In the world of subscriptions and online shopping, the topic of upcoming order notifications can be confusing to navigate. Many brands swear by these notifications as an opportunity to optimize the customer experience. Others may be hesitant to enable them out of fear that they will increase customer churn.
Here, we’ll talk about how upcoming order notifications can be a helpful tool to improve customer retention, build trust in your brand, and increase lifetime value.
When a customer subscribes to your product, this represents more than a recurring transaction. The act of subscribing is akin to a customer willfully choosing to build a relationship with your brand. And, as is true in any relationship, transparency and trust are key here.
One way to embody that transparency is through upcoming order notifications. These are different from an order confirmation email, which confirms that a customer has successfully completed a purchase, and a shipping confirmation notification, which lets a customer know that their order has shipped (typically with tracking details included). Rather, these notifications give the subscriber advanced notice about their transaction.
Before a subscriber’s order is set to renew—whether that’s on a weekly, monthly, or even annual basis—your brand can automatically communicate with that subscriber to let them know they’re about to be charged. This gives your customers a heads up about the transaction in advance, giving them the ability and time needed to edit their order.
From the customer’s perspective, this type of proactive communication from your brand demonstrates that you want to be transparent. Let’s face it: Nobody likes to see an unexpected charge on their card. If someone associates an unexpected charge with your brand, it erodes their trust in you.
Now, let’s quantify this.
In an upcoming order notification, you can give your customers the option to do things like skip or delay their shipment. It might sound counterintuitive, but when customers take these types of actions on their subscriptions, it actually increases their customer lifetime value (LTV). Why? If you offer customers the option to skip or delay their shipments, they are more likely to do that instead of cancelling. In the end, you would rather a customer skip a shipment than cancel one altogether, right?
This effect is also measurable using the Recharge Customer Actions dashboard. Our new update allows you to compare the average customer value (ACV) of customers who take an action, like skipping a shipment, to the ACV of those who don’t take the action.
Skipping and delaying shipments aren’t the only options you can offer customers to customize their upcoming orders. You can also provide the opportunity to add on products to a subscription.
Let’s say your customer wants to try a new flavour of your product while keeping their existing subscription. Through the use of Recharge Quick Actions, RechargeSMS, and our integration with ARPU, you can allow them to add a one-time purchase of that new flavour to their upcoming shipments. The result? The customer gets what they want from your brand, and your AOV increases.
One powerful way you can customize your upcoming order notifications is to add information on impactful brand initiatives.
A great example of this: Say your business donates a portion of sales to charity. You can use your upcoming order notifications to bring customer awareness to the progress of that initiative. When your customer receives this type of communication, it helps them understand that they are contributing to something bigger than simply a subscription through their business with you. Ultimately, it deepens the meaning behind your products and brand.
With all this being said, you don’t want to lose sight of the point of upcoming order notifications. They’re meant to alert your customers about an upcoming subscription order, and generally provide options on ways to customize that order—be it adding on a one-time purchase, rescheduling the delivery, or skipping it altogether. However, depending on your brand, adding more information about yourself and your initiatives can help demonstrate value to your customers.
The bottom line: Listen to what your customers are asking for and be intentional about addressing those requests—not only when you notify them of an upcoming order, but also throughout your brand experience. By meeting your customers where they are in this way, you’ll empower them to get the most out of your subscriptions and increase your LTV in the process.