Amazon Subscribe & Save Best Practices for Sellers

Clark Kleinman

September 3, 2021

Amazon Subscribe & Save allows FBA sellers the ability to offer discounted products in exchange for long term commitment from customers. This has substantially boosted sales and customer loyalty for many brands.

In the past, individual sellers who have chosen to offer discounts with subscribe and save amazon have borne the financial burden of paying for those customer discounts. However, recent changes to the program show Amazon taking more ownership, including some of the financial burden. There are definitely pros and cons for sellers, but if you understand the system, it can be very beneficial for your business.

How does Subscribe & Save work?

Since 2007, Amazon’s Subscribe & Save program has allowed customers to receive recurring and scheduled deliveries of the products they love and use most often—such as toiletries, foodstuff, and diapers—at a discounted price. It’s a great opportunity for buyers to save money on things they already plan on purchasing. When leveraged correctly, it’s also an opportunity for FBA sellers to increase customer retention and boost conversion.

Customers can choose from thousands of products and select their favorites for automatic shipping every one to six months, and are rewarded with a small discount for each order that ships. They can skip any order that isn’t needed or cancel anytime for free, so the risk is low for customers. Consumers love finding deals, so amazon subscribe and save has them built in, like when customers receive five or more subscriptions in a single month, they get a steeper discount - making the program even more appealing.

How does Subscribe & Save benefit sellers?

At first glance, providing 5-10% discounts on your products may seem like a poor financial decision. However, because you are trading discounts for more sales, your brand ends up making more money in the long run. How is this possible? Because Amazon Subscribe & Save is easy and convenient for customers, they commit to reordering products for months, and also will order multiple products at a time to receive a larger discount.

Because customers have signed up under your brand and committed to receiving a product for several months–and because customers are now automatically receiving the supplies they need without thinking twice–they no longer need to return to Amazon and peruse for other products similar to yours, limiting competition from other similar brands. You no longer have to worry about sharing the Amazon search result page with competitor brands, because once buyers are set up with Subscribe and Save all you need to do is keep up their subscription and delivery dates. This keeps sales up and customers loyal–all while shortening the reorder window. Also, an Amazon Prime account isn’t required for free shipping with Subscribe and Save, so you can reach a broader audience with the same benefits.

How to know if Subscribe & Save is best for your business

After learning about subscribe and save, you’ll need to look at your business and determine if it’s right for you. Here are some questions to ask:

  • Is your product an essential item that requires repeat purchasing? (I.e. vitamins, foodstuff, toiletries.)
  • Are your listings competitive? You should optimize your listing to receive the best from Subscribe and Save on Amazon.
  • Are you open to using discounts, or do your MAP prices allow you to discount products?
  • How is your inventory? If you are consistently stocking out of inventory, Amazon will not let you use Subscribe and Save.

Pattern can also help you decide if Subscribe and Save is best for your business, as well as how to utilize it for the highest amount of sales.

Tips for success with Subscribe & Save

If you are seriously considering Subscribe and Save amazon, you will need the correct tools. Here is an in depth look at the details of the Amazon Subscribe and Save system to set you up for success. There are three main topics that sellers will want to pay attention to:

  • Tiered discount options
  • Who funds the discounts
  • How products are enrolled

1. Tiered discount options

Originally, the amount of discount was determined by which category items were in. Sellers can now opt in at either a 0%, 5%, or 10% base discount to customers.

Amazon claims that funding at 10% can drive up to a 1.8X increase in conversion over no discount at all. Being able to choose a 5% or 10% discount means that sellers can now make more strategic decisions based on various factors. Having the option to push up to a 10% discount gives aggressive competitors an extra weapon in their arsenal.

It’s important to note that once a customer has ordered at a certain discount rate, that rate will be locked in until the customer either skips or cancels their subscription. Customers are also notified of when prices are increased and can choose to skip or cancel their orders.

2. Who funds Subscribe & Save discounts

In the past, sellers saw no personal benefit from paying the higher discount rate for 5+ monthly subscriptions. Those items didn’t have to be from the same seller, so sellers were essentially paying for the benefit of a customer being very Amazon-centric. Acknowledging this, Amazon has taken responsibility for the additional discount offered for 5+ monthly subscriptions, but made it a standard 5% above the seller discount.

That means customers may receive 5/10 or 10/15 discount based on their number of subscriptions, but sellers are only responsible for the 5% or 10% that they’ve committed to. (There is a 0% option, but we’ll discuss that later)

During the transition from the old model to the new model, it is a bit unclear on how long existing subscriptions will continue with 5/15 before getting pushed over to the new pricing model. All pre-existing Subscribe and Save ASINs are, however, automatically enrolled at the 5% discount. Sellers would need to manually change those legacy items to 10% if they wanted to offer a steeper discount moving forward.

3. How products are enrolled

One of the biggest changes to Subscribe and Save on Amazon—and the one that could possibly cause contention for some brands—is in how items are opted into the Subscribe & Save program. Instead of relying on sellers to choose which products offer subscriptions, Amazon now determines which items are most relevant to regular replenishment and automatically enables Subscribe and Save at a base 0% discount.

That means that brands that follow tight pricing practices will now have their products below their Minimum Advertised Price, but technically Amazon skirts this complaint by not offering the discounted price on the product detail page. The discount is only realized behind-the-scenes if customers receive five or more subscriptions in a single month. They would then receive a 5% Amazon-funded discount.

In addition, the ability for sellers to bulk upload products for enrollment in Subscribe & Save has been removed. To begin offering a 5% or 10% discount, sellers need to contact the Amazon Subscribe and Save team to check eligibility and get those running (or to opt out of the program altogether). It’s important to note that in order to apply you will need to be reaching a minimum number of sales per product and have enough inventory in-stock. With so many other great things happening, this seems like a step backwards for the Subscribe and Save program.

Overall, these changes reflect Amazon’s obsession with providing a good customer experience. More products will be available with Amazon’s auto-enrollment feature for replenishable products, which means bigger savings for customers. Sellers will benefit as well, because they can strategically choose their discount tier—and only pay for what they’ve committed.

How Pattern can help

Pattern will examine your brand and products, then help you understand if you should launch on Subscribe and Save. If the answer is yes, we’re ready to jump in and optimize your listings for best effectiveness; streamline your logistics for efficient inventory; and provide reporting and insights on how your products are performing and where the next opportunities lie.

Not sure what discount parameters to start with? Curious what percentage of brand orders come from Subscribe and Save? We’ve got expertise in that too. On a brand level we can help you identify your best sellers and how much of your success comes from Subscribe and Save. On a product level, we can check data to determine changes in subscribers, number of subscribers per product, and how those change over time. And that’s not even getting in to our advertising tactics to drive leads to your offering.

Ready to upgrade your Subscribe and Save offering? Get in touch today to learn what Pattern can do for your ecommerce business.

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Sept 27, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 27th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon drives renewable energy push with 71 new projects Amazon is planning to add 2.7 gigawatts of clean energy capacity through a couple of new projects as the company attempts to use 100% renewable energy by 2025. The ecommerce business will soon have a total of 329 renewable energy projects, generating 50,000 gigawatt hours of clean energy, which is equivalent to powering 4.6 million US homes every year. [Read more on Reuters](https://www.reuters.com/business/sustainable-business/amazon-drives-renewable-energy-push-with-71-new-projects-2022-09-21/) Amazon launches Prime Early Access Sale Amazon is launching a new 2-day shopping event for its Prime members only, beginning on the 11th of October. Across 15 countries, Prime customers will have access to the shopping event, with thousands of deals on offer globall, ranging from fashion to electronics to essentials. The event has the purpose of giving Prime users the chance to spread the cost of items over the winter months, 6 weeks ahead of Black Friday. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/26/prime-early-access-sale/) --- Other Marketplace News --- Shopify unveils new localisation tool Shopify is launching a new localisation tool, called Translate & Adapt, which works with Shopify Markets to offer localisation for sellers who are looking to expand into new markets. The tool translates a user’s online store into different languages, including product pages and information pages. Merchants are also able to create different shipping terms for each market using the new tool, which allows international expansion and offers a more localised consumer experience, unveiling new potential. [Read more on Ecommerce News](https://ecommercenews.eu/shopify-launches-new-localisation-tool/) Etsy is set to invest hundreds of millions into its marketing platform Etsy CEO claims that the company is on route to spend more than $570 million USD on marketing this year. Even during a time of macroeconomic pressure, inflation and rising interest rates, the company is preparing itself and its sellers for the upcoming holiday season and is focused on retaining interest from buyers. [Read more on Yahoo News](https://uk.news.yahoo.com/etsy-600-million-on-marketing-ceo-154054219.html) --- Other Ecommerce News --- Meta looks to cut costs by 10% in the coming months Meta employees are facing job redundancies as the company plans to cut its costs by 10% over the next few months. Meta reported a 22% YoY increase in costs and expenses, totalling over $20 billion USD. The cuts are expected to come in the form of job redundancies as a result of department reorganisations rather than formal layoffs. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/22/meta-to-slash-costs-by-10-over-coming-months/) DHL teams up with Quadient to offer smart locker deliveries in the UK DHL and tech company, Quadient, have partnered to offer smart lockers parcel pick-up throughout the UK. The new contactless, secure locker stations will give recipients more choice and flexibility to receive their parcels at a time and location best suited to them. The partnership plans to install 500 locker stations across the country by the end of 2022. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/21/dhl-partners-with-quadient-to-offer-smart-locker-delivery/) The online fashion market is set to be worth nearly $170 billion USD in 2025 The European online fashion retail market is set to grow 50% by 2025, with an online turnover of $170 billion USD, which is 33% of the retail branch’s total. Cross-border marketplaces prove to be the largest drivers of this growth, with online websites and apps like Vinted largely pushing the market’s online growth. Zalando recently became the largest cross-border fashion retailer/marketplace, responsible for 11.7% of the online market’s share. [Read more on Ecommerce News](https://ecommercenews.eu/online-fashion-market-worth-e175-billion-in-2025/)
Sept 26, 2022

Top 5 Ways to Prepare for Peak with Google Ads

Peak season is almost upon us and with all signs pointing to it starting earlier than ever, with Christmas gifting searches now ramping up in August and September, it’s time to start preparing for peak. In this article, we’re sharing our top five tips for planning and preparing for peak season with Google Ads and the strategies required to get your Paid Search ready so you can drive success over this crucial period.

1. Go Early

In 2021, gifting search terms started increasing in popularity in August. The general trend is that people are looking, researching and weighing their options early, so it’s best to start your Paid activity early to ensure that you’re capturing that early research traffic. This will help drive revenue alongside aiding those consumers who are in their research phase.

From 2020 to 2021, spend during Cyber Week actually only rose 2% but in the weeks leading up to it, it increased by 16%. However, Cyber Week is still the biggest period during the latter half of the year, accounting for 23% of all online spend by consumers over peak. Being prepared and starting early will help you to maximise your time during this period.

2. Get Ready for Privacy Changes

 According to Google, 48% of global consumers have stopped buying or using a service due to privacy concerns. Privacy is front of mind when consumers are shopping online and we know that Google is phasing out 3rd party cookies in 2023. This is going to make it much harder to track users online and it’s something that brands need to think about this now – waiting isn’t an option.

From a Google Ads point of view, you want to ensure you have set up the Google Ads tag across your site and have enabled ‘Enhanced Conversions’, which ensures all conversions are tracked and allows you to monitor other actions such as ‘Add to Cart.’ This is relatively easy to set up, especially if you use ‘Google Tag Manager’.

It’s also vitally important that you build up your first-party data during this time as this is data you own and it can be used when targeting consumers that have provided your brand with their email address. Pattern’s own experience shows that by segmenting and using first-party data, you can see a 10% improvement in revenue and ROI.

3. Ensure Consumers Can Discover your Brand

A full-funnel approach is now more important than ever as consumers become more discerning and have more choices than ever of where to shop.

Pattern has seen success with Google Ads’ ‘Discovery Campaigns’ (image-based ads that appear on Google platforms such as Gmail and the Google app), which have driven success both from a traffic and revenue perspective.

The performance of these campaigns is significantly enhanced by adopting a segmented and nuanced approach to first-party data and incorporating these into your campaigns. Other options for a full-funnel approach include YouTube and testing bidding on keywords that are more representative of the research phase. (e.g. ‘best baby clothes’ for a baby clothes brand)

4. Get Moving with Performance Max

Earlier this year, Google announced that they were moving away from Smart Shopping and launched Performance Max. This is a new campaign type that incorporates features and placements from Smart Shopping but expands them onto other platforms such as Gmail but also alternative creative options, such as images and videos.

Since Google has already started automatically upgrading Smart Shopping campaigns to Performance Max, expect to see some fluctuations in the first 2 weeks following the switch over but results generally seem positive. We recommend upgrading sooner rather than later to limit any potential impact to peak period.

5. Flight Budgets Accordingly

Peak period will be even more competitive than in 2021 and you’ll need your budgets to support this period, we recommend boosting budgets in October to start capturing that early peak traffic. As we enter November and the Cyber Period, start early and make sure you are capturing those consumers looking for early bargains, ensuring you are being nimble in your optimisations and reacting to the data that you are seeing.

Overall, peak period is vital to help drive your sales and by preparing early, you will see strong results and drive success for your brand. If you want to discuss how your brand can navigate this next peak period, contact us to discuss your options with our performance team now.

Sept 20, 2022

4 Ecommerce Marketplace Consultant Must-Haves

Entering the ecommerce landscape is a huge undertaking for any brand—it usually requires a large investment in resources and expertise to really be successful. Any brand can quickly get in over their heads trying to navigate the nuances of SEO, fulfillment and logistics, distribution control, listing optimization, and meeting the numerous other requirements and administrative tasks to show up well on marketplaces. 

Unfortunately, because it’s so easy for third party, gray market, and unauthorized sellers to obtain and sell products online, many brands find themselves pressured to execute an ecommerce plan without the right resources to succeed on marketplaces and their other channels.

So, for brands looking to enter the ecommerce space or improve their current and future performance, it makes sense to partner with an ecommerce consultant.

Pattern’s global presence and proven success with hundreds of brands has allowed us to develop highly effective ecommerce consulting services. We can guide your brand to navigate issues both large and small in marketplaces worldwide. To maximize your ecommerce efforts, you’ll need to understand what an ecommerce consultant does and how to select one who drives the right value for your brand and products. 

What is an Ecommerce Consultant?

An ecommerce consultant is a specialist in the ecommerce space who can give you personalized guidance on how to market your products and grow their presence on digital marketplaces.

An ecommerce consultant should be able to analyze your brand, audience, category, opportunity, and current roadblocks and help you understand how to utilize your resources (or what resources are missing) to be most effective in capturing your opportunities in the ecommerce space.

Not sure how to evaluate a consultant? Here are 4 key attributes to look for as you make your choice.

1. Brand Obsession/Specialization/Passion

At Pattern, we prioritize brand obsession for a reason—we know that a brand-centered mindset makes a crucial difference in the outcomes and results our partners achieve. So in our experience, when you begin your search for an ecommerce consultant, it’s important to look for a partner who is specialized in ecommerce, invested in the product, and passionate about helping brands build and improve their strategies. Typically, this means finding someone that consults exclusively for ecommerce marketplaces, rather than choosing a consultant who offers many different services. 

2. Proven Results

It’s also important to avoid choosing a consulting partner who can’t deliver the right experience for your brand. The best indication of whether your potential consultant can do that is to review their history, data, and results with other brands. Ask if they’ve helped others in your selling category, if they’ve solved specific issues your brand is facing, and why they feel you are a good fit. The key is to leave the conversation feeling confident that you understand your consultants’ capabilities and whether or not they match up with your needs.

3. Wide Range of Marketplace Expertise

It’s best to pick a consultant who knows how to guide a brand onto and through multiple marketplaces worldwide. You’ll want to take a look at your long-term strategy and think about the regions and platforms you’re currently on and where you might want to take your brand in the future. If your consultant is truly great at what they do, they’ll be able to help you perform well enough with your current product roadmap that it’ll be a no-brainer to expand your presence at the right time.

4. Network of Resources

The most effective partnership with an ecommerce consultant will be able to give you both recommendations and point you to solutions for making those changes in your planning, processes, and execution. Your time and money is valuable, so you want to make sure that you’re spending it as efficiently as possible as you follow your consultant’s advice. So, before you commit to an ecommerce consultant, ask about the resources and concrete solutions they typically recommend to the brands they work with.

Achieve Your Ecommerce Goals With Pattern

Finding an ecommerce consultant that checks the boxes can be a difficult task. At Pattern, our entire focus and drive centers around giving brands the tools and resources they need to succeed on domestic and international ecommerce marketplaces. 

With over 100 global ecommerce consultants across 10 global offices, we have the right tools to partner with brands across the world to achieve better ecommerce success. We give specialized advice, then make sure our partners have all the adequate SEO, social media, CRM, Amazon multi-channel fulfillment services, and ecommerce outsourcing services they need.

Interested in ecommerce consulting services? Set up a call here to learn what Pattern can do for your brand on global marketplaces.