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The Future of eCommerce for Subscription Brands 2020

Exploring the strategies and tactics used by leading product subscription brands.
Derric Haynie
Nov 20
Aug 21, 2020
November 20, 2023 2:31

Sponsored by:


Every successful brand has been able to succeed at one key component of their business: retaining the customer for a very long time, if not for life.

Adding a subscription or membership component to a brand deepens that brand connection, increases loyalty, and increases lifetime value.

It could even be predicted that all successful brands in the future have some subscription product or component to the business.

In this virtual event, we explore the future of subscriptions, both from a subscription product / box standpoint, and how to launch a new subscription product or membership component to the business, or simply just use subscription as a checkout option, with that oh so popular "subscribe and save" option.

To check out the entire virtual summit, go here. Or follow along below to get the sessions and some brief recaps.

Thank you to our amazing sponsors:

Privy - You need better pop ups, better segments, and a better email collection strategy. That is what Privy is for.

Gorgias - The customer service helpdesk for Ecommerce.

Omnisend - Omnichannel marketing automation. Email. SMS. Messenger. WhatsApp. And Push Notifications.

Make sure to check out our newly launched EcommerceTech Podcast, featuring information on the best of the best tools for ecommerce marketing as well as book your forever free consultation with Derric Haynie, Chief Ecommerce Technologist,, to learn about all the tools available for your ecommerce store and which ones will work best for you. 

Here's the session list:

The Most Valuable Customer Everyone Forgets

A talk by Val Geisler, CEO, Fix My Churn



  • How to grow your MRR without looking for new customers. 
  • A game plan for winning back canceled customers. 
  • Three under-utilized retention strategies you can put into action today.

Key Take-Aways:

  • It is 5X cheaper to keep an existing customer than it is to get a new one. 
  • By changing your churn rate by just 1%, you can dramatically impact your monthly recurring revenue.
  • When working to gain new customers, remember to keep in mind your plan for retention. 

Summary: When working to grow, most businesses focus on new customer acquisition - looking at how to grow revenue by finding new customers through different channels. Although it is important to any company’s success to consistently find new acquisition channels and messaging, it is equally as important to retain the customers you have already won. Taking that a step further, it is crucial to have a strategy and a plan for regaining customers that you have lost. 

Many businesses forget, or don’t seem to know, that it is 5X cheaper to keep an existing customer than it is to get a new one. 


The same can be true of regaining a lost customer. Think of customer relationships like friendships - a text, a phone call or the random get together can reaffirm and strengthen even a “long lost” friendship. But when it comes to new relationships, a significantly more amount of time and effort is required and the slightest hiccup can derail it. When it comes to growing your business, don’t forget the value former customers provide. 

By changing your churn rate by just 1%, you can dramatically impact your monthly recurring revenue (MRR) and the same retention strategies used to keep existing customers can be applied to regaining lost customers. There are 3 strategies you can utilize to regain lost customers:

Strategy #1: Provide support beyond the customer service team.  Every time you have the opportunity to speak with one of your customers, you should work to “wow” them. If they reach out to see when their package will arrive, get them that information and make sure to ask if there is anything else you can help them with. Then a couple weeks later, reach out to see how they are doing and ask if they are enjoying their products. By asking questions you gain valuable insight into your customer and provide a personalized experience that will positively impact their view of your company. Following up after the initial support inquiry will be a game changer for your business.

Strategy #2: Care about your customers! Utilize human capital to have 1-1 conversations that are not just about your business, but about the person you are talking to. Ask them what they do for work, what they are passionate about, what keeps them awake at night, etc. Get to know them and by doing so they share valuable information about what led them to your company, what you are doing right and (very importantly) what you are doing wrong. 

Strategy #3: Build the habit. Help customers create a habit around purchasing from you. Remind them with a trigger that gets them to buy, create a routine around completing a purchase and make sure their purchase provides the feeling of a reward for them. 


When working to gain customers, don’t forget the importance of retention. Make it easy for them to buy, personalize their journeys, and most importantly create positive experiences that keep them engaged and coming back for life. 

To get a copy of The Dinner Party Strategy - and email series for fixing your churn, go here:

 If you are interested in hiring Val and her team to help with your customer retention, email and don’t forget to listen to the Fix My Churn podcast at


The Ecommerce Conversion Masterclass

A talk by Ryan Pinkham, Director of Marketing - Demand Generation, Privy


  • Why email marketing is the fastest way to grow your online sales. 
  • Where to get started with email marketing for your business. 
  • 3 marketing plays every brand should run. 

Key Take-Aways:

  • When you look at conversion differently and create a plan for getting people to opt-in to your email list on their first or second visit, it can improve conversion rates substantially. 
  • Getting a customer's email address can result in an average of $15.98 in revenue.
  • Increasing your onsite conversion is simpler than you think. 

Summary: Growing your email list is absolutely crucial to the success of any Ecommerce business, but most sites have very low conversion rates with only 2% of visitors doing anything. So what do you do when 98% of your traffic is leaving your site without making a purchase? You offer a deal that entices them to provide their contact information so that you can market to them on a regular basis. According to product data obtained from Privy’s customer base, every email address a business can capture results in an average of $15.98 in revenue. Imagine how much that would amount to if you could convert even a small percentage of visitors. When it comes to growing your email list, there are 5 different strategies you can utilize.

  1. The Welcome Discount - Offering new website visitors a discount on their first purchase for joining your email list. 



2. The Cart Saver - Exit intent driven popups that are triggered as soon as a visitor’s mouse starts to move away from completing their purchase. 


3.The Birthday Gift - Help your customers celebrate their birthday and drive future sales by offering them a discount or a free item on their birthday.

4. The Paid Traffic Converter - Target people coming from a specific campaign, like a newsletter, Facebook or Instagram ad with a spin to win offer. 



5. The Upsell - Sending a triggered cross-sell offer at the point of checkout. 



When you look at conversion differently and create a plan for getting people to opt-in on their first or second visit, it can improve conversion rates substantially. For example, 1% of people will register when simply asked for their email (with no other incentive) whereas 5% will provide their email for a discount and 10% will with a spin-to-win offer. The difference in revenue between 1% and 10% conversion rates will be dramatic for your business. 

To learn more, check out


Why a Good Customer Portal Can Improve Retention

A talk by Elaine Sloboda, Partner Manager, ReCharge



  • Reducing voluntary and involuntary churn. 
  • Increasing AOV. 
  • Increasing LTV

Key Take-Aways:

  • You can improve the lifetime value of your customers by increasing the number of interactions you have with them as well as the amount of flexibility they have with your platform.
  • The more you allow customers to engage with your product/platform, the more transactions they will make. 
  • Involuntary/Passive Churn can and should be avoided at all costs. 

Summary: Every interaction you have with a customer is an opportunity to build and improve your relationship. The more interactions you have, the better it is for the relationship's longevity. Any kind of interaction can contribute to lowering churn, but specifically any interaction that allows customers flexibility in dealing with their subscription. By making it easy for customers to see their monthly subscription, make changes and adjustments, you greatly increase your chance of retaining their business. 

There is a huge correlation between churned customers and the flexibility of your subscription customer portal. People who can play around with their subscription and make changes are much more likely to stick around than people who can’t easily skip/cancel/make changes to their monthly delivery. Active customers also tend to engage in 50% more transactions overall, so it is important to make it easy for them to interact with your tools. 


There are two types of customer churn:

  1. Voluntary/Active Churn - These customers want to skip a shipment, swap an item in their subscription, change their delivery date or just want to cancel. Examples include:
  1. “I have too much product and need to skip a shipment.”
  2. “I’m sick of the product I am receiving and want to switch to something else.”
  3. “I’m going on vacation and need to change my delivery date for when I return.” 

If you make it easy for them to do any of these things, you will retain them as a customer. But if it is difficult to figure out, they are more likely to cancel their subscription. They may have the intention to re-subscribe, but distractions happen and while waiting for them to remember to sign up again you have lost valuable business. 

2. Involuntary/Passive Churn - These customers need to update their credit card information or renew their subscription, but are not actively deciding to stop utilizing your service. By generating an automatic notification to the customer letting them know they need to do something, you can eliminate this type of involuntary churn, doing both your company and your customers a favor. 



Bottom line, by optimizing the subscriber experience through easy navigation, many calls to action, consolidating information and providing value added content you can increase the lifetime value of your customers, improving the overall customer experience and decreasing churn.



To download the State of Physical Subscription Commerce Report from ReCharge, click here


10 Mindset Shifts to Scale Ad Spend to $10k/Day

A talk by Nehal Kazim, CEO, Ad Pros




  • Traps media buyers face as they scale past $1,000/day. T
  • he silent killers of scale for fast-growing subscriptions companies. 
  • The exact levers to pull to break through ad spend plateaus. 

Key Take-Aways:

  • Establishing clear goals and metrics will keep you on track when working to scale your ad spend. 
  • Allowing emotion to dictate your decisions will cost you. 
  • Don’t be scared off by preliminary data. Allow your campaigns the time necessary to achieve an adequate amount of information before making the decision to increase, pause or cancel your spending. 

Summary: When you are looking to scale, the most important thing to do is make sure everyone is on the same page. Everyone should be crystal clear on what the milestones you are looking to achieve are and why, what it will look like when you achieve the goals and what you will be able to do once you succeed. Conflicting goals will create problems that directly affect your bottom line.



The best way to achieve scalability is by utilizing data to make decisions. Any analysis that is based on gut or emotions is superficial and doesn’t create confidence. Data will drive the confidence needed to make high quality decisions. Tracking and monitoring your data will provide the familiarity necessary to know when to increase, pause or cancel your spending. 

Questions to ask yourself to decide whether or not to scale:

  1. What’s working?
  2. How do I know?
  3. What should I do more of?
  4. What should I stop doing?
  5. What am I not seeing?
  6. What am I underestimating?
  7. What am I giving too much credit?

Most companies make decisions prematurely when they see unfavorable results. It is important to remember that you cannot let the external goals and pressures lead you to an irrational decision. Campaigns need time to run, to allow ad networks algorithms the time necessary to correct themselves. Bottom line, establishing clear metrics, being patient and checking your emotions at the door (although not easy) is the best way to scale your ad spend, and thus your business. 

See below for a Facebook Ad Tip from Ad Pros:



Selling with Conversational Commerce: The Unfair Advantage For Your DTC Brand

A talk by Philippe Roireau, Head of Partnerships and Events, Gorgias



Overview: Conversational Commerce is all about increasing conversions through 1:1 real-time interactions. In this session, you’ll learn how to create engaging multi-channel messaging at scale, including chat campaigns, that boost conversion rates and improve ROAS and how to measure the impact on your brand growth.

  • Omni Channel Communication
  • Live Chat transactions
  • Social Media comments management

Key Take-Aways:

  • When it comes to selling, timing is everything. 
  • Every conversation with a customer should be capitalized on to up/resell to them. 
  • Conversational commerce increases customer service efficiencies, the return on your ad spend and your overall conversion rate. 

Summary: Now, more than ever, it is crucial for ecommerce brands to pay attention to consumer needs and provide personalized experiences that allow their company to stand out from the pack. Every conversation is an opportunity to wow your customers, giving you the chance to upsell and guide them where you want them to go. 

Conversational commerce is a tool you can utilize to monetize your pre and post sale conversations, and it can be used across all of your communication channels. The impact on your sales is a combination of your team's response time to customer questions along with your brands tone. 



Here are some examples of how you can use conversational commerce across different platforms:


Click to Messenger Ads


Facebook and Instagram Comments




Website Chats


Conversational commerce can increase customer service efficiencies by 30%, will improve your return on ad spend and increase your overall conversion rate. The ability to interact with customers right when they are thinking about your products is the best time to get a sale. Timing is everything. 

If you are interested in utilizing Gorgias for your conversation commerce, you can apply for up to 6 months free here:


Website Teardowns LIVE with Kurt Elster

A talk by Kurt Elster, Senior Ecommerce Consultant, Ethercycle



Overview:  Submit your site for a quick conversion rate optimization examination and teardown by the legendary Kurt Elster.

Key Take-Aways: 

  • Merchants are usually the people who spend the most time on their website, which leads to them having blind spots. Make someone else look at your site, while you watch, to point out issues. 
  • Websites are not really about the design, but about messaging and positioning content clearly. 
  • Make sure everything on your site is branded and polished. 

Summary: When creating your website, it is important to make your homepage easy to navigate for your users. You have to steer them towards your products and guide them to make a purchase. 

Some things to keep in mind:

  • If you are highlighting specific specials or products on the homepage, make sure to link customers to those specials and products.
  • Make the “shop” button/link the first thing people see in a navigation bar. 
  • Background videos are a great way to draw customers in and advertise multiple products.
  • Make sure any “shop now” button stands out. Don’t let it blend in with the background.
  • If you offer the same product in a variation of colors or sizes, make one product listing that allows the customer to select their desired option. Don’t make them click off of one listing to get what they want. 
  • Utilize a tool like Hotjar to tell you where customers are spending their time or getting sidetracked/lost. 
  • Show recommendations and reviews prominently. Social proof is huge for credibility. 
  • Look into enabling a dynamic checkout button to use Apple pay, google pay, paypal, etc. 
  • Increase average order values by offering “impulse buys” at checkout. 
  • Be verbose in communicating to your customer what your product is, what it includes, what it looks like, etc. 


How to Use Omnichannel Marketing to Drive Customer Retention

A talk by Greg Zakowicz, Marketing Strategist & Content Team Lead, Omnisend




  • Why the journey is much more than email. 
  • What channels you can use to increase loyalty and retention. 
  • How to build a 1-1 relationship at scale by leveraging more conversational channels.

Key Take-Aways:

  • Think beyond single channel marketing. 
  • SMS can be a great tool that contributes to your conversion rates. 
  • Focus on the customer's journey.

Summary: When thinking about your customers' journey, it is important to remember that the process isn’t linear. They will hear your messaging across multiple platforms and all of them contribute to their decision to buy from you. Omnichannel marketing is even more important today considering all of the promotional noise that online shoppers can be lost in. Generic, one-for-all messaging no longer wins attention and it is up to you to distinguish your company from the rest. 

One way to do that is by adding SMS as a complementary tool to your other channels. Why should you add SMS? Text messages see open rates of 98% and engagement rates of 29%. That is massively more than any other type of messaging and when done correctly can contribute to up to 47% conversion rates. 



Today, 63% of consumers expect personalized messaging from brands and retailers. Not only personalized to them, but also personalized to the experience they had on a retailers site. Nurturing the customer relationship through multiple, personalized touchpoints, including thank you messaging (“thank you for shopping with us”, “thank you for visiting our site”) will go a long way to gaining repeat customers. 



Layering text messaging in with your email and outreach campaigns along with personalized messages will positively impact your customers experience and therefore your revenue. 



To learn more about SMS marketing, download the “SMS Marketing Guide - The Rise of SMS Marketing: 5 tactics to Stay Ahead of the Curve” here

Sponsored by:


About the author

Derric Haynie was the founder and Chief Ecommerce Technologist at – Where Ecommerce stores go to research, discover, and buy the right tools to grow their store. Half of his day is spent reviewing tech tools, and the other half is talking with merchants to help them discover which solutions are right for them.