You know how crucial testing is for snagging new customers, right? It’s just as important as subscriber retention, and we’ve seen it pay off big for our merchants at Stay.
There are endless ways to A/B test promotions and offers across the subscriber lifecycle. We did some digging across our top-performing brands, and compiled this list of some of the most valuable promotion formats we’ve seen. Let’s dig in.
Table of Contents
1. Free Gift vs No Free Gift
Identify a point of high churn and offer a free gift-with-purchase right before that point. Does that build enough loyalty to keep those subscribers longer? Pro tip: pick a free gift that will be useful and keep your brand top-of-mind.
Noonbrew tested sending a free tea storage container to their subscribers. Implementing this promotion in addition to other strategies has led to a 41% reduction in monthly churn since promotion launch.
2. Upsell Product A vs Upsell Product B
If you want to increase AOV, test a couple of different upsells offers to see which gets the higher take rate. You can also do test upselling two different products.
Lifeboost A/B tested upselling subscribers on two different coffee variants – a pumpkin spice blend, and an espresso blend. The promotion was a massive success, generating thousands of dollars in additional revenue.
3. Free Gift On Order X vs. Free Gift on Order Y
This promotion type is super effective for testing when a free gift has the most impact on customer retention. Check out your subscriber churn drop-off points for the best order numbers to test with.
Funk It tested sending subscribers a free gift – maca – at different subscription cadences. The team found that sending their gift on order number 4 increases retention rates, leading to an overall 22% reduction in subscriber churn.
4. Free Gift vs. Discount Offer
This one is for the fans of unit economics. Sometimes, sending a free $1.00 sticker does the job – but for other brands, customers really only action on a discount. The best way to find out your subscribers’ preference? Test it!
Example: Test offering your subscribers a free piece of swag versus $10.00 off on an upsell product.
5. Free Gift A vs. Free Gift B
Not all GWPs are created equal. You can test things like offering free product versus branded merch or full-size versus sample/travel size. Testing results will show which drives the higher retention.
Aura Bora tests offering a free branded baseball cap versus a free seltzer variety pack on third subscription orders. Since moving from Smartrr to Stay, they’ve seen 128% growth in monthly recurring subscription revenue.
6. X% Off Upsell vs. Y% Off Upsell
Discounting can be finicky – at at the end of the day, you want to drive more money to the bank account, anyway. Try testing a couple of different discount offers. You might want to see if a 15% upsell discount ends up being just as effective as a 20%. Another pro tip: try comparing odd-numbered or “weird” discount offers versus the standard 10 – 25%. We’ve seen some of the unique upsell discount offers get better responses, because subscribers perceive them to be more personalized.
Obvi ran a promotion in 2022 testing a 30% off upsell offer versus a 50% off upsell offer for their Apple Cider Vinegar gummies. The test results were pretty surprising – the take rate for both offers was nearly the same – only fractions of a percentage point difference! It’s always worth the A/B test.
7. Free Sample vs. No Free Sample
Seeing a lot of product-specific churn? Maybe those subscribers would like a different product better. Test offering subscribers of flavor A a free sample of flavor B on upcoming order number X. Use churn cohort data to inform where your subscriber drop-off cliff is, and add this sample to the most common last order number before cancellation.
Moon Juice ran a promotion in early 2023 in which they offered subscribers a free sample of one of their best-selling supplements on their third subscription order. The cohort of recipients had a higher order value for their following order – indicating a boost in brand loyalty (and revenue for Moon Juice)!
8. % Off Upsell vs. $ Off Upsell
To our above point on finicky discounts – sometimes customers just prefer more “tangible” offers. A/B testing a % off discount versus a $ off discount can provide some illuminating results. This helps highlight what format of offer the customer perceives to be a better deal.
Example: Test offering customers a 17% off discount on an upsell product versus the equivalent dollar amount. See which promotion has a higher take rate, & then use these insights to inform future offer development!