We all know Australians love to shop and especially to shop online, but in 2021 records were broken. Australia spent a whopping $62.3 billion dollars online, sending the ecommerce share of the retail market to a record 19.3%.1 For context, online shopping had only been predicted to hit a 12% market share by 2021.
A major effect of the Coronavirus outbreak and related lockdowns, this resounding growth is something that retailers, and more specifically subscription businesses, have been taking full advantage of.
An influx of brands from across Australia are taking to ecommerce platforms like Shopify and Shopify Plus to leverage the subscription business model, bringing everything from beers and books to pet products and premium toilet paper direct to consumers on a regular basis. With its custom capabilities and powerful integrations, Shopify is enabling subscription brands from every corner of the country to deliver effective customer experiences that drive acquisition, conversion and retention at scale.
This shift towards online subscriptions is certainly resonating with consumers too. Subscriptions have fast become a staple of day-to-day life, embraced for their convenience, flexibility and tailored customer experience. In fact, research shows that Australians and New Zealanders spend an average of $660 AUD per month on subscriptions or recurring goods and services.2
Today, we’re exploring 10 Australian Shopify stores who’ve successfully mastered the subscription model, leveraging first-rate tech solutions and best-in-class ecommerce strategies.
THR1VE is so much more than a healthy ready meal subscription service – this popular Australian brand also offer comprehensive lifestyle programs to “accelerate progress towards optimum health and wellness”. Subscribers can get nutritionist-designed, science-based meals delivered straight to their doors on a weekly or fortnightly basis, with meal plans personalised according to their lifestyle goals (including specific plans for weight loss, fat burn, athletic performance and more).
Committed to rewarding healthy habits, THR1VE give subscribers exclusive access to their rewards program, where they’ll earn a free meal or snack with each order. The promise of regular rewards is great for encouraging customers to stay subscribed. This is particularly important in the food and drink subscription sector, which, according to research by Recharge, is the most volatile vertical in terms of long-term customer retention.
THR1VE’s focus is clearly on their customers’ health and wellbeing, pledging to empower their subscribers to make better choices based on their personal needs and objectives. As part of this, subscribers are able to pause or cancel their subscription at any time via their account. They can also change their meal selection each week, giving them the opportunity to try new meals depending on their personal tastes. We talk more about the importance of flexibility in our guide to food and drink subscription websites.
#2 Whisky Loot
Next up, Whisky Loot, who specialise in an immersive monthly whisky subscription. Subscribers are taken on a guided journey of whisky discovery, with tasting bottles delivered direct to their doorsteps every month. Each box comes with a tasting video via email, and “Whisky Looters” are encouraged to share their opinions with others in the VIP community.
This Sydney-based start-up first launched in 2016 and have enjoyed some impressive growth, namely launching into a second liquor vertical and expanding their retail footprint with in-store partnerships.
At the start of 2020, having raised $400,000 in seed funding, founder Joel Hauer set out to take the Whisky Loot subscription to the next level. With Swanky’s expertise in bespoke subscription solutions, they were able to accomplish this and more.
Whisky Loot takes you on a curated journey from whisky beginner to expert as you progress in your subscription. This means that it’s vital for customers to work through whiskies in a specific order. To make this happen, Swanky worked closely with the team at leading subscription solution Recharge to create a custom scheduling app. This innovative new solution was part of a series of on-site updates that drove a 329% increase in year-on-year revenue!
It’s also worth noting how Whisky Loot leverage high-quality ecommerce photography to capture attention, increase perceived value and drive action. They’ve elevated their Shopify Plus store with consistently-styled, mouth-watering images that will have whisky lovers eagerly anticipating their first subscription box.
#3 Bionic Book Subscription
Bionic Book Subscription was launched in Melbourne during the Covid-19 lockdown period, with the aim to “enrich people’s lives in the age of social distancing and beyond with the joy of good books”.
Their Shopify store uses a short quiz to gather information about subscribers’ interests and preferences, asking questions like the ones below.
Then, professional curators use the zero-party data in this initial profile to handpick a book for delivery once a month or once every two months. Subscribers’ profiles are updated as they read more books and tell the company what they liked and didn’t like about them, thereby fine-tuning the book selection process and creating a hyper-personalised experience.
This speaks directly to consumers’ desire for personalisation in ecommerce and can help build meaningful long-term relationships with subscribers through emotional attachment. In turn, this is important for increasing customer satisfaction, boosting loyalty and reducing churn. We cover more benefits in our article on the ROI of personalisation.
GoodnessMe is all about creating natural and wholesome food subscription boxes packed full of deliciously healthy goodies that can be personally customised for specific diets. Whilst the contents of each box remain a surprise (making for a fun unboxing experience each month), the professional nutritionists who create these boxes seek products that are all-natural, GMO-free and clear of nasties like artificial sweeteners, preservatives, colours, food additives, synthetic trans fats and MSG.
This Shopify-hosted online health store has over 3000 products and is constantly being updated with new better-for-you snacks and pantry staples that meet the GoodnessMe Real Food Code. They run regular surveys with their highly engaged community and social media followers, and since founder Peta Shulman is so dedicated to ensuring she understands what her customers’ wants and needs are, they trust every product that is added to the website.
Their tiered loyalty program, the GoodnessMe Club, is a great way for the brand to drive repeat purchases and create long-term relationships with subscribers. With customers earning points per purchase, they’ll be less inclined to cancel their subscription and lose what they’ve earned. Customers are also given points for on-site actions like writing a review or referring a friend, which not only incentivises engagement with the website, it helps to drive customer advocacy.
With a tech stack packed full of Swanky favourites like Okendo, Klaviyo, Recharge and LoyaltyLion, GoodnessMe is well-placed to deliver a first-class ecommerce experience to both prospective and existing customers.
#5 Three Thousand Thieves Coffee
Three Thousand Thieves are based in the coffee capital of Australia, Melbourne. They’re on a mission to bring Australian coffee to the world, taking caffeine-loving subscribers on a journey to discover new roasted, artisan coffee each month. TTT hunt for Australia’s most unique and delicious coffees, delivering a different cultural experience with every box. Monthly deliveries also come with postcards, tasting notes and little introductions to the featured roaster.
The TTT Shopify website features an intuitive subscription flow where users choose between coffee quantity, roast and grind, depending on their preferences.
Subscriptions can be paused, edited or cancelled at any time – tapping into consumers’ desire for seamless flexibility. As we discussed earlier, this is important for securing subscriber loyalty and advocacy.
TTT’s blog, “The Slow Drip” serves up interesting and engaging content for customers to enjoy on their next coffee break. With articles including gift guides, listicles and roaster interviews, this content showcases TTT as a reliable and authoritative player in the industry, whilst also driving qualified traffic through keyword optimisation. Learn more about the benefits of content marketing on our blog.
#6 Knobby Underwear
Next up in our list of top Australian Shopify stores leveraging the subscription model is Knobby, one of the country’s biggest recent subscription breakouts. Based on the Sunshine Coast, they’re an underwear subscription brand with funky, artistic designs that are shipped directly to your door every month, with no fees and no hassle.
Since their humble beginnings in 2014, Knobby now have nearly 200,000 subscribers across the globe, including customers in New Zealand, Europe, the US and Asia. They were also one of the finalists in the New Business category of the 2017 Telstra Queensland Business Awards.3
“Undie Club” subscribers can enjoy perks like discounts on special edition ranges, exclusive first access to new designs and surprise goodies. This is a great way to nurture positive (and profitable!) long-term connections with subscribers and reduce churn. Plus, special member-only benefits can be particularly helpful in attracting new customers.
PETstock is a 100% Australian family-owned and operated business founded in regional Victoria, specialising in pet food and supplies. As well as one-time purchases, they offer subscriptions, or “auto-shipping”, for multiple products and for multiple pets. Subscribers can customise the frequency of delivery, which is particularly important when you consider that pets have differing needs and routines.
The PETstock team understand that you’re not shopping for just a pet, you’re shopping for your best friend and a member of your family. As a result, they’re passionate about providing high-quality customer service, with a commitment to “treat people as people”. As part of this, they offer a live chatbot on their Shopify Plus store that can help customers with any query, or users can contact a team member if they prefer. Five-star customer service is important for long-term success as a subscription retailer, as you’re relying on repeat business from satisfied customers.
We recently featured PETstock in our round-up of 11 Shopify pet stores leading the pack. Take a read to see which other pet brands made the cut, including other Australian Shopify stores PetCulture and Pupnaps.
#8 Who Gives A Crap
Recycled toilet paper brand Who Gives A Crap was kickstarted on crowdfunding platform IndieGoGo when the founders learnt that 2.4 billion people across the globe don’t have access to a toilet. They created a product that’s not only good for the environment but also allows them to give back, with 50% of profits donated to help build toilets and improve sanitation in the developing world.
Replenishment is simple thanks to the Who Gives A Crap subscription. Rolls come in boxes of 24 or 48 and are available for delivery every eight, 12 or 16 weeks. Subscribers have flexibility at their fingertips too – they can easily cancel, make changes, add products and manage delivery frequency via their online account.
To empower their subscribers even further and build stronger customer relationships, Who Gives A Crap teamed up with marketing automation platform Klaviyo to send customers an upcoming order notification three days before their next billing. Subscribers can choose to delay the order if they’re not ready for another bulk delivery of product. This communication is customised for localised markets, meaning customers receive their messages at a time when they’re most likely to engage (rather than every customer receiving the email at the same time regardless of time zone). According to a case study by Recharge, adjusting delivery times based on where customers live has led to a 75% open rate from notifications.
That’s a note on how Who Gives A Crap retain customers, but what about their subscriber acquisition strategy? Well, not only do they drive brand awareness and increase third-party validation through an affiliate programme, they also tap into the power of referrals to acquire new customers. These can both be effective tactics when it comes to reducing acquisition costs.
#9 Getting’ Crafty
Supporting the breweries who helped Australians through lockdown, Gettin’ Crafty deliver a mixed case of craft beer directly to doorsteps monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly. There are four aptly-named subscriptions available depending on customers’ preferences: The Lager Lout, The Explorer, The Beerologist and The Wagon. These allow subscribers to experiment with new beers or stay in their comfort zone, and can be amended or cancelled at any time.
Gettin’ Crafty have brought Australian sports presenter Nick McArdle onto the team, leveraging his expert presenting skills to help produce visual content for the brand. This is a great way to spark organic conversations around the brand’s beers and drive awareness of the different subscriptions available. Plus, it can also help at the bottom of the funnel by persuading prospective customers to convert.
Check out more of the benefits of leveraging influencers and well-known personalities on our blog.
#10 ‘Tis The Box
After experiencing the subscription box phenomenon overseas, Melbourne-born Liz Hoyle and Delys Shelton decided to create a box for Australian women: ‘Tis The Box. As self-confessed health, beauty and lifestyle enthusiasts, they wanted to create a box full of aspirational and useful goodies for every woman, for any situation and for any season. Their curated bundle boxes contain full-sized products at a reduced price, all aligning with a theme such as sleep or self-care.
As a relatively young D2C brand (born in 2020), ‘Tis The Box are leveraging social proof to boost consumer confidence and drive conversions. As well as customer reviews, they display sales notifications on their Shopify store – small pop ups telling site visitors when another customer has made a purchase. This can be an effective tactic for persuading people to follow through with a sale by signalling the popularity of your brand and creating a sense of FOMO.
Your Shopify experts in Australia
As a leading Shopify agency in Australia, we know what it takes to create ecommerce sites that boost the metrics that matter and provide flawless customer experiences. As well as building best-in-class Shopify stores, we have the expertise to scale your online presence through detailed data analysis and consistent execution of innovative and creative growth strategies.
When it comes to subscription, we’re one of the world’s leading Shopify Plus agencies thanks to our unrivalled experience working with some of the globe’s biggest subscription brands, including HelloFresh and Huel. From custom-built solutions to tailored optimisation strategies, your D2C subscription brand is in safe hands with Swanky.
Get in touch with our team today to unlock your full ecommerce potential.