PupBox Expands Subscriber Base with Flexible Billing from Recurly

Overview

PupBox is the brainchild of Ben and Ariel Zvaifler and their 7-year-old fur daughter, Maggie. When Ben and Ariel welcomed Maggie into the family, they felt unprepared for the many different stages of puppyhood. One day, they felt there must be a better way to prepare for bringing home a new puppy, and PupBox was born.

PupBox has been a Recurly customer since 2018. Recurly’s flexible subscription billing and management has helped PupBox feed its massive growth while keeping its subscribers’ tails wagging. 

PupBox Faced Lack of Flexibility and High Churn

Prior to partnering with Recurly, PupBox worked with a subscription billing and management provider that lacked flexibility in its subscription terms. This impacted how PupBox charged its customers, as well as its ability to effectively offer promotions and discounts.

While PupBox offered customers tiered pricing and an option to sign up for a 1, 3, 6 or 12-month plan, the limited platform functionality forced PupBox to charge for the entire subscription term upfront. At a price of over $300 for an annual subscription, it was difficult to encourage customers to opt for the longer-term plans. The high barrier to entry to the 6- and 12-month plans forced customers to gravitate toward the shorter 1- and 3-month options. 

With the bulk of new customers opting for shorter terms, PupBox faced high churn rates. The brand needed to find a way to lower the barrier of entry to longer subscription plans. By locking customers into a longer plan at a lower monthly price, PupBox would be able to drastically improve retention.

Recurly’s Plan Flexibility Expands PupBox’s Subscriber Count 

Enter Recurly. Recurly’s flexible plans and subterms have been a major game-changer for PupBox. 

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Zvaifler notes that Recurly gave PupBox the flexibility to pivot from charging subscribers upfront to signing customers up for 3, 6 or 12-month plans and billing them monthly. This switch encouraged more new customers to purchase the longer-term plans with a more affordable monthly rate. While the jump in acquisition was a big win right away, PupBox also started seeing the desired improvement in its churn rate.

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PupBox was able to double down on the successes they were seeing with the sub-terms by also adjusting its promotion strategy.

Recurly offered a lot of flexibility. Being able to offer fixed price discounts on a customer’s first box, even when the customer selected a longer-term plan, allowed us to drive exponentially more volume at a much lower cost.

Ben Zvaifler,  Founder

“The more you discount a product and lower your prices, the more volume you can drive; but the risk with this is customers typically churn out more quickly,” explained Zvaifler. 

The halo effect of this change had a positive impact on PupBox’s bottom line as well. The increase in acquisition, coupled with improvements in retention, allowed PupBox to scale its marketing spend more efficiently and increase its ROI. A real win-win. 

Recurly gave us the flexibility to play with the plans and promotions. Having that built-in has helped us test and learn what combination of promotions, marketing channels, and term length equate to the highest LTV. We couldn’t have done that without Recurly.

Ben Zvaifler,  Founder

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Another added benefit for PupBox has been the flexibility Recurly has provided in terms of payment gateways. With Recurly, the brand has been able to improve its dunning process and set up a backup gateway with Recurly’s Gateway Failover feature to provide peace of mind and business continuity.

Growing Relationships With Its Pack of Subscribers

PupBox is all about building relationships with its subscribers. It isn’t your typical box of the month – it’s a training platform for its customers and PupBox focuses specifically on the puppy niche.

"We are a developmental box for new pet parents who really haven’t done this before,” said Zvaifler. “And we help guide them with tips on what products to buy or what they should be focusing on from a training perspective. We've outlined a 12-month plan that walks them through all the stages of puppyhood – from house training to adolescence to grooming and all the things in between. We try to provide all of the products, guidance and support a new puppy parent needs at each stage.” 

PupBox has found that if it retains a customer throughout puppyhood, it is able to keep the majority of subscribers into their dogs’ adult years.

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Subscribers create a puppy profile at sign-up, which enables PupBox to cater each box to the evolving needs of each furbaby. Each box is customized based on the puppy's stage of development and physical characteristics. This high level of customization enables PupBox to deliver a ton of value to its subscribers because, unlike some other subscription pet boxes, these aren’t just boxes of treats and toys. PupBoxes truly help pet parents through the developmental stages of their puppies’ early lives. These stages are significant milestones, and with PupBox by their side, pet parents can be sure they are giving their pups the best.

Conclusion

PupBox has experienced massive growth. Since joining the Recurly platform, the brand has significantly increased its active subscriber count by ensuring customers have a flexible billing and subscription platform. Recurly gives PupBox the ability to reach new customers by providing the right combination of plan options and promotion functionality. The future looks very promising for PupBox as the brand continues to grow, scale and provide value to new puppy parents.

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