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Subscription Strategies for Beauty Brands that Stick

Published April 3, 2022
Published April 3, 2022

With consumer demand for beauty subscriptions up 93% last year, more and more brands are rushing to launch subscription experiences for recurring revenue. As a result, competition for subscribers has never been higher, and standing out is more critical to subscription success than ever before.  

It’s no longer enough to only offer a discount and free shipping to entice subscribers. Instead, beauty brands that want to see real subscriber growth must focus on delivering a superior subscriber experience that encompasses every aspect of the subscriber journey, from enrollment to cancellation and everything in between.

Use these six tips to make your subscription experience stand out.

1. Make Subscription Management Easy 

To unlock a subscription experience that delights shoppers, level up your subscription management portal.

Start by making it easy for subscribers to manage all aspects of their orders. Offer subscribers the flexibility to update their order frequency, product quantity, and billing information. 

Two must-have subscriber experiences are enabling product swaps and offering the ability to skip an order. We’ve found that subscribers last 71% longer when they can swap a product and 135% longer when they can skip an order.

You should also make it easy for subscribers to cancel. Cancelation blockers erode brand loyalty and decrease the likelihood of the shopper re-entering your subscription experience in the future. Instead, think of cancellations as a learning opportunity. Ask your shoppers why they’re canceling and use this information to improve your subscription experience. 

2. Leverage Proactive Communication

Subscribers don’t like surprises. Build a positive relationship with your subscribers by keeping them up to date on their orders. This includes reaching out to them before their order’s ship date to offer them the opportunity to make adjustments. 

Forward-thinking brands are combining a proactive communication philosophy with artificial intelligence (AI) to improve their subscriber experience. For example, Ordergroove uses AI to anticipate when a subscriber is at risk of churn due to overstock and sends them a message offering them the option to skip their next order. This preemptive communication can reduce churn by as much as 17%.

3. Build a Community with Content

A growing trend in highly successful subscription experiences is to build brand loyalty and foster a community by providing subscribers with exclusive content like blog posts and how-to videos. For instance, a beauty brand can improve its subscriber experience by producing a video from an influencer that highlights how to use one of their products to obtain a specific look.

4. Surprise and Delight Your Subscribers

Because of increased competition, you’ll need to double down on your subscriber retention efforts. These experiences can be as simple as entertaining and friendly messaging in your subscription touchpoints. Or, they can be complex, like sending an unexpected gift or a surprise discount. 

We’ve seen merchants have success with sending subscribers a gift in their first order. Another merchant in the beauty space sends a full-size product to their top subscribers once a year, along with a note thanking them for shopping with the brand. 

You could also consider donating to a charity in the subscriber’s name. 

5. Prioritize a Frictionless Checkout

Online shoppers want fast, hassle-free buying experiences. This starts with enrollment.

When checking out online, websites will sometimes transfer shoppers to a different site and interface to complete the purchase. This typically happens when a brand integrates another company’s technology platform into its shopping experience. Known as a “hijacked checkout,” this experience can drop your subscription enrollment rate by as much as 40%.

To guarantee a positive subscriber experience, brands should use an integrated checkout, which seamlessly integrates with a website’s current checkout process, enabling the buying journey to occur in one location.

For subscribers, this means their enrollment experience looks the same throughout the entire process. They don’t have to ask questions about why they’re being redirected to a new website and whether their personal data is at risk. Just as important, an integrated checkout ensures consistent branding so you can always put your best foot forward.

An integrated checkout also has an advantage for merchants. It makes managing product catalogs and promotions easier, as well as preserves tracking data.

6. Select the Right Subscription Solution

The best way to attract and retain subscribers is to select a subscription solution that prioritizes helping you deliver a superior shopping experience. When evaluating providers, focus on whether they utilize an integrated checkout and if their solution gives shoppers complete control over their orders.

Promotional capabilities are also critical. Free shipping and discount might be table stakes, but they are necessary to run a successful subscription experience, as is the ability to easily cross-sell to increase average order value.

Wrap up

As you navigate today’s complex and crowded subscription commerce landscape, use these six tips to drive greater subscriber acquisition and retention. By focusing on every aspect of your subscriber experience, you’ll set yourself apart from your competitors, and in the process drive recurring revenue and increase customer lifetime value.