Retention Strategies for Subscription Businesses 

As thrilling and rewarding as it can be to pursue and secure the custom of a new subscriber, the most desirable customer will be an existing one.

This is often especially the case for merchants working on a subscription model, given that the greatest fruits are gained from maximising customer lifetime value (CLTV)

Will your customers ‘cancel anytime’, or take the long view? 

According to one recent source, almost 4 in 10 ecommerce subscribers cancel early. This can be a cause of concern for subscription based ecommerce companies and make them focus on a retention strategy. 

The very nature of today’s subscription-based economy has empowered customers to adopt a short-term perspective on their use of products and services like yours. This is, in part, due to  the abundance of ‘opt in’ and ‘cancel anytime’ promotions. 

Ultimately, to encourage your customer to take a long-term view of their relationship with you, it must truly feel like a relationship, including an ongoing conversation and engagement that helps to ensure strong bonds. Here are some of the most proven strategies for delivering precisely that. 

  1. Go beyond simply ‘thanking’ your customer. When we mention the importance of creating strong bonds, we mean it – you need to go further with your subscription customers than making impersonal ‘thank you for your purchase’ statements. You might, then, cultivate a deeper relationship by suggesting actions based on previous purchases or interactions;  following up on customer service requests after their initial contact with you, and acknowledging significant anniversaries. 
  2. Create a sense of constant relevance and momentum. If you wish your subscribers to continue perceiving you as a relevant and useful force in their lives not just from the moment they first subscribed, but also many months and even years afterwards, you need to proactively show them that you are. Do you adequately communicate to your customers that you understand their present pain points? Do you have a long-term view of their needs? What are the latest trends in the industry that you can share with and explain to your customers, to demonstrate that you are continuing to support them? 
  3. Personalise subscriptions to customers’ unique tastes. You might accomplish this by enabling them to select between style, size, type and other specifications. While another possibility is to allow them to choose one or more items from a list of options every month or quarter. You will, however, also require sufficiently sophisticated fulfilment processes to match, likely necessitating additional staffing and a larger processing footprint. 
  4. Ensure your products and processes represent value for money. Your subscribers might vary widely in their specific requirements, with some of them seeking unique new items, and others replenishing products that they already know and frequently use. Regardless, they will all expect value for money – indeed, recent research has suggested an overly high price is the most commonly cited reason why customers opt to cancel a paid subscription service or switch providers. So, you should optimise your fulfilment processes wherever and whenever you can, incorporating automation where needed. With margins typically being slim for subscription companies, it is crucial that they keenly watch their expenses. 

Unlock your subscription firm’s full potential in 2020 

The more of an ongoing, two-way conversation you can create with your customers – founded on mutual benefit – the likelier your chances will probably be of keeping hold of those subscribers in the long run. 

Our team can help your subscription-based ecommerce business to deliver its best results for customers – and you – in the months and years ahead. Simply get in touch with our Shopify design and development experts today to find out more. 

Need help with your subscription store?

Sign up to book a 1-on-1 session with one of our digital consultants.

Book Your Call