16 Strategies to Grow Your Subscribers the Right Way

No matter where you are in your subscription journey, it’s never too early to start thinking about your optimization strategy.
INTRO

Subscriptions have fast become a fixture in the world of eCommerce. With more than half of online shoppers buying into subscriptions, it’s no surprise that we’re all looking to add a subscription channel to our marketing mix. 

As easy as technology has made it for us to add subscriptions to our stores, it’s important to note that many brands aren’t getting the full benefits out of their subscription offerings. 

 

So, whether you already have a subscription channel or are about to add one to your business, this optimization guide will help you maximize the potential by providing tips on how to convert more one-time buyers, develop lasting relationships, and increase recurring revenue.

Let’s get the biggest bang for your buck.

Table of Contents
01
Convert one-time shoppers to subscribers
02
Increase your subscriber retention
03
Boost your AOV
01
Convert one-time shoppers to subscribers
02
Increase your subscriber retention
03
Boost your AOV
Convert one-time shoppers to subscribers
Chapter 01
Convert one-time shoppers to subscribers

Converting one-time customers to subscribers is a great way to increase recurring revenue. In fact, 50% of subscribers have more than one active subscription. We can attribute these high rates to the frictionless purchase process. 

With the subscription experience, the customer doesn’t need to go through the checkout process each time they purchase. We know that by creating a smooth, uncomplicated experience, your customers are more likely to complete purchases and make repeat purchases with greater frequency. 

Even with a smooth and frictionless experience it still may take a bit of coaxing to get your customers to open their wallets on a recurring basis. Here are seven strategies for converting one-time shoppers into subscribers.

1. Strategy: Let shoppers know you’re offering subscriptions with a homepage banner and a dedicated landing page. 

Your subscription offering should be the centerpiece of your customer’s shopping experience. Branding and marketing your subscription service is crucial to grow your subscriber base. By adding your subscription program as a banner and a dedicated tab in your navigation bar, you are ensuring your would-be one-time purchasers will be exposed to your subscription service.

We recommend that you include product imagery in the banner and use discount-forward language to make sure your customer base understands that by subscribing they will get more. Your banner can highlight that customers will save with a subscription or emphasize the ease of the subscription experience with your checkout-free renewal automation.

The more your program is referenced on pages with high customer traffic, the higher the likelihood of subscriber conversion.

2. Strategy: Offer customers the opportunity to save with a subscription in multiple locations across the buying journey.

To really boost the visibility of your subscription program, include reminders throughout the customer journey to become a subscriber. We recommend you add our out-of-the-box checkout widget to remind customers that they can save on their current purchase if they subscribe. 

To maximize the potential for conversion at checkout, show your shoppers how much they will save by subscribing and let them know that the subscription is commitment-free. Letting them know that they can easily make updates to their subscription at any time will reduce feelings of discomfort or hesitation in becoming a subscriber.

 

3. Strategy: Showcase the most popular subscription offers on a dedicated landing page for frictionless shopping

Display your most popular subscription items prominently on your homepage or dedicated landing page so that shoppers have the most seamless experience. 

We recommend creating a dedicated page that highlights your subscription items. Try making the experience even more personalized for your customers by making subscription product recommendations based on certain criteria that you know are popular with your shoppers. 

For example, if you offer a skincare line, group your subscription products together by “Dry Skin”, “Sensitive Skin”, or “Oily Skin”. Your customers will have a more customized shopping experience and you are more likely to convert the customer into a subscriber.

 

4. Strategy: Incentivize subscribers with discounts and perks

The latest statistics show that 13% of customers subscribe for perks and discounts. Tier your subscription discounts based on a customer’s order frequency. Offer customers with a higher order frequency or volume, a deeper discount. For example 20% off when they subscribe for monthly deliveries, 15% off every two months, and so on. 

Incentivizing your customers in this way has the opportunity to build a loyal community around your product. Subscribers who choose to receive your product on a monthly basis are bought in; they need your product and you’re able to give back to them with a higher discount. One-time customers are also getting a look into how you reward your repeat shoppers, giving them more of an incentive to subscribe.

 

5. Strategy: Meet your customers where they are with personalized messaging

For example, use Yotpo SMSBump to educate your customers about the benefits of becoming subscribers. With our SMS marketing solution, you can let past customers know that they can subscribe to a product they loved in the past and share a link to their favorite product. With just a few clicks from the comfort of their mobile device, they can become subscribers.

6. Strategy: Drive new subscriptions by partnering with influencers 

Consider what you have to offer an influencer or even a micro-influencer who can help you promote your product to an entirely new audience of potential customers. If influencer marketing is out of scope, try leveraging your existing community of subscribers by arming them with discount codes that they can share with their own communities. 

If you want to take this strategy a step further, look into affiliate programs where you can turn your most loyal customers into your biggest advocates. They’ll be incentivized to share your brand on a regular basis because in return they’re earning commissions on purchases. 

 

7. Strategy: Have a convenient and clear return policy

When you buy online, you lose the ability to try out products to make sure they’re right for you. To make sure your customers have a regret-free experience, make sure that you have a convenient return policy that is clearly communicated prominently on your site. The more comfortable your customers are, the more likely they won’t get stuck on the checkout page or abandon their cart with pre-purchase jitters. 

Increase your subscriber retention
Chapter 02
Increase your subscriber retention

Getting your customers to continue to subscribe is crucial to growing their customer lifetime value. Statistics show that the three most important reasons that customers continue to subscribe are personalized experience, convenience, and value for money.

The most successful subscription programs show their subscribers that they value their relationship with discounts, perks, loyalty programs just for subscribers, and personalized marketing campaigns.

 

1. Strategy: Put your customers in control 

Build trust with your subscribers by allowing them to control their orders. With a passwordless subscription management portal and customizable subscription options, you can even reduce cancellations and refunds. 

Giving your customers the ability to skip their upcoming orders or change the frequency of their subscriptions is a great way to keep them from canceling their subscriptions. 

By empowering your customers to manage their subscriptions without needing to reach out to your customer service, you make them feel more in control and you reduce the stress on your customer service team. It’s what we call a win, win.

2. Strategy: Optimize your loyalty program for subscribers. 

Have a loyalty program? Leverage your loyalty points to incentivize subscribers. With Yotpo Subscriptions x Loyalty synergy you can tag subscription orders and create a collection, then set up a punch card campaign for extra loyal customers. Every time they get another subscription renewal, they will get one more “punch” on their punch card. 

3. Strategy: Make free shipping for subscription renewals part of your subscription experience

Make sure to offer free shipping (with a minimum threshold) for subscription items. If you’re worried about margins, bake the shipping overhead into the product price points. This way you can make your most loyal customers truly feel like they are benefitting with every renewal. 

If customers know they have free shipping on their subscription, they are much more likely to add multiple products, which in turn grows the lifetime value of your subscribers.

4. Strategy: Use email and SMS marketing campaigns to retain your subscription customers

Email marketing is critical to a successful subscription program. Market research shows that ROI for email campaigns is around $38 — that’s 3,800% ROI! Since healthy subscription programs rely on positive repeat engagement with your customer base, email marketing will be one of the strongest tools in your arsenal.

Recommended Subscriber Campaigns:

Note! Don’t forget that segmented email and SMS campaigns boost ROI by 23%! Having a customized subscriber campaign will build trust with your subscribers and drive meaningful engagement.

  • Welcome campaign
    • Start customer engagement off right with a welcome email and/or text that lets your customers know all of the benefits they get from becoming a subscriber. Statistics show that customers are 4x more likely to open a welcome email and SMS still has an open rate of 98%, so take advantage of this by making sure your message clearly communicates how easy it is to update upcoming orders, switch products, or add discounts.
  • Engagement campaign
    • Engagement campaigns are a great opportunity to remind the subscriber what benefits and discounts they get just by being a subscriber. You can also use email and SMS to push seasonal sales, new drops, or even market your loyalty program. 
  •  Personalized shopping experience campaign
    • Building long-term relationships is based on creating a bespoke experience for your customers. Use your customer analytics to give personalized product recommendations that you know your subscribers would like.
  • Inactive subscriber win-back campaign
    • We’ve already seen how important lifetime value is, so implementing win-back marketing campaigns is critical, especially since new customer acquisition is 5x more expensive than winning back existing customers.
    • For the most successful win-back campaign, send your win-back email 3 months after your subscriber has stopped engaging. If you’re using SMS, send your campaign 30 days after inactivity. Even a simple “hey there” email or text reminding your customers that you’re thinking of them is likely to drive re-engagement.
    • Remember that one of the keys to a successful re-engagement campaign is making your shoppers feel that you appreciate that they choose to buy from you! In fact, 60% of customers said they felt underappreciated for their brand loyalty. Jog their memory of why they became subscribers in the first place by sharing the benefits of your product and the value they see in being a subscriber.

 

Boost your AOV
Chapter 03
Boost your AOV

Increasing your Average Order Value is a great way to maximize revenue without spending more money on marketing and sales costs. Use these strategies to boost your average order value on subscription renewals.

1. Strategy: Offer more products on subscription plans

Data from Yotpo’s survey of 2,000 US shoppers, conducted on May 31, 2022, shows 51% of online shoppers have a product subscription where items are replenished at regular intervals and a little over half of these subscribers have 2 to 3 subscriptions. What’s more, is 49% of online shoppers say that there are products they buy online that they wish were available as a subscription, but aren’t. Take advantage of these exciting stats by adding a subscription plan to as many of your relevant products as possible. 

 

2. Strategy: Activate upsell opportunities

Boost your AOV by allowing subscribers to add additional subscription products to their upcoming delivery cycle without having to go through the checkout process. 

This eliminates the friction of the checkout process and simplifies the delivery process for your subscribers, who can now expect their newly added products in their next renewal delivery. 

 

3. Strategy: Use delivery reminders to boost quick upsells

SMS or email reminders of your customers’ upcoming delivery is a great opportunity to add complementary add-ons. Double up and use your shipping reminders as an opportunity to quick-add additional products. 

Your active subscribers are more likely to add additional products, especially if you customize these recommended upsell products based on their purchase history.

4. Strategy: Offer subscription bundles at a lowered price

A good way to get customers to spend more on each order is to offer a bundle of subscription products at a lower price point than they would be if purchased individually.

Group your products so they are complementary – this will expose your customers to more of your products and boost your AOV. Since customers are paying more for the bundles, price them above your free shipping threshold to create a moment of delight for the shopper and reduce hesitation.

 

Remember that no matter where you are in your subscription journey, it’s never too early to start thinking about your optimization strategy. The key is to focus on retention and to work with what you’ve got. 

To echo what we said in the beginning, whether you already have a subscription channel or are about to add one to your business, this optimization guide will help you maximize your subscriptions potential by providing tips on how to convert more one-time buyers, develop lasting relationships, and increase recurring revenue. 

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