Helping customers keep their recurring orders going

20Jun12

Over the past few months, I’ve had several problems with the recurring orders for a particular food item. First, the “low salt” version that I prefer was no longer available, so I had to switch to the regular one. Then, the product disappeared altogether, forcing me to start from scratch to find a replacement — which ended up being considerably more expensive.

Obviously, telling a customer that the product they want is no longer available, and expecting them to find a replacement on their own and pay more for it, is a recipe for a high abandonment rate. But in cases where the supplier pulls the product, what’s a retailer to do?

Dealing with this situation is actually pretty simple. When a recurring order can’t be filled anymore, start by giving the customer a list of suggested replacement items. For each one, indicate the difference in size and price so that comparisons don’t require a calculator. Then, if the new item is more costly, provide a temporary credit over the next few orders so the price increase doesn’t feel as steep. By taking these simple steps, you’ll save customers time and enable them to keep recurring orders going, while making your own revenue streams less sensitive to the availability of a specific product or brand.



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