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Subscription services have been one of the few bright spots in a retail sector that has struggled with the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and multiple lockdowns. As consumers found themselves unable to visit physical stores, many brands found new ways to bring products to them – whether they were offering meal kits and children’s books or coffee and beauty products. 

The rise of subscription services – such as HelloFresh, Gousto, FabFitFun, and Birchbox – during the pandemic led Barclaycards Payments last year to label the UK a nation of ‘super subscribers’, with the average household spending £552 per annum on monthly subscriptions according to its analysis. In fact, figures from Finder suggest the country spends a combined more than £2 billion on subscription services.

Naturally, there are nuances to these numbers. Prior to the pandemic, while research found that just over one-quarter of Britons were signed up for at least one subscription box service, there were big disparities between generations: 23% of 18-34 year-olds regularly received a subscription box, but only 3% of 55+ year-olds did. 

No doubt that will have changed significantly since 2020. Subscription-based businesses, such as Parsley Box, have set out to deliberately target specific age groups and other demographics. In that company’s case, the ‘baby boomer+’ generation, which it contends has been under-served by existing services – an argument backed up by the aforementioned research on different age groups. 

THE GROWTH CHALLENGE 

Despite its stellar growth over the past 18 months, the subscription services sector looks like it has even further to go as more brands emerge and companies develop new and innovative ideas for boxes and services. Analysis suggests that subscription boxes alone would grow to a market of £1.8 billion in the UK by 2025

However, the question for many businesses will be how they can continue to serve their target market and tailor their customer service and experience to them as they expand. The challenges are many and varied – subscription services are generally expensive, between input costs, logistics, and marketing in an increasingly competitive environment, to name just a few of the major overheads. 

Yet, some analysts have identified customer retention as one of the sector’s most significant challenges. Outsourcing their customer experience to a trusted partner like Comdata is the best and most efficient ways of ensuring that they can focus on growing their subscription business, safe in the knowledge that their existing customers have a great experience of their brand. 

WHY YOU SHOULD SIGN UP FOR COMDATA 

At Comdata, we have 21 years of subscription management and retention, offering flexible commercial models to clients on a cost per contact or cost per managed live customer basis. We work with a broad range of companies in a variety of industries, whether we are offering small businesses access to an e-commerce payment platform or managing high volumes of customer enquiries for larger brands. 

Wherever your business is on its journey, we can provide you with:

  • An in-house database to securely store all your customer data. We are PCI DSS and ISO27001 compliant, managing the challenges of data protection for you.
  • Certified payment facilities management for direct debit, PCI certified for credit card processing, and directly integrated for PayPal. We work with all the main methods of payment, giving you the lowest banking costs with flexibility and long retention of all means of transacting.
  • Full customer lifecycle management across a range of channels, including voice, email, live chat, social media platforms, Trustpilot, and WhatsApp. We can provide everything from new customer acquisition and retention to payment processing and cross-selling. 
  • Consulting on customer experience and customer journeys. We ensure your customers have an efficient and positive experience when they interact with your brand, using the most appropriate means of communication in their language, through our multilingual service hubs. 
  • Every element of the physical fulfilment. With longstanding business partners who can organise warehousing of stock and the most cost-effective postage, we have a wealth of experience in designing and sourcing the best packaging for your product.  
  • The development or provision of digital tools. We have worked with some of the world’s biggest brands, helping them to support their customers – even during incredibly challenging times, such as during the Covid-19 pandemic. Find out how we supported Samsung in our video case study
  • Customised reporting, showing as little or as much as you need to make good decisions. We can provide daily, weekly, or self-service key figures delivered directly so you can grow and steer your business to success.
  • Advanced customer satisfaction (CSAT) and Net Promoter Score (NPS) tracking tools. These help us to capture the voice of your customers through any channel and report in real-time what they are saying about your product and service.
  • A bespoke customer management service. We can take care of all or some of your customer management, whether it is front or back-office activities, leaving you to focus on the product design, marketing, and core business functions while we talk to your customers. 

As we move out of lockdown, the consumer habits and shopping trends of the pandemic look like they will continue to shape retail in the months and years ahead. Subscription boxes are a great way for consumers to get their favourite products delivered straight to their door and will likely be a big part of the future retail landscape, building on the momentum of the past 18 months. 

If you want to hear more about how Comdata UK can support your subscription service with customer management as you continue on your growth journey, please get in touch.