Sam Rose - Head of Content

Sam Rose

20th January 2017

Encourage Customer Loyalty With A Subscription Programme

You may have noticed that there are an awful lot of boxes around lately. Subscription boxes, that is. In fact, a quick look at this list on AllSubscriptionBoxes.co.uk suggests there are at least 290 subscription boxes offered in the UK.

What Is A Subscription Box?

But let’s rewind for a minute – what is a subscription box, anyway? Well, the clue is in the name – customers subscribe to have a box of goodies delivered to them, usually every month. What’s in the box tends to be a surprise and the goodies change every month, and may have some sort of theme. For example, Loot Crate sends its customers lots of geeky gifts centred around TV shows, video games, and other geek-culture references. The June Loot Crate last year was based on the theme of dystopia, and included a Robocop t-shirt, a Terminator 2 metal print, and a The Matrix puzzle.

As you can see from the link above, there are so many subscription boxes out there, from food offerings such as Graze and Gousto, to the very popular fashion and beauty boxes such as Birchbox, and reading material from The Willoughby Book Club. There is now even a US-based website called Cratejoy.com, which is a commerce platform based solely around subscription boxes, with lots of resources to help companies create their own.

Why Offer Subscription Boxes?

There are plenty of benefits to offering a subscription box, both to the company and to the customer. For the customer, it’s an exciting treat that comes in the post every month, bringing with it an element of excitement and surprise. And the total cost of the items inside is usually worth more than the price they pay for the box.

Meanwhile for the company, having customers subscribed to a product or service encourages loyalty, strengthens the brand, and provides a guaranteed income – particularly if the subscription is for six months or a year paid in advance.

But navigating the world of subscription boxes can be tricky, especially if you’re just starting out. There is a lot to think about – how to decide what to put in the boxes, how to present and package them, how much the items and the postage will cost, and what to charge the customer.

Offering Subscriptions To Online Content With Patreon

With that in mind, it’s worth remembering that these boxes aren’t your only option when you’re considering offering your own subscription service. What can you deliver online? For example, Patreon is a website where creatives can offer their work through subscription payments. A small monthly fee can give customers access to content such as videos, music, artwork or literature offered by their chosen creators. Depending on how much they pay each month, a bonus product may also be offered, such as a book, and if the subscriber (or patron) pays for a higher tier, the product on offer might be even better – like a signed copy of the book, or a dedication printed inside it. Patreon also offers a different model where instead of paying monthly, subscribers can pay for content as and when it is made available to them.

What Subscription Services Could You Provide?

So how can you adapt these ideas into something that works for your business? That depends on what your business offers, and who your customers are. You’ll want to offer something that complements the products or services you already offer, something that provides you with a healthy profit margin, and something your customers will want and get plenty of value from.

For example, if you are a health food store, how about offering a subscription to personalised content such as recipes, or information about new products your customers will love? Or if you’re a health club, you could offer personalised healthy meal ideas, workout regimes, and other tips.

You could also help your customers to learn. For example, if you sell musical instruments you could offer online lessons for a monthly subscription. Got an online store dedicated to all things French? Enhance your offering with lessons in the language of love.

And of course, you could go mobile with your offering by creating an app. Apps lend themselves well to subscription services that help people to learn new things, and could be very appealing to customers if it’s something they can dip into while they’re out and about.

Whether you can offer a physical product, a subscription box, or regular online content, subscriptions can help you to gain loyal customers who love your brand. A subscription that offers excellent value for money and quality products is a great way of rewarding your regulars. And loyal customers make great brand advocates, helping you to better market your business online. Find the best way to create and deliver these rewards to your loyal customers, and you’ll be boxing clever.

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