Appstle | The Role of Personalization in Ecommerce Subscription Boxes

The Role of Personalization in Ecommerce Subscription Boxes

Appstle | The Role of Personalization in Ecommerce Subscription Boxes

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If you run a subscription model for your eCommerce business, you know the importance of personalization to some extent. It is considered the Holy Grail. And we agree. 

In the highly competitive world of eCommerce, customer experience and satisfaction are extremely important. 

Customers expect brands to know them well and help them shop well. Amazon, for example, shares recommendations based on your past purchases. Youtube shares playlists based on music you listen to. 

When it comes to personalization in eCommerce subscription boxes, customers have come to expect nothing less than the best — products that match individual tastes, relevant deals and offers, and the opportunity to share feedback — these are just a few aspects of customized subscription experiences that help enhance customer experience and retention. 

In this article, we explore in-depth personalization in eCommerce subscription boxes.

Let’s get started!

Understanding personalization in eCommerce subscription boxes

When customers sign up for subscriptions, they usually enter into a long-term association with eCommerce brands. It makes sense for customers to continue with subscriptions only if they meet their needs, tastes, and preferences. 

And that’s where you need to bring in personalization as a strategy. 

Personalization helps you tailor subscription boxes to individual customer preferences. For instance, if you offer a curated box subscription of socks, you’ll have to personalize the box based on customers’ size, gender, color, design, and delivery period preferences.

Personalized subscription boxes help:

  • Add value to customers
  • Offer price benefits through discounts 
  • Brands introduce new products to customers
  • Increase long-term customer association
  • Boost customer loyalty and retention

Benefits of personalization in eCommerce subscription boxes

“Companies should be worried about subscription fatigue,” warns Harvard Business School professor Elie Ofek. And that’s why personalization is a must for eCommerce subscription brands. Let’s look at some of the benefits when you put subscribers’ needs and wants first. 

1. Enhanced customer experience

The eCommerce market is flooded with subscription options. And every subscription business wants to attract customers. However, to target all customers is a waste of effort. Instead, how about you target customer segments? Imagine a meat subscription brand sending promotional messages to vegetarians. It’s a waste of effort and resources. Right? 

That’s why personalization is important. 73% of business leaders say that delivering a relevant experience is critical to their business performance. 

  • Personalization enhances relevance for customers. Customers receive relevant and targeted product recommendations that match their preferences
  • Sharing more relevant recommendations and offers improves engagement and makes them feel you care about their individual preferences
  • Curated personalized box subscriptions delivered in a timely manner, not only offer convenience but also carry the element of surprise and delight. Besides, customers can avoid decision fatigue that comes with choice overload

2. Increased customer retention

Personalization in eCommerce subscription boxes can also be used as a strategy to retain customers and avoid churn. With Shopify merchants making it easy for customers to cancel subscriptions at any time, the only thing in control of businesses is to strategically ensure customers remain loyal.

Let’s look at some personalization strategies to boost customer retention in subscriptions.

  • Shopify stores can leverage data from subscribers’ past activity, created tailored subscription boxes, and recommend products based on data insights, ensuring subscriber satisfaction
  • Subscription businesses can create online and in-person communities for subscribers, offer a more engaging experience that builds strong connections and a sense of belonging
  • A few customized subscription experiences such as surprise products and gifts, bonus rewards, exclusive experiences, giveaways every once in a while can help keep customers engaged 
  • To make the experience more personalized, brands can collect feedback through surveys, polls, and social media engagement and use the findings to enhance subscriber experience, address pain points and fill in gaps
  • Attaching a loyalty program with the subscription model can help further enhance customer loyalty and reduce churn

Techniques for personalization in eCommerce subscription boxes

The real work begins once you onboard subscribers—keeping them engaged and hooked via personalization techniques. Here are the strategies you must try:

1. Personalized product recommendations

The success of subscription businesses largely depends on the data analytics capabilities of the apps and tools used. For instance, collecting data of subscriber activity, real-time data collection and analysis, generating analytics reports, etc. This data can be used to share personalized product recommendations for subscribers.

For example, Free Your Tea is a tea subscription box that offers a personalized selection of teas to customers. Customers are asked to rate the teas they try so that the brand can personalize future tea boxes.

2. Customizable subscription plans

Subscriptions make sense to customers when they meet their specific requirements and needs. But different customer segments may have different needs. For instance, say, you offer a grocery subscription. All subscribers may not need deliveries every week. Some may want fortnightly deliveries. This is where customisation comes in. By customizing your subscription plans for better customer satisfaction, you can enhance subscriber experience. 

Customization of subscription plans has many benefits for customers and Shopify businesses, such as improved customer loyalty, increase in average order value (AOV), higher customer satisfaction, etc. 

And there are many ways to customize subscription boxes. For example, Dollar Shave Company enables customers to customize their subscription boxes by asking subscribers to take a quiz at the start. 

Appstle | The Role of Personalization in Ecommerce Subscription Boxes

Data and technology in personalization

Data and artificial intelligence (AI) have changed eCommerce experiences for customers by providing more personalized and tailored shopping experiences.

Data collected from customers’ browsing history, shopping patterns, feedback and reviews, helps gain a better understanding of customer preference and needs. AI helps to analyze data, identify patterns, trends, and predict future behavior of customers. 

However, data and AI also raise ethical issues around privacy and security. Hence, eCommerce subscription businesses must openly declare to subscribers how their data would be utilized following data protection regulations. 

Here are some ways to use data and AI for personalizing subscriptions:

  • Use data from past orders to understand customer preferences
  • Offer AI-based customer support such as chatbot
  • Utilize data such as feedback, reviews, ratings, and social media interactions to offer personalized recommendations and experiences
  • Collect data via feedback request, survey, review requests, and more
  • Create online communities of subscribers and collect data from their interactions

However, personalization at scale is not possible without a robust and intuitive tool to help you out. Appstle Subscription App is considered the best app by Shopify and Shopify Plus merchants offering personalized box subscriptions. The app has advanced automation, data and analytics features that help with personalization strategies. 

Features of Appstle Subscription: Bundling, automated billing, dunning management, advanced analytics, data collection, loyalty features, top customer support, robust scaling capabilities, etc.

Case studies and examples

Most brands offer subscriptions but few succeed and are able to sustain their subscription business. In this section, we pick a few successful subscription box examples that have delivered customized subscription experiences.

1. The Otaku Box

Appstle | The Role of Personalization in Ecommerce Subscription Boxes

The Otaku Box is an anime subscription box that delivers anime products to subscribers every month. Although it’s a curated box, the brand has taken a tailored approach. Subscribers get to choose a few products, add on products to customize their box, vote for the products they want, and receive a curated box every month. Moreover, the brand includes surprise products in the box and chat with other subscribers via an online community, making it a more engaging experience for customers.

2. InspiredGo

A healthy food meal box, InspiredGo subscription offers salads and meal prep boxes that are delivered on the day of individual customers’ choice. Subscribers get to choose their preferred items, and get a 5% discount on every order. 

Another way in which the brand personalizes the boxes is by allowing customers to choose the frequency of deliveries. Moreover, customers can pause, skip or cancel deliveries whenever they want. All these customization and personalization factors provide flexibility and convenience to subscribers.

Challenges and considerations

While personalization in eCommerce subscription boxes has many benefits, it is not devoid of challenges. Merchants often face challenges with determining proper cost, with managing data, with scaling the business model after a point, and keeping up subscriber engagement.

Let’s look at how some of these subscription personalization challenges can be tackled through best practices. 

  • Pricing your subscription plans is quite tricky. Personalized pricing is trickier. However, there are many strategies you could apply. Conduct a survey and market research to understand how much are customers willing to pay. Create different pricing tiers to cater to different customer segments. 
  • How you manage your subscription data can make or break your business model. From collecting and extracting the right data from various touch points to analyzing large amounts of data to utilizing insights for future strategies is key. To maximize data management, you must install a competent Shopify subscription app that helps collect and analyze data for personalization.
  • Customer segmentation is key for personalization and customized subscription experiences, especially when your business is scaling. You can follow best segmentation practices by using a subscriptions app that provides advanced data and analytics capabilities.
  • It’s easy to manage subscriptions when starting off, but as you scale and the number of subscribers increase, you might face difficulties in managing all the tasks to ensure a seamless experience to subscribers. The solution – a comprehensive and intuitive subscriptions app, such as Appstle Subscription. The app automates personalization strategies as well.   

Future trends in personalization

The eCommerce subscription box market is growing vibrant. Subscription brands are trying different marketing tactics and leaving no stone unturned when it comes to digital capabilities. Here are some trends in personalization to keep an eye on:

  • Hyper-personalization: A report by Klarna reveals 26% of consumers predict a future where shopping will be so customized that they won’t require to shop on their own at all. Personalization in eCommerce subscription boxes has already made it happen. Subscription businesses are creating unique ways to understand customer preference and deliver boxes based on individual tastes, preferences, and needs. Understanding customer journeys, creating unique campaigns for different customer segments, and delivering personalized experiences relevant to each segment are key factors of hyper-personalization in eCommerce subscriptions.
  • Predictive analytics: Predictive analytics capabilities help subscription businesses anticipate subscriber needs, optimize pricing, personalize offerings, and create targeted promotions. You can use it to improve your understanding of subscribers, create pricing strategies based on demand, seasonal costs, etc., improve subscription management, and personalize marketing.

Also read: eCommerce subscription trends and predictions (2024)

Get started with personalization in eCommerce subscription boxes

Personalization strategies have become a key requisite for eCommerce stores offering subscriptions. For customers, too, personalized and relevant experiences are key for them to stay loyal and engage for the long term. 

By employing unique personalization strategies, your eCommerce business can get a competitive edge over your competitors. However, consumers and market trends are constantly changing and evolving. And so should your personalization strategy.

To help you in the process, you need a subscription app that provides advanced data, automation, and analytics capabilities that make your marketing efforts a breeze.

Explore Appstle Subscriptions App for your Shopify and Shopify Plus subscription business.

About the author

Appstle | The Role of Personalization in Ecommerce Subscription Boxes

Vanhishikha Bhargava

Vanhishikha Bhargava is the Content Marketer for Appstle Solutions. You’ll always find her creating content or reading up on the industry with a cup of coffee in hand, which makes her anxious at times! But stay tuned for insightful pieces. Always.

If you are looking to understand more about Appstle Inc’s products and solutions, you can get in touch with us. Our 24x7x365 available experts will be happy to assist you further.

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