Does Your Online Store Offer this One Crucial Feature that Generates Recurring Revenue?
Ross Paul Over at BlueSnap Breaks Down How eCommerce Subscription Models Are Taking the Online Marketing World By Storm
The eCommerce market is tight and getting tighter. Inspiring visitors to become buyers can be hard enough—getting them to come back for more is an added challenge.
Regardless of how awesome your customers’ initial experience with your brand may be, there’s a lot of noise out there on the digital marketing front—companies everywhere are vying for the attention of a limited pool of users.
As such, staying savvy on opportunities to turn buyers into repeat customers is critical.
Ross Paul over at BlueSnap suggests that if you run an online store, eCommerce Subscription Models should be on your radar. As he puts it, “Subscription models are the perfect mix of meeting your customer’s recurring needs, while satisfying your business demands of regular income and growth.”
Check out Paul’s article now or read on for our full summary.
What is an eCommerce Subscription Model? Why Should You—And Your Customers—Care?
Offering subscription services gives your users the opportunity to sign up to receive ongoing shipments of your goods for an indefinite period of time. As Paul states, this helps businesses “convert many of their current repeat customers into a consistent recurring revenue stream” while “enabling them to attract new customers looking for something a bit different.”
Another big statistic? “About 15% of online shoppers have signed up for one or more subscriptions to receive products on a recurring basis.” Given the astronomical growth of sales using a subscription feature since 2011, you can expect that figure to increase in the years to come.
Businesses use a variety of means to entice users into becoming subscribers—percentage discounts (Paul cites Amazon’s 15% off Subscribe-and-Save option for users that receive more than five items in their monthly shipment), free shipping, boxes of curated and cutting-edge products (which have inspired a whole “unboxing” culture among YouTube influencers) and promises of convenience.
The perk for businesses beyond that increased predictability of monthly revenue? Improved sales and inventory data, fewer returned items, and increased “lifetime value of a customer” (aka the total value a customer brings to your business over time).
Best Practices for Your eCommerce Subscription Model
- Know your customers. Paul suggests taking inventory of who is currently buying your products and what kinds of things they come back for again and again. In his words, “Map out who these shoppers are, what their buying habits are, and what the most obvious products in your catalog are to add subscription options for.”
- Convenience is key. It’s probably pretty obvious that you should make it easy for users to find and select the subscribe options. But you should also make sure that they find it just as easy to manage their subscriptions. The easier the flow, the more likely you’ll hook them for life and “you’ll stand a better chance of turning them into evangelists to others.”
- Market to your existing customer base. Reach out to your current customer base via an email newsletter campaign or on social media. You may consider offering these users one-time or ongoing discounts to encourage them to take the subscription option for a spin.
- Less is more when it comes to selection. While it may seem like a good idea to try and offer the sun and moon to potential subscribers straight out the gate, keeping things simple is actually more likely to lead to results. As Paul suggests, “Your subscription model should focus on fewer consumer choices and easier decision making.”
- Keep subscribers in the loop. If you’re unable to fulfill a monthly order for whatever reason, make sure you reach out to your customers and let them know what to expect. As much as possible, make sure you’re equipped to follow through on the initial subscription commitment.
- Get your subscribers talking. Customers who subscribe to your product are doing so for a reason—they must love what you do! Don’t hesitate to reach out to early customers and ask them to “evangelize.” Paul makes the case well: “Nothing helps you attract new subscribers better than positive feedback from real customers who are already signed up.”
eCommerce Subscription Model Examples the efelle Team Loves
Paul features a great list of businesses doing eCommerce subscriptions well (ready to check out Paul's article?). Well, here at efelle we've got our own list of prize winners. Check them out below.
Birchbox was an early entrant in the growing list of subscription services offering customers a curated selection of beauty product samples every month. Not only that, they make it easy for users to purchase their favorite products straight from the Birchbox website after they've had the chance to test them out.
A long-time staple in the skincare industry (their branding is centered on the fact they've been in the beauty business "Since 1851"), Kiehl's has recently given customers the option of purchasing their favorite products on a recurring basis with the shipping free of charge. For loyal customers of the brand, not having to go into a store to make a purchase or pay for shipping online is a real perk.
Imperfect Produce is a fast-growing company that offers users the chance to order "ugly" produce at a steeply discounted price. Customers who feel that beauty is only skin deep will find getting fully customizable boxes of produce delivered straight to their door a pretty sweet treat. Imperfect is only available in select cities at the moment but they are expanding rapidly to other metro areas throughout the United States.
We may be a bit biased since our team was responsible for the design and development of this beauty, but this child company of SciLife BioSciences offers subscriptions on well-crafted multivitamins and supplements at a discounted price, making it easy for you to optimize your health game without breaking the bank.
efelle creative is Fully Equipped to Take Your eCommerce Site to the Next Level
efelle creative specializes in designing and developing eCommerce stores to meet our clients’ goals. From fully custom product pages to user-friendly order renewal services to lead-generating sales pages that convert visitors into customers on the spot, our team knows what sells and is ready to design and build the online store your business needs. Call us today at 206.384.4909 or contact us online to learn more about what we can do for you.