How to map your subscription commerce conversion funnel

If you run a subscription commerce business, you know that customers don’t just show up out of nowhere to subscribe. Instead, they’re cultivated. Like any other type of business, it’s important to know what your sales funnel looks like. That is, you need to know the steps it takes for a customer to become a subscriber. And we don’t mean the technical steps (put the subscription in the cart and go through the checkout process). We mean the behavioral steps it takes to get someone to subscribe.

Generally speaking, conversion funnels look something like this:

However, in reality, an eCommerce sales funnel with the potential to become a subscription commerce funnel may look something more like this:

You’ll probably notice that this process can go on for a very long time (as indicated by the “…” in the last step) without converting the customer to a subscriber. Why? Because if the customer is happy with their product experience and the experience of ordering, and nothing is being done to convert them to a subscriber, why should they subscribe? The key is to identify repeat customers and offer them something of value.

That means the first few steps in a subscription commerce sales funnel are similar to any other sales funnel. But, depending on your product, you will likely have to get someone to make that first purchase before they even become a subscriber. Your sales funnel may have to grow a few additional steps that include communicating with customers about simply re-ordering before you even mention subscriptions. The goal here is to test the waters on customers’ willingness and desire to continue to purchase your products, and to identify the point in the process when they’re willing to commit more deeply to your products.

For example, some Subscribe Pro clients send their customers an email every 25 days to customers who have bought a 30-day supply of their products. Once a customer responds by re-upping their supply, they know they have a potential subscriber. They key here is to cultivate a sustained interest or need for the product. Once that’s done, the “Let us make life easier for you” messaging comes out and the retailer presents the value of subscribing.

Therefore, depending on the type of subscription business you’re running (auto-replenishment vs. box), you may or may not want to introduce the idea of a subscription immediately. Keep a finger on the pulse of what your customers are doing and the time it takes them to do it. Once you do that enough times, you’ll be able to map out the steps it takes to convert customers into subscribers.

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