Subscription marketing strategies have been used in retail for many years. What has changed recently is how they are applied in non-retail sectors such as design and art. Using subscription models in marketing not only increases your business revenue, but it also builds customer relationships with the long term objective. Since the explosion of subscription boxes, it’s been reported that subscriptions can increase customer loyalty by 55%. The reason being, most subscription models are built on the emotions of surprise and discovery therefore keeping customers engaged and interested.
Due to the pandemic, many small businesses have pivoted to subscription services, joining the likes of “flowers in a box” provided by brands such as FLOWERBX or “beauty in a box” provided by brands such as BIRCHBOX. The pandemic has seen the launch of the very popular “pub in a box” – a genius idea! – but also many other innovative concepts.
In the design industry, some interior designers started to offer “design in a box” while some fashion brands have pivoted to club memberships with annual subscriptions. One such example is SARAH HARAN, a UK based leather bag and accessory independent brand. Sarah gives opportunity to customers to join her VIP Club and in exchange for a small annual fee her customers get access to exclusive discounts and even a free luxury leather handbag. The point is; you can apply subscription service to almost any business. To get you started, here are three ideas of how you can add a subscription service to your business.
THREE SUBSCRIPTION MARKETING STRATEGIES:
PRODUCT AND SERVICE
The most obvious place to start is to look at your product or service offering. If your product belongs in the category of regular purchasing, it may fit under this model. From jewellery, art prints to underwear, socks, oral hygiene to candles and pampering or self-care products you can create beautiful experiences for your customers. Collaborating with other small independent brands, designers and artists can add extra value to such customer experiences, especially if you base it around a specific theme that captures your audience through shared values.
SUBSCRIPTION AS A FORM OF REWARD
As already mentioned, Sarah Haran is a great example of using this kind of subscription model. For an annual fee you can offer your customers exclusive benefits which regular customers cannot access. These benefits can range from point reward programmes (meaning each time the customer make a purchase they receive points on their account or card which they can use on future purchases) to exclusive discounts, unexpected free gifts or gift vouchers. Informative, educational or inspiring and uplifting events organised for your VIP club members can also help to enhance the whole experience and engagement with your brand, bringing customers closer to yourself but also to one another. This helps you build stronger brand community based on trust and loyalty.
SUBSCRIPTION AS A DISCOVERY TOOL
If you have sample products as part of your product offering, you could consider a subscription marketing strategy which is based around discovery. After customers sign up to your subscription offer, they receive a certain amount of samples each month or quarter. So, for example, if you’re an interiors brand selling fabric and wallpaper, you can offer up to 6 samples a month to your designer-clients for free if they purchase your subscription service. If you are a beauty brand, you can apply a similar strategy, delivering samples of new products each month or quarter.
In conclusion, subscription marketing strategies can lead to more sales and growth but to successfully provide this kind of service, bear in mind that price has to match the value you provide and personalised customer experience has to meet customer expectations. That’s the recipe for success.