Engaging Customer Loyalty with Subscription Services

Retailers and service providers have been seeking ways to preserve and build customer loyalty since the dawn of commerce. With the rise of the subscription economy in which customers – particularly younger customers – seek to pay for good and services on a month-to-month basis, the strategies of customer loyalty have changed somewhat.

All companies want long-term relationships with their customers, but it gets a bit more challenging when customers are paying month-to-month and can drop services at any time for a competitor. Today, subscriptions are about more than books and music but may involve groceries, clothing, personal care products, luxury goods, cars and more. Welcome to the “subscription economy.” While not all of these businesses will succeed, many will, and they’ll have one thing in common: excellent subscription-based customer support.

So, how do you keep customers willing to pay for your goods and services month after month to keep hold of that predictable revenue stream?

Add Value to Subscriptions

For starters, it’s not enough to provide just the goods or the services. Customers like to feel they’re part of a broader community.

“Services can improve their odds of success by offering upsells beyond the initial subscription,” wrote Patrick Seitz for Investors’ Business Daily. “The best subscription business puts a lot of focus on community building to make members feel like they’re part of a movement.”

Companies offering subscriptions need to build their marketing and outreach efforts around this idea of community. They’ll need a good subscription communications platform, as well as customized customer support capabilities, and marketing tools specifically designed for reaching out to subscribers. Your subscription management platform should also offer the ability to manage subscribers in common groups.

Put the Right Subscription Management Tools in Place

Subscription DNA’s subscription management software features group enrollment tools and group communications, email marketing automation, cloud billing automation and payments, intuitive membership management, CRM and premium content and paywall management.

With the ability to connect users into a subscriber group, companies can build the type of community that keeps subscription customers engaged, interested and – most importantly – loyal. Contact Subscription DNA to learn how you can not only attract more subscription customers but keep them loyal into the future!

Vehicle Subscription Services on the Rise: Here’s Why

With average car prices rising and many people struggling to balance the costs of housing, groceries, childcare, student loans, and credit card debt, vehicle subscription services are becoming increasingly popular. Customers appreciate the savings and flexibility that subscription plans provide.

How Vehicle Subscription Services Work

Several companies offer vehicle subscription services. The way each operates varies to some degree, but in general, a customer can choose a brand new or previously owned, but fairly new, vehicle. In some cases, a subscription company purchases vehicles, and in other cases a company partners with dealerships.

After a person’s driving record has been checked and the customer has provided payment information, he or she can pick up a car. A contract and credit check are often not required. Many companies allow customers to easily return a car or exchange it for another.

The monthly fee typically covers the car itself as well as a warranty, maintenance, insurance, and roadside assistance. A driver may be required to pay a deductible if he or she causes an accident.

Why Customers Choose Vehicle Subscriptions

A typical car loan can take five or six years to pay off, and a lease generally involves a contract lasting about three years. For people who need transportation but don’t want to commit to a car they might not like or a monthly payment they might struggle to afford, a subscription service can be an attractive alternative. It can also help consumers avoid large down payments often required with a loan or lease.

A subscription service can help customers avoid getting trapped in a cycle of debt. Many people trade in a vehicle before paying off the loan and then take out a loan for a newer vehicle that includes the money still owed for the old car. That practice can lead to seemingly insurmountable debt.

A vehicle subscription service may not be cheaper than a conventional loan or lease in the long run, but customers often choose a subscription because of its flexibility and the ability to avoid surprise repair bills. Many people like the option of getting a vehicle without making a long-term commitment and being able to change their minds without a hassle. A subscription service may also allow consumers to drive luxury vehicles they would otherwise be unable to afford.

Get Help for Your Vehicle Subscription Service

Vehicle subscription services are becoming popular, particularly with younger drivers, who value flexibility and want to avoid incurring long-term debt. As more and more consumers learn how these services work and understand their advantages compared to traditional loan and lease models, vehicle subscriptions may become the norm.

Subscription DNA makes it easy for businesses in a variety of industries to process monthly recurring payments. If you run or are thinking about starting a vehicle subscription service, we can help you make the billing process as smooth as possible for you and your customers. Contact Subscription DNA today to learn more.

Tips for Starting a Successful Subscription Box Company

Subscription box delivery services have become a multi-billion-dollar industry. Consumers love the convenience of having a variety of new products shipped to their homes on a regular basis, as well as the excitement of opening a colorful box and being surprised by what they find.

Subscription services can help companies generate a steady stream of revenue. If customers like what they receive, they will renew their subscriptions and recommend the company to family and friends. If you want to get in on the subscription box business, here are some tips.

Study the Competition

A good way to get started in the subscription business is to assess the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors. Sign up for other companies’ subscriptions so you can study the number, type, and quality of the products they offer and compare the packaging, price, and value.

You might find that some of your competitors offer only a limited number of products and decide that you want your company to offer a wider range. Your competitors might offer cheap or poorly made items, or they might offer better products but charge so much that their boxes are too expensive for some people. Seeing firsthand what your competitors offer can help you learn from their successes and mistakes and apply those insights to your own business.

Find Your Niche

Look for a niche, either one that has not yet been explored or one that other companies have not catered to successfully. You might offer products for people with a particular hobby, articles of clothing that would appeal to people of a particular age or gender or innovative items that could help people with a need that others share. Look for an area where competitors fall short in terms of quality, selection, or addressing a specific interest or need, and step in to fill the gap.

Provide Unique Items

Offer your customers things they might not see anywhere else. Explore local or up-and-coming companies and designers who offer products that customers might not have heard about, but that they would appreciate. By doing so, you can buy goods at low prices and provide your customers with items that will surprise and delight them and keep them looking forward to each new delivery.

Focus on the Box

Don’t overlook the importance of the packaging. That is the first impression customers will get, so it should be colorful and inviting. Customers should feel a sense of excitement and anticipation as they prepare to open a box.

Make Subscribing Simple

Organize your website so that customers have a good idea of the type and quality of times they might receive. Make the pricing and billing clear and tell customers when they should expect to receive their packages.

Subscription DNA can help your company manage recurring billing so you can focus on choosing and delivering products your customers will love.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you grow your subscription box company.

Want to Start a Subscription Business? Don’t Forget the Billing!

Many customers want to try the latest products but don’t have the time or energy to search stores and websites for the next big thing. Shoppers who have been disappointed by misleading advertisements in the past may be hesitant to buy unfamiliar products.

Benefits of Subscription Services

Subscription services have become popular because they offer customers the opportunity to try out a wide range of products that are chosen by companies they trust. A customer can find a business that sells products related to a particular interest, such as health and fitness, clothing, pet care, entertainment, or toys and games for children, and receive a sample of products on a regular basis. If the products are consistently useful and of good quality, shoppers will feel that their money is being well spent, and the company will develop a loyal customer base and a consistent and sustainable source of revenue. The company’s positive reputation will also bring in new customers.

Identify Your Target Customers

If you are thinking about starting a subscription business, the first thing you need to do is figure out what type of customers you want to attract and what they want and need. Your target demographic can include college students, professionals, parents, senior citizens, pet owners, athletes, world travelers, or any other group. The more specific you are in terms of identifying and understanding your target customers, the better you will be able to find products that will enrich their lives.

Make Subscribing Easy

The thing that customers value the most about subscription services is convenience. The ordering and billing process should be as straightforward as possible. Your website should make it easy for customers to get an idea of the types of products they might receive. If you offer subscriptions that apply to different interests, clearly explain what customers can expect from each one. If you offer two or more subscriptions related to the same interest, but they vary in terms of the number or type of items included, make that clear.

The billing process should be simple. Offer as many payment options as possible, including a variety of credit and debit cards and the ability to use a bank account or a service such as PayPal. Clearly explain the pricing and show customers how they can save money if they purchase a long-term subscription. If there are additional costs for taxes and shipping, spell them out.

How Subscription DNA Can Help

Subscription DNA offers billing software that can make it easy to process recurring payments. Customers can enter their billing information once and know how much they will be charged and when. Your company will have a regular source of income without the hassle of processing individual payments, and since the billing process will be clear to customers, you won’t have to field a lot of calls and emails with questions. Contact Subscription DNA today to learn more.

How Often Should You Bill Your Subscription Customers? (Part Two)

In part one of this post, we covered the options that subscription businesses have today when it comes to billing customers. It’s important to achieve balance between the needs of the business and the preferences of customers. Having a flexible subscription management solution in place allows you to offer customers options that work for them. This makes sense, but you may not be completely sure what your customers’ preferences are.

Determining Customer Preferences

This is where a bit of market research could come in handy. You may want to communicate with a core group of subscribers and ask them what they believe the value of your product or service is, and how it best benefits them to pay for it.  An alternative method is to A/B test several price points and see which has the higher conversion rate. This kind of research is important because it can help you determine not only the best billing frequency but also the best price point. Be sure to consider the customer lifespan value: if you discover that a higher price has a lower customer conversion rate but higher customer lifetime value, it may make sense to go with a higher price.

Consider the “Freemium” Model

If you’re providing entertainment content, you may find that the “freemium” model works well. This means offering one tier of content for free but restricting access to premium features to paying subscribers only. It’s a good way to allow users to “test” whether they like your products or services before they commit to payment.

“Forced” Free Trials

Amazon Prime is the best example of this model. Most customers pay for Amazon on an annual basis, but they get the first month for free. In fact, there is no way to sign up for Amazon Prime and pay immediately…users must go through this first-month trial. It sends a strong message to customers: we’re so sure you’re going to get value from this service, that we’ll give it to you for free for a month. Audible, the audiobook service, immediately provides new subscribers with a free audiobook upon signing up.

A good place to start is to examine your competitors’ subscription details. How can you improve on them (while still making money, of course)? What need can you fill in subscribers that your competitors aren’t?

Communicate with Your Subscribers

Communicating with your subscribers is critical, which is why your cloud-based subscription management platform should allow you to extensively communicate with and market to your subscriber base. Subscription DNA’s communication tools allow you to easily engage in drip marketing, communications, and membership management.