The current marketing landscape for eCommerce has shifted, subscriptions are no longer just a nice thing to have, but a sustained business model of growth and engagement. Subscriptions can be overwhelming so to make things easier for any marketer looking to get into subscription marketing, we will outline the basics of subscription models, the types, and the benefits of all.
The eCommerce subscription program is a business model in which a company provides ongoing services on a regular basis in exchange for regular payments from the customer. While you can create a subscription experience for almost any product or service, for retailers and eCommerce, the business model is best suited for consumable products. According to McKinsey, from 2011 to 2016, subscription-based eCommerce increased revenue from $57 million to $2.7 billion. This growth is almost unprecedented and is only continuing, as more and more businesses get in on the action.
Types of Subscription Service:
1. The Replenishment Model (most popular): Businesses selling goods where the supply is naturally depleted and the users need to replenish or refill the products on a regular basis such as cosmetics, drinks, hygienic products, and some clothes.
2. The Curated Model: Curation subscription services provide collections of products to individual recipients based on their unique needs and tastes, such as natural supplements, coffee, and similar.
3. The Access Subscription/Premium Model: Access subscription services operate in the same way as Costco and other such “warehouse clubs,” in that customers must purchase a membership in order to have access to the company’s products.
Benefits and Advantages of running a Subscription Program
- Increase Reliable and Recurring Revenue: consumers subscribe to this kind of service knowing that they’ll continue to receive more and more value from them as time goes on, transforming into loyal customers retained.
- Improve Forecasting: owners are capable of better planning their revenue, costs, and inventory, making for regularity in orders. Since many of your customers will likely subscribe for months of your services in advance, you’ll have a clearer idea of the minimal amount of product you’ll need to have on hand at a certain time.
- More Engagement Opportunities: constant interaction with customers allows a business to accumulate an increasing amount of information on the habits and preferences of their customers—information you can use to help your client improve their service and offer.
Include Subscription Program Campaigns in your Email Marketing Strategy
Email represents one of the most efficient acquisitions and customer relations channels. It is the fastest and most effective way to engage existing customers, offer them products, get feedback, provide information, and help by providing recommendations to customers based on their preferences. In this order of ideas promoting a subscription-based business is necessary to grow the business, increase the number of subscribers, and by extension, revenue.
Successful and effective email campaigns for a client must acquire new customers, engage existing customers, turn regular customers into subscribers, gather additional information about customers, re-engage inactive customers, and translate them into email messages. Using email to present the features of a subscription to a customer allows the business to deliver its unique value proposition, the benefits a subscriber gets by signing up, the terms and conditions of the offer, social feedback, and other trust indicators like reviews.
Not only are campaigns an email marketing resource to leverage your subscription program, but it also comes down to automations. The structure and strategy of a flow will be defined by your core product, if it is a massive consumer product that requires constant sends each x days, like food, or hair products, your strategy will need to be focused on reminding the subscribers this product is a must and why receiving each x days is valuable. However, there’s another type of subscription program that focuses its strategy on helping subscribers to choose from a variety of options from the same product.
Here we have an example of a Gin brand. Their strategy is to send a box of 3 different mini bottles of gin each month in order to persuade the subscribers to try them all and then choose the ones they like better to make a purchase for the full-size bottle. When the customers enter the subscription program, they will receive 12 chapters (months) of the product and 3 emails per chapter as shown here:
Chapter 1 – Email 1: Welcome to the subscription program, what can they expect from this, and information about the shipped box with the gin samples.
Chapter 1 – Email 2: By this time the box should be received and will include more detailed info about each of the 3 gin samples, educational videos on how to drink those, and a CTA in case they already decide to buy a full-size of one of the gins.
Chapter 1 – Email 3: After the gin tasting this email will trigger with the opportunity to leave a review for each sample of gin to win a discount for the next purchase. It will also include a sneak peek at what to expect for chapter 2.
Building email marketing campaigns for subscription-based businesses presents a unique challenge as customers need to be constantly wooed by emotion, trust, and social proof. However, it also provides a new space for personalization which translates into recognizing customers’ needs, tastes, and lifestyles to create relevant and attractive offers that make them more likely to convert. Using your client’s customer database to find out and match the preferences of customers is mandatory, if you are still unsure about how to start implementing Subscription models, book a call with us and let us help you convert your one-time purchasers into subscribed customers.