Thought Leadership

10 best practices to supercharge Black Friday subscription revenue

Now’s the time to button up your subscription strategy.

Leverage the spike in shoppers visiting your site this Black Friday & Cyber Monday (BFCM) by turning them into high-value, recurring customers.

Here’s what Ordergroove’s subscription experts are advising merchants to do: 

  • Offer deal-incentivized one-time buyers more value with a long-term subscription offer
  • Ensure existing subscribers feel valued with early-access deals and teasers so they don’t hunt for a better deal elsewhere
  • Boost upsells and add-ons across subscriber cohorts to drive up average order value (AOV) and customer lifetime value (LTV)

After you finish our BFCM Merchant Guide, you’ll have everything you need to know to level up your subscriptions and start 2024 with a stronger and more reliable recurring revenue forecast.

Part 1: Convert more one-time buyers into valuable long-term subscribers

Subscriber acquisition doesn’t have to be complicated. With a few minor tweaks to your subscriptions, you can turn shoppers into subscribers in droves. 

Set yourself up for success by making subscriptions your best offer

Subscriptions should be the best offer on your site. If they aren’t, shoppers will gravitate toward one-time purchases to take advantage of your BFCM discount. This is a loss because the LTV of a subscriber is, on average, three or four times higher than a one-time purchaser. 

Though every brand’s margin differs, you shouldn’t be scared to increase subscription promotions during BFCM to match or exceed your planned onsite promotion(s). Brands who do can offset the promotion’s impact on margin by securing customers with a higher LTV who will make repeat purchases without incurring new customer acquisition costs to convert them. 

Default to subscriptions on your best-performing SKUs

Defaulting to subscriptions can increase enrollment by as much as 200%. Pair this strategy with your best-performing SKUs, and you have a recipe for success this holiday shopping season and beyond. 

When you load a Good Ranchers product page, subscriptions are selected by default.

When defaulting to subscriptions, pay special attention to your messaging. Brands should be mindful so shoppers don’t feel tricked into subscribing, but you do want enrollment to feel easy and frictionless with minimal clicks. Explain why enrolling is the best and most valuable way to purchase and use your product. Show online shoppers the benefits they’ll see from subscribing and how much money they’ll save in the long run while reassuring them that they can update their subscription frequency or cancel anytime. 

Make your evergreen products eligible for subscriptions 

Evergreen products are perfect for subscriptions because they are sold year-round. We recommend making your entire evergreen product catalog eligible for subscriptions. Conversely, we don’t recommend making seasonal products eligible for subscriptions – unless it’s a rotating, seasonal box or bundle – because they aren’t available year-round. 

Capture attention by making your subscriptions more visible

Ensure your subscription offering is prominently shown on your product page, category pages, and homepage. Clearly message the value of your proposition, incentives, and other benefits you offer subscribers. For example, let shoppers know if they’ll receive free shipping, a discount, additional loyalty points, a free order in the future, or a gift with purchase.

Uplevel your Product Details Page with best practices

Your Product Details Page (PDP) is one of the most critical contact points with your visitors and customers, and there will be lots of eyeballs on it during BFCM. The tips below will ensure potential customers understand the value that awaits them by subscribing. 

Highlight your discount. Make sure to highlight, bold, or change the formatting of your discount so it stands out. We’ve seen brands increase conversions by up to 100% using this tactic.

Mondou highlights the discount you can expect when signing up for a subscription.

Place your subscriptions above your one-time purchase option. Shoppers often follow the path of least resistance. Placing your subscription offer above your one-time purchase offer, particularly for mobile PDPs, removes buying friction. This tactic, on average, boosts conversions by 15%.

Peet’s Coffee’s subscription option is above their one-time purchase option.

Ease subscription stigma. Put your benefits as close to the checkout button as possible, and highlight that subscribers can cancel or edit their orders at any time and that they’ll be notified ahead of each shipment.

Dollar Shave Club makes it clear that subscribers can easily modify recurring orders.

Display both $ and % discount. Again – your goal is to make subscribing as frictionless as possible. Don’t make your customers do math in their heads – show them their savings!

The Vitamin Shoppe lists both the percentage and monetary discount shoppers receive when they enroll.

Part 2: Ensure your existing subscribers feel valued

In the hunt for new customers this season, don’t forget about your existing subscribers! They are your superfans and your most loyal customers. Keep them happy by letting them participate in your BFCM sale and giving them exclusive perks.

Here are a few ways to get your subscribers involved: 

Offer them a higher discount for one-time purchases. Giving subscribers an increased discount is a win-win for you and them. They’ll feel appreciated because they get to participate, and you’ll see an uptick in AOV while introducing them to new products that they may want to subscribe to. 

Offer a gift with purchase. A gift with purchase will let your subscribers participate in BFCM and protect your margins. Broadly, offer a gift that is inexpensive to produce but has high perceived customer value. You should also consider slow-moving stock or evergreen products that are eligible for a subscription.

Free shipping. Give subscribers another reason to try new products with free shipping. If you’re concerned about covering the additional shipping costs, there are ways to strategically lower costs and drive up AOV – set a free shipping threshold, bake the shipping cost into the product price, and/or combine products into one shipment. 

Part 3: Boost upsells across subscribers to drive up AOV and LTV

Upselling – when used strategically – can boost your average order value and extend lifetime value. For BFCM 2023, remember to upsell to new and existing subscribers.

Target your existing subscribers with an additional offering

One of the advantages of subscriptions is that you have a pool of loyal customers at your fingertips. Use your subscriber data to determine which products are typically purchased together or complement each other. Then, target your subscribers with the additional offer. You can also use your subscriber data to make more personalized recommendations. 

Add gift messaging

A significant portion of consumers shop for themselves over the BFCM. Remind them it’s the giving season by adding gift messaging to your Shopping Cart. For instance, you can prompt your customers to purchase two of the product in their cart or recommend popular SKUs. For the latter, highlight social proof like positive reviews and how many people bought the product.

Turn your seasonal products into upsells

Seasonal products are a win for eCommerce brands. They are easier to market than normal products because they have built-in urgency and scarcity. However, seasonal products do have a downside, especially if you overstock. Seasonal products depreciate after their season ends. 

You can reduce the likelihood of overstocking and boost your AOV by making your seasonal products eligible for upsells.

Put your gifts to work

Not all upsells happen in your Shopping Cart. If you’re offering a gift with purchase this year, make it subscription eligible. We recommend sending a follow-up email to your customers, reminding them the gift they received is available as a subscription. Friendly tip: Wait until your customers receive their gift before emailing. 

Maximize your subscription revenue this BFCM

As you’re cementing your plans, keep this in mind: BFCM and subscriptions are a perfect combination! Not only will you grow sales during the holiday, but you’ll convert buyers into loyal customers for 2024 and beyond!

Are you an Ordergroove merchant and want more BFCM advice? Use Ordergroove’s Knowledge Center to uncover subscription best practices and how to use Ordergroove’s features. 

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