Heading into the holiday season, brands and retailers have been rushing around to fix and redefine their tactical approaches to make it a success — more out of the necessity to survive than any hope of breaking sales records, although reaching new online revenue heights is certainly on the cards.
One of these approaches that often flies under the radar despite its growing reputation as the holy grail of ecommerce is subscriptions.
A reputation that is backed up by the fact that subscribers are 217% more profitable than one-timers. And this is something that businesses have been scrambling to take advantage of.
After a recent scare regarding the taste and smell of the local water supply, I decided to ditch the tap and begin drinking bottled water. But buying 500ml bottles or 1-liter bottles isn’t sustainable. So I started buying 12-liter bottles fixed to a dispenser. And because it’s a product that is constantly being used, I need a regular, constant supply of aqua.
Setting up a subscription is the perfect solution because 1) I don’t need to walk to the shop and carry back 24 kilos of water in both hands despite it being excellent exercise and 2) the bottles are reusable so that I can recycle the used bottles when the new ones are delivered.
Water is, of course, a much easier product to convince people that having a subscription is not only relevant but butter than one-time purchases than other goods, products and services.
So here are some best practices for getting your shop set up with subscriptions when using the Salesforce Commerce Cloud platform, so you can head into the holiday season fully prepared.
Take subscriptions seriously
Place subscriptions front and center on your website so that customers are aware that this option exists. And don’t only place this is one page but spread the word throughout, from the homepage to individual product pages. To further entice customers, consider providing a special promotion for customers that sign up for a subscription.
For customers that tend to head straight to a particular item and rush to payment, you can try adding a signup for subscriptions on the checkout page, which can act as a final push incentive.
If after experimenting with putting subscriptions in a central position to your ecommerce you find that growth isn’t accelerating at the same rate at which you had hoped, creating an interactive online guide may work to increase the ease and navigation of setting up subscriptions.
To corrupt one of Tolstoy’s more famous quotes, each company that offers subscriptions is unique in their own way — please don’t quote me on that. Each company sets out their own objectives, ethics, practices, and products. Honing in on your subscription model that works for your brand is personal.
Perhaps all of your products or services can be subscribable; perhaps 50% of what you sell can be. Perhaps you can base subscriptions on customizable aspects. For example, you may offer box subscriptions to customers that include new products based on specifications. Inside Salesforce Commerce Cloud, you can use your customer data to personalize boxes based on their selected preferences. Perhaps one customer is a vegetarian but hates mushrooms, so you can send out a new food box each fortnight without the horror of them opening it up to find a handful of portobellos.
Perhaps you specialize in certain products that don’t tend to do well with subscription buying, yet you can tailor a service to the product which would work very well together as a package. For example if you are a health and fitness brand, a customer may make a one-time purchase of a set of dumbbells, but then be tempted into buying a service subscription to a fitness coach twice a week.
Speaking about packages, consider subscriptions based on bundling products rather than single products. Not only does it bolster your packages but it provides you with ideal insight into discovering future product needs if some become very popular as well as introducing your customers to new and experimental products.
For example, if you’re a beerhouse and provide a monthly package of six-packs, include a can of your latest hops-inspired flavor, and wait for the feedback to direct future production.
Compiling the data from subscriptions allows you to analyze the performance of products and sets the path towards forecasting areas of growth and areas to scale down. Also, if you know that you have 2,000 subscribers, you can fix that into your future budget by expecting a certain amount of revenue for the following month.
Head into the holiday season as prepared as possible. And placing subscriptions front and center of your ecommerce strategy will go a long way to build your customer base and also entice newbies into your brand community.
PS: UV is one of the world’s leading Salesforce Commerce Cloud (Demandware) specialists. Contact us to see how we can work together.