Retention Strategies for Subscription Box Owners

blog retention Jul 17, 2022


You spend a whole lot of time, energy, and money gaining subscribers, but how much time and energy do you put into keeping them? 

If you’re like most subscription box owners, most of your time and energy is spent attracting and selling new subscribers. You direct your efforts toward building your audience, engaging with your followers, nurturing your email list, and launching your subscription box. All these activities are aimed at gaining new subscribers. All of them are essential. 

But, if you’re spending all of your time and energy gaining new subscribers, how much time are you dedicating to the back end of your subscription? 

If you’re not spending time working to retain your subscribers, the new subscribers you gain will simply replace those who have canceled. Your subscription box business will operate much like a leaky bucket - anything that comes in goes right back out again making it very difficult to actually grow your business

The nature of a subscription box business means you’ll always have cancellations. However, you can take steps to decrease the rate of cancellations and increase retention. 

Today I’m sharing six actionable tips to help you retain your subscribers.


1. Keep Things Trendy/Seasonal

I go to great lengths to research trends and incorporate those trends into my subscription boxes. I want to give my subscribers items that are new and fun. Things that feel fresh and current. 

When you provide items that are seasonal and trendy, your subscribers will love and use them during that season. Then they’ll be ready for the next thing in time for your next box. 



I go to Market once or twice a year to discover new trends and new vendors. Learn more about Market in this blog post.


2. Ask your subscribers what they want.

Your subscribers are your best source of research when it comes to planning your subscription boxes. Asking them what they love and want more of helps you deliver a customized experience. It also makes your subscribers feel included. 

Getting your subscribers involved increases their buy-in and loyalty. Ask for their input through: 

  • Surveys
  • Questionnaires
  • Quizzes
  • Emails
  • Social media posts or polls


3. Engage With Your Subscribers

Create an environment where your subscribers feel like they’re part of something bigger than themselves. This could be a private Facebook group or a texting app. 

I love sharing posts and stories of my subscribers wearing or using an item from that month’s box. Feature subscribers on your social media. They love seeing themselves and each other and it also serves as great social proof! 

Talk directly to your subscribers on social media. Make it a conversation with them. This makes your existing subscribers feel included and makes non-subscribers want to belong!



4. Create Added Value

Your subscribers should feel like the VIPs of your business. They should get your very best – the first-class experience. 

Brainstorm ways to offer added value that make subscribers feel special at little additional cost to you. Some ideas to get you started: 

  • Put a discount coupon for your online shop in the box as a surprise. 
  • Offer a “refer a friend” bonus. 
  • Send out “first dibs” emails exclusively for your subscribers. 

You can see how these special perks not only make your subscribers feel like VIPs, they also generate additional revenue!


5. Offer a Lower-priced Tier In Your Subscription Box Model

The number one reason subscribers give for canceling is “financial reasons.” If you have a lower-priced subscription, make sure you are offering it at the point of cancellation. Some of your subscribers will be happy to have that option and may level back up in the future. 

When a subscriber cancels my higher-priced Monogram Box™ subscription, I offer them my T-Shirt Club subscription. My subscribers love my t-shirts and many are happy to have the option to still be part of my subscription box world. It’s a win-win!



6. Keep track of billing and follow up on issues. 

It’s a given that payments will bounce and credit cards will expire. It’s also a given that many subscribers will not be quick to fix these issues. 

It may not be fun or sexy to keep track of and follow up on billing issues and missed payments, but it can make a huge difference in managing subscriber turnover. 

Sending reminders and following up on billing issues each month can reduce involuntary churn by up to 75%! 

Make this a priority in your business. I have a dedicated person who owns this process. We manage it through a combination of automations run by the payment processor and personal follow-up via email and text. A personal touch here goes a long way. 

Bounced payments happen every month. For me, it’s usually a combination of insufficient funds and credit cards that have expired. This month, by following our process, we managed to recover all but 4 of the 80 payments that bounced. That’s a lot of revenue I’m keeping in my business.



Cancellations are going to happen. It’s simply the nature of the subscription box business. Even when you implement these strategies perfectly, cancellations will still happen. Try not to take it personally. In this blog post, I share my tips for navigating subscriber cancellations. 


You’re putting a lot of effort into launching your subscription box and gaining new subscribers. It’s time to shift some of that focus to retaining those subscribers you worked so hard to get. Nurture those relationships with regular communication and these retention strategies. 

Learn from me:

  • Subscription Box Blueprint eBook: This $10 ebook covers logistics from product selection to packaging to shipping. Plus a 90-day launch plan and bonus ‘Instant Scripts’ for your social media.
  • Launch Your Box: My complete training program that walks you step by step through how to start, launch, and grow your subscription box business.
  • Launch Your Box Podcast: I share tons of practical tips and strategies to help you start, launch, and grow your subscription box business. You’ll also hear from industry experts and current Launch Your Box members who are crushing it - get ready to get inspired!


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