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How to scale a subscription e-commerce business

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Last editedNov 20222 min read

Knowing how to scale a subscription business is an important part of achieving long-term ecommerce success. A great product might sell well and bring immediate growth to your business, but using that initial growth to expand and scale up gives your business a much better chance to maintain that success over time.

 In this guide on how to scale a subscription business, we discuss the different subscription models and detail reliable ways to scale a subscription-based ecommerce business.

Subscription-based ecommerce models

There are different types of subscription-based ecommerce models, depending on what the business offers subscribers. The three most typical subscription-based ecommerce business models include:

  • Curation

  • Replenishment

  • Access

Curation subscription business

 The curation subscription model is like a personal shopping service in which subscribers regularly receive a variety of different items. The items are usually variants on a related theme, and can also be tailored to the personal preferences of the subscriber.

Replenishment subscription business

 The replenishment model sees subscribers receive the same item regularly, usually in the form of a consumable or perishable commodity, such as toiletries and cosmetics as well as health and wellness goods. Subscribers require the item to be replenished every month or so, so they automate the purchase of the item through their subscription.

Access subscription business

 The access model provides subscribers with member-only privileges when they pay a regular fee. This could be in the form of exclusive discounts or early access to new products or features in beta, and is popular in the fashion industry and for premium services. 

How to scale a subscription business

 Knowing how to grow a subscription business differs from knowing how to scale a subscription business. Scaling involves streamlining operations and expanding the offerings available to subscribers. Businesses scale in order to create a platform to drive even more growth.

Here are some successful strategies to scale an ecommerce business:

Reward schemes

A loyalty system lets subscribers receive points for purchases and other actions which culminate into a discount or exclusive offer. Other actions that could earn points include sharing content on social media, liking and following the company’s social media accounts and posts, and leaving a product review.

 These reward schemes improve the customer experience and encourage repeat purchases and engagement.

Invest in technology

Improving your tech stack can work wonders for scaling your ecommerce subscriptions business. Implementing inventory planning software, multichannel order management systems and warehouse management systems helps you manage and synchronise all of your sales and subscription channels with your website.

Furthermore, a modern customer experience management system improves customer communication and engagement, by offering popular contact points such as live chat and social media, while combining them with email support and a contact centre on a single platform.

Reliable payment system

 Subscribers want their ecommerce subscriptions to be easy and hassle-free, so a reliable payment system is a crucial aspect of how to scale a subscription business. The best payment systems also offer a variety of payment methods, and the key to scaling is the ability to adopt new innovations as they come along.

While new customer acquisition helps grow the business, it is the cultivation of a loyal customer base that enables you to scale. For this you need a trusting relationship with your customers. Enabling them to pay for your products via a reliable recurring payments system is an excellent way to foster trust.

GoCardless is the easiest way for businesses to get paid on time, allowing you to receive recurring payments automatically as well as collect one-off payments. With GoCardless, approximately 97.1% of payments are collected successfully at the first attempt, with our Success+ feature enabling another attempt for the rare failed payments.

We can help

GoCardless is a global payments solution that helps you automate payment collection, cutting down on the amount of financial admin your team needs to deal with. Find out how GoCardless can help you with one-off or recurring payments.

Over 85,000 businesses use GoCardless to get paid on time. Learn more about how you can improve payment processing at your business today.

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Interested in automating the way you get paid? GoCardless can help
Interested in automating the way you get paid? GoCardless can help

Interested in automating the way you get paid? GoCardless can help

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