Thought Leadership

6 subscription best practices brands overlook

David Cross  |  

One of the easiest ways to scale your subscriptions is to focus on best practices. While this advice is simple, you’d be surprised how many brands forget to do it. Below, we’ve pulled together some of the most overlooked subscription best practices and highlighted examples of successful subscription experiences to emulate. 

1. Give shoppers multiple ways to subscribe

Many brands only let shoppers enroll in subscriptions on their product detail pages (PDP). This is a huge miss. To boost enrollment, go beyond your PDP and give shoppers multiple ways to subscribe. Make it easy for shoppers to enroll in your cart, quick view, and category pages. 

The reason behind doing this is simple: by providing multiple enrollment opportunities, you increase your customers’ exposure to subscriptions and their benefits. Then when they’re ready to enroll, they won’t have to navigate to a different page on your site. 

U Beauty offers a fantastic example of this strategy in action. Their shoppers can enroll in subscriptions on the brand’s PDPs, category pages, and cart.

U Beauty subscription best practices

2. Support a mixed cart during checkout

Utilizing a mixed cart is another overlooked best practice with a huge payoff. A mixed cart lets shoppers purchase subscriptions and one-time purchases in the same transaction. It’s a great way to boost your average order value. 

For inspiration, check out Stumptown’s subscription experience.

Stumptown subscription best practice

3. Offer subscription-exclusive products

Speaking of Stumptown, the coffee giant also has subscription-exclusive products. Exclusives often carry a higher perceived value because of their limited availability. As a result, subscribers feel like they’re receiving more than they’re paying for, enhancing their satisfaction.

Stumptown subscriptions best practices

4. Offer multiple subscription experiences

Offering pay-as-you-go subscriptions is a great start, but if you want to grow, it’s best to offer multiple subscription experiences, including curated boxes, bundles, and prepaid. By providing more options, you’re accommodating more customer preferences, which leads to higher conversions. 

Take a look at Hotel Chocolat’s subscription experiences to see how it’s done. They offer curated boxes, a refill subscription for their Velvetiser Drinking Chocolate Machine, and pay-as-you-go subscriptions.

Hotel Chocolat subscription best practice

For an example of prepaid subscriptions, head over to La Colombe’s site. An important thing to note about prepaid subscriptions is that in addition to boosting conversions, prepaid subscribers have significantly higher lifetime value than pay-as-you-go subscribers. 

In a recent case study, cheeky apparel brand, Shinesty, revealed to Ordergroove that the LTV of their prepaid subscribers is 100% greater than their pay-as-you-go subscribers.

5. Market subscriptions to your subscriber base

Are you fully utilizing your subscriber base? A ton of brands aren’t. Remember to incentive your current subscribers to enroll in more subscriptions. The best way to do this is by offering a “subscribe more, save more” experience. 

With subscribe more, save more, subscribers are offered steeper discounts the more subscriptions they enroll in. Women’s health brand, Bonafide, has seen impressive results doing this. They offer an extra 25% off for two subscriptions and 35% off for three.

Bonafide subscription best practices

6. Default to subscriptions

If you want to make an immediate impact on subscription enrollment, default to subscriptions instead of a one-time purchase on your PDP. Our data shows that defaulting to subscriptions can increase enrollment by as much as 200%. 

When defaulting to subscriptions, pay special attention to your messaging. Ordergroove’s Customer Success Director Kyle Beldoch had this to say about the strategy

“The critical thing to remember is that you don’t want to trick shoppers into a subscription. Use messaging that explains to shoppers that subscriptions are the best and most valuable way to purchase your product. Show them how much money they’ll save by subscribing. Most importantly, reassure shoppers that they can cancel their subscription at any time.”

To see this strategy in action, head over to I and Love and You. The pet food brand defaults to subscription on some of their many products, like their best-selling Oh My Cod! Pâté cat food.

I and Love and You subscription best practices

I and Love and You also uses two other noteworthy strategies to maximize sales. They strikethrough the standard price to show how much money customers will save when they subscribe and let shoppers set their order frequency within the PDP. 

Maximize your subscriptions with Ordergroove

Subscriptions are the best way to generate recurring revenue for you and unmatched convenience for your customers. 

If you haven’t launched subscriptions – or if you’re seeing poor enrollment or retention with your current subscription solution – reach out to Ordergroove to learn how our out-of-the-box capabilities drive acquisition, retention, and AOV. Click here to set up a demo.

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