Bonafide’s blueprint for building and scaling a subscription-first business
David Cross |
Editor’s note: Comments have been edited for length and clarity.
Bonafide, a natural remedy brand that offers women relief from menopause symptoms, transitioned to a subscription-led business model that maximizes customer lifetime value after migrating to Ordergroove in January 2022.
In a recent webinar, Ordergroove’s Customer Success Director Kyle Beldoch sat down with Bonafide’s Director of eCommerce Nargiza Dakmak and Sr. Director of Lifecycle and Retention Kiara Sanchez-Mora to uncover the blueprint Bonafide used to build and scale a subscription-first business. Below are the biggest takeaways.
Bonafide’s background and subscription story
Bonafide launched in 2009 to provide women with novel, safe, and highly effective treatment options for relief from symptoms throughout their menopause journey. Because Bonafide’s natural remedies require consistent use to reach peak efficacy, they knew that subscriptions were the best way to ensure their customers always had their products on hand.
However, Bonafide’s first foray into subscriptions didn’t go as planned. They launched with a different subscription solution and saw fewer shoppers enroll than they expected. The core challenge: Bonafide’s initial subscription solution was rigid and didn’t allow them to build out the subscriber experience they knew their customers deserved – one that offered valuable savings for subscribing to multiple products and growing their order volume, and allowed bulk subscription orders and dynamic bundling.
Undeterred by their subscription experience’s slow start, Bonafide migrated to Ordergroove and made subscriptions the primary revenue driver for the business. Here is Bonafide’s four-step playbook for maximizing customer lifetime value with a subscription-led customer experience.
Strategy 1: Collect more customer data
On their journey to becoming a subscription-first brand, Bonafide doubled down on the customer data they collect, allowing them to create personalized buying experiences. Bonafide leverages Shopify as their eCommerce platform, which integrates with Ordergroove and the supplement brand’s email service provider.
“Having all of these three platforms connected makes it seamless for my team to ideate and really personalize what our customer’s experience looks like,” Kiara said. “Everything gets adjusted and adapted to her.”
With Ordergroove, Bonafide can easily collect and aggregate data about which products customers subscribe to most frequently, pauses, skips, cancellations, and more.
“We have very, very rich data to understand the reasons that are driving our subscribers to cancel, which helps to inform our win-back strategy,” Kiara said. “We are incredibly successful at that. We get a very large percentage of our customers to come back to us and to subscriptions after we learn how to improve their experience.”
Bonafide’s key metric to gauge their subscription’s success is customer lifetime value; however, two leading indicators of lifetime value Bonafide urges brands to consider tracking are refills and the number of subscribers with multiple products. “By becoming a subscription-first business, you get so much more customer data,” Kyle said. “You get rich information about customers’ purchase histories, purchase trends, and what these customers really want from you. These data-discovered touchpoints become opportunities to create and optimize the experience on your side and ultimately give more value to your customers.”
Strategy 2: Put subscriptions at the center of your business
Though it sounds obvious, brands that want to be subscription-first must fully commit to the strategy and shift the focus of their business to emphasize subscriptions.
Bonafide’s evolution into a subscription-first brand started with two interconnected changes: offering bulk subscription orders and defaulting to subscriptions on their product detail pages.
As part of their launch with Ordergroove, Bonafide introduced a bulk subscription offering. The offering enables shoppers to subscribe to three months’ worth of a product in a single order. The brand hypothesized that consumers would flock to their “three-month plan” because it offered a significant discount and made it easier to stick to a regime.
Their hypothesis was correct, and Bonafide decided to go all-in on the offering by updating their buying experience to default to their three-month plan.
“Right now, our three packs comprise almost 70% of our overall subscriptions,” Kiara said. “The reason why it is 70% is that not only did it have an impact on the acquisition side but also the retention side. We saw that three-month subscribers are just stickier.”
When transitioning to a subscription-first business, defaulting to subscriptions is one of the easiest ways to get started.
“We’ve seen that defaulting to subscriptions can drive over a 30% increase in conversion the day that you turn it on,” Kyle said.
Strategy 3: Create memorable journeys for your subscribers
Subscribers are your VIP customers and need to be treated as such. Bonafide lives this mantra by removing as much friction in their subscribers’ buying experience as possible.
By switching to Ordergroove, Bonafide unlocked a new functionality they call Magic Link. Every link in their email and SMS marketing campaigns is dynamically tied to their customer’s Shopify IDs, giving Bonafide more control over the buying experience.
When existing subscribers click a Magic Link, they are automatically logged into their subscription account as soon as they land onsite. No matter what product page they land on, subscribers can add items to their subscription order in one click — no checkout necessary.
Recently, Bonafide used Magic Link to target subscribers for a cross-sell campaign. They recommended products aligned with the subscriber’s current subscription(s) and directed them to the product’s landing page.
“It’s very frictionless,” Kiara said. “She gets the offer, she clicks through, she’s impulse sold, and then that’s it. Once her order refills, she’ll get all products delivered to her. It’s great.”
Strategy 4: Prioritize your subscribers’ needs by offering flexibility
Consumers want subscriptions that match their individual needs. Bonafide tapped into this sentiment by offering multiple offerings, such as pay-as-you-go and bulk subscriptions, as well as dynamic bundling.
Bonafide offers subscription bundles of products that work well together. For instance, Bonafide offers a sexual satisfaction bundle that is comprised of their Serenol and Ristela products, which offer relief from mood swings and improves sexual satisfaction, respectively.
When a bundle is added to a shopper’s cart, it is separated into individual subscriptions, and a discount is applied based on how many products are in the cart. As of the webinar, Bonafide offers 25% off for two products and 35% off for three.
“The beauty of it is that it’s dynamic and flexible,” Nargiza said. “Our customers don’t have to stick to a certain bundle. If she adds more products, the price will update. The idea is the more she adds, the more she saves.”
Bonafide attributes dynamic bundling for the improvement in their multiple purchase rate.
“We’ve seen a really big uptake of our multiple purchase rate,” Nargiza said. “We saw 20% growth since launching with Ordergroove.”