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Subscriptions, email

7 Ways to Personalize an Upcoming Charge Message to Ecommerce Subscribers

Learn why personalization is important and how to create upcoming charge messages that feel like they were made just for the recipient.
September 13, 2022

Customers prefer brands that listen to their needs and provide custom solutions to their problems. They don’t want the same experience as every other customer. 

As an ecommerce store, it’s your job to contextualize your messaging and offers to match each customer’s unique profile. Instead of blasting out the same message, you need to have conversations using personalization. 

Personalization isn’t new. It emerged in the 1980s under the name “relationship marketing.” Traditionally, transactional messages don’t get much personalization, but that’s changing. Often, companies will tailor order confirmations, review requests, and shipping tracking messages to the customer’s unique needs. 

However, there’s one type of message that we think deserves a personalization boost: the upcoming charge notification

In this article, we aim to help you create upcoming charge messages that feel like they were made just for the recipient. First, we talk about why personalization is important. Then we offer some actionable tips to create unique experiences for different subscribers.

(We dig into many of these topics in our Subscription Ecommerce Live video: Anatomy of a Strong Shipping Soon Email.)

Why Personalized Messages Matter

Personalization makes customers feel heard and valued. It reminds them you care about their experience and their relationship with your brand. You aren’t just trying to squeeze every dollar out of their pocket.

Personalization makes customers feel heard and valued. It reminds them you care about their experience and their relationship with your brand.

Keep in mind that personalization does not mean adding your subscribers’ names to the top of each email. It means customizing your messaging and offers to align with their needs and place in the customer / subscriber journey. 

Customers also like personalization because it makes each interaction more valuable. For instance, let’s say you send a subscription box with various grilling and BBQ items. Sending your customers recipes that correspond to their purchases is far more valuable than generic recipes that might not relate at all. 

Furthermore, personalization matters because customers want and expect it. 90% of consumers find personalization appealing and 75% are more likely to buy from a company that provides a tailored experience.

Personalization retains customers, as well. 52% of consumers are likely to switch brands if a company doesn’t make attempts to personalize their communications. 

“Okay, so customers clearly want personalization,” you’re probably thinking, “But is there a tangible effect on the business?”

Absolutely! 88% of marketers see measurable results from personalization. Companies that use advanced personalization see returns of $20 per $1 spent. Additionally, personalization can reduce customer acquisition costs by 50% and increase marketing spend efficiency by 30%.

Those numbers are impossible to ignore. Now that you understand why personalized messaging is important, let’s talk about some ways to customize your upcoming charge notifications. 

1. Segment Campaigns Based on Renewal Count

Customers deserve to be rewarded for their loyalty. An easy way to personalize your messaging is to first segment your campaigns based on how long they’ve been a subscriber. With that information, you can create targeted content that addresses their needs at various phases of the subscription journey.

For example, let’s say your brand has a philanthropic mission to support the environment, where a portion of each monthly subscription pays to plant a tree. Segmenting by renewal count allows you to add messaging to each upcoming charge notification that acknowledges their contribution. A subscriber who’s responsible for planting 20 trees might see a message like, “Congratulations! You’ve officially planted an orchard.”

In our Subscription Ecommerce Live series, Eli Weiss of OLIPOP explains that you can create a deeper relationship with your subscribers by pairing your messaging to their stage in the customer / subscription journey. In order to do this, you have to segment by renewal count.

2. Offer Gifts at Certain Milestones

Subscribers who renew often deserve special treatment. You can build loyalty and increase the odds of future renewals by showing them your appreciation, even if there’s no direct financial impact for you. 

Since you know how long a subscriber has been a customer, you can use that information to surprise them with free gifts or discounts based on certain milestones. 

For instance, you might thank a subscriber on their 1-year anniversary by automatically including a gift in their next shipment. Or you might let them pick a free item from a small list. Be sure to let them know about your gift in the upcoming charge message.

Alternatively, you can use discounts to make future renewals easier for everyone. If someone stays subscribed for a full year, you might offer the next year at a discount they can’t refuse. 

3. Segment Campaigns Based on Products 

Segmenting your audience by product selection is another powerful personalization tool. You can use this information to serve content (upsells, discounts/offers, and messaging) that create a better experience. 

Let’s say you offer subscription products for pet owners. If a customer subscribes to your monthly box of cat food, cat toys, and cat treats, it’s reasonable to assume they have a cat (or at least buy products for one). 

In this case, it would make sense to recommend additional products and offers that appeal to cat lovers/owners. Would they purchase dog products? Possibly, but that’s a harder sell. Better to stick to what you know they love.

ARPU Tip:  In ARPU, you can offer additional 1-time purchases based on all of the items in their shipment or just one specific item. This gives you complete control over your offerings. Plus, if you sell on Shopify, ARPU you can set up campaigns based on any Shopify tags you set up (like product tags from recent purchases) and recommend additional products based on those purchases. 

4. Send Unique Discounts

People love discounts. Over 90% of consumers have used a coupon or discount code in the past year. Sales can increase more than 70% when you offer bonus packs or bundles.

Here’s the big seller: If you offer free shipping (which is not technically a discount, but feels like one), consumers are four to five times more willing to complete a purchase.

The upcoming charge message is the perfect place to offer these discounts, especially when combined with segmentation. What’s more, these discounts are actually exclusive to your subscribers.

The upcoming charge message is the perfect place to offer these discounts, especially when combined with segmentation.

For instance, you can offer renewal discounts based on their renewal count. You might offer your 1-year subscribers a 10% discount on an upsell product. A 5-year subscriber might receive a 30% discount on the same product to reward them for their loyalty. Or you might offer discounts on additional products based on what’s in their shipment. 

ARPU Tip: (If you use Shopify, ARPU offers Shopify tags as campaign triggers. If you set up tags based on lifetime value, you can reward subscribers who have spent specific amounts with your brand.) 

That said, be careful with too much discounting. Double-blind studies prove that many customers believe that discounted items indicate a lack of performance. They assume a cheap price indicates a cheap product. As Andrew Forman of Givz told us on Subscription Ecommerce Live (with data), customers who come in through discounts consistently have the lowest lifetime values. 

How do you convince shoppers to buy without offering a discount? You actually have lots of options. Learn more in our guide on alternatives to discounts.

5. Offer Unique Upsell Opportunities

It’s no secret that selling to an existing customer is easier than acquiring a new one. That’s why smart brands lean hard into upselling. On average, upselling can increase your revenue by 10-30%. The upcoming charge message is the perfect opportunity to upsell for 3 reasons:

  1. The customer has already decided to trust your brand and make a purchase. This is the biggest obstacle they need to overcome and it’s already done. 
  2. The customer already has a shipment coming, so there’s no need for them to pay additional shipping fees or provide their payment or shipping details. 
  3. The process only takes 2 clicks (if you use ARPU), eliminating all of the potential friction.
It’s no secret that selling to an existing customer is easier than acquiring a new one. That’s why smart brands lean hard into upselling.

Segmentation is key here, as we mentioned earlier. If you’re going to try to upsell someone, the offer should relate to a milestone (“here’s 10% off your renewal for being a 1-year subscriber”) or their current/past purchases (“buy this $5 pack of razor blades to go with your razor”). 

6. Time Delivery According to Your Audience

The timing of the delivery of your upcoming charge notification is another way to personalize the experience. The goal is to give subscribers enough time to make changes, but not so much time that they forget about the upcoming charge altogether. Furthermore, some products and customers require more time than others. 

For instance, a customer who is subscribed to a $15/month snack box probably doesn’t need much time to decide if they’ll let the renewal happen, select an upsell product, or delay the renewal. But if a customer is about to renew a $400/month clothing subscription, they may need more than a couple days to make a decision. 

The key here is to know your customer. Ask yourself how much time they need to make a decision before you bill their card and start sending products. 

7. Let Customers Buy Gifts for Friends

If a customer isn’t interested in making a purchase for themselves, they may be willing to send a gift to a friend. If you’re feeling generous (and maybe want to reward loyalty), offer to send the gift for free. Your customer appreciates the free item and the recipient gets a free sample of your offering. 

ARPU Tip: In ARPU, you have the option to add a Gift Block to customers’ notifications, allowing subscribers to purchase 1-time products as gifts for anyone. This is a powerful tool to generate more revenue and share your offerings with potential customers. Here’s a look at the subscriber’s experience purchasing a gift from the upcoming charge notification. 

(In the future, we’ll be offering the ability to send subscriptions as gifts instead of just a 1-time item. Subscribe to our product newsletter to learn when that’s available.)

Conclusion

Customizing your upcoming charge notifications is a great way to deliver more value to your customers, create loyalty between subscribers and your brand, and grow your company’s revenue. These personalization tips will help you get started, but feel free to be creative. As always, think about your customers’ needs. 

Shameless plug since you made it this far: ARPU is an easy way to build customized messages for subscribers. It offers several features to help Recharge merchants do MORE with shipping soon emails, such as 2-click upsells, easy delays, gift upsells, and custom campaigns with segmentation options. Try ARPU for free today.

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