It's clear that over the past few years the subscription e-commerce space has exploded. Pioneers such as Birchbox paved the way for a reinvention of what's a fairly well-established business model. Companies are now popping up in every conceivable niche to deliver unique products for specialized markets, from live bait to novelty Japanese snack foods. As this space continues to grow, we've seen companies emerge as success stories while others fade once their initial novelty wears off. Although a number of factors influence the success of a subscription e-commerce company, five strategies are used by some of the leaders in the space to drive sales and customer engagement:
According to research from Monetate, sitewide conversion rates for new visitors to an e-commerce website averaged 2.11 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013. This seems to leave a lot of room for improvement for most e-commerce brands. Here are five areas and associated tactics that can help increase conversion:
There's been a huge rise in subscription e-commerce companies that aim to redefine shopping. Some claim to eliminate the need to shop for clothing or to visit the drug store. In any case, these services allow you to put customers’ purchases on auto-pilot. Specifically, three models are gaining ground: discovering new products; automating commodities; and demoing products.
Successful e-commerce companies have found ways to incorporate both automated systems and human processes to help run their organizations. Through their implementation, these systems and processes produce a significant amount of data that companies can tap into, helping to improve performance. In an effort to balance this overflow of data while not losing sight of the people on the other side of those numbers (i.e., your customers), I suggest building what my company calls an e-commerce customer lifecycle platform (ECLP).
The owner of an e-commerce apparel company specializing in custom T-shirts for teams, organizations and community groups recently approached us to design a new website for the brand, but was concerned about the cost of a major overhaul. The CEO explained that they didn't have an actual "shopping cart" on their website, just a contact form, and that they used spreadsheets and email to track and fulfill orders.