Building a WooCommerce Subscriptions Store? Do This!

Why build a WooCommerce subscriptions store?

On Mondays I write about WooCommerce. And as I looked over the things I'd written about over the last few months, I realized there was one topic I had completely missed: subscription stores. It's crazy to me that I spend more time on those than anything else but hadn't written about it.

I think part of the reason is because when you're interacting with WooCommerce subscription stores all day long, you're not going to spend even more time on them when it comes to evening writing.

Nevertheless, there are great reasons to build subscription stores and here are three of them.

Recurring & predictable revenue

I still remember the day the CEO of our startup put a slide on the screen to talk about the merits of recurring revenue (in 2000). The title of the slide said, “We never start the month at zero.”

It's so powerful to have predictable and recurring revenue. You never start a month wondering how it's going to go. You know you have a baseline of income and your job is to grow it.

Subscription solutions give you the confidence that few other eCommerce opportunities do.

The cost of the customer

Another reason you might want to investigate building a WooCommerce subscription store is because it's often 5 times cheaper to sell to an existing customer than to win over a new customer.

Subscriptions not only make it easy and automated to bill existing customers, but they create opportunities for upsells that demonstrate that the cost of the customer is so much cheaper.

You're not marketing to your existing customers. You're simply sending them an email. You don't need them to discover you. And you don't need to discover where they are.

You have their info (and their card). You can make upsell opportunities with a single link click!

You can build relationships

Maybe my favorite reason for building subscription stores is because you get to know your customers over time.

I regularly tell my coaching clients the story of my first two visits to the Ritz Carlton (a luxury hotel chain). The first welcome fruit basket had tons of fruit in it. But I ate only the apples and pears. My second “welcome back” basket only had apples and pears.

Think of what that means – capturing the data of what I ate (and didn't eat), storing it, and then using it later. All to give me an experience that made me feel special.

This is exactly the kind of thing you can do with your subscriptions (and the point of this article).

The multiple kinds of subscription stores

Before we get into the one feature I think you need to build, let's do a quick survey of the variety of subscription stores you can create.

Curated Subscriptions

One of my friends buys socks from a socks subscription store powered by WooCommerce. He doesn't get to decide which pairs get sent to him. He simply knows someone is picking two pairs and sending them to him.

My wife and I belong to multiple wine clubs (no comments):

They all work in a similar fashion – making choices for us (because they're the experts).

Replenishment Subscriptions

Replenishment subscription stores are similar but different. They focus on getting you more of what you ordered before.

We are subscribed to multiple of these as well, including one for dog food, another monthly delivery of meat, and one more for air filters.

They allow you to define your product details (specific products or sizes), quantity and rate of delivery. From there, replenishment subscription stores take care of things for you.

Access Subscriptions

The last one is the one I write most about – membership sites. You're paying to get access to online or digital content. I won't go further into this one because I have tons of content on this already.

What I'll tell you is that if you want to build this kind of subscription solution, I have a free seven video “course” that shows you how to do it all.

The risk with subscriptions

The risk with subscription stores is the auto-billing. It's easy to run things on auto-pilot, and ignore the connection and touch that you need to keep with your customers for them to not get frustrated and quit you.

Churn is the challenge. Think about that gym you may have signed up for, used for a month or two, and then stopped going to. They kept billing you. And that eventually made you really mad. When you went to cancel, there was likely nothing they could do to keep you as a customer. Right?

And that brings us to the feature I want to encourage you to build. Yes, all those words above are all just the context for this last bit right here!

The feature you need to build

Remember when I told you about my visits to the Ritz Carlton? What impressed me was how they collected and then later used data about me. It's called a feedback loop.

Remember that wine club I mentioned, Bright Cellars? They invite you to come back to their site and rate the wines they sent you. How did you like them? It's a feedback loop.

Remember ButcherBox? They also create a feedback loop to encourage me to shape what I want (or no longer want) in my monthly shipments.

The feedback loop – the ability for a customer to shape or change their subscription – is not just a great feature. It's the way you mitigate churn.

Because the closer you get to your customer, by learning from them and adjusting to serve them better, the less likely they'll be to leave you.

If you need help building it, hit me up – as I know folks that can help you with it.