Are you tired of centering so much effort and relying on big numbers around just one period of the year? What if there was a better approach that allowed you to capture customers and ensure they continue making purchases with your online store?
Subscriptions might be the right answer. Merchants that offer their products or services on repeat—charging the customer’s credit card at chosen intervals—don’t need to spend as much time amping up their offerings for the holiday season.
This blog post will cover all the benefits of offering subscriptions, including the ways you can get your subscription offerings ready for the holidays. Making simple adjustments like changing default purchase options from a one-time purchase to a subscription purchase can make all the difference—and help you retain customers throughout the year.
- Offering your products or services on subscription means steady revenue year-round, eliminating some of the pressure usually felt by merchants around the holiday season.
- Capture new customers and allow subscribers to gift subscriptions to their loved ones, creating an easy holiday season approach.
- Subscriptions offer many benefits—like increased AOV, LTV, and less customer churn.
What are subscriptions?
If you’re new to the subscription world, you might be wondering what they are and how they work. Subscriptions are the selling of services or products on recurring basis, for a set period of time. They can be paid upfront as a lump sum for a specific period of time, or set up as recurring payments made on a regular cadence. The three main types of subscriptions are:
- Curation: Pre-assembled selection of goods sent in a box
- Replenishment: Products used on a regular basis are sent to customers at pre-determinded intervals
- Access: Customers pay to gain access to a service
There are a number of ways that merchants can offer gifting with subscriptions—meaning they don’t have to spend so much time, energy, and money on one weekend of shopping each year: the days that span from Black Friday to Cyber Monday. Aside from one-time gift boxes, online stores can offer prepaid subscriptions as a gift—with different plan options to choose from. The gift-giver might select a three-month prepaid subscription option, then after those three months, the gift receiver is given the option to continue receiving the product or service. You might also consider promoting gift cards for your subscription offerings.
Gift subscriptions vs. regular subscriptions
The examples detailed above showcase how a gift subscription works. The customer purchases a prepaid subscription for someone else, and the subscription will end after a set period of time. Regular subscriptions, however, require the shopper to provide a credit card which will be charged on a regular basis. The subscription doesn’t end until the customer decides to cancel it, or they churn involuntarily (for reasons like an expired credit card).
If you don’t have gift subscriptions listed as an option, then there’s really no easy way for shoppers to gift your subscription. By setting up these prepaid options, you make it easy for customers to gift your products or services.
Additionally, giving the option to subscribe means you can also capture new customers who are looking to treat themselves during the holiday season—since not everyone has a long list of gifts to buy. Converting these shoppers from one-time purchasers into subscribers can mean big gains for your business. So, if you’d like to hit the holiday crowd and see the results continue throughout the year, make sure you have subscriptions put in place before the shopping season starts.
Benefits of enabling subscriptions before the holidays
There are a myriad of benefits to enabling subscriptions before the holiday season. Not only will you eliminate the need to cash in big numbers on Black Friday, but you’ll be well-adjusted to make improvements to your revenue year-round. Let’s explore some of the benefits merchants can enjoy when they enable subscriptions before the holidays begin.
1. Capture new customers & keep them
It’s no secret that there’s an increased number of people shopping from the moment Halloween is over until the ball drops on New Year’s Eve. When new customers discover your store, you’ll want to keep them around and with subscriptions, you can do just that. Whether they’re buying for themselves or someone else, giving the option to subscribe and save will have more benefits than just a one-time purchase.
2. Allow subscribers to gift their favorite products
When you promote subscriptions, your current customers will have the chance to share their favorite products or services with their own family and friends, increasing the reach of your store. This type of word-of-mouth marketing is extremely effective, and comes with little to no cost to your business. Plus, when their prepaid subscription is over, the gift receiver might choose to continue with the subscription by adding their own credit card to their account.
3. Continue seeing increased revenue throughout the year
With the emphasis on making huge numbers on Black Friday, online stores miss out on the benefits of working toward better revenue year-round. Thankfully with subscriptions, you can see an increase in revenue across every month of the year.
The global subscription ecommerce market is expected to reach $2.64 trillion by 2028, according to UnivDatos Market Insights—meaning subscription services aren’t slowing down any time soon. Win new customers and build a community with them that goes beyond just your products.
Setting up subscriptions before the holidays
If you’re a merchant looking to eliminate the stress around holiday revenue and rely on a more steady source of revenue, let’s talk about getting subscriptions set up before the holidays. It’s crucial to start marketing your subscriptions a few months before the holiday season so that shoppers know what their options are.
Once you’ve implemented a subscription management solution, you can start converting one-time shoppers to subscribers and offering prepaid subscription options as gifts—just in time for the holidays. Listed below are a few things to consider as you get your subscriptions up and running before the busy holiday season.
1. Change one-time purchase options to subscription options
Changing the default option from a one-time purchase to a subscription means more customers will consider subscribing to your products or services instead of making a single purchase. Gently encourage customers to subscribe by making this easy change on product pages.
2. Begin marketing your subscriptions so customers are aware
Customers need to be aware of their options, so start marketing your subscriptions as soon as they become available. Educating your customers about how subscriptions work is a crucial step to building trust in your customer-to-brand relationship. Whether you do this through a landing page on your website or by making social media posts, ensure your customers can find all the information they’re looking for to make their purchasing decisions.
3. Create options that make sense for shoppers looking to gift
Without prepaid subscription options or gift cards, your customers won’t be able to gift your subscriptions. Make sure you have some options that make sense for those looking to gift your products or services—include straightforward shipping frequency options and discounts on subscriptions to make them more appealing.
Taking away holiday stress with subscriptions
If you want to grow your holiday revenue with subscriptions and continue to see that growth year-round, without the stress of hitting high numbers on Black Friday, then get started with subscriptions right away. Converting one-time shoppers to subscribers and offering prepaid subscription gift options will enable you to grow your customer base and impress shoppers by your seamless user experience. Thanks to these subscription offerings, you’ll see revenue growth year-round, instead of just a few months out of the year.
 Subscription management 101: Optimizing your business for new subscription merchants (Recharge)
 Subscription E-Commerce Market: Current Analysis and Forecast (2021-2028) (UnivDatos)
 Subscriptions 101: The three types of subscriptions (Recharge)
 Subscriptions (Recharge ecommerce glossary)