The number of subscription businesses has boomed over the last decade as more and more entrepreneurs have realized the power of shifting towards a model with recurring revenue at its core.
While originally popularized by streaming services and SaaS companies, the subscription business model can be applied to almost any business idea ever, from food and drink delivery (think HelloFresh) to coaching services (think Peloton).
Outside of an outstanding offering, the most successful subscription businesses often have one thing in common: excellent web design.
And it makes sense, too. As the market gets more and more competitive, with new businesses fighting for limited attention spans and increasingly difficult SEO requirements, web design is more crucial than ever to make your brand stand out.
Here's our approach to web design if you're looking to create a successful subscription brand.
Lay out all the aspects of your offering, any information you think customers will want to see (don't forget your FAQs), and any other pages you might need (such as an 'All products' page or a gated 'members-only' page.
It's good to start out on the right foot. The more closely your web design process and capabilities are aligned with your business goals, the quicker you'll see success. Unless you're prepared to spend thousands on a completely custom design, or you're content with hacking everything together with a bunch of plugins, an all-in-one platform whose web design functionality is specifically catered to a subscription business model is the way to go.
Make sure you have all of your graphics (logos, product shots, etc) ready to go ahead of time, and that all your copy is consistent across all parts of your website.
Once you've got all the pieces in place, start putting everything together. Once you've got your first draft, get a couple rounds of feedback before you create the next version. It might take 2-3 rounds of feedback, but the better your web design is when you launch, the quicker you'll see subscribers pouring in.
Web design is a hugely varied field, but there's certainly a few points you can focus on when it comes to your business that will help you achieve the results you deserve.
Does your website take long to load? If so, this could be the reason you're not seeing the traffic you want. There's no point having beautiful high-res product images or custom graphics if nobody sticks around to see them. Keep everything loading light with an optimized design, or a plugin for your current CMS, if you're not starting from scratch.
Are they easy to see? How good is the design? If you sell both subscription products and one-time products on your ecommerce store, do they highlight your subscription offering? Think like a psychologist and check out the website of a bestselling brand. How do they do it?
Make sure you've got an optimized experience all the way through the moment the customer hits 'pay now' (and beyond). Are the currency symbols correct? Are your payment processors correctly configured? Does the checkout feel like an integrated, organic experience or a robotic transaction?
Make sure you've got a way to both insert and update testimonials and other forms of social proof on your website. Don't forget to embed ratings from external sites, like Capterra and Trustpilot.
Once they've converted, they're yours to lose. Remember the customer journey never stops - and while it's easy to think that after they check out, you need to make it as intuitive as possible for them to access all their settings and change their preferences (marketing, shipping, subscription frequency, etc) straight from your website.
We've filtered through thousands of subscription business websites to find the best examples of quality design - here's a few of our favorites.
VinoMojo is a subscription-based wine membership club whose goal is to make the world of wine more accessible without sacrificing on quality. From a web design perspective, their homepage is beautifully laid out, with great brand consistency and CTAs all around that whisk you off straight into their sales funnel. Plus, with a sneaky bit of social proof underneath, their value becomes even more clear.
Burn Box is a subscription box started by firefighters, for firefighters. Featuring a monthly selection of the best gear and tools for current and future heroes around the world, there's no doubt what Burn Box's offering is about from the second you arrive on the page. One particularly interesting thing they have is a 'How it works' section right below the fold, designed as a simple-looking infographic that's inviting to scroll down to.
Earth & Wheat sells boxes of 'wonky' bread, vegetables, and more on a subscription basis, minimizing food waste while also keeping subscribers' fridges stocked on a regular basis. Their product page is a great example of web design in a subscription context, with bold CTAs highlighting the subscription option and a blurb under the header that emphasizes their offering's flexibility.
While it’s only one part of starting a subscription business, There's a lot to consider when you're designing a web page for your subscription business model, but with a structured, iterative approach, you'll soon reach design nirvana and watch the customers start pouring in, navigating around with ease and engaging with your offering.
And once you're done with your website, you can move onto the fun part, the running of your business. This includes focusing on growth, operations and scaling it. I hope this guide has proven useful in your quest to start a subscription business. Good luck!