We sat down with Shray Joshi, Founder and CEO of Good Peeps, to get his pro tips on all things subscription & retention – and you’re going to love this one.
After years working in-house with brands like Cha Cha Matcha, SIMULATE, and Health-Ade, Shray made the jump to start his own agency. He currently works with some of the fastest-growing brands in the CPG industry – like Feastables, Chamberlain Coffee, Fly by Jing, and more.
Let’s dig into his insights on subscription, retention, and the customer experience.
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.