The power of subscriptions and repeat purchases

The Power Of Subscriptions And Repeat Purchases


As an (e-commerce) entrepreneur, you’re always in search of that game-changer that will propel your business into further prosperity. In a world dominated by digitalization, you constantly seek models that are not only profitable but also sustainable. I would like to present you with two words: subscriptions and repeat purchases. These two strategies can foster the stability and growth you’re after. Let us delve into them for you!


Subscriptions: predictable, simple, and scalable

Subscription models have conquered the market in recent years, from streaming services like Netflix to the food industry (HelloFresh). Their success stems from predictability and ease for both seller and customer. Moreover, you’re offering more than just a product; you’re providing an experience, a convenience they won’t want to relinquish. And if you structure and develop your product and all its processes well, it’s also an incredibly scalable model.

How to successfully implement it?

Before you immediately start overhauling your business model, it is important to consider the following:

  • Define your offering: not every product is suitable for a subscription model. Products that are regularly used or replaced are more apt. Consider cosmetics, health products, or even books.
  • Flexibility and control: customers love control. Offer options for modification, pausing, or canceling the subscription. This lowers the barrier to such a commitment.
  • Transparency in pricing: hidden costs are detrimental to trust. Be clear about what the customer receives and what it costs, including shipping and VAT, especially when selling in different European countries with varying tax rates. This also aids in customer retention.
  • Local legislation: Many countries have specific rules about subscription contracts and automatic renewals. Ensure compliance with local laws, especially in cross-border e-commerce.


The downside of a subscription model

However, it’s not all sunshine and roses. Acquiring customers for subscriptions is often more expensive due to the higher expectation of commitment. Additionally, retaining subscribers can be challenging in markets with intense competition. It’s not improbable that you’ll need to invest substantially in your processes to prevent high churn rates. Thus, introducing a subscription model successfully is no small feat.


Repeat purchases: flexibility and conviction

Repeat purchases are every seller’s dream, both in real life and online. There’s no long-term commitment here, but they are primarily driven by customers convinced of the product’s value. Repeat purchases don’t have the same advantages as subscriptions; they are less predictable but offer greater flexibility for both the seller and the customer.


How do you stimulate repeat purchases?

  • Superior customer service: Customers return when they’re satisfied. Invest in flawless customer experiences and relationships!
  • Loyalty programs: Reward customers for their loyalty. Credits, discounts, early access to new products—all great incentives. Essentially, build a genuine community.
  • Ease of reordering: Save details securely for a quick checkout and consider a ‘quick reorder’ button.

The challenge here is consistency. A product that varies in quality, or customer service that’s outstanding one day and subpar the next, can cost you customers and hence repeat purchases.


A smart compromise

It’s not about solely one or the other. Many companies implement hybrid models. Consider subscription options for convenience while also offering the option for one-time purchases for the hesitant customer. It’s all about balancing and adapting to what your customer base desires.



Subscriptions and repeat purchases each have their charms and challenges. Implementing these strategies requires thorough knowledge of your products, your customers, and the market. And don’t forget to check local legislation.

One thing is certain: standing still is regressing. These models aren’t static and demand constant evaluation and innovation. Discussion and exchanging ideas on this are essential, so keep evolving as a business and entrepeneur!

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