Auto-Ship: What It Is & Why You Should Care

Many of you have experienced some type of subscription business before; whether it was a subscription to your favorite magazine, your internet service provider, or more recently your meal kit delivery like HelloFresh or Blue Apron. Many of you probably don’t even think about the fact that you’re on a subscription and are just happy to get what you want, when you want. Subscription is great for consumers as it means they can reliably get products and services when they need them without going through the transaction process every time. They simply save their payment details with the retailer, and sit back and relax until they no longer want the subscription. In the pet industry, Auto-Ship is exactly that; a subscription service for pet food and supplies.

Why Is Auto-Ship Great For Retailers?

Auto-Ship programs don’t only benefit the consumer; they can be really beneficial for the business offering the program as well.

auto-ship revenue stream

Auto-Ship offers a clear sight into future revenue streams – heaven for your financial accounting

auto-ship revenue scheduled

Auto-Ship revenue streams are consistent and predictable, as customers have scheduled their orders and how often they want them shipped

auto-ship prevents price shopping

Customers on Auto-Ship are less prone to price shopping or discount hunting, as the transactional experience has been removed from the equation

Auto-Ship helps retain customers

Customers on Auto-Ship tend to stick around for longer than customers who shop around every time they need the product or service

Auto-Ship saves you marketing costs

Bonus: the retailer doesn’t need to “acquire” the customer via marketing channels each time they want to purchase a product, something that can easily get very costly very quickly

What this means is that customers on Auto-Ship are really valuable to a retailer’s bottom line; they produce a lot of revenue and don’t cost a lot of money to retain.

Easily Add Auto-Ship To Your Store

Luckily, the e-commerce platform we’re building for Endless Aisles has a  plugin for Shopify, along with Auto-Ship. We highly recommend Bold Commerce’s plugin for Shopify as it offers a lot of flexibility both for you, the retailer, and the consumer. Users visiting your site will easily be able to sign up for Auto-Ship on their favorite products, we’ll make sure their orders get delivered each month (or however often they want them), and you’ll get their payments each and every time.

Auto-Ship is great for you and your customers
Auto-Ship is great for you and your customers

Some of you might be thinking “Wait. So how do I get my customer to shop in my store if I’m just delivering them everything each month!?” We know that many consumers are already shopping online with Amazon Prime’s subscription program – we want you to be the one offering that service to your customer. Additionally, we know that there are still a lot of products that customers prefer to shop for in store, such as treats, toys and collars, so you’ll still deliver that personalized experience for them. There are, however, tactics to push your customer back to your store like adding a store-locater to your site for when they need something same day, or adding incentives for customers to pick up their order in-store if you have it in stock. Stay tuned for our upcoming posts on how to drive your online customers back into your store.

By Andrea Barsk
Endless Aisles Blog