Thinking Outside The Box: The Subscription Model
The subscription box industry has exploded recently, attracting more monthly subscribers each year. Although subscription services aren’t a new concept, their popularity has prompted the introduction of more diverse and niche offerings. Industry leaders like Dollar Shave Club, Harry’s and Direct Wines have become household names, leading large retailers like Amazon, Target and Walmart to test the same waters.
While companies of all sizes are fighting for a piece of this growing industry, the relatively low cost and ease of cancellation has made building customer loyalty tricky for many brands. In fact, the average customer cancels a subscription box after only 125 days.
So what gives? At face value, the subscription model seems perfect for today’s consumer: it’s convenient and exciting. Despite these pros, consumers are still likely to switch at a moment’s notice. That’s why it’s essential for subscription brands to find ways to stand out from the crowd, as more competitors start to flood the market. Below are some examples of companies that are doing the subscription model right.
Connect Beyond the Subscription
Customer loyalty is at the core of Sephora’s subscription success. In 2015, the retailer launched their monthly service called Play!, featuring five deluxe samples from major beauty brands. Along with the products, Sephora includes many additional features designed to delight their customers. Subscribers are able to redeem Beauty Insider points in-store, watch curated tutorials using that month’s products, and attend subscriber-only events at locations nearest to them. Not only does Sephora’s brand provide a legitimacy to their product, but their add-ons allow them to connect with their customers way beyond the initial subscription offering.
Convenience is Everyone’s BFF
Dollar Shave Club became a top player in the monthly-subscription box marketplace back in 2011. Their original goal was to make the experience of razor shopping painless, but as the company grew, so did their variety of grooming products offered. Not only can you get a monthly supply of razors, you can also add products such as chapstick and hair gel to your box. This is where convenience really sets DSC apart – any time you’re running low on soap (and almost any other bathroom supply), you can easily make sure they show up in your box that’s already scheduled to come to your door.
Save the Sale
Because a brand’s customer service team handles interactions related to retaining subscribers, they play a major role in saving subscription box sales. It’s important that your team is equipped with solutions to common subscriber problems, as well as how to upsell and cross-sell. Some easy tactics include:
- Proactively reaching out to subscribers to answer any questions they have, based on their preferred method of contact.
- Discuss other options for their subscription box that the subscriber might love, based on their past purchases.
- Allow team members who have already created relationships with certain subscribers to continue handling any future issues.
- Provide incentives for team members, such as bonuses that are tied to every sale they save.
Unless customers are feeling connected with their subscription every single month, a brand’s subscriber retention will continue to plummet. Companies need to continue to discover ways to stay innovative and personal, keeping their subscribers committed for the long haul.