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6 Mistakes That Will Make Your E-Commerce Store Lose Subscribers (And How Not To Make Them)

Remember as a kid when you’d see something cool lying on the ground and put it in your pocket? “Finders keepers” was the rule, and the whole neighborhood kind of lived by it. You acquired something, so it belonged to you.

That rule doesn’t apply to subscription businesses.

You can find as many customers as possible, but that doesn’t mean you get to keep them. They’ve got their own wants, needs, and desires. The second your company stops meeting those, they’ll bail.

More and more subscription businesses are emphasizing customer retention strategies in hopes of saving as many customers as possible, but they still find their customer churn rate rising.

We want to help. That’s why we’ve identified six big mistakes you can avoid to increase customer retention and reduce subscriber churn.

6 Reasons Businesses Lose Subscribers

On average, B2C companies have a customer churn rate of 7.69% across industries. Some fields have higher numbers, with “Box of the Month” companies representing the peak at 10.54%.

Customers abandon ship for various reasons, leaving many businesses scratching their heads as they try to nail down what went wrong.

Research and experience show it’s not as mysterious as it looks. We’ll outline 6 common mistakes that bring up your customer churn rate.

Research and experience show it’s not as mysterious as it looks. We’ll outline 6 common mistakes that bring up your customer churn rate.

  • Bad Customer Experiences

Poor experiences are the death of any ecommerce business. There is $35.3 billion lost every year in customer churn due to avoidable CX issues. So yeah, it’s a pretty big deal.

  • Overly Complex Onboarding Processes

The onboarding process sets a precedent for how much effort your brand puts into efficiency. If it’s tough to even get signed up, then they may not stick around for long. A solution like Upscribe will clean up a traditionally complex onboarding process, so you can focus on what matters: giving your customers the best experience possible and keeping them coming back for more.

  • Poor Customer Portal

The best customer portals give customers the flexibility to make changes and manage their subscriptions on their own. This will empower customers to take ownership of their subscriptions, while also reducing support tickets on your end.

  • Out-of-Stock Products

Customers expect their items to show up quickly, without a hassle. If they don’t get that kind of service, you might as well count those customers lost. Managing your inventory and consistently getting products to customers at the right time will make a big difference in your customer retention efforts.

  • Involuntary Customer Churn

Recurly Research found that some (up to 2.58%!) churn had nothing to do with customer satisfaction or a lack of loyal customers. Their customers just didn’t have the right billing info. This means most companies can reduce customer churn simply by encouraging customers to update their profiles.

  • Uniformed Pricing

According to the Recurly Research, “price has a definite effect on churn.” Customers want value, and your business needs a profit. Striking the right pricing balance between these things will help you keep your customers around longer.

5 Better Ways to Monitor Your Subscription Base and Increase Customer Retention

A solid customer retention strategy can address each of the above mistakes, and the best strategies have the following things in common.

Offer Proactive Customer Service to Empower Customer Success

Have you ever had someone offer you the help you needed before you asked? Usually, it makes people feel seen and known in a way that goes beyond simply solving a problem.

If your customer service team can be more proactive with their help, it might make customers feel appreciated in the same way and improve your customer retention.

Here are a few ways to do this:

  • Send out customer feedback surveys periodically to know more about their needs.
  • Identify your Net Promotional Score to see how many customers you’ve truly won over.
  • Build a knowledge base to enable customers to help themselves.
  • Interview churned customers to see what went wrong and where you can improve in the future.
  • Re-engage lost customers.

Simplify Processes with Humanistic Automation

In an article for Forbes on how to improve customer retention, Haseeb Tariq explains that relying too much on automated processes can feel distant and robotic.

Humanistic automation, on the other hand, “is a process that combines automation with the human touch.” It allows you to get the best of both worlds.

Some simple subscription-focused automation for reducing churn might include

  • Onboarding processes and account set up to help new customers join.
  • Delivering marketing emails and other content
  • Notifying customers about account updates
  • Sending out follow-up questions and check-ins.

Automating these processes will free up your team to focus on other retention strategies. Adding a human touch will make your efforts more successful. This can be as simple as personalizing emails or segmenting lists, so that customers only receive content relevant to their needs.

Give Customers What They Want

The best way to improve customer retention is to continuously give your customers what they want. When people have no complaints or issues, they have no reason to leave your company.

In addition to great products, customers want a mixture of convenience, efficiency, and predictability in their subscriptions.

Here are some ideas to help you strike that balance.

  • Establish customer-centric pricing that gives you a profit while giving them a deal.
  • Monitor your inventory so you never run out of product
  • Consistently deliver your products around the same time, so they know what to expect.
  • Seek new ways to entice, excite, and impress your customers with every new shipment.

Provide Incentive Programs to Increase Customer Loyalty

Rewarding loyal customers can be a great way to please them, while increasing your customer lifetime value along the way. Customer loyalty programs have been shown to spend more money more often for longer periods.

The challenge is that most companies have some sort of program to honor their current customers. Your brand has to find a way to stand out, and there are a few big ways to do this, including

  • Personalizing gratitude through handwritten notes or one-on-one messages.
  • Create a sense of community among your customers.
  • Communicate often and communicate well.
  • Revisit and reevaluate your loyalty program.
  • Go above and beyond with what you offer.

Utilize Subscription Software

Technology can also go a long way in your efforts to retain customers. Tools like Upscribe empower your business to better manage, know, and care for your subscribers, so you can keep more customers happy for longer.

We offer a solution that makes things as seamless as possible for your business and your customers. Our merchant and customer portals are user-friendly. Our advanced analytics give you the insight to make better decisions, and our platform allows customization to empower your success.

If you’re looking to reduce customer churn while also increasing customer lifetime value among active subscribers, schedule a demo with us anytime. We’d love to see how we can help you accomplish these goals.