Boost the effectiveness of subscriptions with these features

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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A new survey reveals five steps that direct-to-consumer (DTC) retailers can take to increase customer engagement with subscription programs.

E-commerce technology vendor Bold Commerce recently surveyed 800 DTC retailers for its “2021 Subscriptions Trends” study. More than 70% of respondents have—or soon will—integrate subscriptions into their e-commerce strategies, while more than half (54%) say that subscriptions make up 20% or more of their total sales.

The study also examined specific features some respondents that offer subscriptions are including in their subscription offerings that can produce significant benefits. For example, 20% of these respondents who offer discounts as part of their subscriptions reported month-over-month growth rates higher than 50%, compared to 14% of brands that don’t offer discounts which reported the same growth rate. 

And the discount doesn’t have to be much; over 80% of these respondents said they offer a subscription discount between 5% and 15%. Sixty percent of these respondents who do and do not offer discounts reported month-over-month growth rates of 10 to 25%.

Retailers that offer multiple benefits as part of a subscription are also seeing greater success. One out of four respondents that offer additional benefits with a subscription (e.g., free shipping, faster and preferential services, early access to products and services, gifts) are growing at rates of 50% or more month-over-month, compared to one out of 10 respondents that don’t offer additional benefits with a subscription.

Respondents that attach loyalty programs to subscriptions are increasing customer lifetime value. Fifty-seven percent (57%) of these respondents reported an average customer lifetime of a year or more, while only 35% of respondents without a loyalty program attached to their subscription offering reported the same average customer lifetime length.

The study also reveals respondents that declared randomized products (same product, different version of it — e.g., sock of the month club) as one of their subscription models reported slightly higher growth rates than other models, with 39% of respondents using the model reported 50% or more growth rates month-over-month.
And 55% of respondents that send a separate set of emails tailored to subscribers declared an average lifetime higher than or equal to one year, compared to 35%of respondents that do not send tailored emails to subscribers.