A cohesive brand experience across channels is critical to creating a loyal customer. This is especially true in today’s environment where loyalty is fickle and up for grabs. One way brands can ensure a uniform experience is by integrating a subscription program with other initiatives. Subscriptions are one of the most valuable ways to create a loyal customer — not only offering shoppers discounts, but also a convenient recurring delivery of products.
However, many merchants treat subscriptions as a standalone initiative, one that requires its own team and a separate customer experience. This approach can cause long-term strains on resources and sub-par experiences for shoppers, reducing opportunities for recurring revenue.
To drive consistency, merchants must treat subscriptions as a consolidated experience and business offering. This approach furthers awareness of a brand’s benefits through promotions, loyalty programs and messaging across channels, helping to maintain customer loyalty.
Align Promotional Offerings With Subscription Discounts
According to McKinsey, value is a strong driver of new purchases. While promotions can be an initial attractor to trying a new brand, subscriptions can offer an ongoing cost savings. Our data found that even a 5 percent discount increases subscription enrollment by 104 percent.
When planning a holistic brand experience, merchants must align their subscription discounts with regular promotions. Otherwise, merchants will end up competing with themselves. For example, take a nutraceutical merchant that frequently has promotions. It needs to make sure it doesn't offer a deeper discount than the ones subscribers are offered on an ongoing basis. Subscriptions should offer further incentives in addition to these regular promotions — not compete with them.
Incorporate Subscription Experience With Loyalty Programs
Loyalty programs incentivize customers to stay committed to a brand. They reward those who make recurring purchases through points, discounts and other perks. As a result, it’s beneficial to tie the subscription experience with a loyalty program so customers realize all of a merchant’s available benefits.
Often, customers can be part of a loyalty program without necessarily being a subscriber. For example, only Amazon Prime members have access to Subscribe & Save, but they must enroll in the auto-delivery service to reap the additional rewards from subscriptions. If this is the case, merchants must emphasize the added benefits of the subscription experience to inspire conversion. Even better, offer rewards unique to subscribers, such as early access to new product launches or more loyalty points per order.
Tie Together Messaging Across SMS, Email and the Website
Integrating messaging that highlights the subscription experience throughout channels can increase awareness and enrollment. When confirming a one-time order via email or text, let the customer know of the numerous advantages of recurring orders. For example, if a shopper made a one-time purchase of coffee, send an email and let them know that if they subscribe, they will receive a discount on all future orders and free shipping.
In addition, relay the benefits of subscriptions on the homepage and individual product pages on your website. This can help convert shoppers who are browsing and looking for a final incentive before they click “add to cart.” Or, for a shopper returning to buy more of their favorite product they regularly replenish — e.g., a beauty serum — they’ll clearly see they can conveniently get refills delivered straight to their door.
Subscriptions Offer a Holistic Experience for Consumers
As more shoppers consume through new channels, consistency is critical. The goal of a flawless brand experience is to ensure no matter how or where a consumer shops, they're aware of a brand’s benefit to them. Behind the scenes, all a merchant’s separate programs work in harmony to demonstrate one singular customer-facing experience. With subscriptions, a holistic approach can be taken to incorporate promotions, loyalty programs and messaging across channels to convert loyal shoppers.
Casey Burt is director of customer success at Ordergroove, a subscription commerce platform.