Product subscriptions should offer a deal or incentive

Yesterday I placed our six-month order for some pasta when I noticed something new: pasta subscriptions.

The store would send a 4-pack of one type of pasta, delivered every month for $20/month. That had me interested for a few seconds before I remembered their pasta was regularly $3.95/each.

$4 + $4 + $4 + $4= $16 to buy those four pastas at the regular prices. Huh?

How is that subscription any better?

I did some digging and found the shipping is normally $9 (Free Shipping at $85+) which makes the subscriptions a bit of a deal ($20 subscription vs $25 shipped).

But you can only get all of one style of pasta with the subscription. You're also limited in which styles, only about half of the styles are subscribable. This means you'd need multiple subscriptions to get a variety and still might have to place one-off orders.

I decided to stick with our regular behavior of one large order every few months. We order enough to qualify for free shipping (~21 units) and then just delay the next order until we run out or until there's a discount.

Whenever you offer subscriptions you have to make the customer think they're getting a deal. In this case the customer is getting only half-off of regular shipping but they lose the mix-an-match option and some of the styles they might love.

Adding a "most popular styles" as a subscription option could make that a better deal (and I bet would outsell all of the one-variety subscriptions). Or adding subscriptions for all of the varieties.

Even better would be a deeper discount (they just finished a 20%-off everything) or a freebie incentive (5th pack, side of sauce, mystery gift).

Subscriptions can be great for your Shopify store but they have to either be a deal or give the customer an incentive to subscribe. Otherwise they'll just place a regular order (or even bounce off the site due to confusion).

Eric Davis

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Topics: Subscriptions

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