Get exclusive: how to use extra benefits to keep subscribers on board
When it comes to subscriptions, you've got to find ways not to only attract subscribers, but to keep them subscribed. That's where the exclusive model come in: granting subscribers access to members-only benefits.
It can be a subscription all on its own, or be combined with other models to give members multiple reasons to stay on board.
The most well-know example of this model is Amazon Prime. Of course it complements members' shopping experience with free shipping, but it also comes with online storage, exclusive streaming services, Prime-only discounts, and special events. That's a lot of churn-busting reasons to stay subscribed.
The exclusive subscription is just one of the many models you can use to unlock recurring revenue.
This article is an installment in our 7 Subscription Models To Master series. If you want the complete guide, check out the ebook — if you want the abridged version, view the articles listed below.
- Introduction: How to pick the right subscription model for you business
- Recurring replenishment models
- Curation models
- Access models
- Model 6: Exclusive (this post)
- Model 7: Brick and mortar
Back to exclusive
The awesome thing about exclusive subscriptions is they can be layered into almost any service to give members more reasons to stay subscribed.
Have a monthly sock club? Add a discount code that gives subscribers an exclusive discount for one-off purchases.
Sell athletic footwear? Offer up exclusive access to exercise routines by notable guest trainers.
Have a book club? Give subscribers early access to upcoming titles and members-only sessions with authors before in-store readings.
Beyond reducing churn, there are a few other benefits for your brand. Here they are at a glance:
- It creates added (and somewhat incalculable) perceived value by not just focusing on commodity acquisition of a product.
- It prevents churn because people might be using multiple elements of your subscription.
- It gets subscribers engaged with your brand and interacting with it more often.
- It can help build a community of brand advocates.
Things to look out for
But of course there are some challenges that come with this model:
- Membership sharing: Think of this as the ‘Netflix account sharing’ problem. Depending on the type of service, one account could be shared by multiple people in multiple homes.
- Drop in perceived value: One of the strengths of an exclusive model can also be a big challenge: making sure your non-commodity offerings keep their sense of value. For example, if you’re giving access to an online collection of workout videos, how often are you adding to it and how robust is it to begin with? The easiest way to avoid this is to regularly update resources with new content.
- Take & go: Let’s say you offer a series of online courses, similar to MasterClass. What’s to stop someone from downloading everything in a single month and cancelling their subscription? Overcome this challenge by constantly updating content, or requiring a minimum one-year membership, or even a flat lifetime membership.
Here are a few merchants doing a great job with exclusive subscriptions — and what you can learn from them so you can start planning your own.
This is great example of a business offering an exclusive subscription to complement its core offering. This luxury consignment store gives members exclusive access to all kinds of benefits for a monthly fee, like advance access to new products.
Features like this give back to their customers while also getting them excited about checking back, so they can get first dibs on luxury consignment items as soon as they get in.
The tiers are also a great way to upsell customers, giving them more benefits for increased cost.
This high-energy fitness brand offers training and certification services like their LEVEL UP program that also unlocks a long list of benefits, including a private social community, weekly workout schedules, meal prep templates, online coaching, and members-only discounts.
This is a great way for Buti to keep members on board long after they've earned their training certificate, and the customizable aspect, like tailored plans based on subscribers’ goals and other instructional services, makes it feel more personalized.
Wine lovers will line up for Kilikanoon’s VIP subscription model. Apart from getting to build a custom case of wine (shipped at least twice a year), subscribers can enjoy premium tastings in person, reserve bottles, attend private events, and nab ongoing loyalty perks.
This is the kind of exclusive subscription that keeps people on board with rewards, and benefits their target audience, proving you shouldn't be afraid to go beyond online shopping and real-life fulfillment. If you have a brick-and-mortar store or space, think about what benefits a ‘member’ could get, both in store and virtually.
Instructional classes, in-store discounts, and real-life events are all perks that can get your customers excited and keep them subscribed.
This meal kit brand isn't afraid to flex its exclusive offers to attract subscribers. Muscle Fuel provides a one-of-a-kind exclusive model that’s one part fitness challenge, one part competition, and one part food delivery service (their core business).
Participants get pre-made healthy meals, a steep discount on their first week, tips and advice, and the potential to win prizes as part of a 10-week Lose It & Win It promotion.All of these extra benefits not only motivate subscribers to stick to their health goal and get more value out of the subscription, but also keep them engaged and building a positive relationship with the brand.
You can get more information and inspiration from our ebook, 7 Subscription Models To Master, and also get a 100-day free trial of Subscriptions on Shopify to launch your own amazing exclusive subscription.
Not on Shopify? Check out our recurring billing solution for large ecommerce businesses.
What kind of benefits do you have in mind for your subscription? Let us know in the comments below!