Boxing clever with subscription businesses

August 24, 2020 Sorcha OBoyle

Subscription businesses were the star of the show during lockdown. Customers who’d never even heard of a veg box before March were suddenly flocking to sign up for food boxes, shaving boxes, crafting boxes – you name it.

Naturally, a sudden boom like that presents its own challenges, from logistics and supply issues to social distancing in warehouses. However, now that subscription businesses have found their feet in the new retail environment, more2 has unearthed some interesting trends in customer data which show how customers are engaging with their subscriptions post-lockdown and, more importantly, how they’ll behave in the future.

In our recent workshop, more2’s Strategy Director, Stephen Boyle, and Chris Simpson, CMO and Digital Director, focused on the growth strategies and tactics subscriptions should be using to capitalize on the windfall of new customers created during lockdown. We also discussed what the best brands are doing right and how to optimize performance across digital and content marketing channels.

Missed this session?

Read on for a few key headlines!

1. Know thy customer

… and thy customer economics. Subscription services need to find the balance between a strong initial offer (to driver higher volume for the first shipment) with the inevitable erosion of customers thereafter.

To succeed, retention is key. You need to be able to convert your triallists into loyal customers who fall within your allowable CPA. Equally important is being able to prove that the customers you recruit have a high lifetime value – there’s no point blowing half your budget recruiting thousands of people on Facebook only for them to lapse after their free trial.

2. Tell your story

At its best, good marketing is simply storytelling. Receiving a subscription box in the post feels more personal than going to the supermarket so use this opportunity to build your brand identity and tell your story. Challenger brands can push the local business angle by utilizing local suppliers while established businesses should be looking for every chance they can find to surprise and delight their customers – adding a message from your founder to the box (and including a small thank you gift, which will cost you very little) will go a long way towards converting triallists into loyal customers.

3. Pretty as a pixel

Facebook’s pixel plays a crucial role in your ability to run dynamic ads effectively. And as dynamic ads are the most powerful ads around, it’s important to get them right. When your pixel is set up correctly (spoiler: 82% of brands we audit have set their pixel up wrong!), you can feed your product catalogue into Facebook. This means that Facebook can capture when a customer views a product, adds it to their cart, and makes a purchase – and can therefore retarget dynamic ads to people who don’t complete their purchase.

Crucially, this means that Facebook can ramp up the bidding for people who are further down the funnel and therefore more likely to buy – making your Facebook spend more targeted and more effective.

Not sure if your pixel is firing on all cylinders? Get in touch at and we’ll arrange a free audit!

4. Try different channels

Digital channels are a natural fit for subscription businesses, many of which are online-only. And while online channels are still a mainstay for most continuity brands, more traditional channels can also prove successful. At more2, we’ve run door drops for our subscription clients during and after lockdown and had great results across all demographics. Not only is it a very targeted and measurable channel, print media gets huge cut-through and high response rates as many brands have cut down on print advertising in recent years.

Direct mail can be a great investment but you need to be confident that you can prove the incremental uplift from any campaign you run.

5. And on that note…

No matter what channels you’re using, you have to be able to prove they’re delivering incremental sales. This is where our marketing science comes in – the numbers don’t lie. Whether it be through lift tests on Facebook or running matchback analysis on your direct mail campaigns, incrementality testing is an area we focus on for all of our clients – it’s the one place you don’t want to overlook.

Subscriptions drive multiple touchpoints with your customers and give you valuable opportunities to add value and foster loyalty. But in order to do that, you need clear, joined-up thinking across your marketing teams and confidence that you’re measuring the right metrics and asking the right questions.

Want to hear more? Drop us a line at!

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