By John Surdakowski,
Feb 5, 2020

Subscription eCommerce

Subscription eCommerce

Remember when Netflix delivered movies to your doorstep before becoming one of the most popular streaming services in the world?

Although Netflix has abandoned delivering movies, many brands have since found success in offering monthly delivery services.

It’s time to think inside the box, the eCommerce subscription industry is worth over $10 billion according to Fuel. Which explains why many large corporations such as Amazon and Sephora are now offering these services. The subscription industry is more than a game of convenience. Here are the ways to make your subscription offerings successful as well as some failures to avoid.


Find your niche and become an expert in your offerings, this will differentiate your brand from the competitors. Brands that refined their offerings are better able to serve their target market.


There are many food delivery brands with similar offerings; organic, pre-portioned, healthy meals delivered straight to your door. Trifecta includes all the offerings mentioned but targets a specific segment of the market. Unlike their competitors, Trifecta focuses on fitness and health. Creating meal plans that are currently in trend such as keto and paleo meal options to continue to attract a wider range of customers.  Marketing their product as a dietary solution for a customer to reach their health goals has allowed them to differentiate themselves.


Subscription services require little human interaction for purchase, because of this company have to creative ways to create that customer experience for their customers.

  • Website: An efficient website gives customers a clear understanding of your brand, offerings and pricing options.
  • Customer Service: Many brands opt for a chatbots or/and a detailed FAQ pages to assist their consumers. This option should answer 70% of common customer questions. For more in-depth inquiries a phone number/email should be conveniently displayed on your website.
  • Subscription Control: Customers should have a simple way to manage or cancel their subscriptions.
  • Free Trials: Offing free trials as a way to entice new customers to start their subscription service will boost sales.
  • Exclusives: Create a product that is unique to your brand. Some brands offer monthly exclusives, giving customers something to look forward to.

  • Design: It’s all in the details; designs go far beyond a website. Customers care about the aesthetics of the box itself, this is another opportunity to promote your brand.

  • Convenience: Yes, subscriptions are more than a convenient service but it is an essential selling point. Many individuals sign up for subscriptions simply due to time restraints. Offering your customers free shipping and returns is an effective way to boost customer service and retention.

Where subscriptions fail


Brands often underestimate customer usage of their product, in turn, consumers cancel their subscriptions.


An easy solution is to provide your customers with more order options. Offering consumers smaller quantities of your product per month, this may be a pricer option but will raise customer retention.

Another solution is Recharge, an in-store Shopify app that helps build brands through customized subscriptions. Once a customer creates an account they will have complete control over their subscriptions such as one-time purchases or pausing/ delaying their subscribed orders. This app also gives businesses the choice to up-sell their subscription by offering discounted subscription prices on products.

Unclear Value

Some brands offer customers a monthly subscription of different assortments products to try. Although, this may be appealing to some, not knowing what product you will be receiving can be worrisome.


Create a web page displaying all the possible products in the next delivery. This should also feature products they have received in the past, giving customers the option to choose their favorites as well as new products to try. This gives your customers options as well as delivers a customized shopping experience tailored specifically for them.

Another option is to display products that could be featured in their next box. Customers will not receive exactly what was presented, but will have satisfaction in getting a general sense of the options. This avoids your customers canceling your subscription in fear of the unknown.

Take Away

Creating a successful subscription service begins with creating a niche brand that markets more than just a convenient solution to traditional shopping. Understand your offerings and give your customers the flexibility to control their subscriptions. Above all, keep it interesting; every brand hopes for loyal customers, give them a reason to stay.