To stand out, your subscription program has to do more than just ship exceptional products every month. That’s table stakes. Today, you have to build a narrative — an experience — filled with benefits and surprises.
That’s why weaving surprise and delight moments into the subs experience is so effective at fostering a community of loyal, enthusiastic subscribers.
Whether you’re crafting memorable birthday surprises or offering exclusive previews of upcoming launches, each tactic takes a step toward a richer and more rewarding subscriber experience.
Ready to elevate your surprise and delight tactics? Let’s dive in.
12 Unique Strategies for Surprise & Delight
1. Anniversary Rewards
Celebrate the anniversary of when a customer first subscribed, or a certain amount of time on subscription, with a bonus item or exclusive discount. It’s not just a celebration of their journey with your brand, but a token of appreciation that emphasizes their value to your community.
Brand Featured: Harmless Harvest
2. Product Samples
Launching a new product? Send samples to select subscribers for free to build anticipation among some of your most loyal customers. Then get their feedback before the big reveal — their insights could prove invaluable.
Brand Featured: Moon Juice
3. Birthday Surprises
If you have information on your subscribers’ birthdays, send them a special treat or discount during their birthday month. Birthdays are so personal, and recognizing them is a sign of genuine care. This personalized gesture helps make them feel seen, and adds a spark of delight to their festivities — with your brand name on it. Brand Featured: Beekeeper’s Naturals
4. Exclusive Event Invitations
Organize VIP events for your subscribers where they can fully immerse themselves in your brand’s world. It could be an online masterclass, a behind-the-scenes tour, or any other exclusive invite-only event. These exclusive experiences enrich their connection with your brand and give them stories to share, turning them into passionate brand advocates.
Brand Featured: Surely Wine
5. Surprise Add-On Discounts
Send a surprise discount on a product complementary to something already in their upcoming shipment. It could be an accessory, a product enhancement, or a newly launched item they’ve been eyeing.
Brand Featured: Lifeboost
6. Limited-Edition Merch
Sometimes, the joy is in the unexpected. Produce a small batch of limited-edition products or merchandise (like branded tote bags or mugs) and surprise loyal subscribers with them. These tangible tokens of your appreciation foster a sense of exclusivity and privilege and launch more opportunities for subscribers to share positive word-of-mouth.
Brand Featured: Aura Bora
7. Referral Rewards
If a subscriber recommends your service to a friend and that friend subscribes, that calls for a celebration! Surprise both of them with a unique reward or bonus item, and encourage that culture of sharing and recommendations.
Brand Featured: Clevr
8. Access to VIP Content
Give subscribers first access or sneak peeks to brand content. Especially effective for celebrity-backed brands, this inside look could include interviews, workshops, or first looks at new campaigns.
Brand Featured: Wine Folly
9. Subscriber-Only Products
Develop products or merchandise that’s not for sale, but offered exclusively to your VIPs. This elevates the exclusivity factor and makes subscribers feel like a special part of a group. Every time they use these exclusive items, it reaffirms their value to your brand, potentially making them even more enthusiastic advocates.
Brand Featured: Aura Bora
10. Early Product Access
If a new product is launching or an old favorite comes back in stock, let subscribers be the first to know (and even buy). This gives you a way to start building excitement among your loyal customers, and gives them a feeling of being valued and trusted as part of the brand’s journey.
Brand Featured: SNOW Oral Care
11. Holiday Specials
Leverage those silly or lesser-known “holidays” to add a touch of excitement. Whether it’s National Chocolate Day for a food subscription, or World Sleep Day for a health & wellness brand, tailor these days with unique bonuses or features. This not only adds a touch of fun, but also provides an unexpected moment of delight.
Brand Featured: Clean Skin Club
12. Occasional Free Product
Keep subscribers engaged and loyal with the occasional freebie in their subscription shipment. These little surprises break the monotony and foster a continued sense of anticipation and delight.
Brand Featured: Funk It
Looking to boost your subscription retention rate, or provide a top-tier subscriber experience? Stay Ai’s out-of-the-box tools are designed to boost your subscription revenue, while delighting your VIP customers.
Just click Get Started below to chat with our team of subscription & retention experts.