Subscriptions in Action

Big Cartel recently launched a beta version of a new feature: Subscriptions allow your biggest fans to make a monthly contribution to your shop, helping to sustain your business with a monetary show of support. Beta means that this feature is still being built and refined, so early adopters may influence where we go from here. We’re excited to see how folks are using Subscriptions. Here are some shops that caught our eye:

Paula Kirkwood

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Paula Kirkwood creates quality leather bags and accessories that are made to last. She keeps her subscription page pretty simple: offering a VIP discount code and thanking subscribers for their support. It’s a manageable way to reward subscribers, and makes it clear that this contribution is primarily a gift to the shop owner.

A discount code is a great way to reward your loyal customers (that’s who is most likely to subscribe, after all!) but you may want to change up your codes on a semi-regular basis. Subscribers may leave over time, or a code may end up in an online database, making it a little less exclusive to those actively helping you out each month.

Takeaway tip: If you’re offering perpetual discounts to subscribers, switch up the code once in a while to keep it exclusive, and to have a reason to reach out and stay at the top of their mind.

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Black Coffee Worship

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Black Coffee Worship roasts coffee beans meant to be enjoyed the most metal way: black. Their subscription page is intended for their most die-hard fans: the folks who always want a bag of BCW beans on hand. Subscribers can access a monthly delivery of their favorite blends when they commit to a specific monthly contribution.

If you decide to ship out items on a recurring basis, explain this carefully on your subscribe page. Make sure to mention the price for the subscription delivery (including shipping costs), because supporters can select any amount when they sign up.

Takeaway tip: If you’re shipping items to subscribers, make sure to mention the minimum amount per month they’ll need to pay to receive recurring product.

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Subscribe

Soul Haven Mama

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This watercolor artist depicts the sweetest animals you can dream up, and she keeps her Subscribe page simple. There are no rewards for subscribers, beyond the knowledge that they’ve lent a helping hand. Her added explanation that you’ll “help me replenish my art supplies” makes it clear that this is a way to support, not a way to purchase.

This shop uses the Subscriptions feature exactly as it was built, without any added complications. Emily’s edit to the default copy gives it just a little more personality and clarity, in a way we think works well.

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Subscribe

Brandy Bingham

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Brandy Bingham’s copy writing is as fun and friendly as her pins and stickers, so it’s no wonder that she nails a friendly intro to her Subscribe page. Like Soul Haven Mama, she’s using the Subscribe page as an opportunity for people to make no-strings-attached recurring donations to keep her shop going.

We love that Brandy describes this feature as a tip jar. It’s a reference that her US-based audience will immediately understand: a way to show appreciation, with the money going straight to the person doing the work.

Takeaway tip: Even if you’re not doing anything too fancy, take the time to customize your Subscriptions page, connecting with your audience and helping them understand what their subscription will mean for your business.

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Subscribe

Ready to give Subscriptions a try for your own shop? Here’s a recap of what we learned from these shops, so you can put your best foot forward:

  • For a special subscriber discount, change the code occasionally to keep it exclusive, and contact supporters with the updated code to stay in their mind.
  • If you’re shipping items to subscribers, tell prospective subscribers how much they’ll need to spend to recurring product, and have a plan for collecting their shipping details after signup.
  • Customize your Subscriptions page, helping your audience understand what their recurring payment will mean for your business.
  • Have a look at your shop’s profile image. It’ll appear on your Subscriptions page, so make sure it’s a good representation of your brand.

To add a Subscriptions page to your store, head to your Account page or follow our easy steps. However you decide to integrate Subscriptions into your business, we hope you’ll share your experience and send feedback to the Big Cartel team. It’s how we learn what works, what could use a tweak, and what helps you do your thing.

Sarah Anderson

Marketing at Big Cartel. Loud talker, maker at City of Industry. Semi-professional aunt. Pretty psyched about all of it.

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