4 Simple Churn Reduction Strategies for Your Subscription Box

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Churn is a measure of attrition – the rate at which you lose subscribers.

For a subscription business, churn is your main enemy. Actively reducing churn & keeping subscribers on for longer periods of time should be a core goal.

At times, though, it can feel like there’s nothing you can do to curb churn. Where should you start?

Below, you’ll find 4 strategies and 2 best practices related to churn. By starting to employ these, you can start to impact the churn of your subscription business.

Strategy 1: Create a Downgrade Option

From our research, the top reason subscribers cancel across ALL types of subscription boxes is because of “financial reasons.” If you’ve been in business long, you’ve undoubtedly run into this reason for canceling. It can be frustrating, to say the least.

Cratejoy Churn Reasons
Vague and seemingly uncrackable, not having enough funds can feel like a pretty unfortunate reason for a subscriber to cancel. They like your product, your brand, and are interested in what’s next, but they just can’t afford it.


And that’s why being able to downgrade subscribers to a less expensive option can be an easy way to prevent people from all-out canceling.

Here’s an example from a past business:

Subscription Box Downgrade Option

There are a few things to note with this strategy:

Make the price substantially low. The above example shows a “mini” at about 40% less the cost than the original.

Keep them unique in terms of value propositions. The retail value and total number of items should be noticeably different (for example, about 1/2 the price and 1/2 the number of products).

Make the packaging different. If your main box is large, make your alternative small. Maybe invert the design, or do something totally unique!

  • Perk: Using as small a box as possible can help you qualify for a lower USPS cubic shipping tier.
  • Double Perk: Occasionally, the mini box may be able to qualify for USPS First Class mail, assuming it is light enough. And that will save you $.

Communicate the new offering: This strategy also requires you to make sure your subscribers know the alternative exists and you present it as an option during the time of cancellation. Build it into customer support macros and make it clear on your site.

Strategy 2: Teasers

Another way to curb churn is to get in front of it by building interest for your upcoming boxes. One great way of doing this is including printed inserts of upcoming items in your box.

This can require a bit of planning, specifically in having your next month’s ideas planned out AND having something printed to put inside your box.

Here’s an example:

Credit to @YogiSurprise & @a__montoney__napolitano
Credit to @YogiSurprise & @a__montoney__napolitano

The strategy is pretty straightforward:

  • Get ahead with product sourcing by at least one product (this is what you’ll use for your sneak peek)
  • When you’re printing your current month’s packing list, choose your planned product and create a sneak peek card
  • Include all the value-driving details on your card: name of the product, retail value, description and picture

By including this in shipments that go to canceled subscribers – or in all your boxes – you can entice members and increase the likelihood that they stay subscribed.

Strategy 3: Monthly Sneak Peeks

Aside from in-the-box teasers, you can pique interest by showcasing monthly sneak peeks and teasers on social media, your website, and over email.

This can be a bit more ad hoc throughout the month, rather than getting ahead of sourcing and printing cards. As you source products throughout the month, try to decide which product (or set of products) would most appeal to your subscribers & list of leads.

You can share these in a few ways.

On Instagram:

Sneak Peek Example
And through email:

Email Example

Strategy 4: Membership Value-Adds

Another way to influence churn is to build more value into your normal memberships. To do this, look past what’s inside your box & what you might think your subscribers normally sign up for.

Some ideas might be:

  • Member-only giveaways or contests
  • Member-only access to extra features (like special content or private groups)
  • Compelling referral programs that allow members to access extras
  • Points or reward systems based on member actions (like reviewing products)

Depending on your box, think about how you can incentivize loyalty through extra value that resonates with your audience. For some, that may be additional financial value (like access to discounts or opportunities to earn free boxes). For others, it may be extra “digestible” value, like unique content or complementary add-ons to your normal box content (such as meal plans for cooking boxes, ebooks, guides, activity instructions, or recipes that come with items).

Best Practice: Welcome Back Coupons

Some subscribers will inevitably churn – but that doesn’t mean you can’t get them back!

One way to get them back is through coupons sent after they cancel.

Rejoin Example
For this method, make sure you maintain an active email list of churned subscribers. This doesn’t need to just be a single email effort, either! Put them through a lead nurture campaign that reminds them of your value, offers coupons, and invites them to connect with you on things like social media.

Best Practice: Gather Feedback

The best practice of “making a better product” might seem obvious, but gathering feedback and acting on it shouldn’t be overlooked.

In fact, as you improve your product (which you can track through feedback scores), there is a clear connection to LTV (customer lifetime value). See below:

Product Feedback

As customer satisfaction tracks higher (closer to 5), LTV dramatically increases. Customers who rate products as a 5 have over five times the average lifetime value. And by that, we mean the total revenue over the course of a member’s subscription.

Asking for feedback is also super simple. Here’s a guide to getting started with Cratejoy.

Keeping Churn Low

Keeping churn can involve using one, or all, of the above strategies. Have you tried any of the above? Are you employing different methods? Share them below!

For more information, check out our ebook on Churn Reduction for Subscription Boxes and watch our past webinar on Reducing Subscriber Churn.

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