Subscriptions are out, Refills are in

January 17, 2024

Subscriptions are out

Let’s just abandon the idea of subscriptions entirely. They’ve been milked to death and their reputation is all but destroyed.

Refills are in

Let’s start again with something totally new: refills. Here are the four golden rules:

1. Always give options up-front

Selling something? Great. Want to offer repeat purchases? Great.

Give both options.

2. Give warning

Always give at least 24 hours of notice that a refill is coming up. Don’t make it a surprise when your product is delivered to someone who doesn’t necessarily want it any more.

3. Make it easy to skip or cancel!

This is the crucial part. Always give the opportunity to skip. Don’t hide away from it. Don’t trick people into paying for something if they don’t want it this month. Just be honest with them.

4. Sell the refill later

Why force a subscription on a first-time customer who’s never tried your product, and hasn’t built up any trust in your brand?

Better to give them a chance to try it first, then give them a great offer on an automatic refill. If your product is amazing, it will sell itself.

Does it work?

We’ve been testing all of this at OneText, and yes, it works. Email me if you don’t believe me.

Swathes of people who were completely unwilling to set up a subscription, are more than happy to agree to do refills. We don’t have to guess why; they come out and tell us directly. It’s because:

  • It’s completely optional to set up
  • They always get 24 hours’ notice before the refill happens
  • They always have the opportunity to skip or cancel

Does this result in slightly more people skipping their repeat purchases every month? Sure. Because you’re no longer forcing them.

The upside is worth it though. You end up with way more people willing to try out an automatic refill in the first place — coupled with an exponentially larger amount of trust in your business.