4 Simple Churn Reduction Strategies for Your Subscription Box

Reducing churn increases average subscriber revenue & drives up the value of your subscription business. Here are 4 simple reduction strategies (+2 best practices).

Churn Reducation

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Churn is a measure of attrition – the rate at which you lose subscribers.

For a subscription business, churn is your main enemy. Actively reducing churn & keeping subscribers on for longer periods of time should be a core goal.

At times though, it can feel like there’s nothing you can do to curb churn. Where should you start?

Below, you’ll find 4 strategies + 2 best practices related to churn. By starting to employ these, you can start to impact the churn of your subscription business.

Strategy 1: Create a Downgrade Option

From our research, the top reason subscribers cancel across ALL types of subscription boxes is because of “financial reasons.” If you’ve been in business long, you’ve undoubtedly run into this reason for canceling. It can be frustrating to say the least.

Cratejoy Churn Reasons

Vague and seemingly uncrackable, not having enough funds can feel like a pretty poor reason for a subscriber to cancel. They like your product, your brand, and are interested in what’s next, but they just can’t afford it.

Bummer.

And thats why being able to downgrade subscribers to a less expensive option can be an easy way to prevent people from all-out canceling.

Downgrading involves getting subscribers to opt-in to a less expensive option instead of all out canceling.

Here’s an example from a past business:

Subscription Box Downgrade Option

There are a few things to note with this strategy:

  • Make the price substantially low. The above example shows a “mini” at about 40% less the cost than the original.
  • Keep them unique in terms of value propositions. The retail value and total number of items should be noticeably different (for example, about 1/2 the value and 1/2 the number of products).
  • Make the packaging different. If your main box is large, make your alternative small. Maybe invert the design, or do something totally unique.
    • Perk: If your large box is far too big, using as small a box as possible can help you qualify for a lower USPS cubic shipping tier
    • Double Perk: Occasionally, the mini box may be able to qualify for USPS First Class mail, assuming it is light enough
  • Communicate the new offering: This strategy also requires you to make sure your subscribers know the alternative exists and you present it as an option during the time of cancellation. Build it into customer support macros and make it clear on your site.

Strategy 2: Teasers

Another way to curb churn is to get in front of it by building in interest for your upcoming boxes. One great way of doing this is including printed inserts of upcoming items in your box.

This can require a bit of planning, specifically in having your next month’s ideas planned out AND having something printed to put inside your box.

Here’s an example:

Credit to @YogiSurprise & @a__montoney__napolitano
Credit to @YogiSurprise & @a__montoney__napolitano

The strategy is pretty straight forward:

  • Get ahead with product sourcing by at least one product (this is what you’ll use for your sneak peek)
  • When you’re printing your current months packing list, choose your planned product and create a sneak peek card
  • Include all the value-driving details on your card: name of the product, retail value, description and picture

By including this in shipments going to cancelled subscribers, or in all boxes, you can entice members and increase the likelihood that they stay subscribed.

Strategy 3: Monthly Sneak Peeks

Outside of in-the-box teasers, you can pique interest by having monthly sneak peeks and teasers on social media, your website, and over email.

This can be a bit more ad hoc throughout the month vs. getting ahead of sourcing and printing cards. As you source products through the month, try to decide which product or set of products are most appealing to your subscribers & list of leads.

You can share these in a few ways:

On Instagram:

Sneak Peek Example

And through email:

Email Example

Strategy 4: Membership Value-Adds

Another way to influence churn is to build more value into your normal memberships. For this, it can be about looking past what inside your box & what you might think your subscribers normally sign up for.

Some ideas might be:

  • Member-only giveaways or contests
  • Member-only access to extra features (like special content or private groups)
  • Compelling referral programs that allow members to access extras
  • Points or reward systems based on member actions (like reviewing products)

Depending on your box, think about how you can incentive loyalty through extra value that resonates with your audience. For some that may be extra financial value (access to discounts or opportunities to earn free boxes) and for others it may be extra “digestable” value, like unique content or complementary add-ons to normal box content (ie. meal plans, ebooks, guides, or activities or recipes with items).

Best Practice: Welcome Back Coupons

Some subscribers will inevitably churn — but that doesn’t mean you can’t get them back.

One way to get them back is through coupons, sent after they cancel.

Rejoin Example

For this method, make sure you maintain an active email list of churned subscribers. This doesn’t need to just be a single email effort, either — put them through a lead nurture campaign that reminds them of your value, offers coupons, and invites them to connect with you on things like social media.

Best Practice: Gather Feedback

The best practice of “make a better product” might seem obvious, but gathering feedback and acting on it shouldn’t be overlooked.

In fact, as you improve product (which you can track through feedback scores), there is a clear connection to LTV (lifetime value):

Product Feedback

As customer satisfaction tracking higher (closer to 5), LTV dramatically increases. Customers who rate products as ‘5’ have over 5x the average lifetime value (the total revenue over the course of a member’s subscription).

Taking feedback is also super simple. Here’s a guide to getting started with Cratejoy.

Keeping Churn Low

Keeping churn can involve using one, or all, of the above strategies. Have you tried any of the above? Are you employing different methods? Share them below!

For more information, check out our Churn Reduction for Subscription Boxes and watch our past webinar on Reducing Subscriber Churn.

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About Jesse Richardson

Jesse Richardson is an author, educator and co-founder of several successful subscription businesses. He focuses on building engaging communities and has been described as "insanely customer centric." Find him in the Subscription School group or at his blog.

6 Responses

    1. Felicity Fromholz

      That’s a good question! Maybe you could so people how to wear different pieces? Say this next month will be a bracelet – then use your socials to show of different ways to wear bracelets. Maybe how to stack them for the perfect “arm party?” Or maybe highlight the designer you’re working with and showcase some of their other work to get everyone excited?

      Hope that helps!

      Best,

      Felicity

  1. Janna

    What about “teasing” them with what the next months piece is going to ‘represent’ or what the story is behind the piece.. a lot of stones / designs offer symbols or meaning. ie. Next month is all about bringing calmness, or giving you strength etc.
    Just a thought! 🙂

  2. Stephen Campbell

    Great article and site. We are in pre-launch in the UK and I am wondering what level of churn to build in to our forecasts and KPIs. I realise this depends on a whole host of variables but are there any industry bench-marking exercises that might point to an average in the US?
    Thanks, Stephen

    1. Felicity Fromholz

      Thanks a ton, Stephen! Plan for the worst and forecast 20% – if you’re doing worse than that, it’s time to re-think things. …and good luck!

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