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4 best practices for subscription-based services

Third-party service providers like SFG can provide fulfillment for subscription companies.

An increasing number of companies have made the transition to include a subscription-based service in their business model. Organizations have realized the positives that come with implementing such a program. These benefits include more visits to their website, better customer interaction and improved consumer loyalty. In fact, a study from Hitwise showed visits to the top online subscription sites have risen by 3,000 percent in the United States since 2003, according to Digiday.

Introducing this kind of service can be overwhelming for business leaders, as there are many responsibilities to consider on a regular basis. Companies can follow the examples of others that have found success by following certain best practices. Here are four steps organizations adding subscription services to their forward-thinking strategy can take to ensure the process yields positive results:

Visits to subscription sites continue to rise in the U.S.Visits to subscription sites continue to rise in the U.S.

1. Create a high level of personalization
Although consumer demand for an individualized experience causes more and more businesses to adopt subscription strategies, many customers still don't feel they're getting the level of interest in their personal wants and needs they desire. Only 26 percent of customers feel they're receiving a personalized journey, according to a report from This leaves the door open to new businesses entering the fold to pick up the slack and provide the kind of interaction clients frequently request.

Companies need to go above and beyond for their consumers. It's never too late to ask what more can be done to improve their overall experience with the subscription model. Remaining consistent in communication, delivery and value can ensure clients react positively to their membership and keep them coming back for future services.

"Automatic renewal makes the process more efficient for customers."

2. Make renewal as easy as possible
No one wants to do more work than they have to. It's important for customers to feel the subscription process is efficient – from the moment they sign up to when they get their first delivery and beyond. Once the terms of their membership have expired, consumers want their next decision to be just as easy. Do they renew or do they stop the service altogether? To encourage continued purchases, organizations should take whatever steps are necessary to retain clients.

Most often, this comes in the form of automatic renewal – customers are immediately signed up for another subscription term unless they manually decide not to. To make this practice as effective as possible and not upset clientele in the process, companies should complete continued outreach and data collection with consumers, according to CIO. Sending personalized offers and more will help keep people engaged. Scheduling additional interaction around the three-, six- and 12-month marks will make renewal that much simpler for customers.

3. Focus on enhancing people's lives
If consumers are going to sign up for a specific service, they want to know the product is something that will improve their overall well-being. Businesses with subscription-based models should always concentrate on adding value to people's lives, according to Business 2 Community. The goal is to provide an experience no other company can give clients, so it's critical for organizations to go the extra mile to make people's commitment worth their while. Even just the basics can go a long way in making the customer feel appreciated and as if their money is put to good use. Including the history of a product or background information on its creation are two examples of extra initiatives businesses can utilize.

4. Emphasize convenience and uniqueness
It's all about setting one business apart from another. To do just that, subscription-based companies need to focus on the convenience and individuality their services offer consumers. These features should be highlighted not only on the business's website, but on a frequent basis with customers. Certain aspects are a given: deliveries come straight to the consumer's door, the packages are customized to suit people's desires and more. But what other levels of convenience does the organization offer? Does it provide automatic refills of the product when the company knows it's run out? Is there a mobile optimized website or application clients can use to change their preferences or make a purchase? Information like this is crucial for consumers to know, as it could make or break their decision to continue with a subscription company or not.

"SFG offers companies the insight and assistance they need to make their subscription services successful."

Then there's the uniqueness these services provide customers. Can the business offer new products the client has never heard of, but will match their needs? According to Kissmetrics, the goal is to turn a weakness into a strength. People are already somewhat wary of the subscription industry, so organizations have to find a way to market their services as superior to the regular pay-per-product model. Emphasizing what the strategy saves people – money, time, effort – can go a long way in increasing customer interest and loyalty to a brand.

It can be challenging for companies to adopt and implement subscription-based services on their own. Proper introduction and successful results require knowledge about the practice, as well as efficient, but not hurried action. Working with a partner like SFG gives businesses the insight and assistance they need to ensure their subscription model is effective in the industry. With so many organizations leaning this way today, it's critical for companies to set themselves apart from their competition and highlight the convenience, individuality and value they can offer customers.

The subscription economy continues to grow on a large scale. More and more organizations are realizing the benefits of the sales model, as it brings improved customer relationships and loyalty to the table. Working with a third-party service provider will help businesses follow and maintain certain best practices that will ensure their strategy is a resounding success.

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