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Blog/Ashvin Melwani Q&A: Maximizing Meta Performance for Subscription Brands

Ashvin Melwani Q&A: Maximizing Meta Performance for Subscription Brands

Ashvin Melwani Q&A: Maximizing Meta Performance for Subscription Brands

Ashvin Melwani is the cofounder and CMO of Obvi, one of the world’s fastest-growing health and nutrition brands. Since launching in 2019, Obvi has surpassed 250K customers globally while bootstrapping its way to $40m in sales in just 40 months. We sat down to discuss how subscription brands can maximize their Meta strategy.

Q: What do you see as the most important element or tactic to get a first-time prospective customer to convert on a subscription offer?

Ash: I think the subscribe and save model is dying. Most of the time brands are showing a 15% discount if they subscribe, but they also promote a 15% discount on their main pop up. So there really isn’t any incentive to hop on a subscription. 

What I do think brands need to do is offer value elsewhere. This can be in the form of free shipping on subscription orders, free gifts with subscription orders, or maybe even access to a private community for subscribers only. I have seen brands also outline certain things they unlock as they progress through their subscription and with Stay.AI a lot of this stuff is possible which is why we love working with this platform.

Q: Do you highlight subscription at all in your ads, or is that messaging saved for post-click? And how do you think about the full purchase journey as it relates to promoting subscriptions?

Ash: As of right now we don’t really highlight any mentions of subscriptions in our ads. The messaging in our ads are purely meant to target the right consumer and get them to our website. Then when it comes to landing on our website, that’s where we will do everything we can to sell the product and also give the customer an option for opting in to a subscription or not. We see brands force customers into a subscription and I don’t necessarily agree with this. If the product is good and the brand is relatable, people will naturally opt in if they see value. 

You can definitely use the tactics I mentioned before to highlight the benefits of subscribing on the first order but it’s not the end of the world. In fact I would be weary if you have too many people opt-ing into a subscription for their first order. It might mean you have too high of a discount that people are just taking advantage of. You may see this reflected by a high churn.

Q: Brands are seeing creative have a much higher impact on performance than targeting, calling creative the new targeting. How have you shifted paid social strategy alongside Meta’s constant platform changes and diversification?

Ash: Whether its a video or a static the main goal of our creatives is to do one thing and one thing only: make sure that I can get the RIGHT person to click on my ad and get to my landing page. Sounds obvious but a lot of people are still doing this wrong. They think Meta will do the heavy lifting for you and even while those days are gone, Meta still is king, you just have to give the algorithm better inputs.

Let’s take our static ads for example. Each ad has a massive headline on each one of them. Each headline has the job of attracting the eyeballs of the right person who we believe our product is the best fit for. If we’re able to get the right person to click and engage with our ad, Meta starts to see this as a positive signal and starts to show this ad to similar people. Now if those people start to convert on your landing page that’s an even better signal back to Meta showing them that this experience in general is a positive one and now they’ll start to optimize for the right audience and conversions.

So our entire creative strategy is based on getting the right people to our landing page and really optimizing our landing pages to increase conversion wherever possible.

Q: What unconventional strategies have you experimented with on Meta? Can you share examples of successful campaigns that utilized unique approaches that boosted conversions?

Ash: My whole approach when it comes to Meta, especially now a days, is to leverage Meta to amplify what’s going on in my business.

What I mean by this is I utilize cost caps in all of my campaigns. This allows me to set my target CPA and Meta will only deliver me results if they can hit this target. Now in order for me to scale my ad spend I need to focus on two things. My organic visibility for the brand and improving my conversion rate on my landing pages. If I can introduce TOF traffic and introduce net new eyeballs on my brand and generate that awareness outside of Meta, Meta can now leverage this data and amplify it further by funneling down these people to become buyers by showing them the right ad at the right time. I don’t have to rely on Meta to generate demand and awareness for my brand. This is where I think a lot of people waste their time and money.

The second point being CRO, if I can continuously improve my CVR and Revenue Per Session, I can afford to spend more and account for rising acquisition costs. I am not sure many people think like this but this has been my strategy in 2024. 

Q: Recently, you said that one of the easiest ways for brands to increase revenue by 10-15% would be to sell on Amazon. But for DTC brands that offer subscriptions, selling subscription on Amazon can cannibalize direct subscriber sales (on-site) and lead to 3rd party fees and smaller margins from your most loyal customers. That said, how can subscription brands respond to Amazon subscriptions? Is there a way to have the best of both?

Ash: If a customer decides to set up a subscription on Amazon vs your site you have to ask yourself one thing. Would that customer have bought from the website? For us we have seen an incremental lift of 10-20% every time we have products available for purchase on Amazon. If we are doing $50k in revenue per day on the website, and then we send some inventory to Amazon, we’ll start doing an additional $8k-$10k. There are customers who will ONLY shop on Amazon and I want to cater to those people. If I can prove there is incremental revenue, automatically I know that is incremental profit. No matter the margin difference, I do not believe there is cannibalization there! 

Q: What tips and tricks can DTC brands leverage today to maximize conversions and impact on Meta?

Ash: There are 3 levers every single operator needs to pull –

  1. Increase your creative pipeline. Assume that you will have a 10% hit rate on all the new ads you test. If you’re testing 10 ads a week, you can expect MAYBE 1 to hit. If you test 50 ads a week, your odds are finding a winner are way better. Some people may disagree and say they would rather work on 10 quality ads than 50 not so quality ads. To that I say, there is no possible way anyone can accurately predict what is going to work and not work when it comes to creative testing. So test as many things as possible. 
  2. Focus on CRO. Ad costs will continue to rise. It’s an inevitable truth. If you can increase your conversion rate and revenue per session on your website/landing pages at a higher rate than ad costs rise, you will always continue to win. Simple as that.
  3. Focus on Organic visibility. Work with influencers, build up your own social channels. Don’t rely on paid media to drive awareness for your brand. Use paid media to amplify what’s happening around you. It will make things much much easier for you.

Q: Last but not least, for new DTC brands vs. more established players, how would you allocate acquisition spending to maximize results and move toward breaking even / most quickly achieving profitability?

Ash: I think most brands should aim to be profitable on the first order. It makes life easier. If that means you grow a little bit slower than you’d like then the trade off is a cash healthy business with a solid foundation. If you want to grow quickly and would rather play in to a CAC to LTV model, then make sure you are looking a tight window for LTV. Don’t look at 2 years don’t look at 1 year, maybe look at 6 months but definitely start with 3 months. We cannot predict what the future looks like in 3 months. Macro headwinds, political issues, platform issues, etc. If you are relying on time to make your money back and you can’t guarantee that, then you may end up in trouble. Book the profit first in my opinion! 

Thanks for chatting, Ash!

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Blog/Rand Owens QA: Boost AOV with Subscription-Oriented CRO

Rand Owens QA: Boost AOV with Subscription-Oriented CRO

We sat down with our friend Rand Owens, VP of marketing at Nostra, to unpack all things CRO and dive deeper into optimizing your subscription-oriented CRO strategies. Nostra helps top DTC brands drive conversions and lower cost per click through faster site speeds. Learn more about Nostra here.

Q: In your experience, what are the most effective methods for an emerging DTC brand to identify areas of improvement on their landing pages and increase conversions across their marketing funnel? What key metrics do you prioritize in their CRO analysis?

Rand: Emerging DTC brands must harness the power of personalization and prioritize site speed to boost conversions. Analyzing user behavior through user testing and heatmaps will highlight opportunities to personalize the landing page experience. Segment your audience and tailor content, offers, and layouts to match their interests or how they found your site. This could mean highlighting related products, offering personalized discounts, or showcasing specific items relevant to their previous browsing.

Closely monitor crucial metrics like conversion rate, bounce rate, time on page, and page load time. This data will expose how well your landing pages convert and whether your personalization and speed optimizations are working.

Q: How do you approach funnel testing and CRO experimentation specifically within the context of subscription-based services, considering factors like trial periods, differed pricing models, and landing page customizations?

Rand: For e-commerce subscriptions, focus your funnel testing and CRO efforts on the subscription box or product page. Emphasize the value proposition of the subscription – highlight variety, personalization, and the potential savings over individual purchases. Experiment with different themes, product assortments, and introductory discounts to entice first-time subscribers. Flexibility is critical, so test variations in subscription lengths, the ability to skip boxes, and even levels of customization over the box’s contents. If gifting is an option, ensure a seamless gifting process and consider special promotions to encourage this type of purchase. Test upselling tactics to boost order frequency and average order value for subscriptions offering replenishable items.

Remember that visuals are crucial throughout your CRO experiments – invest in high-quality product photography and unboxing videos. Leverage social proof with testimonials and user-generated content specific to the subscription experience. You can even try incorporating a quiz to personalize the matching of visitors to the ideal subscription box for them. Ensure site speed is at its best, especially at checkout, as slowness leads to abandoned carts. Track key metrics like free trial conversion rate, churn rate, customer lifetime value (LTV), cart abandonment rate, and average order value (AOV) for a holistic view of funnel performance.

Q: Offering too many SKU options can lead to fewer conversions, resulting from choice overload. How can subscription brands strategically leverage product bundling to simplify decision-making and boost AOV?

Rand: Subscription brands can combat the overwhelming effect of too much choice by strategically implementing product bundling. Focus on curating bundles based on specific needs, use cases, or customer profiles. A skincare brand might offer an “Acne-Prone Skin Essentials” bundle, providing a complete solution rather than forcing customers to research individual products. Offer bundles in tiers (like Starter, Complete, and Premium) to appeal to different budgets and encourage upselling. For optimal results, strike a balance between curated bundles and flexibility – allow customers to swap specific items within bundles for a more personalized experience.

To further increase average order value (AOV), promote volume-based bundles or multi-packs for consumable goods with bulk discounts. Strategically cross-selling add-ons that complement the core subscription enhances the overall customer experience. Where possible, leverage AI and customer data to personalize bundles dynamically. This ensures that each shopper is presented with bundles that perfectly match their needs and preferences, boosting conversion rates.

Q: For a lean, early-stage DTC brand looking to optimize its main landing and product pages, what 2-3 funnel testing strategies would you recommend to boost CRO? Conversely, what 2-3 tactics would you recommend to a later-stage DTC brand that already maintains a steady pulse on CRO but is seeking to go a step further?

Rand: For early-stage DTC brands, I’d focus on –

  • Headline and Value Prop Clarity: Experiment with different headlines that clearly articulate your unique offering and core benefits. Test taglines that resonate with customer pain points, and ensure your hero image supports the messaging.
  • CTA Optimization: Test variations in your call-to-action copy (like “Buy Now” vs. “Start Your Trial”), as well as button color, size, and placement. For multi-step funnels, refine CTA wording along each step to encourage progression.
  • Social Proof and Risk Reduction: Strategically add customer testimonials, reviews, and trust signals (press logos, badges) near key CTAs. Emphasize free shipping, trial periods, and guarantees to alleviate hesitation.

While for later-stage DTC brands, I’d focus on –

  • Streamline Your Funnel: Identify potential areas to reduce friction—experiment with streamlining checkout steps, using lightboxes instead of separate pages or pre-filling form fields.
  • Hyper-Personalization: Leverage customer data for dynamic customization. Tailor page content, offers, and CTAs based on traffic source, location, device, past behavior, etc. Implement segmentation for targeted campaigns. Use AI tools for intelligent product recommendations and bundling suggestions.
  • Proactive Conversion Assistance: Test the use of a chatbot or proactive live chat assistance for hesitant users. Utilize exit-intent popups offering potential incentives on abandonment, and add elements like progress bars or “low stock” indicators to nudge hesitant shoppers.
  • Site Speed Optimization: For late-stage DTC brands, even milliseconds of delay can impact conversions at scale. Ensure your site is lightning-fast through image optimization, efficient code, and an Edge Delivery Engine. Tools like Google PageSpeed Insights can help you pinpoint areas for improvement.

Site speed is critical – every second of delay hurts conversions. Optimize your site with image compression and efficient code, and leverage a solution like Nostra. Nostra’s smart caching and global distribution network combat latency, the #1 reason shoppers abandon their carts. Nostra expertly deciphers what elements of your site should and should not be cached in order to make it the fastest on the internet without any embarrassing hiccups.

Remember:

  • Mobile-First Focus: Prioritize the mobile experience for both stages.
  • Never Stop Testing: Even early-stage DTCs should regularly revisit core elements as they scale.

Q: I like to end these conversations with a fun question. What is the most unconventional CRO strategy you’ve seen that’s had solid success?

Rand: Lush Cosmetics employs an unconventional tactic with their handwritten product labels. These labels, often including the name of the product’s creator and quirky descriptions, feel far less polished than mass-produced cosmetic labeling. This tactic effectively reinforces Lush’s handmade and natural brand image. The personalized touch and playful descriptions add charm, making the products and brand feel more unique and memorable.

While this strategy wouldn’t suit every brand, it perfectly aligns with Lush’s core values and target audience. This highlights how unconventional CRO tactics can boost customer engagement and conversions when deeply connected to a brand’s identity.

Thanks for chatting, Rand!

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Blog/Varun Kundra QA: Unlocking Post-Purchase Subscriber Revenue

Varun Kundra QA: Unlocking Post-Purchase Subscriber Revenue

We sat down with our friend Varun Kundra, co-founder of AfterSell, to unpack subscription-oriented upsell strategy and post-purchase optimization. AfterSell is a software that helps eCommerce merchants scale their stores to 8 figures and beyond with post-purchase upsells and more. AfterSell was acquired by Rokt in Feb 2024. Let’s dive in.

Q: For customers who have just purchased from a brand for the first time, what key moments, timing, or behaviors are most valuable in evaluating and sending them with a post-purchase offer? Are there any upsell or cross-sell strategies you find to be the most “sticky”?

Varun: Our post-purchase offers happen right after checkout, so we encourage merchants to trigger targeted offers based on what was purchased (or collection it was purchased from), cart value, country, and many other options we have available. We have seen merchants who have a deep understanding of their customer behavior, segments, and consumer psychology succeed the most. One of the surprising strategies that is really effective, especially for CPG brands is just to cross-sell more of the same product at a slight discount.

Q: For subscribers specifically, cross-sells and upsells are a great opportunity to integrate more of your brand’s product catalog into their regular routines, whether you’re selling a monthly beverage subscription, toothpaste, supplements, you name it. Do you have a specific strategy around targeting subscription-oriented upsells and cross-sells compared to other customers?

Varun: For sure! One of the things we find the most effective is upselling a one-time product to a subscription. We have been pioneering this with Obvi where we can replace one-time products with subscription both in checkout and immediately via post-purchase upsells. 

Q: In what ways can brands integrate various marketing channels (ie. email, social, retargeting ads) to maximize the effectiveness of post-purchase reactivation campaigns without fatiguing their customers?

Varun: With AfterSell, you can target upsells on the UTM level. This means you show different upsell experiences based on where your customers are coming from. For example, you may want to show a different experience to customers coming from your abandoned cart emails versus those that are returning customers.

Q: Let’s say I’m a new Digital Marketing Manager for a DTC food & beverage brand that does not currently implement any upsells or cross-sells. What would be the easy wins for me to immediately knock out to increase AOV?

Varun: The easiest win right off the bat is a post-purchase upsell with the exact same product the customer just purchased at a 10-30% discount. Offering “more of the same” works great for consumable businesses. If you are providing a sizable discount, you can even test having higher minimum quantities for the upsell. For example, get 20% off if you purchase 2 more packs.

Q: Now let’s say I’m the Growth Manager for a larger, more established DTC brand that already implements the usual post-purchase flows you just mentioned. How metrics and tests could I perform to best optimize and boost existing post-purchase conversion rates?

Varun: Various components can be tested to improve post-purchase performance. There are 3 main factors you should test to achieve the best results. I have included a couple of questions below to ask yourself when you are working to improve your upsell offers.

  • The product you are upselling: How expensive is the product you are offering in relation to your AOV? Does it fit well with the product the customer just purchased?
  • The offer: How much of a discount are you providing? How many quantities does the customer have to purchase to receive the discount? Make sure you are optimizing for the right metric. In many cases, you may want to optimize for product profit per visit (PPPV) rather than revenue per visit (RPV)
  • The layout and copy: Are you showing multiple products on your upsell page or only a single product? Are you using social proof, urgency, and exclusivity in your copy?

Thanks for chatting, Varun!

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Blog/Tiffin Q&A: Bridging the Attribution Gap with Effortless In-Store Offers

Tiffin Q&A: Bridging the Attribution Gap with Effortless In-Store Offers

Q&A with Tiffin from Aisle

Aisle allows brands to turn any marketing channel into an attributable, verified in-store purchase when customers text a photo of their in-store receipt to Aisle and receive a cashback reward within 24 hours. Brands can also leverage Aisle to retarget submitted customers with additional redemption reminders, winback flows, and more.

Tiffin, CEO and Founder of Aisle, sat down with our team to share his insights on how DTC brands can bridge the data attribution gap between DTC and retail. Let’s dive in.

Q: Thanks for chatting with us today, Tiffin! We’re stoked to hear more about what you and the Aisle team are up to. I’d love to know, what inspired you to create Aisle?

Tiffin: My boss back at Super Coffee would say ’Tiffin, you’re spending all this money on ads and you can’t tell me who’s buying in-store?’ After hearing that every day for two years you’re like, I’ve gotta solve this problem. We had no idea who our in-store shoppers were, we had no idea why they were buying, and most importantly, we didn’t know how to get them to rebuy. And if you think about all the tools that existed, all the cashback apps that tried to solve the problem of how to activate someone in-store, they didn’t work for two reasons. The first was user friction, and the second was that all of the current solutions weren’t built by people in the [ecomm] space. There’s no customer empathy.

Q: For brands that have traditionally kept their DTC and retail channels separate, why should these omnichannel players care about creating a bridge between the two in their overall strategy?

Tiffin: A lot of people will give you a much sexier answer and use lots more buzzwords, but very simply it’s because you can sell more units. I avoid using words like “connecting the online shopper and in-store shopper” or “omnichannel attribution” because at the end of the day, what matters is providing these brands an opportunity to sell more in-store because it’s going to be their retail and units per store per week that get them acquired. 

Aisle allows brands to turn any marketing channel into an attributable, verified in-store purchase when customers text a photo of their in-store receipt to Aisle and receive a cashback reward within 24 hours.

Explore Aisle’s Features

Q: Do you think a direct-to-consumer brand must have a retail presence to get acquired or to have a competitive edge, then?

Tiffin: I’m going to speak to what I know. When I was at Super Coffee, DTC was a nice accelerator and made revenue bigger, but at the end of the day, the questions we were being asked were ‘Did you sell in Walmart? Target? Sprouts? Did you sell in Middle America?’. DTC brands will win on the coasts, LA, NYC, but can you sell to Karen in Wisconsin who goes to church every Sunday? If she’s buying her stuff in-store and she’s buying your product, you have a much better chance. Look at Essentia Water which got acquired by Nestlé – they didn’t get bought because Patrick Mahomes talked about it on their Instagram. It’s because of the crazy volume they were moving at retail.

I’m the biggest believer in DTC, but ultimately, if you’re a consumable, you’ve gotta get into the big box retailers.

Q: Hypothetical: Let’s say your brand boosts spending on Facebook Ads, and you see a low ROI on the platform but a spike in retail purchases at the same time. On one hand, you could assume there’s some cause/effect relationship there, but at the same time there could be any number of other factors at play, like if there was a shift in end-cap displays or the sales team had a big week. With so many attribution factors to consider, how can brands develop a cross-DTC-and-retail attribution strategy that doesn’t rely too heavily on assumptions? 

Tiffin: Good question. For us on the DTC side, it’s very easy to point to something and attribute it, like changing a button on a PDP and then it converts better. But think about you as a grocery shopper. On one hand, you literally can’t assume because any number of things can change from store to store. Did the shelf packer display the product right? Were we on a store promotion? Was the product expired or even put out on the shelf? There are factors you can’t even begin to model there. Or even if your brand runs a Superbowl commercial and you run the ads based on zip codes and see a 20% lift – even then, you’re just guessing, right? There can be a legitimately limitless amount of stuff that influences retail success that I don’t even think it’s worth it. But the short answer is you can’t make any assumptions because they’re all wrong.

Q: So what you’re saying is that, in regards to retail, there are so many factors that you can’t possibly have a sustainable direct attribution model.

Tiffin: Exactly. With DTC you control every part of it, you can control what percent of traffic goes where, what percentage of the population that lands on your site will see this page, and more because you’re essentially the traffic director. You’re in control. But with retail, you just hope and cross your fingers. There’s some directional stuff, but beyond that, you’re just taking a guess.

Q: Where does Aisle step in to solve that attribution problem, then?

Tiffin: Verified purchase. We say hey, take a picture of your receipt and send it to us and get cashback. That’s proof that a person saw an ad, scanned a QR code, or clicked a widget on your website, put in their phone number, and now we know 1:1 where a shopper came from, right down to the ad placement. So the short answer is that instant verification from the rebate gives us the proof to 100% tell you where a customer came from.

When Meta provides incrementality lifts, I think that’s kind of like hocus pocus. For us, at any time we can export their transactions, which shows you the customer ID, when they converted, and what store they purchased at down to the zip code. So when brands overlay Aisle’s transactional data with store-level sales data like IRI, SPINS, or Nielsen, the connection is incredibly clear. There were no assumptions or hypotheses. Is it this person, yes or no? Is that data reflected in the units per store per week scan data?

Q: If a subscriber cancels their DTC orders but starts buying at retail, do you view that as a good, bad, or neutral thing?

Tiffin: I always like to put myself in the brand operator’s perspective. I’m going to say this is Tiffin coming from Super Coffee, not Tiffin from Aisle. I think Tiffin from Super Coffee doesn’t care, because at the end of the day, going back to units per store per week, that person might say I don’t need my subscription anymore but now is picking up a bottle a day at their local store. At the end of the day, revenue is comprised of wholesale, retail, DTC, etc. It doesn’t matter as long as that person continues to buy.

I also don’t believe in this whole death of DTC thing. DTC will still be here, people will still shop on Amazon. Shoppers are gonna want to buy where they want to buy. It’s just more convenient.

And customers like Karen in Wisconsin will probably have a higher lifetime value. She’ll be buying it every single day. People on average go to three to four different grocery stores whether per week, or per month, what people like is variety, but it’s still a habit. You want that person buying in-store because they’re gonna buy from you every single day. Right? Like me with some energy drinks that I love, all my energy drink brands, I drink them all the time, and I’m not buying them online, you know.

So there are a lot of brands that are running pop-ups that are like “Do you want $20 off online, or do you want a BOGO in-store?” They’re allowing users to pick.

Q: How can DTC brands use a solution like Aisle to keep subscribers retained or maximize the value of their digital subscription program without inadvertently losing them to retail?

Tiffin: I believe there’s a better chance of a customer going from DTC to in-store, I’m not sold on in-store to online yet. Right now it’s a one-way attribution channel. People will go from DTC to in-store but people in-store like in-store, they’re not going to DTC. We’ve had some brands give some crazy offers online, like 50% off, an amazing deal, and nobody takes it – because nobody needs four things of toothpaste. But to answer your question, we surprise and delight. Aisle can be placed right in their subscription portal and brands can offer a BOGO deal as a loyalty perk retention play.

The second thing is knowing that churn is going to be inevitable, so instead of waiting for them to churn, let’s give them another option and also track attribution. Let’s say someone is going to cancel because they have too much coffee, you don’t wanna offer them 15% off – they’re literally telling you that they have too much. Instead, let’s say hey, sorry about that, thanks so much for letting us know. Here’s a free bottle of coffee you can redeem in-store. Now, at least if the customer churns online, it’s because they wanted to buy in-store, and we know that because they converted on a surprise and delight offer

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Blog/Ashvin Melwani Q&A: The Keys to High-Scale Subscription Acquisition & Retention

Ashvin Melwani Q&A: The Keys to High-Scale Subscription Acquisition & Retention

We all know A/B testing promotional offers is critical for acquiring new customers in general, but what most brands don’t realize is that it’s just as critical for subscriber retention, too. We’ve seen it pay massive dividends for our brands on Stay.

Health & wellness brand Obvi is an awesome example of this strategy in action, and we were lucky enough to grab some time with their Co-Founder/CMO Ashvin Melwani to get some first-hand insight into their testing journey. Spoiler alert: they used promotion testing to increase their conversion rate by 85%!

Let’s dive into the interview.

Q: Thanks for the time today, Ash! Let’s jump right in. What are some of the most effective ways you’ve acquired new subscribers?

Ash: What we’ve done really well is showcasing the benefits of being on subscription: always 30% off, always free shipping, free cancellations, and free gifts. We’re also currently sourcing some more premium free gifts, and I think once we have that, giving a free gift at subscription will help increase the opt-ins a lot.

Q: What tactics are you using to reduce subscriber churn?

Ash: It’s been almost surprising how much offering a free gift or otherwise incentivizing someone to stay has been so effective. Offering free gifts where our biggest churn period was, from order one to two, helped us close that gap by like 85%.

“It was crucial getting customers past the second order to help us reduce churn risk and increase lifetime value. The ability to A/B test gifts and upsells throughout the subscriber journey allowed us to accomplish just that.”
— Ash Melwani, Co-Founder & CMO, Obvi

Read Obvi’s Case Study

Q: How do you determine what isn’t working for customers who do churn?

Ash: That’s with the cancellation surveys — and we discovered our top three biggest reasons for churning were 1) I can’t afford it, 2) I have too much, and 3) I don’t like it.

Q: What do you do to address customers’ price objections?

Ash: Price-wise, there’s a delicate balance between being able to offer a little bit more of a discount, because it has to financially make sense — and you don’t want to devalue the brand too much. The juice has to be worth the squeeze.

Q: Can we dig in deeper? How you decide whether or not to discount?

Ash: I think discounting is fine, but if you’re constantly seeing a 20%-25% discount, no one’s going to buy at just 15% off. You have to be careful with that. I’d rather do free gifts or some other value add. Plus, there comes a time when you also have to back up and say, ‘Is there enough value in this product to justify the price?’ and ‘Is the product attracting the right audience?’

Q: For customers who say they have too much product; what do you do to keep them?

Ash: You have to ask, ‘Is this a brand issue?’ Essentially, if you should be taking a product every day, why aren’t you? From there are you attracting the right consumer? And are we communicating the benefits well enough?

Q: And finally, for people who aren’t digging the product… what do you do there?

Ash: That’s not something you can address right away — but it is something you can deal with over time as a brand. That said, giving customers the option to swap flavors does give them the opportunity to, if they don’t like one flavor, try another one they might like better.

Q: Final question… Can you talk a bit about the importance of the subscriber experience?

Ash: When switching over from our previous provider to Stay, the biggest thing we realized was how important the customer experience really is. It affected so many other things. A better customer portal means less customer service inquiries, which means more time for quality answers for more pressing issues. So customer service in general has improved. Second, churn drastically reduces when customers can come in and find what they need on their own. And the final piece is personalization by customer segments — that’ll be our next big focus.

Ashvin Melwani is Co-Founder and CMO of Obvi, one of the world’s fastest growing health and nutrition brands. Since launching in 2019, Obvi has surpassed 250K customers globally, all while bootstrapping its way to $40 Million in sales in just 40 months. 

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Blog/Jess Cervellon Q&A: Building Great Subscription Experiences

Jess Cervellon Q&A: Building Great Subscription Experiences

So much of retention is about the customer experience — and when it comes to all things customer experience, Jess Cervellon is the queen. VP of CX at Feastables and a consultant on all things CX and retention, she’s got a LOT of thoughts on what differentiates the good from the great. Let’s dive in to our interview.

Q: Thanks for taking the time to drop some insight for us! Let’s just dive in with subscription acquisition. What tactics work best for turning one-off purchasers into subscribers?

Jess: What I’ve noticed working best is really emphasizing your subscription’s value props and utilizing user generated content to build that story.

Q: Can you give an example of what that looks like in practice? 

Jess: You have to communicate why consumers need your product on subscription and what they can do if it’s consistently in their home. A protein powder brand I work with leverages every piece of content in front of non-subscribers to tell the story of why they need the product in their pantry and how to use it regularly — whether it’s on Instagram, via email, whatever… not just on the PDP.

Q: Once a customer has subscribed, what’s the most important element of the experience from there?

Jess: You have to push consumers to go use the customer portal and service their subscriptions on their own. The two most important elements there: 1) Teach the consumer how to use the portal, and 2) remind them at regular touchpoints to manage every aspect of their subscriptions. You can have a dope experience, but if you’re not training your consumer to actually utilize that experience, it’s gonna go in the trash.

Q: Amazing. Final question: What’s the best customer experience you’ve had recently?

Jess: It was with Jolie Skin Co., the showerhead brand. I went into it wanting to have this on subscription because I wanted to just constantly change my filters and not have to think about it. But it just didn’t work for me. So I emailed them and asked to cancel the subscription. They were like, ‘Oh yeah, don’t worry about it, we refunded you and canceled — but don’t send it back to us, give it to a friend.’ Because of that experience, even though I churned out, I ended up referring them to several of my friends, who then referred to other people.

Q: Love that. It’s a great example of how powerful a good experience can be, even if it’s relatively simple.

Jess: Yeah, if you’re thinking about the experience with your customer, and what your customer would say to their friend to refer them to you, then you’re going to get customers who want to be with you. From an acquisition point of view, not even just with subscriptions but acquisition more broadly, if you have a dope experience, a customer — even if they don’t want to be your customer anymore — can still be a brand advocate.

Jess Cervellon, consultant and VP of CX at Feastables, helps businesses across a broad range of industries understand and improve the way they interact with their customers. She also co-hosts the Oopsie Podcast. Check out S2EP10, featuring our very own CEO and Co-Founder Gina Perrelli.

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Supercharge Your Subscription & Retention Strategy with Stay AI

We sat down with Tom and Kyle, Co-Founders of legendary agency PB+J, to gain their insights on all things subscriber acquisition, retention, and experience. Let’s dive in.

Blog/Team PB+J Talks 2023 Subscription Program Priorities

Team PB+J Talks 2023 Subscription Program Priorities

We sat down with Tom and Kyle, Co-Founders of legendary agency PB+J, to gain their insights on all things subscriber acquisition, retention, and experience. Let’s dive in.

Q: What are the biggest retention challenges for DTC brands in 2023? 

PB+J: Staying focused first on the value you bring to your customers. Everyone has retention goals right now, which is great and an important focus, but remember: your customers don’t buy to move your metrics. People buy to add value to their lives, and the byproduct of that value exchange is that your metrics move. It’s easy to lose sight of this (particularly if your brand is feeling the impacts of a gloomy market forecast.)

Q: How should brands be approaching turning a one-time buyer into a subscriber?  

PB+J: Three things. 1) Really – no, but actually – define and understand your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). 2) Nail the post-purchase fundamentals (flows, customer support, etc.) in a way that feels like you’ve read your ICP’s personal notebook and then went and designed the entire customer experience (CX) just for them. 3) Focus on the long term value, for them. Why should they hand over their credit card to be auto-charged each month? What sort of irresistible value are you providing to be included in their monthly budgets?

Q: What are some examples of compelling subscription offers or incentives to entice potential customers to subscribe?

PB+J: Porsche Drive, multi-vehicle subscription: At pb+j we love looking outside ecomm for inspiration. There’s loads to learn in ecomm for great fundamentals (just ask Stay). But if you want something that challenges your thinking of what it means to understand your ICP, to solve for service and pain points that go beyond conventional thinking, go learn about Porsche’s multi-car subscription program. And while we’re all trying to convince people to subscribe for $45/mth, they’re nailing it at $4500/mth.

Q: Could you tell us about the role of customer experience, and what you think are some best practices for enhancing the overall customer experience?

PB+J: “People buy emotionally and rationalize intellectually” — how many times have you heard this? CX is the driver of how people feel, how they associate, and ultimately why they chose to Stay (see what I did there?). Enhancing your CX? Start and end with your ICP. Don’t overcomplicate it: focus on doing the core things they need and value really well. Then, add in just a few memorable moments, and you’re on your way to designing like Disney. (Also a great CX exercise: how might Disney approach this moment?)

Tom Collver and Kyle Dutka are the co-founders of pb+j, a full-service ecommerce agency built by industry experts and focused on your unique customers. They help ecomm brands with everything from business, content, and growth strategy, multi-channel creative, tech stack planning and builds, and so much more.

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Blog/Momofuku’s Kyle Seebohm Talks Subscriber Acquisition & Churn with Stay AI

Momofuku’s Kyle Seebohm Talks Subscriber Acquisition & Churn with Stay AI

One of the keys to retention, especially in subscription land, is continually anticipating and answering questions your customers may be asking themselves, like, “What can I do with this product?” “Why should I keep using it?” “How can I get better results?”.

This is just one of the things our team talked about with Momofuku’s VP of Growth, Kyle Seebohm. The whole convo is a peek into how the brand is thinking about subscription as a part of their growth story. Check out the interview loaded with Kyle’s expert insights here.


Kyle Seebohm
 is Momofuku’s VP of Omnichannel Growth Marketing. He started his career in consulting, then in 2020 moved in-house to consumer brands with a growth role at Quay Australia. He’s built his career around key skills across acquisition, lifecycle marketing and retention, and is now putting those skills to work at Momofuku.


Q: Thanks for sitting down with us, Kyle. We love the Momofuku brand and watching it grow. Can you talk a little bit about the current goals for your subscription program?

Kyle: Our biggest goal is trying to understand where and how subscription fits in our lifecycle, and the best place to message it for customers. In other words, balancing between pushing customers to subscribe on their first purchase, versus after they know what products they like. 

Q: What have been your most successful sources of subscriber acquisition?

Kyle: The biggest growth driver so far is our buy box on PDPs, whether it’s customers shopping our site who see the subscription value prop, or they tried it in-store and we haven’t seen them online yet, or shoppers who came via word of mouth. We’re also pushing subscription in our post-purchase marketing flows for customers who’ve purchased 2-3 times, reminding them of our subscription value propositions.

Q: Once you’ve got the subscribers, how do you keep them engaged with your brand and products?

Kyle: Educating them from the start helps them know exactly how to get the most out of our products. That makes us better able to increase the frequency of use. We want to give them inspiration versus just the core use case of opening up the bag and cooking per the instructions. And if they know they’re going to be using it more frequently, and they can use it in all these different ways, that strengthens the value proposition for subscription.

Q: How do you approach reducing churn and keeping your customers subscribed?

Kyle: The biggest thing we can do is make sure every shipment and every touchpoint is a great customer experience. So, that includes the messaging before each and every shipment, reinforcing the value proposition, and making sure that the delivery and fulfillment experience is very smooth.

Q: You’re also using Stay’s RetentionEngine to help with churn; what have you learned since implementing cancel surveys?

Kyle: RetentionEngine reinforced that one of the big reasons why people churn is because they end up buying too much, or buying in retail. We’re an omni channel brand, and one of the biggest questions that we’ll be facing is where subscription fits into that — thinking of ways we can increase our subscription value propositions will be really important.

Q: Now that you’ve been doing this for a while, what would you tell other brands to look for in subscription platform functionality?

Kyle: I would start with the service aspect — finding a partner that you trust and is going to give you the support that you need. We’re a smaller team and didn’t have the capacity to do it all by ourselves. Stay helped immensely. That’s honestly probably first and foremost for me.

From the functionality standpoint, you need a partner that’s forward-thinking about big picture retention questions. There are a lot of newer players in the space, so there’s going to be a lot more functionality built out in the coming years. Make sure your partner has that strategic vision.

Finally, of course you need all the table stakes functionality of seamless signup experience, the seamless portal, being able to report and visualize, and churn mitigation tools.

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Supercharge Your Subscription & Retention Strategy with Stay AI

Blog/Good Peeps Founder Shray Joshi Talks Subscription, Retention, and Customer Experience with Stay AI

Good Peeps Founder Shray Joshi Talks Subscription, Retention, and Customer Experience with Stay AI

Q: What are you seeing as the biggest challenges for retention and loyalty right now? 

Shray: One – sone people people don’t have a good product. Second – brands too often think of retention marketing as ‘What’s the next plan to promote to our customers, and squeeze the juice out of the LTV of our customers?’ instead of ‘How do we use subscription and retention channels to educate and inspire consumers on how to use our product?’

Q: What are some of the ways you’re doing that with the brands you work with?

A lot of our brands have seen improvement in their retention marketing through communicating with consumers as if they’re talking to a friend, conversationally telling them about how they can use the product and how it fits into their life. We’re planting those seeds in their minds, then from there they can decide how much they need to use that product.

Q: Narrowing down into subscription, what are some of the most successful subscriber acquisition tactics you’ve used?

Shray: It depends on the product category. You’re not going to upsell someone on a subscription to pasta sauce on their first trial. People don’t buy products that way. So it’s more about how to convert a loyal audience into buying on subscription because they just naturally have that buying cadence. So that’s where we’ll lean in. 

Q: What about with a product that’s intended to be consumed more regularly? How does that look different? 

Shray: If it’s a product like Kaged, which is a supplement brand, those are products you can buy in a high frequency, monthly basis. Those consumers may just straight up buy their first time on trial with a subscription product because they see the value in having that product every day. You don’t necessarily need to do education on why this fits into your daily lifestyle. It’s more about why Kaged is the one that needs to be there. 

Q: So, what’s been working for you?

Shray: Our hack is rather than trying to force everyone into your subscription business, decrease the trial to entry in the easiest way possible. Then, based on how they engage with the product, we then give them custom solutions to see if they’re right for subscription. If they are, then we think about how to build this long-tail engagement with you so they’re getting the utility of the product they’re getting on subscription, they’re also getting the content they’re most likely to digest. 

If you do a good job of educating consumers while they’re onboarding, they can go tell their friends about this new thing that’s improving their lifestyle, and here’s all the education and data behind it. 

Q: Where are the sweet spots in the customer lifecycle to upsell a one-off purchaser into a subscription?

Shray: It’s related to consumption frequency. Lean your marketing into a week or two weeks before someone’s about to run out, so it’s not like you’re being like, ‘Hey, you just bought this, do you want to buy some more?’ but it’s later in the lifecycle of them using it. That’s when they’re more likely to be prepared to make a decision about whether they liked it or not. We have to ask them to buy again at the right time, versus just being greedy and missing the mark. 

Q: Do certain channels work better for this than others?

Shray: Email and SMS are the easiest channels for this, all day. We see some brands trying to push their subscription programs on organic social and it just feels weird. Email and SMS are the bread and butter.

Q: So, once you have the subscriber, what are the key things brands have to do to deliver a great experience? 

Shray: Here are the three biggest things for me.

First, customizability in that the customer is able to swap and edit and make changes. Our generation is inherently non committal, so don’t make it feel like I’m forced into this contract where you make it impossible to cancel or figure out how to interact with your platform. 

Second is customizability in terms of flavors and products themselves. I don’t want the same stuff every month all the time.

Lastly, ease of use: Ask if they want to skip or send to a friend; if they still want to cancel, ask why they’re canceling, then call it a day. I don’t need to figure out the Pythagorean theorem if I want to cancel my subscription.

Q: OK, last question! If a brand comes to you and says they have a problem with subscription churn, what would you do next?

Shray: First, we do a diagnosis of the deeper reasons. Is it that they have too much of the product? They’re not taking it enough? They didn’t like it? Is the intro offer so insanely messed up that now people never want to pay full price? Then we go about auditing from the acquisition strategy to the retention, and from an email onboarding perspective, to figure out what to do. 

The most common reason people cancel their subscriptions is because they’re simply not using the product enough or they just don’t want more of it because they don’t know why they need it in the first place. So we do a great job of bringing them into the brand universe — or the product universe, for something that’s a little bit more transactional — and getting them to use the product by educating them on that.

Huge thank you to Shray for spending time with the Stay team!

You can follow Shray on Twitter or LinkedIn – and click here to learn more about GoodPeeps!

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Supercharge Your Subscription & Retention Strategy with Stay AI