Subscription Commerce: A Complete 2024 Guide

Subscription Commerce: A Complete 2024 Guide

Are you a business owner trying to figure out how to expand your company and bring in a consistent monthly revenue? The business you ought to think about is the eCommerce subscription model. You will learn about the principles of subscription commerce for internet businesses in this post. Let’s continue reading. 

Ins and Outs of Subscription Commerce

Subscription commerce is fundamentally a business model in which retailers offer goods or services on a regular basis. In other words, subscribers must keep paying a monthly, quarterly, or annual subscription in order to obtain or use the brand’s goods. Subscription commerce is a business model that encourages loyal customers to stay in touch with a brand over time. 

The subscription business has a lengthy history that may have begun with the delivery of milk and periodicals in the 17th and 18th centuries. With its renowned Prime membership, Amazon is often credited with effectively integrating the subscription model into the contemporary online business environment. 

Dollar Shave Club and BirchBox were the first online retailers to introduce eCommerce subscription boxes in the early 2010s. They gave proof that it was possible to successfully convert transactional consumers into brand evangelists. 

Subscription commerce is now present in every corner of retail, including publications, streaming services, gym memberships, and shopping. The division of substantial upfront costs into manageable installments is credited with the success of subscription commerce. As a result, the brand gains from a consistent stream of income and extends the time a customer can access store merchandise.

Most Common Subscription Model Types for E-Commerce

The three types of subscription businesses are as follows:

1) Resupply Framework

This concept works well for providing upscale goods or weekly/monthly deliveries of necessities. Consider the grocery kits or flower subscriptions offered by eCommerce companies like Misfits Market and Bloom. The duration varies from one week to twelve weeks.

Recharge Payments estimates that 32% of the market for subscription commerce is accounted for by the replenishment model. Convenience products such as pet food, medications, hygiene, and beauty packs are typically supplied as refills. Compared to other models, this one has higher conversion rates.

Customers benefit greatly from the replenishment subscription model in numerous ways. Customers pick the necessities for daily life, which are then delivered to them on a predetermined day and frequently at a reduced cost. Some businesses allow bulk orders to be placed with a single order without requiring a subscription.

2) Model of Curation

Most eCommerce customers are aware with the curation subscription model, also referred to as the subscription box. Notable instances of subscriptions for curation are BlueApron, StitchFix, and BirchBox. Here, the company uses its extensive expertise to choose a selection of its finest products for clients to receive on a regular basis—usually once a month.

Compared to replenishment models, businesses that use the curation strategy can achieve greater average order values with each shipment. Strong personalisation based on the tastes and preferences of each individual consumer is an extra benefit of subscription boxes. They are experts at branding, packaging, and fulfilling demanding delivery requirements.

Certain firms turn to mystery subscription boxes, such as Lovevery, which sell gifts for kids. This results in a monthly “unboxing” experience that is enjoyable and creates a strong impulse for customer retention. The trick is to keep things interesting by introducing novel product combinations that satisfy customers.

3) The Model of Access

Most notably Netflix, Spotify, and Amazon Prime, these digital streaming services are the only ones allowed to operate in this category of subscription commerce. Here, users can purchase access to a variety of digital entertainment and content, including games, newsletters, movies, music, and artwork. Customers can use the service as often as they like with no use limits if they pay a monthly or annual fee. 

Membership plans from stores like Costco, Target, Walmart, and DoorDash are more examples of access strategies. One third of the subscription economy is made up of this model. Due in part to significant client involvement and in part to high demand, access-based subscriptions have the highest customer retention rate. They can offer a free trial version that, upon subscription, upgrades to premium material. They typically operate automatically.  

This approach is occasionally used as an add-on for tangible goods. For instance, the high-end home studio and exercise bike manufacturer Peloton provides unique digital content, such as trainer-led workout videos. 

A Step-by-Step Guide to Starting a Subscription eCommerce Business

1) Determine Your Value Proposition And Niche

There are many subscription companies in the market, offering anything from everyday necessities to puzzle games and everything in between. You will need to identify a tangible concept with room for expansion if you want to remain competitive in the industry. and clients depending on that assistance. 

A florist may launch a curation business, for instance, to provide flower subscriptions on a monthly basis or for special events. For a pet store supplier, it might not be so simple. In order to determine the pertinent product-market fit, they would need to conduct extensive study. Offering a subscription box service for pet vitamins, which have less competition than pet toys, would be a better option for them.

2) Select A Bill-Compatible Subscription

Now that we are aware of the three different kinds of eCommerce subscriptions, you may choose a plan that will work for your company’s objectives. Consider an online retailer of spices. 

The replenishment model is a fantastic choice if your company’s objective is to supply consumers’ pantry essentials. A curation service would be the most appropriate option if your primary focus is on marketing a high-end spice blend or mix. Nonetheless, the access model will work if you want to provide home cooks with on-demand cooking instruction. 

3) Purchase The Greatest Products Available

You can get a wide variety of things in subscription boxes, but your top goal should always be to obtain the highest quality. Customers will only be drawn to your products that are of the finest caliber and will interact with you for an extended period of time. These two well-known D2C brands serve as examples.

Misfits Market sources fresh and organic produce for their replenishment box by collaborating with nearby farms. After that, they sell it to clients for less money than their rivals. Likewise, Pura Vida crafts luminous bracelets exclusively for members by collaborating with regional Puerto Rican artists. This builds a case for its “exclusive service.” 

4) Determine The Correct Price To Draw In The Correct Customer

The next step is to price the products once you have located the proper ones. Finalizing pricing charts might be a little challenging, primarily due to the abundance of aspects to take into account. These consist of the pricing offered by your rivals, the expenses related to logistics and fulfillment, the cost of purchasing them, etc. 

You’ll need a good plan in order to attain the appropriate price markup. In the event that your products sell quickly or that your client attrition rate is high, avoid providing excessive discounts or lengthy free trials. Offer many price tiers for various product combinations. A bundle with low AOV, for instance, can have a cheaper price structure than one with premium products.

An additional consideration is the period of renewal. Prices are often set based on a plan that lasts for one, three, six, or twelve months. This is particularly useful for access-based models, since it allows you to reward consumers who select a long-term plan with a higher profit margin. 

5) Create A Website Or Select The Appropriate Subscription Service 

You will always require a website, regardless of whether you integrate a subscription model into your current eCommerce firm or launch a brand-new subscription commerce venture. Alternatively, you might build your storefront using an eCommerce platform. 

Shopify, Magento, WooCommerce, and BigCommerce are a few of the well-known platforms for creating eCommerce websites. The website is meant to be your place to share all things related to your company. For digital subscriptions, SellFy, Plodia, Squarespace, and Payhip are excellent options.

Start with a smooth checkout process, product details, and high-quality pictures of samples. Configure chatbots for instant customer support and include intelligent navigation and search functions on your website. And give your customers plenty of information about your products and services so they can improve their lives. 

6) Create a Marketing Strategy

It’s time to sell them using a strategic approach now that your subscription website is fully configured and operational. Establishing a social media presence is the fastest path to marketing success for subscription businesses, particularly direct-to-consumer (D2C) subscription firms. Here are a few useful suggestions:

  • Make clean social media profiles with your artistic assets, particularly your product images. 
  • Encourage your customers to leave you reviews, comments, unboxing videos, and other feedback.
  • To keep customers interested and updated about new product launches and content, send out newsletters and emails on a regular basis. 
  • To increase brand exposure, work with micro-influencers and establish connections with online communities. 

Best Practices to Successfully Run Subscription Business

Maintaining an emphasis on client acquisition may seem appropriate, but in the long run, it doesn’t yield significant benefits. This is due to the fact that subscription businesses have a track record of rapid customer attrition, with one-third of users quitting within the first three months of use. It is inevitable to shift your attention to client retention. 

Here are some pointers for keeping clients:

  • Offer individualized consumer services like as loyalty plans, bespoke labeling, and delivery rescheduling. 
  • Provide targeted sales and discounts, such as a large percentage off the initial purchase, free shipping, buy more, save more, and buy-more deals. 
  • Give your consumers options, such as the ability to change products, skip an order, and have their payment options automatically updated. 
  • Encourage client loyalty and interaction through community groups on WhatsApp, automated customer service, etc. 
  • Encourage easy cancelation and automatic renewal. 
  • With strategies like branded packaging, customized thank-you notes, shipping tracking alerts, etc., concentrate on developing your brand. 
  • Select a shipping company and fulfillment partner with a high percentage of on-time delivery rates.


Our 2024 guide gives companies the tools they need to succeed in subscription commerce. In the ever-evolving subscription-based industry, businesses may enhance customer retention and create remarkable experiences by grasping important trends and putting successful strategies into practice.

Appic Softwares is a fantastic option if you’re searching for an e-commerce development firm to assist you with the development of a mobile app. Our skilled development team is here to assist you with any and all of your needs.

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