The subscriptions industry is booming! While this is great news for subscription merchants, it also means more competition. Brands today must find unique and creative ways to win over customers and keep them coming back.

So what’s the best way for subscription merchants to hang on to their customers past the initial purchase? It’s called subscriber loyalty: customers who are loyal to your brand because of all the value you add to their lives.

Just think of some of your favourite subscription brands. Whether it’s a TV streaming service like Netflix, or your favorite monthly beauty box, chances are they did something right to win your business and keep you coming back for more. Which brings us to our first topic — creating an unforgettable first impression.

  1. Make a great first impression

Just like all first impressions, a good one can go a long way towards creating a lasting customer relationship. Treat new visitors to your page with a quiz or questionnaire that will make them feel engaged and gather valuable information you can use to personalize their subscription.

Custom doggy toy and treat subscription box Kong Box is a good example of a merchant that makes the customer, and their furry best friend, feel right at home.

photo credit: Kong Box

Having a strong onboarding flow can make the difference between a customer signing on for a month or two vs. becoming a long-time member. Don’t skip out on this chance to connect with your customer and make an unforgettable first impression.

2. Add value to make your subscription irresistible

People usually subscribe to products for two main reasons — convenience and price.

If someone knows they are going to be using the same replenishable beauty product, it might just be easier to subscribe rather than having to shop around for it at the store each month.

Adding a value incentive like “save 10% when you subscribe” is another way to win over customers who already know they are going to need your product.

photo credit: The Balanced Company

Look how The Balanced Company uses a subscribe a save approach to get subscribers to sign up for several months with their For Women (Lifestyle Box).

Incentives like “subscribe and save” are great for getting customers in the door, but how do you ensure they don’t leave after a few payments? Successful subscription brands do a great job of building value right into their subscription program.

Here are a few ideas to consider offering customers in addition to savings:

  • Free shipping
  • Faster and preferential services
  • VIP product offerings
  • Gifts & giveaways
  • Additional perks and services

3. Personalize your emails to grow loyalty

Email is the perfect tool for subscription brands looking to build loyalty through frequent and meaningful engagement. It’s fast, direct, and inexpensive. And, if your onboarding experience did its job, you should have a solid mailing list and loads of data to create in-depth personalized emails your customers will love.

Birchbox does an amazing job at making their subscribers feel like part of an important club with tailored emails:

photo credit: Birchbox

Tip: Pay attention to the feedback customers give in the event they try to cancel their subscription. Offering incentives to stay on or making an adjustment to their subscription might be all it takes to recoup what would have been a lost subscriber.

Breaking up isn’t easy, but by making your cancellation experience as pleasant as possible, you have a greater chance of winning back lost subscribers, or at the very least, leaving a good impression that could pay off later.

4. Win subscribers long-term with a loyalty program

Earlier this year we conducted a survey where we interviewed business owners about loyalty programs. What we found was that subscription brands who also offer loyalty programs enjoyed longer subscriber lifetime!

FabFitFun offers an amazing loyalty program in addition to their popular health and wellness subscription box.

Photo credit: FabFitFun

Loyalty program members enjoy perks like 50–70% off members only sales, early shopping offers, additional customization and more.

Some quick ideas for designing a loyalty program that keeps subscribers happy:

  • Exclusive VIP sales
  • Member only product launches
  • Free shipping
  • Invitations to social communities
  • Earn points with each purchase incentives
  • Referral programs

Check out these great subscription box loyalty programs for even more inspo!

Ready to make your subscribers want to join the club?

Success in subscriptions is all about turning customers into loyal subscribers and brand advocates — making your club the one they want to be a part of. To recap:

  • Make a great first impression with a delightful onboarding experience.
  • Continue adding value beyond initial discounts and conveniences in order to make your subscription irresistible to quit.
  • Use personalized emails to grow meaningful engagement and reduce subscriber churn
  • Build a loyalty program into your subscription for longer and more customer lifetime value!

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