed more than $10 billion in transactions, powering subscriptions for more than 15,000 merchants who collectively serve over 50 million subscribers.Turn one-time transactions into long-term relationships with subscriptions powered by Recharge.