How To Sell Any Product Through ECommerce Subscription

September 27, 2021
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Emmanuel Umukoro


Yes, literally any product can be sold as a subscription without the need to break the bank. In fact, doing this is neither demanding nor going the extra mile, but rather placing your product on auto-sell and revenue on a vertical recurring increase.

If that sounds like what your business would consider, you will find e-commerce subscriptions a lovely niche where products and services never thought to be ideal subscription prospects are enjoying high-growth and predictable recurring revenue.


Maybe meal kits like HelloFresh worth $1.9 billion will be too far an example, but there was once a time when men's grooming kits and fashion brands, the likes of Dollar Shave Club and Stitch Fix were not considered ideal subscription products. Now they have gone all out to surprise the world and are valued at over $2.6 billion collectively. Other products and services have achieved the same using the e-commerce subscription business model


You can make practically anything you sell into a subscription product that will help your business scale quicker if it can be done with cat litter.


With meal kits, liquor, and clothing leading the list of the most popular subscription products, the rapid growth of the e-commerce subscription business model has enticed giants such as Walmart in retail, Mercedes Benz in automobile, and unbelievable industries like healthcare among others to offer subscriptions.


While research indicates online shoppers who have ongoing subscription services are less than 20%, streaming subscription services such as Spotify with 165+ million subscribers, Amazon Prime with 200+ million subscribers, and Netflix with 209+ million subscribers amongst multiple other streaming services are proof of the growth potential of the e-commerce subscription. 


Notwithstanding predictions of ‘subscription fatigue', the subscription ecosystem keeps expanding across industries and you can creatively convert your service or product into a profitable membership program or subscription product.


Subscription models have grown to include businesses where the "product" isn't a product at all, but service and the value they provide isn't ownership but access. Car subscription businesses, for instance, are allowing customers to hire cars for short journeys rather than buying one. And other things that were not thought to be subscription-worthy are now gaining millions of dollars in revenue.


Choose a Subscription Business Model

When deciding how to position your subscription product, keep in mind that there are three distinct models of subscription, and you need to adopt the model that best fits your business:


1. Curation

The curation subscription is designed to surprise and delight consumers by offering a range of product collections, and it accounts for 55% of the subscription ecosystem. 


2. Replenishment

Replenishment subscriptions enable consumers to automate the purchase of necessities, such as razors or nappies and other products. It accounts for around 32% of the subscription economy. The value offered is to help consumers save time and money, so they never run out of something at an inconvenient time.


3. Access

Access subscribers benefit from lower prices or members-only perks. The value proposition here is to provide consumers with exclusive access to something they would not be able to obtain elsewhere. These subscriptions are frequently in the form of memberships, include VIP advantages, and account for 13% of the subscription economy.


Choose a Subscription Management Solution

To ensure the success of your subscription business and see to it that you're delivering the convenience this model promises without overworking yourself, you'll need to automate your order, billing, and shipping process.  To enable you to process customer transactions, you'll need to integrate your e-commerce site with a recurring billing management system and a payment gateway like Chargezen.


Chargezen is the most advanced Shopify subscription management app that enables brands to sell recurring products, build custom subscription boxes, gain insights into their data, and more to create an incredible experience for their customers!


From CRMs, automation, accounting tools, invoicing to tax management; Chargezen integrates with all the apps you’re currently using and constantly adds support for more. And while merchants who add subscription products typically see a 25% increase in revenue, Chargezen customers also see a 45% decrease in churn, thanks to their churn bursting algorithm.


The best part is; not only does Chargezen have a free plan for you, their developers will also take care of the installation process for you so you don’t incur extra cost on app integration


So, whether you are adopting a subscription app for the first time or looking for a comprehensive upgrade, switching to Chargezen will save you on average 50% in third-party apps spent on an overage charge. Your customers will also enjoy free SMS-self service with many other customer-friendly integrations to ease shopping, enable them to edit or cancel a subscription and receive various upsell features so you can spend less on marketing.


Using Chargezen not only guarantees you a comprehensive and secure subscription billing and management solution, but it also offers you deep data insight, and industry expertise to drive personalization, amazing customer experiences, and ultimately the success of your business.


Customer Retention

Customer retention refers to a company's capacity to retain customers over time, implying that they will continue to purchase your goods and services. The number of existing customers that leave and the number of new customers you acquire determines your retention rates.


Although it is important for every business to acquire new customers, retaining existing customers is more important because the cost of acquiring new customers is five times higher than the cost of keeping existing ones.


To help you keep customer retention as high as possible, I recommend that you read our previous article Customer Retention Strategies for Beginners for more details. Here are a few strategies you’ll find useful:


1. Let Customers Know How You’re Helping Them

Sometimes, most people will not know when you're doing a good job for customers. A retail grocery store for instance offering discounts on certain sales can summarize how much they're helping customers save at the bottom of the receipt. This discounted summary emphasizes your store's efforts to assist consumers in saving money. So when you're doing a good job for your customers, it's important that you communicate it


What you can do to meet customer expectations while you're just starting out is considerably limited. While you're at it, keep doing outreach to highlight these efforts as your business expands and you enhance how you address customer needs, whether it's extending store operation hours or new items and services. In all that you do, keep informing Customers of your growth efforts and how you're helping them


When customers see you making regular enhancements that benefit them, they become more devoted to your brand.


2. Enhance Customer Experience Regularly

At every stage of your business, there will always be new ways to improve certain parts of your business.  Identify these areas by concentrating on ways to make your consumers' lives easier. 


Improving customer experience is one of the most crucial ways to retain consumers, and your product's improvement, customer service and support, and operational procedures are all part of this.


When the industry standard was a week, Amazon, for instance, began offering two-day shipping. That may appear to be enough of a victory in and of itself, but Amazon didn't stop there.


Amazon incurred additional costs as a result of the shift, not only did it improved its customer retention rate, it also helped Amazon enhance its inventory turnover ratio, which increased revenues.


Your customer targets may appear complex at first. However, if you take tiny, incremental steps toward your goals, you'll be able to provide clients with exceptional experiences, increasing customer loyalty, and retention.


3. Start a Customer Loyalty Program

A loyalty program is an excellent way to keep customers. It compensates your customers for doing business with you and encourages them to choose your company over competitors in the future.


When airlines give flier miles, for instance, consumers who use that airline for the majority of their trips receive a variety of benefits and discounts. And this in turn increases customer referrals.


The best part is, a loyalty program can be as simple as a punch card, in which customers make a designated number of purchases to get a free item.  Setting up a system where customers signup online and earn points through recorded purchases could be another way.


If you run an online store, an e-commerce platform like Shopify can help you set up a reward program using its third-party app connections.


Customize the terms of a loyalty program to fit your company's model and budget. To establish a program that provides value for your customers while retaining profitability for your organization, you'll need to figure out your customer lifetime value.


4. Get Feedback from Customers

The impact of feedback cannot be overemphasized, especially in this digital age, where customers have many ways to provide feedback to businesses, many of which are open to the public. One example is social media, but there are also business directory sites like Yelp and popular multifunctional apps like Google Maps.


Developing a feedback system where customers can comment regularly on your product will aid product development and serve as testimonials to attract new customers


Since a customer can share a negative experience online feedback platform for all to see, a lack of response from you may cause potential customers to avoid doing business with you.


A prompt answer, on the other hand, builds trust and confidence in your business.


Proactively reach out to customers for their input, in addition to gathering and responding to customer feedback. That's something you should do regularly, but especially when making modifications to your products or services.


5. Instill Customer Relationship Culture in your Business

Create a customer relationship management (CRM) culture throughout your company to boost customer retention. That means your organization as a whole should support principles emphasizing pleasant customer experiences and puts customer retention practices in place to help achieve that aim.


It should begin with the highest staff; they should serve as the principal advocate for instilling a CRM attitude throughout the organization. To give this strategy significance, the organization must set clear, quantifiable goals, like reducing customer inquiry turnaround time by 60% minimum.


Customer expectations are higher now than ever, so a CRM mindset is a must in today's competitive industry. As the first step in strengthening your company's CRM capabilities, develop a CRM plan. Determine what types of customer experiences you can provide that are compatible with your business model.


If you run an e-commerce business, for example, customer expectations can be a desire for free shipping. Find a means to provide it while remaining profitable, such as imposing a minimum order might help you.


See more retention strategies at Customer Retention Strategies for Beginners.


Keep in mind that your subscribers want you to deliver without fail, on time, and with the promise of convenience and delight subscription promises. It's for this reason that precisely forecasting customer's demand is essential. Running out of inventory, particularly after charging a customer for the week or month, jeopardizes trust, damages the customer experience, and necessitates time-consuming refund or crediting procedures.


Final Thoughts

You can sell any product or service through subscription, and raise your revenue by 25% using the subscription business model. To help you focus on growth, keeping every process automated is hence the most important step in the steps we discussed, and this is the work of Chargezen. If you need help getting started, reach out to the Chargezen support team or write to me at success@trychargezen.com.


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