Unlocking customer loyalty: The role of subscription models in e-commerce growth


Learn from the best: How Heights, Graze, Native, and Wild are using subscription models to boost customer retention and drive growth.


Customer retention: two words that should be the mantra of any burgeoning e-commerce business. In today's competitive market, keeping your existing customers loyal can be as vital for growth as attracting new ones. One strategy that has shown remarkable success in this area is the implementation of subscription models. Subscription-based e-commerce has seen significant growth in recent years, with brands in various industries capitalising on this trend. So, how can you as an e-commerce founder use this model to your advantage?

The appeal of subscription models

Subscription models are appealing due to their inherent convenience for consumers and predictability for businesses. Customers appreciate the hassle-free, regular delivery of products or services they use consistently. For businesses, this model provides a reliable revenue stream and can help enhance customer loyalty. Moreover, a successful subscription model can significantly increase a brand's underlying value.

Take the example of Heights, a UK-based brain health and supplements company. With their subscription service, customers don't have to worry about running out of their brain supplement. Regular, automated delivery makes sure of a consistent supply, and in turn, continuous use of the product - a win-win situation for both parties.

Subscription models and personalisation

Today's customers seek personalised experiences. They value brands that understand their unique needs and preferences. This is where subscription models can shine, providing opportunities for personalisation that can strengthen the customer-brand relationship.

Consider Graze, the snack company that's become a household name in the UK. Graze offers personalised snack boxes, curated based on individual dietary requirements and taste preferences. This level of personalisation makes customers feel valued, driving increased loyalty.

Value proposition in subscription models

Subscription models are not just about convenience and personalisation; they also offer a strong value proposition. Customers feel they're getting more for their money, and the ease of repurchasing can enhance perceived value. Moreover, the high repeat order rate inherent to subscription models often results in an attractive LTV:CAC (customer lifetime value to customer acquisition cost) ratio for the brand, a key metric for business profitability.

Native, the US-based natural deodorant and personal care brand, is an excellent example. By subscribing, customers receive their favourite products at regular intervals, eliminating the need for constant repurchasing. This not only enhances convenience but also increases the perceived value, cementing customer loyalty. Remarkably, just two years after its founding, Native's successful subscription model contributed to the brand being acquired by Unilever for an impressive $100 million. This rapid success story illustrates the substantial value a well-executed subscription model can add to a business.

Sustainability and subscription models

Increasingly, customers are prioritising sustainability in their purchasing decisions. Subscription models can align with this trend by facilitating sustainable practices.

Look at Wild, a British natural deodorant company that offers an innovative, eco-friendly subscription model. Customers buy a reusable deodorant applicator and subscribe to receive regular refills, thus reducing plastic waste. This green initiative doesn't just attract eco-conscious customers; it fosters loyalty by making them part of a shared environmental mission.

Successfully implementing a subscription model in your business

If you're an e-commerce founder considering the implementation of a subscription model in your business, remember that it's not a one-size-fits-all strategy. It requires careful planning and execution. Focus on your customer needs, value proposition, and how you can differentiate your subscription offering from others in the market. Remember, a well-executed subscription model can help create a consistent, reliable revenue stream and strengthen customer loyalty.


Subscription models in e-commerce have more than proved their worth in enhancing customer retention. They offer convenience, personalisation, value, and even sustainability — four factors that can significantly influence customer loyalty. As an e-commerce founder, leveraging these models could open new avenues for growth and success for your business. The future is here, and it's subscribed.

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