Onboarding Academy

Ecommerce subscription signup: problems and solutions

Displaying the perfect onboarding form in a subscription e-commerce can make the difference between pushing the user to abandon your site or finalizing a sale. A great onboarding experience means everything, since it covers many different steps of the user journey. With it, you can cover good registration rates, get useful data in intermediate phases, and of course close a sale.

5 common needs for the perfect onboarding in subscription-oriented e-commerces

Today, we cover all the needs of a perfect signup flow in subscription-oriented sites, e-commerces that focus mainly on subscriptions that take place long term. Check everything that your onboarding needs, and learn what solutions can deal with them.

Need #1 — Reduce signup friction

Reducing friction to the fullest is a constant requirement in e-commerces, to ensure users are not annoyed and complete the whole flow with a purchase. Both in signup flows and checkout forms, reducing obstacles makes a great impact on conversion rates.

Checkout forms are necessary longer, since further data is required (personal data, shipping, payment options, etc.). So why make registration processes so long? One-click options are not the only solution to eliminate friction — eliminating passwords is a hot trend that helps your numbers and reconciles users with auth forms.

The solution: One-click, passwordless signups

In signup flows, one-click registration is possible thanks to methods like social signups and magic links. While the first option allows user signup via their social media account, the second sends an authenticated link to the user, so they can register only by clicking it.

  • The option to choose. Offering users the chance to choose their preferred method may be a good idea. Showing a social media signup with a couple options, plus the possibility of registering with an email account is an appropriate combo.
  • One-click access. Both social login and passwordless authentication offer the possibility of creating an account with just one click.
  • Passwordless and painless. Users feel friction when they perceive the need of creating yet another password. Eliminating this stress helps your numbers greatly. Plus, it comes with some extra benefits, like more security.
  • Security ensured. While some may be reticent to eliminate passwords, the truth is magic links and social login are both top-security systems to authenticate users. Plus, eliminating passwords databases is for sure a good idea in terms of safety.
  • Data enrichment. Signing in with social media allows you to access certain information gathered in the user’s social account. This way, you can get demographic information which will be very useful for your email marketing campaigns, without hurting user experience.

A real-life example: Several social media options in AliExpress

Adding several social login options can ensure the user finds the right one, being able to create an account with just one click.

Need #2 — User profiling

When it comes to subscription e-commerces, it is usually a good idea to get to know your customers. Completing their profile can help you understand their needs and offer  a personalized buying experience.

The solution: Well organized multi-step forms or progressive profiling

If your business needs to gather information about your customers’ preferences, you will be needing longer forms in order to ask several questions. If this is your case, don’t hesitate to opt for multi-step forms. These ease the filling process and give a sense of completion that will help submitters reach the end of it. Plus, a well-organized form will be easier to fill, so group your questions in a logic way.

Another interesting profiling solution is progressive profiling — a way that allows you to present these questions in different moments, in order to avoid annoying your customers.

  • Data enrichment. A good multi-step form or a progressive profiling strategy will ensure that you get advantageous data about what the user needs to buy.  
  • Personalized buying experience. In relation to the previous point, you can use this information to personalize the way you communicate with your customers and offer a unique experience.
  • Better long-term strategies. Knowing your customers well can also help you in the big picture. You can use this useful information to better define your buyer personas, and scale your business the right way.

A real-life example: User profiling oriented to product recommendations

Dollar Shaving Club is a subscription-oriented e-commerce that offers skin care, hygiene and shaving products with regular shipping. To get started, users need to ask questions about their preferences, skin concerns or hair type, so certain products are recommended by the end of the flow.

Need #3: User and data verification

Avoiding fraud in all its shapes is a crucial matter in e-commerces. Fraud can enter your e-commerce with fraudulent accounts, or even with other fraudulent attempts such as overusing discounts or coupons. Getting rid of either ensures a good security system for your site, a trustable users database and a fair use of promotions.

The solution: Verification systems with one-time passwords

OTPs are unique numeric codes that can be sent to the user’s phone number or email account. They can only be known by the server and the users that get the code, which makes them a reliable and popular verification system. They can be used in a variety of cases: to authenticate online identities, or to add extra layers of security, among others.

If you want to make sure your users are verified, you can use one-time codes to know certainly that the email account or phone number belongs to them. Another useful use case for one-time passwords in subscription e-commerces is sending them to the user when they want to receive a coupon or a discount, as you can see in the image above.

  • Extra layer of security. One-time passwords are often used in multi-factor authentication flows. This way, the OTP works as a complementary security system, which adds a second layer of security.
  • User verification. Either when used in multi-factor authentication flows or as a standalone system, one-time passwords imply email or phone verification, depending on the means of sending. This way, you can confirm the user’s email address or phone number and ensure a more valid users database.
  • Fraud avoidance. Using OTPs to verify users or to give away coupon codes is a way of ensuring no fraudulent attempts are made. You can get rid of spammy account creation and overuse of promotions.

Need #4 — Displaying different pricing options

When it comes to subscription e-commerces, it is important to be able to show different pricing options, according to the user’s preferences. To do so, you will need a form editor with a dynamic pricing feature, as well as the possibility to execute recurrent payments.

The solution: An easy-to-use and complete pricing feature

An easy-to-use pricing feature enables quick edition of the form. This way, you can easily apply one-off or recurrent payments, apply dynamic pricing and much more.

  • Personalized pricing options. While this is a common practice, not every tool allows displaying dynamic pricing or executing subscription payments. A complete pricing feature should allow you to personalize your pricing options, especially in subscription e-commerces or sites that allow donations.

A real-life example: Different subscription plans in Birchbox

Depending on the type of subscription, your e-commerce may need to display different subscription options according to the length of the subscription, the quantity of products, or the quality of them. In the example below, you can see Birchbox subscription options, based on the length of the subscription type. Choosing one leads directly to the checkout form, where the pricing option is applied.

Need #5 - Create dynamic behavior with conditional logic

If your business offers different products, subscription models, or even have both B2B and B2C users,  it is likely that you need to implement different form options as well. Creating dynamic behavior with conditional form helps you build different form paths, so your users fill the right questions according to the subscription model they chose.

The solution: A flow editor that allows building dynamic forms

Create dynamic paths, linked to the form’s input, and display personalized forms according to the user’s buying preferences.

  • Personalized buying experience. Offering personalized experiences always makes a good impact on the user: their user experience improves, your brand image is enhanced, and conversion rates are likely to increase.
  • Frictionless experience. One of the great advantages of dynamic forms is they present information in a smart way. Users don’t need to answer questions you already know, and you can drive the form path where you want to ease the experience.

A real-life example: Dynamic forms in Frankie the King

Dog meal plans are a common product in subscription-oriented e-commerces. In this example taken out from Frankie the King, users are asked how many dogs they have in the first step of the form. This way, this first question determines the path the form will take — the user only has to fill in the profiling of the number of dogs they chose.

Need #6 — Legal compliance

Adding understandable terms and conditions is a mandatory requirement in every online site, and e-commerces are no exception. Plus, data treatment may have different characteristics, and you probably need to set different options for your form fields.

The solution: Customizable privacy options and terms and conditions

Personalizing each field’s settings in an easy way is the solution. Opt for an easy scalable system that helps you customize the data treatment of the input of each field. This way, you can gather the data you need and mask the sensitive one so your user’s privacy is protected at all times.

  • Easy-to-use editor. Simply add your terms and conditions by drag and dropping the proper fields.
  • Customizable data persistence. In order to configure each field's settings and its data storage options, opt for a method that allows individual field settings.

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