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How to Optimize Your Site For Subscriptions to Generate Recurring Revenue & Customer Loyalty

Feb 11th, 2017

Your customers need something you're likely not giving them...

They want you to actively listen, understand them intimately, and personalize the experience they have with your brand.

Worried you can't do this at scale?

Stop worrying because doing all of the above is not only possible- it's easy and potentially lucrative for merchants.

We're talking about optimizing your site for subscriptions and doing so can turbocharge your company's growth even if you've never considered your offerings as potential candidates for a subscription model.


Subscriptions are providing predictable recurring revenue for merchants you'd never expect to offer their products as subscriptions:

  • Large bulky items like cat litter that are traditionally purchased in-store
  • Items that aren't routinely purchased such as shaker cups or drink bottles
  • Beauty products customers often like to try before purchasing

Besides recurring revenue, offering your products as subscriptions can illustrate you really understand and care about making the lives of your customers easier and more convenient. Likewise, empowering customers by allowing them to pause their subscriptions and customize their payment schedule illustrates you respect them in ways competitors may not.

Ready to get started delighting your customers and bottom line with subscriptions?

Here then are five ways to optimize your site for subscriptions that generate predictable recurring revenue that can also result in increased customer loyalty:

Optimization #1: Spotlight Past Subscriptions

Be sure to show rather than simply tell...

That's the advice from ReCharge, a provider of subscription software that helps merchants grow sales and turn one-time purchases into recurring sales. In fact, ReCharge powers recurring billing and subscriptions for thousands of ecommerce merchants and says one of the most important aspect of a successful subscription program is to prominently show previous subscription packages or products.

For instance, Little Life Box, which offers healthy living boxes that include snacks, beauty items, and supplements, dedicates an entire page to showing off prior box collections:

Image via: Little Life Box

Besides spotlighting your offering, showing off past subscription offerings allows consumers to preview the merchandise and illustrates exactly what a consumer can expect should she decide to become a customer.

According to ReCharge co-founder Oisin O'Connor, doing so provides a compelling value proposition:

"By giving the customer a look into the previous boxes or subscription items, you're giving them a preview into your brand and what your typical product looks like. It reduces the fear of the unknown, especially for curated subscriptions like Little Life Box."

In the case of Little Life Box, shoppers can even click on the box and view the specific items that came inside past boxes:

Image via: Little Life Box

Prioritizing product photography and making a commitment to updating your site with past subscriptions, as Little Life Box does, positions you to better convert consumers who desire to know exactly what they'd be signing up for.

Additionally, Little Life Box, which uses ReCharge to power its subscription service, allows consumers a variety of freedoms and flexibilities so consumers can customize the subscription experience to meet their needs and desires.

The company says:

"We love the subscription model. From a business standpoint, it's great because it offers recurring revenue. For the customers, they really enjoy not having to think about re-subscribing to something they love all the while having the option to skip months, customize their payment schedule, pause their membership or even cancel whenever they want. We can thank Recharge for that."

Optimization #2: Integrate Subscriptions With Loyalty Programs

Regular readers of the OnlyGrowth blog know you can earn a 9X return with a strategic loyalty program that yields rewards for both the customer and merchant. However, most of us perceive rewards as something offered with one-off purchases.

You can certainly reward someone for sampling your offering...

But what about subscribers?

Customers willing to allow you to bill their credit cards every month deserve to be rewarded as well especially for engaging in valuable behavior such as referring friends or leaving reviews. Be sure your loyalty program is applicable to the products you offer as subscriptions.

One example of this is SnapWag, which calculates how much dogs eats per day to create custom dog food, toy, and treat boxes that are delivered to customers each month right before their dog's run out:

Image via: SnapWag

Not only does the company reward customers for subscribing but it also integrates its loyalty program with the checkout so customers can easily redeem rewards:

Image via: SnapWag

The company's founder and president, Brett Maiolfi, uses ReCharge to power his subscription service as well and tells us:

"We've received amazing feedback and reviews from dog owners because SnapWag eliminates the need for store runs, carrying heavy dog food bags, re-ordering online, or relying on inaccurate 30-day autoships where they receive too much or too little dog food.  Additionally, customers love that every item in the shipment is selected to match their dog's unique personality. SnapWag's subscriptions allow us to provide a level of service that can't be matched by normal brick-and-mortar stores or large online retailers.  Recharge is the only service we've found to support SnapWag's unique system."

Optimization #3: Create Dedicated Subscription Landing Page

No one is arguing you shouldn't offer your products as one-time purchases...

But if you're serious about incorporating subscriptions into your business model, you need to be sure your site reflects that. Consumers looking for or considering taking your products as a subscription need a quick and easy way to learn more.

It's why you need a separate landing page highlighting your subscription offering.

For instance, Black Rifle Coffee Company has designed a separate subscription page every bit the quality and usability of any other page on its site to promote its coffee club subscription service:

Image via: Black Rifle Coffee Company

The dedicated page offers customers the same engaging look and feel as the rest of the site while also detailing the money consumers can save by joining the brand club:

Image via: Black Rifle Coffee Company

ReCharge co-founder Oisin O'Connor sums up the benefit like this:

"Having a landing page allows you to show customers options as well as the benefits of subscribing to your products. The Black Rifle Coffee page not only describes how subscriptions would work but they also do an excellent job of highlighting their brand voice and personality."

Optimization #4: Tout Subscriptions In The Main Menu

Be sure you're not hiding subscriptions from your customers...

Too often, merchants who hadn't originally thought about their products as being candidates for subscriptions forget to include the option in their main menu. It's easy to do, especially if you originally designed your site prior to deciding to offer subscriptions.

Follow the example of Rustic Cuff, which sells bold stylish cuffs with color, metallic, and exotic skins, and enables customers to easily find its Cuff of the Month Club via the site's main menu:

Image via: Rustic Cuff

Notice as well how Rustic Cuff also incorporates prior cuff of the month offerings so consumers have an ultra-clear idea what they'd be receiving:

Image via: Rustic Cuff

Once again, ReCharge's co-founder Oisin O'Connor suggests an integration like this one can increase conversions:

"One of the most important things you can do as a store owner is optimize your sales funnel - make it easy for customers to get in and checkout. The worst thing is to have someone hear about your product but not be able to find it. Having a drop down for subscriptions increases the likelihood your customers can find what they're looking for."

Optimization #5: Leave Nothing to Doubt

If you're new to subscriptions...

Or if your products aren't perceived by customers as traditional subscription type products, be sure to clearly spell out exactly your subscription option works. Highlight in detail what's included with a subscription as well as how easy it is for customers to customize payment options and even pause a subscription should they need to do so.

One of the easiest and intuitive ways to do this is in your FAQ (frequently asked questions) section, as Woven Pear, a specialty sock merchant does:

Image via: Woven Pear

Or consider offer customer a hover box, as Liquid I.V. does, that offers customers subscription details via a pop-up when users touch or move their cursor over the Subscription details option:

Image via: Liquid I.V.

Even better, you can use the ReCharge Subscription Widget Editor to customize the design of your subscription offering as well as provide all of the details a customer might be curious about such as:

  • Language of the subscription options
  • One-time Purchase rule
  • Subscribe & Save rule
  • Font & Background color
  • Full hex code compatibility

Image via: ReCharge

You might even integrate several of these alternatives across your site depending on how users navigate your site and on which page they're most likely to convert to subscribers. Besides a potential lift in conversions, ReCharge co-founder Oisin O'Connor says clarity around subscription offerings can also reduce the load on a merchant's customer service team:

"By clearly spelling out how subscriptions work, you're actually reducing the inbound communication to your customer service team. Essentially, that page is working for you, answering any questions your customers may have. It's also beneficial to clearly spell out the terms and conditions for subscriptions, subsequently reducing any hesitancy for signing up."

The Subscription Economy

That's how ReCharge describes the current environment...

Recurring revenue is an obvious benefit but the convenience subscriptions can offer customers allows you to personalize the experience in ways one-off purchases cannot. Optimize your site for conversions by:

  • Show off past subscriptions and allow customers to peek inside
  • Integrate subscriptions with your loyalty program
  • Create a dedicated landing page for subscription offers
  • Include a subscription tab in your main menu
  • Weave subscription terms and details throughout your site

Use subscriptions to make your customers' lives easier and earn both loyalty and recurring predictable monthly revenue.

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