subscription-based-business

Tips for Running a Profitable Subscription-Based Business

Camila Gómez

April 1, 2022
7 min to read

You’ve seen subscription-based businesses everywhere. Unboxing is an entire category on YouTube. People love curated collections they receive every month, whether it’s food, clothing, toys, pet care, nail polish, or games.

Subscription-based services continue to be popular. They’ve grown an astounding 437% from 2011 to 2020.

Some brands rely on them completely.

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As a BigCommerce brand, you can capitalize on this robust trend and profit from a subscription-based business.

Here are some tips.

1. Build Trust With Your Target Audience

Having a subscription-based model is risky. Lower your risk by first building trust with your audience. Do they rely on you for your expertise in picking out the best items to sell on your website? Does your audience connect with your brand in a way that fosters return business? How many loyal customers do you have?

Some brands build trust with celebrity endorsements. Others build trust through customer service. Still others build a loyal following through an emotional connection with individuals over time.

Whatever your method, your customers need to trust you for a subscription-based service. And trust can take some time and effort.  

Engaging with your audience is a great step to start with.

2. Do Your Research

Research your subscription-based products first before you go all-in with this model. Are your products ones that people will need more of every month? Are other companies already doing the same types of products? Does your brand stand out from similar brands that don’t have a subscription service?

Proper market research lets you determine if the move to selling subscription boxes will pay off.

3. Try Before Customers Buy

Start with a free trial to see if customers enjoy your products. Get their feedback. Feedback is incredibly important. 

If your subscription-based products normally have 10 items in a box, start out with three items in the trial box. If your customers like the trial, they can continue and get the full subscription-based service next month.

Make the terms of the free trial absolutely clear.

4. Achieve More Recurring Sales & Increase Recurring Payments

Consistent revenue and monthly recurring revenue allow your company to grow because you have a strong and loyal customer base, can predict monthly budgets, and have room to invest and grow. 

That’s why a subscription-based model is such a boon to your company if done correctly. Have a secure payment portal, an app to reorder, and make canceling easy (even though you don’t want cancellations). Your payment portal should be simple and secure, and there are plenty of options out there (although BigCommerce has some pretty good payment gateways).

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Enterprise-level Merchants have access to a host of advanced features and functionality not available to smaller Merchants, including abandoned cart recovery, gift cards, real-time shipping rates, and more.

5. Look at Metrics and the Competition

Continue to develop your subscription-based sales by looking at metrics, KPIs and ROI. They will drive your prices, what products to include, and what to offer next month.

Most especially, see what your competition is doing. When they raise prices, find out why. If they raise prices, try to keep yours low. When they start to sell products like yours, watch out to see if you can alter your strategy with some other kinds of products you can include.

6. Offer More Than Just the Box

Sure, the products in the box are important. But have newsletters, blogs, tips, discounts, and great customer service. People want the whole package (pun intended) when it comes to subscription-based products.

Discounts are a huge draw. Offer a discount for a year-long subscription that someone pays for upfront. Or perhaps have a “But 11 months get 1 month free” special. Think about referral discounts, too. Or have contests where one lucky winner gets the rest of their subscription for free by touting your boxes on their social media channels.

Customer service is absolutely critical to your subscription-based service. If there are problems or issues, you need to handle them right away. Delight your customers often. And thank them for your business.

7. Create Robust and Creative Packaging

Packaging for subscription-based products is a big deal. Yet it’s more than just about keeping things secure.

It has to look good.

How many people in their unboxing videos say, “This box is super cute.” or “This box arrived today!”

Have your brand name on the box for brand recognition. Your subscriber should know who it’s from right away.

Packaging also does something else: It creates the first physical impression that someone has with your subscription-based boxes. Will the person be thrilled by it or hate it?

Packaging can still look good while keeping the innards intact with sturdy boxing and materials.

They provide a scalable ecommerce solution that lets you start small and expand your business as needed without the need to switch platforms. 

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8. Automate Your Processes as Much as Possible

Automation and tools make a subscription-based service easy to manage. Your billing and accounting software should connect to your payment system. Renewing or canceling a subscription should be simple.

Hire a fulfillment service to pack your products into boxes for you, that way you can focus on your core business model with great customer service while improving your processes.

Electronic invoices should be easy to read, and they should connect to your financial platform. Meanwhile, all of this information should be useful in planning for the next month, quarter and year as your subscription-based products continue to build and grow.

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Electronic invoices should be easy to read, and they should connect to your financial platform. Meanwhile, all of this information should be useful in planning for the next month, quarter and year as your subscription-based products continue to build and grow.

9. Use an All-in-One Platform to Scale Your Subscription-Based Products

Scale your business with an enterprise-level payment platform like Subscriptions Cloud. We allow you to sell basic subscriptions, combo boxes, one-time purchases, and mix carts to help you drive more recurring revenue from subscriptions.

The Subscriptions Cloud app makes it easy to get your subscription-based products and boxes to your target audience easier and more efficiently with automated processes

A strong platform like ours is a great way to scale your subscription-based business. We’re BigCommerce partners as a 360 subscription payment platform. Subscriptions Cloud can handle massive orders, a large number of users and an improved customer experience to increase sales and attend to your customers’ needs.

We invited you to try our platform for 60 days as a FREE TRIAL, where you can enjoy all our features for free for two months.

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