Top Tips for Selling Subscription Products Online

May 20, 2021 | eCommerce

Reading Time: 6 minutes
Kevin Fouche

Top Tips for Selling Subscription Products Online

Posted by Kevin Fouche, Pixel Fish Director

Kevin handles the planning, design, launch and training of every website that Pixel Fish creates. He ensures that every website is highly engaging and aligned with our client’s goals. With over 20 years of design and web industry experience to draw upon, Kevin aims to pass on his knowledge to our clients and like-minded businesses wanting to grow their online presence.

Looking for result-proven tips for selling subscription products online? Excellent! We’ve prepared this comprehensive guide just for you. Subscription-based products have increased in popularity according to recent trends, and that’s a sign that they’re meeting customers’ expectations.

These products continue to gain traction globally because they give customers an opportunity not to commit to a single product. Instead, you can try out different products and settle on the one you like the most through subscriptions. The best part is that this model is mutually beneficial to both the consumers, who get what they want and the business owners, who are guaranteed predictable, recurring incomes.

Despite the ready opportunity for entrepreneurs to benefit maximally from selling subscription products online, some still get it wrong, perhaps due to erroneous execution or misinformation. However, that’s bound to change after reading this guide that takes a deeper dive into:

  • What subscription-based products are
  • Why you should consider subscription-based products
  • The types of products that work well
  • The best tips for selling these products online

So let’s get down to business, shall we?

What are Subscription-Based Products?

As the title suggests, subscription-based products require a subscription fee for a customer to access or use as they get billed on a recurring scheme. The fast-paced rise in technology and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) has been instrumental in subscription products becoming a household name since many consumers value convenience now more than ever.

In essence, the subscriptions are usually renewed and automated instantly with a pre-authorised checking account or payment card. The conventional examples of subscription products include cable TVs, magazines, gyms, storage units, lawn care, and many more. Today, technology has opened more avenues for making money off subscription models through websites, streaming services, boxes, software, document storage, internet provision, etc.

Why Should You Consider Subscription-Based Products?

You should consider subscription-based products if you wish to have more recurring revenue for your business and a broader customer base. Here are the top five reasons why you should bill your products recurrently instead of sticking to the pay-one, use-forever model:

1. More Customers

Subscription products attract more customers as it offers a flexible and affordable means of acquiring a product. For instance, if an item goes for $700 upfront, it would attract fewer buyers, but if you charge $20 per month, many consumers would be willing to try it out. Of course, there are exceptions, but the general stance is that more expensive products usually attract fewer buyers.

And another thing, selling subscription products eliminates the need or costs of shipping items to consumers, and you can accept all sorts of payments digitally. This makes it easier to expand your market and reach more customers globally.

2. Predictable Revenue

Unlike the pay-once, use-forever model, where you have to attract leads and convert them into products to earn revenue, the subscription model enables you to predict your monthly income. That’s because you have a finite number of customers who make regular payments, and you can know if a customer wishes to halt their subscription in advance.

What’s more, you can plan accurately to ensure you do not order excess supplies or stock more than you need. Also, the recurring and predictable revenue flow from subscription products is usually more than one-time sales.

3. Higher Returns from Cross-Selling and Upselling

By selling subscription-based products, you give customers what they want and create a strong bond of trust through regular contact. This makes it hassle-free to market complementary items to your client base since they’re already receptive to your products and wouldn’t mind adding more value to them.

Furthermore, once customers add subscription charges to their monthly or annual budgets, it becomes a no-brainer for them to afford products that bring more value to their lives. This is possible if the customers use the products to grow or learn new skills tipped to enable them to achieve their goals effortlessly.

4. Ease of Offering Proof of Concept

Offering proof of concept in a pay-one, use-forever model is quite tricky and expensive. On the other hand, the subscription model makes it easy to provide potential customers with free trials to entice them to sign up for the premium package. And it works in most instances because you can deliver the free version instantly and not commit the prospect to push the purchase button.

The best part is that even if the customers don’t sign up immediately after offering proof of concept, you will remain with their contact details, which you can use to convince them to subscribe later. That subscription products are always up-to-date eliminates the need for customers to watch out for new features, enabling them to make faster purchase decisions.

What Types of Subscription Products Work Well?

Here are the top subscription products that you can implement to grow your business faster and outshine your competitors:

1. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)

SaaS is a product delivery model that enables you to license software to users on a subscription basis while hosting it centrally. SaaS is a popular subscription product because it allows users to access and use their favourite software at a fraction of the cost of acquiring the entire product at one go. Some popular SaaS products include HubSpot, DropBox, SalesForce, MailChimp, Slack, Shopify, and more.

2. Monthly Subscription Boxes

Subscription boxes are recurring physical deliveries of a bundle of packaged products driven towards offering customers a unique experience on top of the actual product contained in each box. They’re synonymous with subscription-based E-commerce or ‘subcom’ businesses that leverage the model as a strategy for marketing their other products. Examples of subscription-box companies include Club Candle, GlamCorner, Birchbox, and many more.

3. Streaming Services

Streaming services are multimedia content usually delivered to end-users over the internet in a continuous manner. The users must pay recurring subscription fees to access the media hassle-free via their mobile devices or PCs. Popular examples of streaming service providers include Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, Amazon Prime, Stan, BINGE, and Disney+.

4. Auto-Ship

Auto-ship is a subscription-based program where customers can place orders with a direct selling company and have their products shipped automatically regularly. They’re suitable for fast-moving products like vitamins, cereals, pet food, skincare items, etc. In an auto-ship program, customers usually select the things they’d like to receive, plus the delivery frequency. In the meantime, orders are generated automatically and sent to customers when the chosen delivery date arrives. This saves customers of time, energy, and regular transportation expenses to the store.

The Best Tips for Selling Subscription-Based Products Online

Having discovered the best types of subscription products to sell online, plus the benefits of switching from the traditional pay-one model, what next? You guessed it – it’s time to move to the next level and find out how you can succeed at selling subscription products online. Below are the result-proven tips for excelling in the subscription industry:

1. Emphasise Uniqueness and Differentiation

With the subscription model flooded with big brands like Amazon, Netflix, and Microsoft and many consumers still rooted in the typical model, developing a unique product is the only way to announce your presence. What differentiating quality does your product possess? If it’s not solving the consumers’ problems or bringing more convenience to their disposal, it may not sell.

A differentiating quality can be:

  • Saving a trip to the store
  • Offering an ad-free experience
  • Eliminating shipping fees
  • Getting products delivered to the customer’s doorstep
  • Providing offline access
  • Enabling access via multiple platforms

2. Utilise the Power of Freemiums or Free Trials

Customers love free versions of products, and it’s all for a good cause. Offering freemiums leaves the customers excited and willing to try the premium versions and boost your sales. You, however, have to remember that this is a subscription marketing technique for lead generation only – not revenue. As such, you should use it as part of a wider strategy that boosts sales in the long run.

3. Partner with Influencers

Influencers have huge, loyal fan bases that present a ready marketing opportunity for your subscription products since you’ll be selling online. This is a tried-and-tested marketing strategy that you should consider leveraging, considering that a whopping 40% of Australians are likely to purchase from a brand they see an influencer posting about.

4. Focus on Convenience

If you’re an E-commerce business, ensure that your customers can order products online using any device and have them delivered to their doorstep. For streaming services, you want to ensure that your subscribers have various shows to choose from and watch on multiple platforms. SaaS products should also offer the flexibility to access data from any device. Auto-ship and auto-refill businesses should send clients new packages immediately when the old one runs out. The list goes on and on!

5. Keep It Simple

Nothing beats the power of simplicity in a business. More so, if you’re introducing a newer subscription model, be sure to put everything in black and white to enhance the customer experience. Creating a “how it works” page where you explain every detail of your product is also overly beneficial and can help in generating more leads.

Final Say

Selling subscription products online is gaining traction in Australia and worldwide, thanks to the fact that millennials have adopted digital shopping at the expense of visiting stores. And it’s easy to see why that’s the case; the model offers great convenience, affordability, 24/7 reliability, optimal flexibility, and ease of renewability.

Perhaps the only challenging assignment that subscription-based entrepreneurs, especially newcomers, may have is attracting and retaining customers. You must develop candid marketing strategies and relentlessly push your products to make them known among your target audience and stand out from the competition.

Getting a custom-made Pixel Fish business website is the first step to excelling in the subscription economy. It provides a ready platform to market your content and generate quality needs. Contact us today for more information!

Take your online store business to the next level with a Pixel Fish Ecommerce Website.

Check out some of our latest Ecommerce Website Design projects.

Further Reading
How to Choose The Best Payment Gateway for WooCommerce
15 Unbeatable SEO Tips for WooCommerce
Yoast SEO Premium vs Free Yoast Plugin
5 Reasons To Turn Your Business Into A Subscription Model
12 Steps to Shift Your Business to an Online Delivery Model Business
How to create Recurring Revenue through Your Website
10 Common Website Video Mistakes To Avoid
How To Turn Your Business Services Into Online Products

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Kevin Fouché, Pixel Fish Director