The age of ecommerce subscription is here. As of 2019 more than a quarter of Brits were signed up for a subscription model.
From Netflix to Spotify to coffee delivery and food preparations kits, the subscription business model has become the norm. The subscription box market alone is set to be worth £1 Billion by 2022. So is this the future?
Let’s dive into subscription ecommerce and take a look at what the future of online retail may look like.
Firstly, we’ll turn to the mechanics of having a subscription-based model.
“The ecommerce subscription model is a business model where a company provides ongoing services on a regular basis in exchange for regular payments from the customer”.CoreDNA
Think Netflix, Amazon Prime and Spotify, all of whom got in early and have now established themselves as subscription giants. These services are so ubiquitous now that most consumers take them for granted.
There are three types of commonly recognized subscription models:
Replenishment, Curation or Access.
Many of the subscription-based companies you’re familiar with probably fit within one of these categories above.
Now with nearly 50% of all online shoppers having some sort of subscription, and 15% of those being subscriptions for physical goods, now’s the time to decide whether it’s right for your business in 2021.
There are a number of benefits of a membership subscription model worth highlighting.
Using a loyalty program, you can customize your subscription model to include perks and benefits such as:
Ideally, you want to incorporate features that lean into what your subscriber base values. Discover more ways to grow a loyal customer base around your subscription model here.
All of these benefits will lead to an uptick in customer loyalty. The recurring nature of subscriptions means customers will want to return to you over the competition and, over time, give you a larger share of their wallet.
Fundamentally, loyalty matters because,
“Aside from the fact that loyal customers are cheaper to manage, buy more and spend more often, a subscription service’s profit and growth rely on consistent, recurring revenue from each customer.”Saasquatch
Once a subscription ends it is as hard to lure that customer back as it would be in a conventional retail model. This can be especially painful if more was spent on acquiring them than the amount they spent as a member. If your customer gets rid of their membership after the free trial period then you probably haven’t done enough to earn their loyalty.
As such, it’s important to look at what the relationship is between a brand and the customer while they’re a member – not simply on the acquisition stage.
You need to motivate a member to stay. This could be done by offering some of the benefits of the subscription model we mentioned above. It is a continual process of interacting with your members in meaningful ways.
To ensure loyalty in practice implement several business measures. Start by integrating your subscription model with a loyalty program. This will enable you to give your customers extra perks and value that will encourage them to return. Read more about how LoyaltyLion integrates with ReCharge.
For a good example of how a loyalty program and subscription model can work together consider Bootay Bag’s loyalty program.
Bootay Bag’s team created a subscription-based loyalty program that focuses on their community. They reward subscribers with VIP perks every time their subscription rolls over to the next month such as super-limited styles and exclusive member pricing.
79% of customers said being able to unlock exclusive benefits made them loyal. This focus on community has meant that Bootay Bag’s loyalty program members now spend 41% more than unengaged customers. It’s been a success and provides a great example of the way you can optimize your ecommerce subscription model.
Subscriptions are a booming trend and they’re not going to slow in 2021. To stay ahead of the game you should explore what a subscription model could do for your brand and how you can use them to generate long-term revenue.
Many of the successful ecommerce subscription models function when companies are committed to treating existing customers with care and encourage them to stay in long term spending cycles. This is a key takeaway to consider when thinking about the future of online retail in 2021.
Make sure you focus on these two themes – loyalty and convenience – when exploring a subscription business model for your company.
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