Use Shipping Best Practices to Increase Subscription Revenue
The more lifetime value you can generate from each of your subscribers, the more profitable your business will be. The way you handle the shipping of your packages can play a large role in how happy your subscribers are with your service and how long they want to stay with you. For this post we assembled the best ideas for using your subscription box fulfillment practices to increase subscriber satisfaction and reduce churn.
1. Communicate, communicate, communicate!
Amazon Prime has set the standard for instant gratification in the ecommerce industry. Few businesses will be able to compete with Amazon on speed, but a subscription box business can make up the difference by letting their new subscribers know exactly what to expect. Studies show that when shipping policies are communicated clearly and often, subscription box companies experience higher rates of retention and attract a greater number of new subscribers.
Your fulfillment policy statement doesn’t need to be complicated. In fact, the more concise you can make it, the better. For many companies, it can be as simple as:
“Orders placed by the 15th of the month will ship by the 21st of the same month.”
“Your first order will ship in three days. Subsequent boxes will ship on the last Monday of each month.”
Once you have your statement written, insert it in as many points of contact as you can. This will help you avoid first-month cancellations, chargebacks and calls to customer service asking when packages will arrive. Some good places to add your policy are:
- Home page
- Thank-you page
- Welcome email
- Order confirmation email
- Product description page
- Monthly newsletters
Overall, the sooner customers know when they can expect their package, the higher their rates of satisfaction with your business.
2. Don’t Make Your Customers Wait
While communicating your subscription box fulfillment policies will boost your subscribers’ satisfaction, they will be even happier when they get their packages as soon as possible. Regarding delivery options, ecommerce buyers rank fast shipping almost as high as a fixed delivery date.
Anniversary billing and shipping can reduce a new subscriber’s wait time from as much as five weeks to as little as a few days, which will result in a customer who feels more engaged with and valued by the subscription box company. This can be difficult for a smaller company to manage, however. An alternative then can be to have extra boxes made each month that can be sent to new subscribers immediately before their regular deliveries kick in.
Also, make it easy for your customers to track their orders. Include the information they need to track packages after they are shipped, as well as a unique order number for your use to make it easier to assist them with any customer service needs.
3. Plan for packaging
Two important packaging concerns for your business are keeping costs down and enhancing your brand. The cost of your packaging can be reduced by using containers that are well-fitted to your typical items. You will want the boxes to be small enough so you are not wasting space or weight, but still sturdy enough that your items will be well-protected from breakage or other damage. If your items require any special care, plan for that in your packaging design. In general, focusing on smaller, lighter items will be more profitable than shipping oversize, heavy packages.
When designing your packaging, you can also plan for it to enhance your brand. Custom boxes or well-designed labels will make a good impression on your recipients and can help build name recognition during transit as well.
The interior packaging should also be part of your branding. Try to imagine an online influencer unboxing one of your packages in a YouTube video, and think about the impression that would make. Aim for neat, attractive inner packaging with inserts that may include a welcome letter, background information on the contents and a guide for enjoying them.
4. Research fulfillment options
Whether you handle subscription box fulfillment on your own or partner with a third-party provider, make sure that the staff involved is committed to cleanliness, reliability and attention to detail. If you are outsourcing, ask potential providers if they have experience with subscription boxes and ask to see samples of their work. They should also have cost-saving arrangements with major carriers in place.
When you are ready to begin making shipments, add your own or a family member’s name unobtrusively to the mailing list so you can see what kind of experience your subscribers are having.
These best practices can play a big role in keeping your customers happy, which will add value to your business.