The PDP Best Practices You Need to Promote Subscriptions on Shopify

We're covering the product detail page (PDP) best practices that your Shopify brand needs to know to promote your subscription and acquire more subscribers.

Table of Contents

    The product detail page (PDP) is arguably the most important page on a DTC subscription brand’s website. That’s where consumers go for a closer look at your product, where they purchase said product, and — best of all — where they can choose to subscribe. 

    But not all PDPs are made equal. 

    You’ve probably encountered a product page that’s full of confusing text, isn’t user-friendly, doesn’t load properly, doesn’t clearly display the product — the list goes on. A poorly-designed PDP is ultimately the enemy of conversions, even if your product is excellent. 

    Luckily, just as a bad product page can cause you to lose out on subscribers, implementing PDP best practices can easily capture consumers’ attention and convert them to subscribers. We’re covering what your Shopify brand needs to know to optimize your PDP for subscription promotion.

    Why is a Product Detail Page (PDP) Important?

    It's Key for Conversions

    Let’s start with the basics: 98% of consumers reported that they had previously decided not to purchase an item due to incomplete product details. So at a fundamental level, the PDP is necessary for closing any deal, whether it be a one-time purchase or a new subscription. Even if you do happen to close a deal with an incomplete product detail page, you’re far more likely to be dealing with requested refunds, churn, and/or overall dissatisfied customers.  

    In general, good PDPs provide essential information about your product — price; images; different color, flavor, or size options; ratings or reviews; purchasing options; and an overall description of what the product does or its main characteristics. 

    But here’s where the rubber meets the road: none of this valuable information will matter if the product page is poorly designed, glitchy, or just a poor user experience all around. So it’s not just about the what. It’s also very much about the how

    It Introduces Your Subscription Offering & Overall Brand Vibe

    Beyond being a highly-important component of an eCommerce website from a product promotion perspective, PDPs are also invaluable when it comes to promoting your subscription offering. In fact, product pages are often a consumer’s first exposure to the fact that your brand even has subscriptions.

    Sip Tequila Product Detail Page

    We’ll start with a more tangible reason why your PDP is crucial for subscription promotion: it’s a smart spot for a brief outline of your subscription perks. At this point, we’re all deeply acquainted with the famous ‘subscribe and save.’ There’s a reason this is so well known. With this simple tagline, brands can immediately convey the main benefit of their subscription offering (meaningful savings) and thereby quickly persuade consumers to at least strongly consider a subscription. 

    Plus, from a practical standpoint, it’s much harder to convert a one-time buyer into a subscriber once they’ve left your site — so it makes the most sense to lean into subscriptions while you have your consumers’ attention. 

    But a PDP can also impact subscriptions in a more indirect and abstract way, namely from a trust-building perspective. Brand trust is becoming increasingly important to consumers, and a recent study found that one of the driving factors in forming trust with a brand early on is the PDP. Since subscriptions rely on long-term loyal customers, establishing trust from the get-go is a wise move.

    Remember: as we've just established, it isn’t just about the what but also the how. The best way to explain this is to compare it to online dating. Sometimes a person’s descriptions may theoretically sound perfect on paper (age, occupation, interests, etc) — but you just get a weird vibe from their profile. Does that mean you’ll eliminate the possibility of a relationship? Maybe not. Does it mean you’re significantly less likely to want to meet the person and, if you do, you’re going in from a place of skepticism, which is hardly the ideal starting point? Yes, it does. 

    Presenting your brand in the right way is absolutely crucial for forming a strong relationship with your new subscribers. 

    Now that we’ve covered the importance of a great PDP, let’s talk about actionable changes you can make to convert as many subscribers as possible. 

    PDP Best Practices For Subscription Brands

    The Basics

    To optimize a PDP for subscriptions, you have to optimize it for consumers in general. And as we’ve discussed, there are some obvious musts to do this: 

    • It must load quickly 
    • It must be mobile-friendly 
    • It must display professional images of the product, usually from a couple of different angles, with different backgrounds or lighting, and with evidence of the product in use (if applicable) 
    • It must include relevant and accurate descriptions of what the product does (without being too text-heavy)
    • It must display some kind of rating for social proof
    • It must clearly have purchasing options (a one-time purchase and subscription option) above the fold

    Assuming you have your basics nailed, here are the more high-level additions to create a subscription-optimized PDP: 

    Rethink Your Default Settings

    Default settings often go overlooked, but they’re an incredibly powerful tool. Think about it: when you click on a new page, the eye automatically goes to where you are already clicked. And whether you mean to or not, you initially consider that option first. 

    Does this mean you should automatically put the highest cadence for subscriptions as your default setting? No. It’s important to approach this strategically and thoughtfully, always considering what value you can provide to your end consumer. Because promoting a subscription too aggressively can be a potential turn-off. 

    For one, you need to ask yourself to what extent your product truly lends itself to subscriptions. Many brands offer thriving subscription programs but inherently understand that their product is still regularly purchased as a one-off. If that’s the case, there’s no harm in leaving the one-time purchase option as your default setting. In fact, it builds trust with your consumer — since they probably visited your PDP under the assumption they were about to complete a one-time purchase. That doesn’t mean you can’t still persuade them to subscribe. 

    However, if consistency is built into your product offering — like Joggy’s Runner’s High CBD supplement, which is designed to be taken routinely — then defaulting to a subscription makes a ton of sense.

    Joggy CBD PDP Best Practices

    You also have to consider your subscription cadence, and for that, we recommend looking at your subscription data. It will clearly tell you the most popular delivery frequency, and that should then guide your default settings for subscriptions. Many brands opt to tack on a ‘most popular’ option as a way to signal that this particular cadence works well for most consumers. 

    These simple changes will convey to your audience that you understand their needs and subtly guide them to the right subscription offering for them. 

    Consider Your Brand Presentation 

    As we mentioned, your brand presentation is the overall vibe of your PDP. We’re talking colors, brand voice, and overall style. A strong brand presentation will not only elicit positive feelings in your audience, but it’s also been shown to boost revenue by as much as 33%

    You should ensure that your product detail page is a cohesive continuation of the brand style you’ve already established. When you’re picking a color for your CTA button, make sure it fits in with your overall style but is the most eye-catching aspect of the page, which is something you can test with your consumers to find the most optimal color. And while it’s necessary to get the point across with your product copy, don’t be afraid to play up your brand voice. It will only help solidify trust with your consumer and encourage them to subscribe. 

    Illustrate Subscription Benefits

    And we’re back again with ‘subscribe and save.” In a brief, high-level way, your PDP should answer the question, why should I subscribe? Savings are, of course, one of the easiest and most intuitive reasons why. 

    Take Neuro, for instance. In addition to displaying “Subscribe & Save 10%,” the brand also utilizes a strikethrough after you toggle to the subscription button so consumers can clearly see just how substantial that 10% discount really is.

    Neuro gum product detail page

    Providing free shipping only to subscribers and emphasizing this perk is another excellent way to promote your subscription offering. 

    There are, of course, many other perks to subscriptions that go beyond saving — be it flexible subscription management, access to exclusive subscriber products, an engaging loyalty program, and more. It’s important to remember that you don’t need to sell consumers on every aspect of subscribing. In fact, it’s arguably better not to. It’s best to focus on selling your product over your subscription, and there are other opportunities to promote subscriptions in follow-up email marketing. You don’t want to clutter your PDP with too much subscription-focused copy.

    Having said that, it’s a great idea to have more information about your subscription accessible somewhere on your PDP. We’ve seen some brands cleverly display a clickable pop-up that asks, “Are subscriptions right for me?” The brand then outlines the many perks of their subscription offering. This way, anyone who wants to learn more can easily do so, but it doesn’t distract from the product or overwhelm the page. 

    You can pick which elements of your subscription offering you think are most attractive, be it “free shipping, always” or “cancel anytime” to display below your subscription button — then lean on pop-ups, links to other resources, or follow-up messaging to further educate consumers. 

    Don’t Forget About Targeted Pop-Ups

    Believe it or not, optimizing your PDP for subscriptions can also happen off the page. One-time buyers who are visiting your PDP to purchase again are prime candidates for a pop-up about your subscription offering. And our friends at Justuno are just the people to equip you with the tools you need for these conversion-focused pop-ups. 

    Display Your Reviews

    Social proof is huge for consumers. We are always looking for evidence to confirm we’re about to make a good decision, and leveraging reviews is one of the most important ways of doing that. In fact, 88% of consumers trust user reviews as much as personal recommendations — so they carry a lot of weight. 

    In addition to a star rating above the fold, be sure to display a range of reviews below the fold as well. Reviews that have to do with the quality of your brand, like Freestyle’s review about being created by parents, will work wonders to build trust with consumers and further promote subscriptions. And of course, it’s even better if subscriptions make an appearance in some of the reviews (but again, best to focus on the product first).

    Freestyle Diaper Reviews

    Optimizing your PDP is a good idea for all conversions, but it’s an especially wise move if you’re looking to acquire more subscribers. By following these PDP best practices, you’ll start attracting new subscribers in no time. 

    And of course, a subscription-optimized PDP also requires a strong Shopify subscription app to power your actual subscription offering. If you’re on the hunt for a subscription partner, send us a note.