Subscription commerce surged during the pandemic and shows no signs of slowing down. Learn why it's booming, and everything else you need to know about this business model.
By appealing to our desires for convenience and novelty, subscription services and subscription boxes have won over American consumers.
Companies like them, too, for the recurring revenue and ongoing customer engagement. However, these benefits aren’t guaranteed. Companies that want to drive subscription loyalty need to turn habitual transactions into meaningful connections with their brand.
It takes just a click of a button – or two – for customers to unsubscribe from a service or box. While it takes much more than that to build their loyalty, doing so can pay dividends.Here are five ways to drive subscription loyalty:
- Build a sense of community
- Give customers something good to remember
- Make it personal
- Eliminate friction
- Provide elite status
Connections & community build subscription loyalty
Subscription boxes and services are often focused on a hobby, interest, or a basic need. With a little creativity, these niche products and brands can be the foundation for a community.
For example, a subscription box of environmentally friendly consumer goods can leverage customers’ interest in sustainability to build a digital platform where they can connect, share product reviews and photos, and learn more about reducing their carbon footprint.
You can also build community (and subscription loyalty) by sharing the company’s involvement in charitable organizations. Give customers an opportunity to contribute as well.
Appealing to shared values will give subscribers the sense that they are part of something bigger and strengthen their connection with your brand.
Unique, fun experiences keep subscribers close
One of the benefits of a subscription service or box is the convenience. You don’t forget to pick up toilet paper when it’s delivered to your door. And the cats never go hungry when their food arrives monthly.
But it’s just as easy to take these subscriptions for granted and when a lower price comes along for the same value, customers can be gone for good.
To stay front-of-mind and improve loyalty, make your subscription an experience that customers anticipate. It can be as simple as uniquely branded packaging or as complex as elegantly wrapped contents and a thank you card.
The more unique the experience, the more likely customers will remember. In fact, it creates a perfect social media opportunity.
Personalization for engagement that lasts
Consumers respond well to personalization. Market research company GfK found that many of those who use a subscription shopping service are incentivized to engage with the brand through surveys and quizzes that match them with personalized products. Some 22% of all respondents, and 29% of millennials, said they are likely to continue engaging this way.
In addition to surveys and quizzes, companies can incentivize users to build up their profile. Make it easy to quickly add key information that you can then use to personalize messages, promotional offers, and product recommendations to the subscriber’s needs and interests.
Companies should also leverage the data they collect to understand customers’ buying habits and communication preferences. For instance, if subscribers are consistently moving up their box delivery date, then perhaps you send an SMS message a week early checking in on their supply.
Anticipate your customers’ personal needs so that they can have a positive experience with your company and stick around for better subscription loyalty.
Streamline everything – including cancellations
Make it easy to sign up, manage, and even cancel a subscription. Consumers are either looking for a particular experience or they’re meeting a basic need with your subscription box or service.
In either scenario, customers have a low tolerance for friction. Accept that some customers will leave, and to reduce churn, offer tiered pricing.
As appropriate (based on user data), prompt customers to manage their subscriptions based on their current needs. Giving customers flexibility can help maintain subscription loyalty when they might otherwise unsubscribe.
Customer loyalty programs are essential for staying ahead of the competition. Here, we look at some of the best loyalty programs around.
Give them the royal treatment
Everyone likes to feel special. So give your subscribers something to feel good about. Give them unique benefits such as expedited or free shipping, easy returns, and invitations to exclusive events.
Acknowledge their loyalty to your brand or a particular product with special incentives, and invite them personally to be brand evangelists.
Customers who are given the royal treatment aren’t just more likely to stay. They’re also more likely to share the experience with others and become brand advocates.
A company’s ability to maintain and strengthen customer loyalty is critical the success of a subscription business. Fortunately, the model offers plenty of opportunities for companies that are willing to think outside the box.