The Ultimate Subscription Business Glossary

When it comes to launching your subscription business, there are tons of terms you’ll need to become familiar with. Every department, from procurement to customer support, has it’s own set of acronyms, formulas, and terms that when understood, help you better communicate your ideas and execute on operations.

This glossary should help you decode the terminology of subscription businesses. Confused about what a CRM is? Curious how to calculate LTV or ARPU? Find concise, accurate definitions all in one place, easily sortable by alphabetical order, department, or even formula.

The glossary focuses on common terms used across your subscription business:

  • Marketing: Learn about things like customer acquisition cost, conversion rate, and niche.
  • Customer Support: Common terminology used in customer support platforms.
  • Procurement: Terms used when identifying, purchasing, and organizing product for your subscription box
  • Operations/General: General business terms and commonly used in operational tasks
  • Financial: Key financial terms and formulas, useful for cash planning and understanding the financial nature of subscription businesses
  • Shipping: Useful terms to know when dealing with postage and organizing shipments
  • Packaging: Includes definitions around custom packaging and product development
  • Content: Online content oriented terms, including definitions relating to SEO and blogging
  • Cratejoy Specific Terms: Quick definitions of some of the regular words you’ll see on your Cratejoy dashboard and throughout your store
Word Definition Department Formula
A/B Testing Also called “split testing.” A/B testing is the process of comparing two different versions of a webpage to see which performs better. Both variants (A and B) are live, and are shown to visitors at the same time with the goal to determine the better conversion rate. Marketing
Active Subscriptions All subscriptions that actively are shipped boxes and rebilled. CJ Term
ARPU Average Revenue Per User (ARPU). A measurement of revenue in terms of subscribers in a given period of time. Financial Total Revenue / Number of Subscribers = APRU
Automation Automations take action to modify ticket properties at a specified time after a ticket is updated. Customer Support
Average Daily Growth The average rate at which you add customers. Financial
Average Duration Average number of period customers stay subscribed to your business. Financial Duration = 1 / Churn
Average Subscription Average # of days active for a subscriber. CJ Term
Best Practice Best practices are procedures or actions that are considered the most effective or most correct way of doing things in a business or organization. General
Box Manufacturer A third-party vendor who produces custom packaging for your subscription service. Packaging
Brand A psychological and emotional understanding and perception of a company by customers. The “intangible sum of a product’s attributes.” Marketing
Bulk Process or Operation An action that affect multiple orders or customers at once, such as marking shipments as shipped. Operations
Call to Action Instruction to a viewer to perform some specific action, such as “Sign up” or “Join today” or “Share this post.” Marketing
Cancelled Subscriptions that have been cancelled. Used in Cratejoy dashboard. CJ Term
Churn Rate at which customers cancel their subscriptions each month. Also known as Attrition Rate. Financial
Closing the Box Phrase used when monthly procurement and/or variations have been finalized. Procurement
CMS An acronym for Content Management System. A platform to host and manage your website for non-technical users. Examples include Cratejoy (for subscriptions) and Word Press (for blogging). General
CoCA Cost of Customer Acquisition (CoCA). Total cost to acquire a customer as a subscriber. Marketing CoCA = Marketing Costs / Total Customers Gained
COGS Cost of Goods Sold (COGS). Sum of product cost and fulfillment cost. Financial Product Cost + Fulfillment Cost = COGS
Cohort A related segment or group within an audience that are separated for analysis. General
Color Psychology The study of how colors and hue affect human behavior and emotion. Marketing
Commission A fee paid to a affiliate or advertiser, usually calculated in %s or flat rates (such as $5 commission per customer). Marketing
Conversion Rate The rate at which consumers subscribe to your service once they hit a specific page. Marketing
Coupon Any discount or code provided to customers for a special offer. Marketing
CRM Stands for Customer Relationship Management. For procurement, a CRM is used to keep track of contacts and schedule emails/follow-ups to aid in product sourcing. Procurement
Culture A set of behavior, actions, and beliefs that define a group of people or company. Can be used as “Company Culture,” which references the standards, mission, and best practices of a company. General
Curation Curation is the process of carefully selecting products for your subscription box, traditionally around a monthly theme or focus. Procurement
Current “Current” shipments are open shipments that require shipping for the current period. Shipping
Custom Domain A unique domain or URL used for your website, such as “” General
Customer Experience Customer experience is the sum of the interactions between your company and your customer over the duration of your relationship. General
Customer Support Platform A third-party service that provides a system to organize and execute customer relationship management tasks, like answering emails, phone calls, or other requests from customers. Customer Support
Cutoff date The cutoff date is the last day for your customers to subscribe to your box. Marketing
Delivery Confirmation A service provided by a shipping carrier that informs you of the time and date your package is delivered. Shipping
Expired Subscriptions that have expired due to payment failing over a 10 day period. CJ Term
FAQ An acronym for Frequently Asked Question. FAQ Pages help empower the customer by providing resources and answers to common customer inquiries. Customer Support
Financial Planning A comprehensive review of a business’ financial state, including analysis of core financial metrics, like Cost of Goods, Average Revenue per User, and Churn or Attrition rate. Financial
Fulfillment Center A third-party vendor who accepts deliveries and provides a workforce to package your products in your subscription box. Fulfillment
Fulfillment Cost The total cost of packing and shipping a shipment to a customer. This includes postage and packing costs (ie. fulfillment center or labor). Financial Postage Cost + Packing Cost = Fulfillment Cost
Gamification The act of gamifying or adding game-like elements to your business or a feature of your business. For example, providing tiers, points and/or prizes for referrals or product reviews provided by customers. Marketing
Gross Profit Total profit after COGS is subtracted from your revenue. Financial Revenue – COGS = Gross Profit
KPI An acronym for Key Performance Indicator. KPIs differ from department to department, and are core metrics that help define success or failure for operations. Examples include CoCA, Average Ticket Response Time, and Replacement/Damaged Box Rate. General
Launch Page A single page used during a prelaunch campaign to gather presubscribers and early adopters. Usually contains a single call to action, like subscribing to a wait list. Marketing
Lean-Testing Refers to the process of testing assumptions while maintaining the lowest possible cost to the business. Marketing
LTV Lifetime Value (LTV). The gross revenue a customer generates over the life of their subscription. This is the average dollar amount a customer spends on your product over time. Average across customers for an average LTV (Sometimes referred to as Customer Lifetime Value, abbreviated as CLTV). Financial ARPU * Retention = LTV
Macro A message and/or set of actions that is applied with a single click. Customer Support
Meme An easily sharable or “mimic-able” piece of content, usually in the form of a photos, that spreads quickly on the internet. Marketing
Mission/Mission Statement The formal values, aims and purpose of a company. The business goals and philosophy. General
Momentum The force that keeps your growth moving forward and upward. Momentum describes the nature of the growth of your business – for example, more momentum means faster growth. Marketing
Net Profit Total profit after working expenses not included in Gross Profit have been subtracted. (Sometimes referred to as Net Income, Net Earnings, or Bottom Line). Financial Gross Profit – All Other Expenses = Net Profit
Niche A small, identifiable, and easily definable set of particular interests or needs. Marketing
Organic Traffic Visitors who come to your website via search engines unpaid search results. Marketing
Past Due Subscriptions where the most recent payment has failed. Used in Cratejoy dashboard. CJ Term
Payment Processor A third-party assigned by a seller (you) to handle transactions from various channels, such as debit and credit cards. Cratejoy offers access to several of these processors. Financial
Period Churned Customer Number of customers lost during a specific period. Includes Cancellations and Expired subscriptions. Financial
Period Total Active Subscribers Total number of subscribers that were active during a specific period of time. Financial
Positioning Where your product stands in the market and in the mind of the consumer in
relation to other brands.
Power Editor A ad campaign and ad set manager used in Facebook advertising. Marketing
Prelaunch The early phase of launching a product, before it reaches market. Involves beta-testing and consumer feedback to sure-up product offerings. Marketing
Price Sensitivity How the price of a product affects consumers’ purchasing behaviors. Differ from product to product and from consumer to consumer. Marketing
Printing Die/Die Cut A large cutting tool used to shape your packaging from a sheet of cardboard. Packaging
Printing Plate Used to transfer images onto paper or cardboard. Similar to a large rubber stamp. Packaging
Procurement The operation of sourcing, purchasing, and ordering products to be included in your subscription box. Procurement
Product Cost The total cost of all products in a shipment to your customers. Includes cost of products, tissue paper, and any additional inserts. Financial
Rebilling Rebilling is the practice of renewing active subscribers on a set time table. Your monthly “rebilling” is the date at which your renew all your subscribers. General
Referral The action of acquiring new customers through referrals made by existing customers or brand evangelists, usually through word of mouth. Relates to Customer Referrals and Referral Programs. Marketing
Retained Profit The profit you make every month from the subscribers you’ve already acquired. This is the profit realized from your built in subscriber base. Financial
Retention Rate at which customers remain active with subscriptions on a monthly basis. Financial
SEO An acronym for Search Engine Optimization. Related to strategies and methods to increase the amount your website is seen on search engines “organic” and unpaid search results. Content
Shipment Any order that requires shipping to a customer. Shipping
Shipped A shipment that has been successfully shipped to a customer. Shipping
Skipped Subscribers that have skipped their upcoming renewal date. Used in Cratejoy dashboard. CJ Term
Social Marketing Using social media to market your product or service to potential customers. Included normal activities on social media as well as paid advertising and sponsored posts. Marketing
Social Presence A brand or company’s activity on social media, including how often they post, interact with users, and proactively make touches via social tools (likes, follows, etc). Social Media
Subscribe Flow The subscribe flow is the steps by which customers become subscribers. It is the process that leads to a completed sign up, marked by first experience, investigation, and ultimately subscribing. Marketing
Target Audience A specific group of people served by a product or service. The intended group targeted by marketing campaigns. Also called Target Customer. Marketing
Template A file or document that serves as a starting point for new projects. These include premade work or formatting that helps reduce workload overtime. Design
Ticket An email that is managed via a Customer Support Platform. Customer Support
Transactional Email Transactional emails are based on specific actions (or inaction) taken by the customer, and are usually automatic and not ‘bulk’ type messages. Marketing
Trigger Triggers automatically perform and action when a ticket is created or a ticket status updated. Customer Support
Value Proposition A promise or selling point used with vendors or consumers. Marketing
Variations Variations are different builds for your subscription box, defined by different products. For example, you may offer one subscription plan, but provide variations in products, where subscribers received different items in their boxes. Procurement
Vendor A third-party who provides goods for your subscription box. Procurement
View A filtered collection of tickets based on specific parameters set by the users. For example, views may illustrate tickets of certain age, type, tag, or assigned agent. Customer Support

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