Today we are seeing more and more companies introduce a Subscription business model. Whether it is a brand-new subscription box startup, an established merchant wanting to provide its customers with the convenience of auto-replenishing their orders, a publication business selling a magazine subscription, or a software company offering its service, there are similar factors that influence their success. Subscription ecommerce, as a whole, has seen tremendous growth over the last 5 years. Statistics show these businesses growing at more than 100% per year (Chen, et al. 2018). As a result, it is no surprise that investors and business owners alike find this growth, coupled with revenue predictability, extremely appealing.

But what do the successful Subscription companies have in common? How do they get customers to sign up for a subscription? And, more importantly, how do they keep them?

Here are 4 strategies you can apply today to improve (or implement in) your subscription offering:

1. Give your subscribers a premium experience

Make your subscription customer feel special by offering them a service that is only available to them. Think of Amazon Prime, for instance. In exchange for an annual membership fee, subscribers can enjoy free two-day shipping, unlimited streaming of certain shows and movies, as well as the ability to borrow books from the Kindle library. Remember, premium price must equal premium experience.

2. Show how the subscription brings value to the consumer

Customers generally do not prefer a subscription over a one-time purchase. Therefore, in exchange for their commitment, they must receive something of tangible value in return. For different businesses this may represent different things. For example, it may mean offering a special discount only available to subscribers. The value can also take place in the form of convenience. Rather than remembering to place a refill order on time, the customer opts for getting it automatically delivered. It's convenient and it saves time. Whatever the value proposition is, you should communicate it clearly.

3. Create a curated journey through personalization

Delight your subscription customers by offering them a highly personalized experience. Try surprising them with something new and innovative. This can be particularly important for merchants selling apparel, beauty products and food. Curation services account for 55% of ecommerce subscriptions (Chen, et al. 2018), making them the most popular subscription type.

4. Deliver a great end-to-end experience

Let's face it, there is a plethora of subscription companies in the market today. What makes them truly special is being able to provide a great experience end-to-end. Think about your customer's journey as they interact with your product or service. Consider all touchpoints and channels. The typical subscription ecommerce consumer tends to be a young and affluent urbanite with pretty high expectations. However, if you are able to deliver a superior end-to-end experience, you may also enjoy lower churn.


4 ways to improve your subscription offering


Chen, Tony, Ken Fenyo, Sylvia Yang, and Jessica Zhang. 2018. McKinsey&Company. February. Accessed 2018.

Konary, Amy. 2014. "IDC MaturityScape: Subscription Business Model Management." IDC 1-11.

Maechler, Nicolas, Kevin Neher, and Robert Park. 2016. McKinsey&Company. March. Accessed 2018.