How a loyalty program can supercharge your subscription service

With the restrictions of the pandemic easing off and the cost of living creeping up, many consumers are sense checking their bank statements and striking through the luxuries and conveniences they had signed up to during lockdown. As a result, you may be seeing more subscriber churn than you had forecast. 

How can you ensure that your subscription service makes the cut? There are two simple ways to keep your recurring customers on board. Firstly, take every opportunity to collect more data from the customers who are already opted in. And secondly, make sure you’re using  that data responsibly to deliver VIP, personalized experiences that they can’t get elsewhere. 

Subscriptions in the opt-out era

When consumers enter into a subscriber relationship with a brand, they do so with the confidence that they will receive a consistently good experience each and every week or month. This isn’t reflected in just the packages that arrive on the doorstep, but the marketing and communications that accompany that package too. 

As more and more consumers respond to privacy changes like iOS updates and GDPR by opting out of marketing communications, showing your customers that you’re using the data that they do share in a way that benefits them and improves their experience is crucial. This is what will set you apart from other subscription services, and keep you connected to your customers in between boxes. 

Where to start? 

Exclusive subscriber rewards 

The unfortunate reality of ecommerce, is that somebody else out there is probably offering the same product as you are, with the same delivery options. To stand out and stop your subscribers from being distracted by other introductory discounts, your subscription service needs to offer more. You can achieve this with subscriber rewards that everyday shoppers can’t access. 

For example, Amora Coffee gives subscribers access to a wide range of benefits once they unlock the points required to redeem them. For example, 90 points will allow a member to unlock a travel mug, 100 points will win a subscriber 20% off their next order, and 450 points would be enough to redeem an entire coffee maker. This successfully keeps subscribers engaged for longer, as they have a clear goal to aim for, and they can see additional benefits to remaining signed up. 

An example of an improved subscription service: exclusive subscriber rewards 

An exclusive subscriber tier

Today’s consumer also responds well to exclusivity. They like to be on the other side of FOMO, happy in the knowledge that they have access to VIP perks that not everyone can unlock.

Incentivize shoppers to subscribe in the knowledge that once they enter the subscriber tier they can access exclusive benefits that mean the world to them, but cost you little. For example, consider experiential perks such as early access to sales, discounted shipping rates, or special content to name a few.

Seventh Sense operates a subscription service tier which gives members access to special events that other tiers cannot access. They also offer subscribers free shipping on all subscription orders. 

An example of an improved subscription service: an exclusive subscriber tier

By featuring your subscriber tier on your page as Seventh Sense do, your subscriber tier becomes aspirational, and can be used to tempt new one-time shoppers into a subscription. This allows you to show all incoming customers the benefit of subscribing and indirectly increase your recurring revenue as a result. 

Personalized subscriber experiences

As we already mentioned, today’s consumers don’t give second chances – if they don’t like your marketing messages they opt out. So how do you ensure you never turn off your subscribers? 

When a customer sets up a subscription with you, they share their data. You then have multiple opportunities to incentivize them and encourage them to share more data as you continue to build a relationship with them over time. For example, pet food brand Edgard and Cooper offers points in exchange for customers to complete a pet profile. This gives them access to more data such as pet type, age, and activity level. They then demonstrate to their customers that they use this data responsibly, by using it to personalize communications. 

An example of an improved subscription service: personalized subscriber experiences

Demonstrate to your subscribers that you know and understand them as individuals by encouraging them to build up a profile, and then using that information to personalize your messages to them. 

You can also demonstrate that you understand their needs and shopping patterns by using triggered emails that pertain to their unique circumstances. For example, using personalized email or SMS messages to remind them of their points balances, or alerting them to the fact that they have a reward to redeem. 

Driving more revenue from your subscribers

Your subscribers are a unique segment of your customer base. They are likely to be more opted in and engaged than your average customer, but it will cost you more if you aren’t able to keep them subscribed. While the above tips and tricks will go a long way to helping you maintain your subscriber numbers and limit churn,  it’s imperative to consider  the additional earning opportunities early on in their life cycle. 

Ensure that within the first three months of someone subscribing, you let them know that they could unlock points in exchange for a review. This is when they are likely to be most excited about receiving your product, so it’s the optimal time to request that user generated content. Plus, as they build up their points balance they become more invested in your subscription service. 

This is also the best time to incentivize a subscriber to refer a friend or family member – take the time to remind them that they could unlock points and savings for both themselves and the person they refer. They increase their points balance and benefit from a reward sooner, and you acquire a new customer at a lower cost – win win. 

Conclusion

Losing subscribers doesn’t just impact your recurring revenue. It also impacts your potential for growth and erodes one of your most reliable sources of revenue. 

Using your loyalty program to supercharge your subscription service can give you the edge you need not just to keep your subscribers signed up, but also sharing the data you need to continue delivering the best possible experiences. Experiences they won’t want to lose and will prioritize above others, but also experiences they will shout about. 

Using subscriptions and loyalty together, you can unlock a far more reliable source of revenue and an engaged subscriber community. 

If you’d like to learn how to make the most of your e-commerce subscription model and loyalty program, join the LoyaltyLion Academy. There you will learn the knowledge, experience, and insight you need to create a successful subscription model that works for your brand.

 Join the LoyaltyLion Academy

About the author

Fiona Stevens

Fiona Stevens is the Head of Marketing at LoyaltyLion. Fiona has over ten years’ experience in Marketing, having worked in-house and agency side across functions including PR, SEO and content. She has specialized in loyalty for retail and ecommerce brands for the past six years.

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