How to build customer loyalty with subscription marketing? 

The subscription revolution hit the UK by storm as we descended into our first lockdown in 2020. Consumers now limiting their journeys, trips to the shops, and other day to day activities meant most retail encounters resided online or locally. It was an uncertain time, so saving money and convenience fed the fire that became the subscription revolution. An astounding 90% of retail subscription services saw their customer base grow in the first lockdown, with the other 10% maintaining steady traffic. Since then, the retail trends have altered massively. Although subscription culture has remained steady, brands must turn their hand to new means of customer communication, business models and more to stay ahead of this year’s trends.

What’s trending? 

The latest Royal Mail report forecasts the subscription market will grow a whopping 72% by the end of 2022, taking the value from £583 million in 2017 to just over £1 billion. 58% of retailers already offering subscription services are looking to increase product lines to keep up with demand, which also means more competition for consumer loyalty.

Over a quarter of UK consumers already have at least one subscription service, and half of 25–34-year-olds will have a new service by the end of Q2 this year. We are a nation of convenience lovers, and it doesn’t look like it will be slowing down anytime soon.

Here are our subscription marketing trend predictions for 2022 and how to keep your brand’s subscription service above the rest with accurate, timely and personal marketing.

Hybrid retail:

Since the highstreets closed their doors, then opened them and then closed them and then re-opened them, we have seen a massive push towards hybrid retail for 2022. Brands utilising both online and offline channels of communication such as  direct mail, door drops, email marketing, social media advertising to give consumers a more rounded multi-channel experience.

Cancel culture comes to an end:

The UK lockdown opened a whole new way of consumerism through the subscription service. But it also encouraged a new form of cancel culture for the retail industry. As brands were urging consumers to buy with them, offering free trials and financial incentives when referred friends and family. It also created a spike in un-subscriptions. 48% of those using a new subscription service back in 2021 cancelled after just the first two months. Whether they were making the most of a good deal or were unsatisfied with the product, the need to shop around was still very prominent.

Thankfully in 2022, we see a much different story for the subscription retailer. In December of last year, the cancel rate was down to just 14% and going down, which moves us on to our next 2022 trend – Customer Loyalty!

Loyalty feeds business growth:

Subscription services are getting personal. They know how often we need our deodorant updating, our loo roll stocked up, our weekly meals delivered and even the condition of our hair and skin. The knowledge these brands have on their consumers is incredible, and to keep those consumers loyal. They need to use it wisely. Ensuring communication is timely, accurate, and on time is essential and offers flexibility in payments and the opportunity to delay deliveries for the most convenient experience. Retailers will need to be centred on retaining existing customers as the subscription industry has its second boom.


80% of consumers are more likely to purchase from a retailer that sends personal content. Use what you know about your subscribers to your advantage. Personalisation attracts loyalty!

Green Consumerism:

Last year’s Cop 26 ignited an eco-movement in the retail industry. From recycled packaging, carbon neutral deliveries to eco friendly fabrics, the retail space is now being driven by green consumerism.

  • 17% of consumers buy from brands because they have an eco-friendly supply chain
  • 12% buy from brands that share the same environmental values as them
  • 65% of consumers are willing to pay 20% more for sustainable purchases

Find out more in our latest Green paper!

Protection Profitability:

Find the best-fit business model for your brand. As hybrid retail becomes the new way of shopping, brands need to move their focus to online and offline forms of communication, online retail spaces and customer convenience.

In short, understanding your customer’s needs is more important than ever. With the second wave of subscription culture hitting the retail space, brands need to be targeted, accurate and timely when communicating with new and existing consumers. Use the knowledge you have from subscription services and use personal approaches to make the experience seamless and convenient. Change your business model to accommodate for a more eco-friendly way of working, and don’t underestimate the power of personalisation.

Discover our retail sector page for more data services and case studies! 

Molly Kayll, January 27th 2022