Do you have a subscription business?
If you do, then you know they can take So. Much. Time.
Even if you have a whole team of people working for you, precious hours are spent manually doing tasks that bigger brands have already automated.
That's why we wanted to introduce you to our favorite subscription features that some of the biggest subscription businesses in the world are using to automate their workflow:
- Give your customers the power to create custom subscription boxes
- Offer your subscriptions everywhere
- Offer flexibility (and restrictions!) on order dates
- Project future sales with inventory planning
- Recurring billing
- Cancellation management
With them, you'll gain access to order management features such as managing payment processing, timing orders, and invoicing all in one place.
And your customers will be able to easily edit, pause, skip, change, delete, and manage everything about their subscription, including editing their credit card or payment method all on their own.
So if you're looking to upgrade your subscription business to compete with some of the biggest brands online, or even if you're just starting to set up your store, keep reading to dive deeper into the features above.
Features like Build-a-Box have been a big help in automating some of the grunt work that merchants and customers need to do to customize their subscriptions.
Let's take meal delivery businesses for example.
In the past, when a customer wanted to make a change to the meals they had on order, it involved a phone call to customer service or an email to get it updated. Then came the work on the business side, manually changing the order itself.
Not only did this take time, but it left a lot of room for human error!
Using Build-a-Box, customers have the freedom to create their own custom meal plan subscriptions that they can tweak each month, up until a few days before the shipment goes out.
Customers now have the option to choose exactly what they want sent to them in their own custom subscription box.
Your customers will get exactly what they want each month, and you get the recurring revenue for your online store.
When you have a subscription product you’re promoting, you want to be able to make a sale from anywhere: your blog, an email, a tweet, a description in a YouTube video, or even an ad, sending customers directly to your checkout.
The Subscription Buy Button allows your customers to shop your subscriptions anywhere you can embed HTML or paste a link!
On top of that, it's a GREAT tool for developers and designers to create custom pricing tables or landing pages with an integrated "subscribe" button.
Imagine leaving a trade show with a list of customers that were interested in your products: All you would have to do is send them a follow up email with the Buy Button/link for the product they were interested in, and it would take them directly to the checkout to subscribe!
There are SO many subscription models out there, and each one comes with a unique set of needs.
Take order dates for example.
If you run a more traditional subscription business, allowing your customers the option to skip an order or push their order date back a bit can be important for retention.
If your customer has a weekly subscription to coffee, but they've been out of town for awhile, they would come home to an excess of coffee in the house.
You wouldn’t want them to cancel their subscription because they're getting too much product, so offering them the flexibility to change their order date, or even skip the next delivery, would retain that customer instead of seeing them unsubscribe.
On the flip side, your business may depend on customers not being able to make these types of changes to their subscription.
If you offer a service on subscription for example, then your customer would be expected to make payments on a consistent schedule, and you would want to remove the option for them to change the frequency to make sure you got paid.
While long term inventory planning is helpful when it comes to making larger, strategic decisions like your marketing budgets, with subscriptions the focus should be on short term forecasting to make sure your store has the ideal amount of stock on hand to fulfill your orders every month.
It's not enough to place regularly scheduled purchase orders, either.
You can still get caught without stock even if you’ve ordered your products on time. All it takes is one spike in sales or a delay in receiving your products to put you at risk.
That’s why we love the built-in planning functionality included with Bold Subscriptions.
The app looks at all upcoming orders for the next 7 days to ensure that you have enough inventory.
It will also predict what you'll need on top of your scheduled orders based off your average sales.
So if you have 20 subscription orders scheduled to go out over the next 7 days, but on average, you sell an additional 3 subscriptions every week, the predicted quantity will be 23 items.
It will even flag it on the Inventory Forecasting page within the app if you don’t have the full amount in stock. You can also specify the date range for the next 7, 30, 90, and 180 days, and even search by product.
Running a subscription box business can get complicated, especially when it comes to payment.
Customers have to repeatedly provide credit card information, increasing the likelihood that they’ll unsubscribe based off of pure annoyance.
That’s why we love recurring billing: it offers the benefit of convenience, allowing the customer's credit card to be captured at checkout then tokenized, allowing future orders to be generated automatically based on the customer's subscription. Recurring payments are completed when each order is shipped, and the entire transaction is completely secure and PCI compliant.
While this might seem simple, it's an essential feature for both enterprise and small businesses, not to mention something customers have come to expect.
As a store owner you have to give your customers the ability to stop their subscriptions at any time.
And this would be a straight-forward process... IF all your customers were cancelling for the same reason.
A built-in cancellation flow has the potential to stop customers from cancelling their subscription by finding out the reason they want to cancel, and offering a solution to that problem.
You’ll be able to provide information and options during the cancellation process, giving them reasons to stay subscribed.
For example, if they say they're cancelling because they no longer need the product, you'll be able to offer them the option to switch the product in their subscription.
If they say it's getting too expensive, you can offer them a discount code to help with the cost.
Going on vacation? Give them the option to pause their subscription.
Take a look at the video above to see exactly how an automated cancellation flow can help you retain customers by provide options that will keep them happy and subscribed.
Gain access to all these features with just
If you're looking to upgrade your subscription business to become more powerful, reliable, and flexible like some of the largest subscription stores on Shopify, make sure to check out Bold Subscriptions.
And if there's a feature you need that you aren't seeing it, let us know and we'll see how we can support you.