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Subscription ecommerce brands have undergone substantial transformations over the past few years. For one, the landscape has grown more crowded than ever, with a whopping 75% of DTC brands predicted to offer subscriptions by the end of 2023.
Along with this competition spike, consumer expectations for a more engaging and personalized experience have risen — shifting ecommerce brands away from set-and-forget models. As a result, unlocking customer loyalty has become the common strategy among successful subscription businesses.
And while increasing customer loyalty can seem abstract, I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be — sometimes, all it takes is some quick data analysis to gain actionable insights.
Here are three ways you can leverage your subscription data to create more loyal customers.
1. Identify the right subscription settings
Believe it or not, loyalty starts with the first touchpoint.
Your product detail page (PDP) is often a consumer’s introduction to your subscription offering. As such, it’s a prime opportunity to start building loyalty and trust from the get-go. And a simple way to do this is to ensure your default subscription cadence is set to the most popular setting.
While you may think you know the duration, your subscribers can surprise you. That’s where subscription data comes in.
Identifying which cadence is the most popular among your current subscribers and making that your default setting will automatically appeal to a greater number of future subscribers and simultaneously illustrate to your audience that you understand their needs.
Plus, if the most popular cadence isn’t the highest frequency you offer, you subliminally suggest to subscribers that your priority is for them to find the cadence that suits their lifestyle (rather than implying that your goal is to boost your bottom line). Starting your subscriber relationship with a genuine suggestion is an exceptional way to build loyalty.
2. Monitor your churn rate
If you’re viewing your churn rate through the lens of failure, you’re missing a chance to optimize — because your churn data is rife with opportunity if you know where to look.
The first thing is to look for patterns in your data. Odds are you’ll notice there’s a peak time when subscribers tend to churn, which you can address by offering a discount to all subscribers right before this high-risk time.
Yes, this tactic will help with customer retention — but your churn rate also indicates an overall drop in engagement, even for customers who stay subscribed. Offering discounts to all of your subscribers incentivizes less-engaged customers to stick around while deepening your brand’s bond with more-engaged customers.
And cancel reasons are another easy tool for churn with a big impact. The best way to find out why consumers unsubscribe is to ask and provide specific retention actions based on their answers. I’ve seen this method help brands retain 40% to 50% of subscribers trying to cancel.
In addition to retention, cancellation surveys can be another loyalty-building tool if you address the patterns.
If 80% of your subscribers churn because they have too many products, you may need to add a lower subscription cadence to your PDP. The odds are other subscribers hold this same belief even if they haven’t churned, and implementing suggestions from your least satisfied customers can boost satisfaction for your more satisfied customers. Remember: all wheels need grease, even the ones that aren’t squeaking.
3. Lean into your products
Your products are the bread and butter of your offering. Strengthening customer loyalty can be as simple as looking at your subscribers’ shopping habits and identifying popular products to leverage.
There are two things to look for:
1. Products that are commonly purchased together. If you can identify products that frequently get purchased together, you may have yourself a bundle. There’s a common misconception that you must be a subscription box company to offer bundles. I can assure you this is far from the truth. Any brand that offers complementary products can take advantage of product bundling. I’ve seen bundles effectively utilized across skincare, food and beverage, pet care and more.
So how does this affect loyalty? With 75% of consumers reporting that they’re loyal to companies that understand their individual needs, predicting subscribers’ needs by bundling a group of products they’ll likely use together is an excellent way to boost their loyalty.
You can use your subscription data as a jumping-off point to build your bundles, then take it a step further by allowing subscribers to customize the bundles. This way, you’re building a bundle that will delight most of your subscribers — and allowing personalization for any subscribers whose needs weren’t precisely met.
Further, utilize your commonly-purchased-together data to provide tailored recommendations to your subscribers. Knowing popular product trends will allow you to provide valuable suggestions, which amplifies feelings of trust and loyalty in your subscribers.
2. Your most popular products. Another metric to consider is how much revenue your products are generating. Identifying your most popular products can open up countless opportunities for loyalty-boosting initiatives.
For one: use your product data to create an impactful loyalty program. Strategically assigning higher point values to your most popular products will further incentivize your subscribers to accrue more points and redeem these items. (But be careful not to price these products too high to make them feel unattainable!)
You can also directly target subscribers who haven’t tried your best-sellers and delight them with free samples of your most popular product. Free samples carry weight; a study found that customers who enjoyed one free wine tasting were 93% more likely to spend more that day and continue to buy from the business.
Leaning into subscription data can provide you with a roadmap for creating overall optimizations that will boost customer loyalty. You can foster more enthusiastic and loyal subscribers by choosing the right default settings, monitoring your churn rate, and leaning into your popular products.