Increase Your Customers’ Convenience with a Subscription Program
Chances are, your eCommerce business has seen a significant increase in sales over the past year. Online shopping began primarily as a way to get items that weren’t available in a nearby store, but it has gradually shifted to becoming the main way of getting everyday items for many consumers. The challenges of the past year have led more customers than ever to buy items that are as simple as food and everyday personal care items online, which has increased interest in a new type of purchase model: the subscription program.
What Is a Subscription Program?
eCommerce is all about making shopping more convenient for your customers, and subscription programs bump that simplicity up a notch for online stores in certain industries. Subscription programs give consumers the option to have recurring purchases sent automatically at a set time, such as at the beginning of each month, often at a lower cost than simply placing the same order each month. This model is more convenient for many customers because it allows them to receive new orders of items they use consistently without having to remember when to reorder them or worry about running out of them.
There are two main types of eCommerce subscription programs that benefit customers within different types of industries: receiving a recurring refill order of the same product and receiving a “mystery box” during each billing period that contains a variety of related items.
Chances are, most of your customers aren’t fans of running out of items they use on a daily basis. Amazon has made it easy for consumers to place recurring orders for everything from shampoo and toothpaste to food and other basics, and many small eCommerce businesses have begun to capitalize on this trend. If your online shop sells anything your customers will use up, such as basic beauty products or specialty snacks, offering this type of subscription builds loyalty among your customers by making it easy to always have the products they love in their house while spending less money.
Your eCommerce business can also build interest in your brand by offering subscription boxes filled with an assortment of items, such as sample-sized beauty products, each month. While many of the subscriptions that are seeing the most success at this time involve the customer choosing exactly what he or she wants, offering discounted samples is a fun way to introduce customers to a variety of your products each month and encourage them to purchase full-sized versions of the items they like.
Subscription eCommerce Has Made Life Easier for Consumers During the Pandemic
Although online shopping has been quickly gaining popularity for years, the variety of types of products that your customers are interested in buying online has exploded over the past year. Something as simple as going to Walmart to pick up a bottle of shampoo and a week’s worth of groceries has become more complicated than it has ever been, and more and more people are turning to eCommerce for even the most basic items instead of dealing with the hassle of going to a store. There is virtually no limit to the types of products that can be bought online now, which gives eCommerce shops a distinct advantage over brick-and-mortar stores.
However, one pitfall of online shopping is having to wait for items to arrive. For example, customers who are used to buying a new tube of toothpaste the day they run out may not initially be drawn to the idea of having to determine when to place an order that may take a week or more to arrive. Having the option of purchasing a recurring subscription gives these customers the ability to combine the convenience and safety of online shopping with the ability to receive automatic restocks to never run out of the things they use on a daily basis.
Now Is the Best Time to Implement a Subscription Program
If you have been considering adding a subscription program to the list of services your eCommerce shop offers, now is the time to think about what type of subscription might interest your customers. Consumers have been relying on subscription services more than ever during the past year, and implementing a subscription that keeps their shelves stocked with their favorite products might be just the thing to win new customers from your competitors that sell similar products without the convenience of a subscription.
New subscribers to subscription boxes have skyrocketed over the last several months. According to a survey conducted in October, just over half of respondents indicated that they had recently purchased a new subscription box, up from 23 percent last April. During the five months since that survey, eCommerce numbers have increased even more. At that time, the most common types of subscription boxes that consumers purchased for the first time included food and beverages, clothing and accessories, and personal care items. This increase in demand for subscriptions initially led to many new subscribers being wait-listed, but most companies have since caught up with that increase.
Companies that have not previously offered subscription services have also begun to capitalize on consumers’ new interest in this type of purchase.
Although we all hope for some aspects of life to be closer to normal soon, 2020 also identified certain positive changes that are improving people’s lives in 2021 and are likely to continue sticking around in the future. The sharp increase in demand for both subscription programs and eCommerce in general last spring may have originated out of necessity, but now that consumers have experienced the convenience of subscriptions, they are more inclined to continue purchasing everyday items this way even though going to stores has become safer than it was a year ago. Piloting your new subscription program now gives you the opportunity to set your business up for future success by building a loyal subscription customer base while the demand is especially high.
Industries That Most Benefit From Subscription Programs
Although nearly any industry can benefit from some type of subscription program, companies that everyday items are seeing the largest increases in sales in recent months. Food, beauty and personal care, and clothing and accessories have been among the industries that are currently benefiting the most from subscription programs.
At Future Holidays, we offer a variety of services that make it easier to add a subscription program to your eCommerce shop. We can help you set up a new site or revamp your old one to improve your customers’ user experience when exploring a new type of sale and create effective marketing emails that keep your customers in the loop about your new program. Contact us today to learn more about designing the perfect subscription service for your eCommerce business!