What to do if Your Subscription Offering Fails

Subscribe Pro

November 4, 2016


When developing a business plan, it’s common to do enough research to justify the business, work out the costs and forecast revenues and profits. Even a conservative forecast, though, may not prepare a business manager for the possibility of a part of a business falling flat. This is as true of subscription commerce businesses as it is of other types of business.

If you have a subscription commerce program that seems to be stumbling, here are a few questions to ask yourself in order to identify what may need to be fixed or adjusted:

Is the offering clear?

This is, by far, the top reason that a new subscription program doesn’t perform. Your website may be beautifully designed and your checkout process may be flawless, but if the option to subscribe isn’t obvious or clear then you’re practically guaranteed to fail. It’s like that age old question: If a tree falls in the woods and no one’s around to hear it, does it make a sound?

Even if your autoship program is visible, have you made it easy to understand? Are all the benefits of subscribing laid out and compelling? Some clients find success in having an autoship option on product pages, where other clients find it more effective to have a landing page specifically for subscriptions. You may even find that doing both is effective.

Is the offering too small (or non-existent)?

People like to feel like they’re getting a good deal when they subscribe to receive a product on a regular basis. If you’re not offering any discount for subscribing, or the discount you are offering is too small, potential customers may be ignoring the offer. They may even use other methods to get their supply of your product at a steeper discount. We’ve touched on cannibalization in the past, and there’s definitely both an art and a science to developing programs that don’t feed off or cancel out other programs.

Did you remember to tell your customers about it?

Seems obvious, right? You’d be surprised how often clients overlook this important step. We find that customers who announce their subscription program to their customer base have much stronger starts than ones who don’t. It’s typical that a business’ top customers become its top subscribers when a new program is introduced, ensuring the longevity and health of that program.

How integrated is your program?

Along with remembering to tell customers about your new program, are you fully integrating subscriptions into your overall marketing? That includes mentioning subscriptions on transactional emails and having a banner or similar creative piece on your homepage or other key areas of your website. You should track time between orders for repeat customers. If they’re already ordering your product monthly, then a simple email saying, “Hey, did you know you can subscribe and save some money?” will go a very long way.


At Subscribe Pro, we care deeply about our customers’ success. That’s why we have a customer success team, whose job it is to ensure that our clients implement their subscription commerce program in the most effective way possible.

If you think your subscription commerce program could be more robust, reach out to us. We’re can help you assess your program and get you on the right track to subscription success!

Build Sustainable Relationships With Your Best Customers