Everything is becoming more expensive and more competitive, especially across the ad networks. If you’re a store owner or eCommerce marketer, you totally get this.
That’s why so many eCommerce businesses are looking at or starting to adopt subscription business models to help them increase lifetime value and reduce customer acquisition costs. Any way to achieve these two metrics without solely relying on paid acquisition is something so many companies are trying to achieve.
It’s something I’ve been pushing with my clients and brands I advise. Not only can it help with LTV and CAC, subscription models are also a great way to bring in a predictable revenue stream, which also helps with improving your margins. Better margins mean you can invest more in growth.
Okay, so which eCommerce brands have the best subscription based service? Well, I’m going to be sharing my top favs you’re going to love.
I’ve included reference links for all the examples.
Scratch is best known for their healthy kibble, all directly delivered to customers. Dogs get a personalised nutrition plan depending on their needs, and these are promptly delivered to their doorstep in small batches, ensuring freshness and quality at all times. Because of the setup, a subscription model benefits the company, with prices starting at $10 per kg and a delivery frequency that depends on how much and how often your dog eats.
Here’s a look at Scratch’s subscription page:
Graza is known for its fresh, single-origin oils, made from 100% Picual olives in Jaen, Spain. It has the longest shelf life and is most stable when cooking, with naturally high antioxidants. They have two products with their oils range. They cost $20 each and come in a combo pack.
Depending on how much you cook, it may be worth it to subscribe and save:
Cloud Paper is the world’s most sustainable toilet paper company, as they work towards their goal of saving a billon trees amidst increasing consumption. They use zero plastic, are carbon neutral, and offer free shipping. They are sold in bundles at an average of $70, but given that everyone is always in need of toilet paper, getting a subscription with discounts may be a good idea:
JS Health is a wellness and beauty brand most known for its Hair + Beauty capsules. Most of their offerings come in a bottle of 60 capsules, each costing $45. They also come in bundles, the best-selling one being the beauty favourites bundle at $165.
Given that they’re supposed to be daily supplements, it would make sense to avail of a subscription plan that would provide you with a discount:
Zero Co was founded in 2018, funded by over $700,000 raised on Kickstarter with the intent of producing personal care and home cleaning products - without the need for single-use plastic. They have bundle kits containing refills and forever bottles, with single products priced around $25 each. But given that they sell essentials and are designed to be sustainable, it’s better to avail of their subscription plan:
Stompy is a wine service, personalised and created to satisfy every enthusiast’s unique taste. The brand chooses from the wine they carefully sourced from organic and sustainable vineyards and then box these bottles up according to your taste profile. A one-off box can cost $25 or $40, depending on the tier, but they also offer subscription boxes:
Couplet Coffee is a queer-woman-owned brand founded to make specialty coffee less pretentious and more within reach of the masses. They sell coffee, merch, and equipment, but their bestseller is still their classic espresso, priced starting at $18. Given that people drink coffee regularly though, it may be good to know that it can be had for cheaper using their subscription:
Founded in 2012, Health Ade was founded by a couple and their best friend. Initially sold in a farmer’s market, their kombucha quickly became a bestseller, eventually becoming the best-selling kombucha in America. Their product comes in different flavours, sold in packs of 6 or 12, but they are best known for their Health Ade Plus line. Their prices range from $32 to $52 per set, which could be bought cheaper with their great subscription plan:
Brew Tea Co is a tea brand committed to keeping things simple, fresh, and healthy. They only offer rolled whole leaves, all grown and blended in Manchester. They bsell a variety of tea flavors and classifications, a pack costing an average of £7. Several of them are also bundled up in themed kits. Avid tea drinkers would be interested in an easy subscription plan:
Birchbox was founded to make beauty products more inclusive and accessible to those who are just casually interested in them. They sell major brands such as Milk Makeup, Amika, Oaui, Briogeo, and Sunday Riley, but they also host a number of small label brands to give them a platform. Prices wildly vary, but their monthly beauty subscription box comes in a fixed $15/month.
This is perfect for those who want to try and discover new brands without breaking the bank.
Based in Melbourne, Get Socked creates vibrant, unique socks sustainably crafted from bamboo. A pair usually costs $13.15AUD, though they do have a monthly subscription that would appeal to those who are quirky and interested in trying new things:
Bird and Blend Tea Co is an award winning, independent tea company that makes blends out of chocolate, caramel, fruits, and even cake sprinkles. They have over 100 loose leaf tea formulas, but their bestsellers include their caramel blend, English breakfast with Raspberry jam, and chocolate with beetroot. A 20g pouch starts at £3.50, and the price goes up in proportion to the volume.
They also offer a monthly subscription, perfect for tea enthusiasts:
Pet Circle is Australia’s largest online pet retailer, most known for its ease of use and affordability. They have everything every pet owner needs, and certain staples such as pet food, treats, and medications could be set for subscription and auto delivery for greater convenience.
Huel is a mash of the words Human + Fuel, and every product from them is nutritionally complete with 27 vitamins and minerals. They’re made from plant based sustainable ingredients, and comes in six product lines including bars and powders. They cost an average of $70 per box, and are sold in bundles above $100.
They also have a subscription plan, which would work best for fitness and health buffs:
Sosa is a cat food brand that uses only natural human-grade ingredients, including fresh Australian fish. They only sell their products through subscription, as their goal is to make feeding easier for cat owners, with prices starting at $19.
Here’s a look at how it works:
Glossy Box was founded in Berlin in 2011, but it has since become available in nine other countries. It's a beauty box subscription service that gives you five deluxe-sized products for just $21 per month. They also sell limited edition boxes that can be purchased by non-subscribers.
Inspirational Tea Co is a proud Australian tea brand that makes an effort to be sustainable in everything they do. Not only do they showcase local artists and poets on their boxes, but they also eliminate unnecessary plastic from their packaging. They sell tea sets and ware, but are most known for their inspirational tea bags which won the bronze medal at the Golden Leaf Tea awards in 2021.
They also have a subscription available for avid tea drinkers:
Vitally is a vitamin and supplements brand and delivery service that makes sure you get all the nutrients you need daily. First, they get you to take a quiz that identifies the specific supplements you need, or you can create a bundle of your own based on your needs. Their 30-piece vitamin packs, meant to be consumed daily each month, cost an average of $10.
Take a look at how their subscription plays out:
These guys don't need an introduction. We all know who Dollar Shave Club is, who have managed to make waves and establish themselves in the US and in other nations such as Australia by providing great shaving gear at a low price, straight to the doorstep of their customers. They sell blades, creams, and washes individually at an average of $10, but they also sell bundles and kits.
They also have a subscription, perfect for those who have a lot to shave regularly:
Scent Box lets customers try trial sizes of different designer perfumes every month, all in a bid to help fragrance lovers explore new scents without breaking the bank. Each sample is good for 4 sprays daily for 30 days, and there are two different boxes every month: One for men and another for women. Here’s how they sell their subscription:
Oatly is an oat milk brand that believes we’re better off as a planet consuming milk from plants than from animals. They offer different drink flavours, with their Barista and Chocolate flavors as being some of their bestsellers. One pack costs a little over $5, though they do sell them in bundles.
They also have an option for subscription, perfect for those who consume a large volume of milk:
Founded in 2000, Mukti Organics seeks to reconnect the beauty industry with nature and its organic principles. They are certified to be vegan and organic, and have won multiple beauty awards for their notable products, particularly their moisturiser and Botanique line which cost an average of $75.
They also have a subscribe and save option:
Who Gives A Crap is an Australian toilet paper brand that advocates for and builds clean toiles for the less fortunate. They only sell their products in bundles, with each roll coming up to around $1.5 each. Given that everyone has a consistent need for toilet paper, you can also subscribe to frequent deliveries:
Mecca puts utmost importance in making sure that all stages of their coffee-making process are sustainable, ethical, and excellent. They are known for their rich blends and singles, with beans sourced from countries like Ethiopia, Kenya, and Brazil. They’re already fairly priced at an average of $25 every 250 grams, and you can continue to get your daily dose through a fixed frequency subscription:
Bluum Baby is a subscription box that especially targets moms to be and new moms with infants and toddlers. Each box will cater to your chosen preferences, which means that all products received should apply to your child’s age, stage, and gender.
Here’s how their subscription works:
Care/of was founded by two men in 2016, driven by their nutritional needs and that of their family. Upon realising that everyone has a unique path to attaining well rounded personal health, they decided to launch this brand that will provide each customer with vitamins and supplements that cater to their unique needs.
Their vitamin packs cost an average of $10 for 30 capsules, and they also have pre-existing kits for different issues. Whatever you choose, you canopy for a regular subscription:
Homemade Bakers Club sells pre-curated baking kits, complete with recipes and instructions to ensure consistent quality. Because of the nature of the ingredients, the brand has to prepare the boxes wisely, with limited quantities each time. Thus, to ensure the timeliness of delivery and product quality, going for a subscription would provide reassurance on both ends of the company and the customer:
Swanson Vitamins was founded in 1969, with the mission to provide science-backed and potent health products to the average American consumer. They have been awarded multiple times through the years, with their Plant Based Omega 3, Probiotics, and Multivitamins becoming instant bestsellers. They also have an Easy Refill program to ensure you never run out of your supplements, which functions like a subscription:
DutyBox is known for their eco-friendly home cleaning solutions, delivered through a unique capsule system that gets rid of the need for single use plastic. Their products are typically sold in bundles, starting at $14 for a dispenser and refills. They also have subscriptions for a well-stocked cleaning pantry:
Stitch Fix is a personalised styling brand that provides an exclusive shopping experience to thousands of people. Here’s how it works: You create your Style Profile, and then the Stitch Fix algorithm will choose the best items that would match your personal style. You can purchase items on demand or opt for their subscription box:
Single O is a coffee brand based in Australia, previously known as Single Origin Roasters. They’ve been in the industry for nearly two decades, as they run their own roastworks using solar power. They sell a plethora of blends ethically sourced from different countries, along with several coffee equipment. They also have subscription plans for coffee lovers out there:
Beauty Box Club is a monthly beauty subscription service available in Australia. Each box contains at least 5 travel and full sized products from high end brands at just $35 a month with free shipping.
We Are Wild is a sustainable bathroom products brand, most known for their reusable deodorant applicator. You just have to choose your refillable case, and the refills will be delivered straight to your door as needed. You can also subscribe to ensure you never run out:
Seven Seeds is a Melbourne-based coffee brand, considered to be one of the pioneers in the industry. They are most known for their ethically sourced blends, costing an average of $50 per pack. To ensure that their customers would never have to run out of their daily coffee, they also offer a subscription plan:
Misto Box is a brand that started out in Shark Tank, receiving a $75,000 investment from Mark Cuban. They exclusively offer coffee subscriptions that are personalized to each customer’s taste. This allows connoisseurs and hobbyists to discover new blends from award winning roasters, giving them something to look forward to each chosen delivery schedule.
Here’s a breakdown of their subscription:
Grape Juice Club is a wine brand best known for their subscription service. Customers can order their chosen wine collection from their page at $80, or they can join the club at the same price and get wines that are carefully curated every month.
Here are the perks:
There are a few reasons why there are so many benefits and it becoming so popular across many eCommerce stores. Whether it’s new brands just starting out or even more established businesses that have strong brand equity, subscription eCommerce is a growing trend based on two primary challenges that everyone is facing - increased competition and ad networks becoming more expensive. It’s getting harder to reduce customer acquisition costs, increase lifetime value, and encourage repeat purchases without brands having to keep forking out more money. So, more businesses are starting to see success with subscriptions because they’re seeing more recurring revenue and increased profit margins. If you’re not doing this right now, my suggestion is that you check out the examples I talk about in this guide and look into implementing in your business.
Many of the businesses I’ve talked about this in the guide have done a superb job when it comes to setting up and promoting their subscription based business and products. For the standouts in my eyes which I highly recommend you check out would have to be Vitally, Who Gives a Crap, Mukti Organics, Oatly, and Stompy.
There are a few solid options on the market, and there are some really good specific Shopify subscription apps. The top three providers I’ve personally used are PayWhirl, Recharge, and Loop. Each of them naturally has its pros and cons, and worth doing further research into them to explore which is best for your online store. Whichever option you choose, they do make life easier when it comes to subscription management.
We all know the benefits of the eCommerce subscription model, but it’s another thing when it comes to promoting and delivering a good user experience. I’ve highlighted some of the best practices in this guide with the above examples, and I’m going to hone in on three practices that are important to keep in mind. Firstly, you need to have an attractive incentive and offering when for your subscription products. For instance, many of the brands I highlighted offered a discount (e.g. 20% off for the first 6 months) when you order specific bundles. Secondly, have a dedicated landing page highlighting the benefits of the subscription products you’re selling. Highlight USPs, add social proof, customer videos, as well as important information regarding your program. My third and final tip is to ensure the product page experience is really slick. Refer to the examples I’ve spoken about and check out their product page experiences, they all do a wonderful job.
They absolutely can, and it’s never been a better time to get started with subscription e commerce. The good news is that the set-up is fairly straightforward where all you need to do is get Shopify or BigCommerce, upload your main products, integrate Recharge or Bold subscriptions, and then you’re off. Those are the main steps, outside of web design and other configurations you want to make.