Every year, the biggest names in the direct-to-consumer world get together at the annual Recur conference to discuss the state of the rapidly evolving recurring revenue space. At Recur, attendees can network with esteemed brands, gain valuable industry insight, and receive early access to the yearly “State of the Subscription Commerce Economy Report.” The Subscription Trade Association, our longtime partner, hosts the event.
In October 2019, OceanX was invited to speak at Recur as we are recognized as the gold standard for helping direct-to-consumer brands build and scale recurring revenue programs. Many of the world’s brands, such as Glossier, IT Cosmetics, and Proactiv, utilize our modern, high-volume fulfillment-only option or trust us to provide end-to-end e-commerce solutions. So we were the perfect fit for leading the discussion and kicking off this exciting conference!
I was joined onstage by Athletic Greens COO Ben Smith for our session, “The Keys to Subscription Success in Today's Complex Landscape.” As the first speakers, we kicked off the conference with a fireside chat in front of about 500 people. Here are a few of the key insights we shared that are relevant to companies looking to build and scale recurring revenue:
1. Customer relationships are everything.
Relationships are built on effective communication, and effective communication is a dialogue: You want to talk with customers, not at them. Don’t just advertise your business — develop relationships. Seek out customer feedback, ask about their obstacles and challenges, and show how you can help solve them.
Additionally, you must use technology and data to gather information regarding your customer’s pain points and preferences. Invest time into personalizing all aspects of your product, even the experience of opening the box, and you’ll develop meaningful lifelong customer relationships.
Strive to overdeliver whenever possible and create moments that exceed expectations. By delivering faster than anticipated or by adding extra perks to your subscription package, you show customers how much you value them and get them excited about doing business with you. That excitement is contagious and can turn loyal customers into your most valuable brand advocates.
2. Providing customers with flexibility is essential.
Businesses that rely on rigid processes are often unable to adapt to a changing market or competitive landscape. Inevitably, this gets in the way of growth and innovation.
Say you have only one mode of transportation for shipping: trucks. You may believe it’s the best way to ship your products, but other companies exploring new modes like drones may find something more effective.
Successful organizations don’t fight change — they evolve. Be willing to try new methods and processes even when the status quo seems perfectly satisfactory. If you’re open and on the lookout for new and better ways of doing things, then you’ll find them! And when you do, be bold and embrace the change. This courage will provide you an opportunity to grow and gain a competitive edge.
3. Optimizing operations for recurring revenue is critical.
Logistics are the lifeblood of a recurring revenue business. Your supply chain must be set up in such a way that allows you to deliver products on schedule and without issue. If your customers are primarily located on the East Coast, for instance, then that’s where your inventory and shipping team should be located.
Oftentimes, you’ll be tracking products from factories on the other side of the world through various ports and entry points. Making your supply chain as efficient as possible will allow you to reduce costs and deliver goods and services on time.
To be competitive in any direct-to-consumer recurring revenue business, you have to think through all the details of your process. Assess your shipping features, how you handle subscription fraud, the way your company is positioned in media, etc. Your process will ultimately make or break your business, so it’s crucial to refine it.
The recurring revenue space is booming with companies offering monthly subscriptions and digitally native brands with cult followings (e.g., Glossier). Look no further than your own monthly bank statement, and you’ll likely see recurring payments for a number of products or services that impact almost every part of your life.
The best recurring revenue companies — and the best companies in general –— understand their brands' purpose, what they need to be successful, and when and how to pivot. They develop and nurture meaningful customer relationships rather than focus on one-time transactional sales. If you zero in on two-way engagement and uncompromising service, your company will inevitably become one of the best.
Interested in learning more about launching and growing your recurring revenue business and building meaningful customer relationships through personalization? Read our whitepaper here.
OceanX specializes in large-scale personalized fulfillment in which the brand experience starts with 99.5%+ order accuracy and ends with customer surprise and delight during unboxing. We are optimized for product variability, order accuracy, speed of delivery, and — most important — quality. Because customer experience is our number one focus, many of the biggest direct-to-consumer brands (such as Glossier, IT Cosmetics, and Proactiv) trust us to deliver. With solutions that include a modern, high-volume fulfillment-only option or an end-to-end solution that combines order management (including subscriptions), personalized fulfillment, customer care, and rich customer analytics, we’ve got you covered!