Open VS Closed Subscription Model

blog getting started interviews Nov 29, 2020


You've got a great idea for a subscription box... You've carefully curated your products for the box, selected your packaging, set a date on the calendar to introduce it to the world... But, one thing you may not have considered is whether to have an Open or Closed Subscription Model... What does that even mean??

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Open Subscription Model

An Open Subscription Model is a subscription service that customers can join at any time.

Open Subscriptions are excellent for those just beginning their subscription-based business journey and best for those situations where you can easily obtain product on short notice.

Think of this option as an "entry-level" subscription. With a lower price, it's the perfect lead in to a higher valued box if and when you are ready to make that offer.



Because members can join Open Subscription boxes at any time, there is no waitlisting and no huge launch to plan a few times a year.

These subscriptions are easy to promote regularly on social media and with emails, which drives traffic,  brand awareness, and can help you increase your subscriber count quickly.


So, why would you have a Closed Subscription Model if Open Models have all these benefits?


Closed Subscription Model

A closed subscription model is when customers can only subscribe when you decide to open during a launch.

This option is great for seasoned subscriptions, when you already have a bit of a following, and you want to sell them a perfectly curated experience.

Closed subscriptions are ideal if you have to source or manufacture your products that affect lead times because you will know exactly what you need in advance to be prepared. Because increases happen when you determine, you can plan ahead, relieve the stress of the unknown, and never worry that you oversold.



If your Open Subscription box numbers are starting to decline, closing might give members a reason to stay.

When you run a launch and are super focused on selling for a short period of time, you will grow in numbers all at once instead of trickling in each month. Having access only a few times a year creates scarcity and an exclusive offer giving customers a reason to buy now.

Knowing when to make the switch from Open to Closed Subscription Model greatly depends on what works for you.



Check out my Member Mini Session with Jennifer A. of Courage & Grace. She has over 300 subscribers and wondered if it was time for her to transition to a Closed Subscription Model. You might be surprised at what I tell her.

When you are first starting out, I believe an open model is best. You are bringing awareness to your subscriptions, and it is important for people to be able to join when they land on your website.

As you grow, transitioning to a closed model will help you lock in your numbers, create scarcity and exclusivity and really grow your subscription business by doing launches several times a year.

The bottom line is, every business is different. What works for some subscription-based businesses doesn't always work for others. It's a constant trial and error process.






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