Growing a successful subscription eCommerce business isn’t easy. Luckily, you don’t have to do it alone. There’s an enormous range of tools out there built to automate elements of your business, streamline your processes, and give you all the visibility you need for success.

We’ve put together the ultimate toolstack for driving revenue and growth for subscription eCommerce businesses. Of course, you’re not just looking for new customers.

Success in the subscription box space depends heavily on your ability to extend LTV’s and hold onto your customers in the long run.

That’s why we’ve done the legwork for you and put together a collection of tools that can help you do just that. We only included tools that help serve as growth levers, with special focus on extending customer lifetime values and increasing subscription lengths.

Let’s get to it.

The Ultimate Toolstack for eCommerce Subscriptions:

Retargeting

Retargeting is basically the process of reconnecting with a consumer who interacted with your brand on some level, but chose not to convert at that time. Also known as remarketing, it works by aiming advertisements toward internet users based on their past history.

Repeat brand exposure is crucial to acquisition. You may have heard of The Marketing Rule of 7, which states that a prospect needs to hear or see the advertiser’s message at least 7 times before they’ll take action to buy that product or service.

Retargeting is a super easy way to get your message in front of people who’ve already shown interest in your product but weren’t quite ready to convert. Shoelace and AdRoll are two of the premier options on the market. Neither tool charges a monthly fee- instead, each charges a percentage of your total ad spend.

Reza Khadjavi, Shoelace’s CEO explained: “Shoelace’s unique approach to retargeting helps brands create ad experiences that evolve like a story and are tailored to where a customer is in their buying journey.”

Another note on Shoelace’s differentiation from the pack: They actually charge a flat monthly fee and don’t take a % of ad spend as it doesn’t make sense from a retargeting standpoint.

“It’s not about spending as much as possible but as right as possible to engage the audience without annoying them.”

Both Shoelace and Perfect Audience offer free trials with no setup fee, so getting started is a breeze.

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Both are highly respected companies, and if you’re interested in pursuing retargeting more fully it’s worth taking a look at pricing and trying out free trials of each to see which interface feels more comfortable for you.

Cart Abandonment

Nearly 70% of online shopping carts are abandoned before a sale is completed. Turning even a fraction of those abandonments into sales can have an enormous impact on your business- particularly if you can hold onto those customers for a few months of revenue.

CartHook is a premier tool for a range of eCommerce needs, including the ability to add slick post-purchase upsells to your checkout (no need to re-enter personal information) and features specific to subscription eCommerce businesses.

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Passive Churn

Failed payments are a huge revenue killer for subscription businesses, and it’s really a shame, because limiting involuntary churn is some of the lowest hanging fruit when it comes to churn reduction. It’s much easier to solve than active churn, (when someone is unsatisfied for any number of reasons and chooses to cancel).

Churn Buster gives you everything you need to automate and maximize the recovery of failed payments.

With a few clicks (and no code) you can run custom, branded recovery campaigns, utilize flexible card retry schedules to recover even more customers without email, get team slack alerts of high value account issues, and track improvements with detailed reporting.

Churn Buster helps you recover more failed payments than ever before, extending customer LTVs and increasing revenue. The best part, you’ll never pay more than what you make back — it’s always a positive ROI to work with Churn Buster.

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Churn Buster works with a variety of payment processors and platforms. If you’re using Shopify + ReCharge, you can use Churn Buster with a few clicks and no code. In a few minutes you’ll be recovering more revenue.

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Sales & Conversion Optimization

Smart conversion is a top topic in marketing right now, and with good reason. There have been huge advances in the ways that brands connect with their customers online and personalize engagement for optimum conversion rates.

JustUno analyzes and draws data from an enormous range of touchpoints to give you unprecedented insight on the customer journey. Not only that- Justuno creates accurate user profiles to help you move them toward conversion.

The platform offers a 14-day free trial, then starts at $25 per month for the simplest tier.

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Octane AI, on the other hand, focuses heavily on Facebook Messenger as a tool for connecting with customers and increasing conversion rates. From pop-ups that build engagement on Messenger to automated follow-up messages and creative ads, Octane AI can revolutionize the ways that you communicate with your customers.

The platform offers a 30-day free trial, with the Basic plan starting at $9 per month.

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These two services actually integrate with each other, so you don’t necessarily have to pick just one as you grow your eCommerce subscription company.

Referrals

There’s no better advertisement than the recommendation from a fellow consumer.

As Katelyn Bourgoin, 3X founder and customer research specialist put it, “I think one of the common myths in the retention vs. acquisition debate is that acquisition is the *always* the best growth lever. Of course acquisition is a critical driver, especially in the early days, but studies show that referrals are still one of the best growth channels.”

Referral Candy lets you set up customer rewards for customers that complete referrals, with plenty of tools along the way to engage them.

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From post-purchase pop-ups to referral widgets and embedded signup forms, you can easily brand each element and craft your messaging for maximum impact.

Referral Candy offers a 30-day free trial. From here, pricing starts at $49 per month, plus a tiered commission rate that falls as you make more sales.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing has seen an explosion of growth over the past several years, and it’s one of the absolute best ways to build an audience and connected with like-minded consumers.

Rewardful tracks commissions, referrals, and discounts, and syncs directly to Stripe so you can control your whole affiliate program in one simple place. Rewardful boasts a quick 15-minute set up so you can have your whole program up-and-running in the time it takes to drink a cup of coffee.

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The program offers a two week free trial, then starts at $19 per month.

Refersion offers a similar feature set, but with a huge focus on customization. That said, the set up time is generally quick and unlocks a massive range of tools and advanced analytics.

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Refersion starts at $89 per month.

Loyalty Programs

Repeat business is the lifeblood of eCommerce, and it’s also the defining characteristic of subscription box companies. So what if there was a toolset built specifically to bring customers back again and again?

Founded in 2011, LoyaltyLion is built to reward customers throughout their journey with you, as well as re-incentivizing and re-engaging at-risk customers.

It’s super easy to incentivize referrals, reviews, and social media activity, building up a loyal fan base for your brand. LoyaltyLion is also well known for the advanced analytical tools it offers.

LoyaltyLion offers a limited free version, and from there pricing starts at $159 per month.

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Smile.io allows your turns casual customers into dedicated fans of your brand with points, VIP programs, and rewards for referrals. From discounts to free products and free shipping, you can earn the loyalty of your customers in a range of ways, all from a single streamlined dashboard.

Smile.io offers a basic free plan, as well as a Starter tier that costs $49 per month with room to grow into more advanced plans.

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Email Marketing

Email is a cornerstone of digital marketing. After all, it’s a way to connect with customers directly in their inbox without the noise and distractions of the rest of the web.

Klaviyo is a full-service digital marketing platform offering a huge range of tools to grow your business over time, including powerful email features and a strong Facebook integration.

Need to target specific parts of your base? Klaviyo is built to segment audiences down to a minute level of detail, so you can target your marketing to the needs and desires of a huge range of customers.

Klaviyo is free for up to 250 contacts, and starts at $20 per month from there.

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ConvertKit focuses hard on email marketing, from bringing in your initial leads to growing them into repeat customers over time with personalized email drips. Customizable opt-in forms are easy to brand and embed, with tons of detailed analytics to give you visibility into customer behavior.

If you’re ready to take your email marketing to the next level and want a single, focused tool, look no further.

ConvertKit starts at $29 per month for up to a thousand subscribers.

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List Building & Acquisition

Pop-ups have gotten a bad name over the years, but they don’t have to be invasive or irritating. Done right, they’re a way to prompt potential customers to take specific actions without disrupting their experience of your site.

OptinMonster and PixelPop are great tools to help you build your list without frustrating your customers.

OptinMonster allows you to quickly and easily create stylish, branded pop ups with some serious smart technology behind them. Geo-Location targeting lets you focus your pop ups based on user location, opening up a whole new realm of possibilities for messaging.

OptinMonster also has powerful tools to detect when users are about to leave a site and hit them with a targeted campaign.

OptinMonster starts and $19 per month.

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Part of the broader PixelUnion platform, PixelPop integrates seamlessly with both Shopify and BigCommerce. Pixelpop comes with a range of free themes that make it easy to craft stylish, engaging messaging, even without a background in design. For ease of use, it’s hard to beat.

PixelPop is free for up to 500 views a month, with a Starter plan that clocks in at $12 per month.

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Social Media Management

Social media is a key way to connect with your customers and build your audience, but maintaining a strong social presence can quickly become overwhelming without automation. We’ve collected some of our favorite tools for scheduling posts across your different platforms.

The Hootsuite dashboard is possibly its most distinctive feature. Combining all of your different social media platforms into a single feed, it’s a great way to get a bird’s eye view of your social strategy.

Hootsuite offers a free plan, which can be great for small operations with a single person working on social media, with the next tier up coming in at $29 per month.

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Buffer is an incredibly simple, streamlined solution for social scheduling. Like Hootsuite, you can access limited functionality for free, and this can be enough for smaller businesses. The paid plans start at $15 per month.

Because it is affordable and simple, the general consensus seems to be that Buffer is the best option for businesses with limited social media needs.

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Edgar is probably the most unique of the three because it’s built around a model focused on automation. Essentially, when you get started with Edgar you build up a content library and segment it into a range of different posts.

From here, Edgar starts cycling through your content over time, meaning that anything you input can become evergreen without any extra work from you. Of course, you can also schedule one-time posts as well. Currently, the service costs $49 per month.

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eCommerce Subscription Analytics

The sheer amount of data involved in an eCommerce subscription business can be daunting. Let’s talk about a couple tools that collect it all into a single place and give you all the information you need to run your business from a data-driven perspective.

Glew offers a huge range of analytics in a single, professional dashboard; ranging from specific products, to the overall performance of all your different channels.

One particularly exciting feature offered by Glew is the daily snapshot of your business, sent at 7 a.m. every day to keep you hip and up-to-date with every aspect of your operations.

Glew starts at $199 per month for companies with annual revenue under $1M.

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Founded in 2014, ChartMogul is a more recent addition to the eCommerce space, but comes with a range of powerful tools to grow your business over time.

Integrating with Stripe, PayPal, Braintree, and a huge range of other applications, ChartMogul has everything you need to both streamline and understand your business analytics.

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ChartMogul is free for up to $10,000 MRR. From there, the cost is $25 per month per $10,000 MRR.

It can be intimidating looking through the vast range of subscription box tools on the web. Don’t get overwhelmed. List out the lowest-hanging fruit you can address ASAP. Spend some time digging into your specific needs and your budget, and explore a few free trials along the way.

You got this, and you don’t have to do it alone.

Kristen DeCosta

Author Kristen DeCosta

Kristen is dedicated to educating companies and founders on the importance of customer retention and the dangers of ignoring churn. When she's not busting churn and crafting content, you can find her hiking a mountain or playing with her three rescue pups, Cooper, Tobi, and Finn.

More posts by Kristen DeCosta

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