Make Any Business a Subscription Business
A subscription is a tactic, not a strategy.
Subscribers subscribe because they have an ongoing problem they wish to be solved or a goal they need to achieve. They believe that your business has the solution to their problem. And when you solve that problem, you are providing value. When you provide value, you are able to retain subscribers and build trust.
The real goal of a subscription is to ensure that the subscriber receives their desired outcome.
Any business can move from transactional to subscription by stepping back and refocusing on the customer’s ongoing goal.
Here’s how it can work, using a clothing store as an example.
- Determine and understand the needs of your customers.
The first thing to do as a clothing store is to understand what your customers want from your business. This will set the direction of the customer journey and customer experience. When you determine the needs, this lets you figure out the thought process and buying patterns of your subscribers or customers.
2. Target the pain points of a transaction.
a. Access — to successfully solve a problem, you need to have access to a solution. Think of access as the first challenge in targeting all the pain points towards the end goal.
For example: Pamela went to a clothing store to buy a blouse.
You ask yourself, “Why does Pamela want to buy a blouse?” She did not go to a store just to buy a blouse. Pamela wanted something more specific. She wanted to look professional for a presentation at work.
You ask another question, “How do we help Pamela look professional?”
b. Consumption — once you gain the access to a solution, the next step is to test that solution. The solution has to be fully consumed or else it will not provide the desired outcome. Assess if the solution you gave to the customer was received well.
For example: Did Pamela use the blouse you picked for her? Did it make her look professional?
c. Performance — Your solution has to perform as you would like it to perform. You need to see that when you combine both access and consumption it will deliver you your desired outcome.
For example: For Pamela, her desired outcome was to look professional which would enable her to deliver her presentation with utmost confidence and class.
Were you able to give Pamela the outcome she was looking for?
In this case, Pamela did well in her presentation while looking so fabulous at the same time. She was satisfied with both her purchase and her end-result.
Your next step from here might be to offer Pamela a subscription box with “professional clothing” or a membership that allows her to access a stylist and free shipping — benefits that increase the likelihood of her always looking appropriate at work.
Note that the subscription pricing follows the change in focus from selling clothes to helping someone look great on stage.
Subscriptions can alleviate access problems in cases where subscribers have an ongoing pain point. It’s your mission as a business to find and target those pain points. Subscription pricing forces businesses to rethink how they deliver value. It helps you focus on having a long-term relationship with a subscriber. If you focus on the end-user by aligning your services and products with the ongoing outcome your subscribers are asking to achieve, they’ll never want to leave.