4 excellent examples of DTC subscription retention

Winning new buyers is good, keeping them is better - but how do brands keep folks coming back for more? We looked at top strategies from Beauty Pie, Huel, Shameless Pets and Pact Coffee to find out.

Lizzie Davey
eCommerce Writer

Getting new customers is great, but have you tried retaining existing customers? People who have already bought from you spend 31% more than new customers and are five times less expensive to sell to. Brands that offer subscriptions rely on customers coming back month after month, steadily increasing their CLTV (customer lifetime value) and loyalty levels. 

But retaining customers is thirsty work. You can bet that for every book, beauty, or coffee subscription a customer is signed up to, they’re being targeted by heaps more. So how can you stay in the minds of customers and encourage repeat purchases? Here are the subscription retention strategies some of the top DTC brands are using. 

1. Introduce a member’s club (Beauty Pie) 

Beauty Pie appeared out of nowhere during the pandemic, cashing in on the uptick in cosmetic lovers buying online. The brand offers products in two tiers; a set of products for regular buyers and high-end products for customers who join the club. The latter pays a premium for the additional caliber of products and it ensures everyone is happy with what they get while the brand still makes a profit. 

As well as catering to different levels of customers, Beauty Pie has a strong brand message that emphasizes what’s inside the packaging rather than what it looks like on the outside. Right now, Beauty Pie’s customer retention rates are higher than Spotify’s and Netflix’s and are 20x higher than other DTC beauty brands. 

Steal Beauty Pie’s customer retention strategies: 

  • Create subscription tiers
  • Provide incentives for shoppers to upgrade 
  • Set member-only prices on regular product lines 

2. Surprise and delight existing customers (Pact Coffee)

Pact Coffee is a purpose-driven brand with a clear mission: to make coffee better for everyone. Since consumers today are actively seeking out brands that share their values, Pact Coffee has enjoyed quick growth and now has a loyal subscriber base of 55,000 customers.

It does this through ‘surprise and delight’ chocolate bars, refer a friend schemes, and educational communication about the impact of buying coffee. The brand’s generous loyalty program spreads to the employees of companies that use its coffee, giving them the chance to unlock a hefty discount on an at-home coffee plan. 

On top of this, Pact Coffee is making it easier than ever for customers to continue using their product through digitized loyalty cards–a.k.a. no more rummaging through your wallet for a tattered physical card–and ensures customers can personalize their order based on the type of coffee they want and how big they need their order to be. 

Steal Pact Coffee’s customer retention strategies: 

  • Let customers personalize their orders
  • Create a solid mission 
  • Implement a loyalty program 
  • Make it easy for customers to come back with digitized loyalty cards

3. Create a 1:1 customer experiences with SMS (Shameless Pets) 

Shameless Pets is dedicated to providing healthy, natural treats for dogs. The brand initially started as a brick-and-mortar venture, but soon branched out to online channels to reach more customers and expand the business. 

They quickly learned that consumers today expect a different relationship with DTC brands–notably, one that has immediate and personalized support at every stage of the journey. 

To address this, Shameless Pets leveraged Blueprint to create automated SMS message flows that are sent out post-purchase, including order confirmations and dispatch notes. On top of this, they used text messages to encourage customer feedback they could implement to improve their efforts, and set up personalized, branded abandoned cart emails to keep shoppers coming back. 

Opening up a new channel for direct communication with customers meant the brand could answer in-the-moment queries and start 1:1 conversations with shoppers at scale. 

Steal Shameless Pet’s customer retention strategies: 

  • Build out personalized and automated post-purchase SMS flows
  • Encourage customer feedback via text
  • Provide a space for customers to ask questions 
  • Create personalized abandoned cart campaigns 

4. Build a community (Huel) 

Huel has grown quickly over the past couple of years, capturing an audience of fitness and health focused consumers. The brand has successfully created a community through word-of-mouth marketing, helping new customers feel part of the ‘Huel club’ with free gifts such as shakers and trust signifiers like reviews. Customers get benefits when they lock into the program and can access personalized health and fitness information to align with their wants and needs. 

Their bundles allow existing customers to test out new products and create a personalized subscription that addresses their unique pain points. Through the community, Huel offers health and fitness advice through educational content, provides customer-led content via an accessible forum, and regularly teams up with well-known influencers to spread the word about their product. 

Steal Huel’s customer retention strategies: 

  • Build a community forum where customers can share their experiences
  • Provide free gifts to loyal members
  • Send personalized information related to individual customer needs
  • Create bundles that allow existing customers to try new products 

Ramp up your DTC subscription retention efforts 

Customer retention is crucial for DTC subscription brands that want to remain competitive and provide an excellent customer experience. 

Take a leaf out of these brands’ books to ramp up your retention efforts and keep customers coming back–implement a member’s club like Beauty Pie, surprise and delight customers like Pact Coffee, create 1:1 customer experiences like Shameless Pets, and build a loyal community through forums and educational content like Huel.

Are you all CAC and no win back?

Start building sticky customers today with:

Customer feedback

Flexible subscription management

Intelligent replenishments & cross-sells

"The results have been staggering. Blueprint has massively increased our LTV."
Donald Mendenhall
Are you all CAC and no win back?

Start building sticky customers today with:

Customer feedback

Flexible subscription management

Intelligent replenishments & cross-sells

"The results have been staggering. Blueprint has massively increased our LTV."
Donald Mendenhall
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