7 strategies for subscription success

This quick guide will show you how to:

  • Boost acceptance rates with unlimited flexibility in payments
  • Minimize churn and recover more revenue with retry strategies
  • Encourage adoption through robust subscription billing terms

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Subscription commerce is expected to reach $904B by 2026

Are you taking the right steps to ensure you’re part of this boom? It’s no question that the subscription industry is becoming increasingly saturated with businesses around the world.

The demand to meet subscribers’ needs and preferences is more prevalent than ever, and recurring revenue businesses need to be able to create sustainable and scalable solutions that meet acquisition, retention, and growth goals.

Having worked with over 2,200 subscription businesses, Recurly is dedicated to understanding and creating the most effective guides to help recurring revenue brands succeed, whether minimizing voluntary and involuntary churn or increasing subscriber count year over year. In this easy-to-follow guide, we’ve collected seven key strategies that have helped our leading enterprise clients grow subscription revenue.

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Subscription commerce continues to enjoy undeniable levels of success, and globally, it’s expected to reach $904.3 billion by 2026. 

But competing in an increasingly crowded marketplace requires continued innovation and the ability to meet subscribers’ ever-evolving needs and preferences. The recurring revenue businesses that come out on top have the flexibility to rise to the challenge of changing market demands and do so in ways that are highly scalable, efficient, and effective. 

What are the key challenges that subscription businesses will face going forward? What are the strategies that will help you overcome those challenges?

1. Combat subscription fatigue by going the extra mile to ensure subscriber satisfaction

Many subscription box businesses experience impressive success initially but experience high rates of churn as the novelty of the service or its perceived value wanes. For these businesses, providing a meticulously curated, personalized experience or a convenient replenishment service can be key to countering subscriber fatigue. 

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2. Gain a 360-degree view of subscribers and deepen subscriber insights by sharing data across systems 

The world is awash in data–2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created every single day. Data can help make informed decisions, and recurring revenue businesses benefit from new data every billing cycle. But to be truly useful, data must be actionable and accessible. 

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3. Boost flexibility in processing payments through custom gateway routing

Subscription businesses can have varying and sometimes complex payment processing requirements. For example, individual business units may need to separate their transactions for reporting or other purposes. Businesses with customers across the globe may prefer to route certain transactions to different gateways based on location to improve acceptance rates and lower cross-border transaction fees.

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4. Increase pricing and packaging options and encourage adoption through flexible billing terms

Subscription businesses need the flexibility to create different plans and pricing structures to meet market and subscriber needs. For example, many subscribers might prefer a discounted annual plan over a monthly one, but they may still prefer to pay on a monthly or other cadences rather than a large lump sum once a year. This requires offering billing intervals that differ from plan length.

Find more insights in the success guide.

5. Recover more revenue and reduce involuntary churn with intelligent retry strategies

There are over 2,000 things that can go wrong in successfully processing recurring transactions, leading to approximately 13% of recurring transactions being declined. Decline reasons include insufficient funds, credit and debit card restrictions, technical issues, and more. Since every declined transaction is different, a static, one-size-fits-all retry schedule is far less effective.

Learn more in our success guide.

6. Consider hybrid billing models to combat increasing competition 

The success of the subscription model has spurred the creation of numerous new and innovative businesses in a variety of industries—each utilizing subscriptions as a key monetization strategy. Additionally, a number of notable ‘traditional’ businesses have transitioned, in whole or in part, to a recurring revenue model. Why? The subscription model provides the business with a predictable revenue stream while improving the customer experience.

Keep reading the seven strategies for subscription success.

7. Reduce friction through improvements to the checkout process

The concept behind frictionless commerce is tried and true: make it easier for potential customers to shop, pay for, and receive their purchases and sales will improve. Customers are happier with a shopping experience free of the obstacles and annoyances that might prevent the completion of their transactions.

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