Beyond the Subscription: Connected Auto-Replenishment is Redefining the Consumer-Brand Relationship
Updated: Apr 21
Want more happy customers? Earning consumer loyalty is simple: give customers exactly what they need, at the precise moment when they need it. Of course, this is one of those things that is “easier said than done.” That said, thanks to predictive technology, it’s much much more achievable than ever before in history.
Thanks to e-commerce, brands are benefitting from selling directly to consumers online and often use the subscription model to drive repeat purchases. This can work, but in many instances, subscriptions fall off within a few months. While there are various reasons that this may happen, in many cases it speaks to the disconnect in the brand’s ability to deliver on the “when they need it” phase of the buying process. When a subscription is paused or cancelled, it is less likely due to customer dissatisfaction with the product and more to do with timing of the shipment according to consumer needs. Consider your own consumer experience with subscriptions - how many times have your unboxed yet another package of protein powder, when you’ve already got three in the pantry?
Subscriptions, of course, are constructed based on usage estimates. However, when this usage doesn’t hold up in real life, consumers cancel the subscription because they have too much product (and are automatically spending money on products that they do not need). In order to address this, brands must understand consumer usage in real-time - and fortunately, the technology now exists to do just that.
When IoT meets e-commerce connected products, actual customer usage is monitored in real time and automated shipments are sent based on product level. For example, Olivery, a European olive oil company uses a connected bottle to monitor the exact moment that customers need replenishment. This triggers a push notification to customers' smart phones, where they confirm that they would like a refill. The refill is delivered within one business day in a recyclable plastic pack.
This is a win-win for both consumers and brands because:
#1: Customers have exactly the amount of product that they need, at the time that they need it - eliminating the issues of product overstock in the home and a need to cancel or pause subscriptions to “use up” excess product.
#2: A sustainable solution that minimizes packaging and waste, contributing to a healthier planet.
#3: Improved brand loyalty through a “no-touch” experience that eliminates the need for customers to make constant decisions in regard to which products to buy, remembering when to buy them, and spending time placing orders or shopping in stores.
#4: Additional insights on usage generated from connected products helps brands understand how to better serve their customers in the future.
Subscriptions and auto replenishment have been wonderful for both brands and consumers, but in order for brands to win long-term loyalty from their consumers, they will have to take customer service to the next level. Have you utilized connected products along with your subscription program?