Shopify Discount Code for Free First Subscription Order Tutorial


Written by Adriana Pope

December 19, 2023

Creating a free first order for a subscription product using Shopify discounts is an excellent strategy to attract new customers and build a loyal customer base.

This comprehensive guide will walk you through the process in detail.

In this tutorial, we’ll be using Ongoing subscriptions to create a subscription product & we’ll use Shopify for setting up a discount code that we can use to offer a free first order.

The beauty of this is you can still let the customer pay for their own shipping so you don’t have to front that cost, & this incentives the customer to try out your product with low commitment.

Watch Video- Shopify Subscription First Order Free Tutorial

Introduction to Shopify Discounts for Subscription Products

Shopify, a leading e-commerce platform, offers a range of tools to help businesses grow.

One such tool is the ability to create discounts, which can be particularly effective for subscription-based products.

Offering a free first order is a strategic move to entice potential subscribers by giving them a risk-free opportunity to try your products.

Understanding Shopify’s Discount Feature

Before diving into creating a free first order, it’s important to understand Shopify’s discount feature.

Shopify allows you to create various types of discounts, including percentage, fixed amount, and buy X get Y. For subscription products, the most relevant types will be percentage (100% off for the first order) or a fixed amount that equals the price of the product.

Setting Up Your Subscription Product

  1. Create Your Product: In your Shopify dashboard, start by creating the product you want to offer as a subscription. Ensure that your product descriptions, images, and pricing are clear and appealing.
  2. Install the Ongoing Subscriptions app: This app integrates directly with Shopify and offers robust features for subscription management. Go to the Shopify App Store, find Ongoing Subscriptions, and install it.
  3. Configure Your Subscription Settings: Once Ongoing Subscriptions is installed, configure your subscription settings. This includes setting up subscription intervals, subscription discounts, and any special options you want to offer your subscribers.
  4. Enable Subscription on Products: During the onboarding with Ongoing Subscriptions, the app will let you select the products you want to turn into subscriptions. This will enable the subscription option for your chosen products. Customize the settings in Ongoing Subscriptions to suit your business model.

By utilizing Ongoing Subscriptions, you can leverage its advanced features and seamless integration with Shopify to offer a compelling and user-friendly subscription experience to your customers.

Creating a 100% Discount for the First Order

  1. Navigate to Discounts: In your Shopify admin, go to the ‘Discounts’ section.
  2. Create Discount Code: Click on ‘Create discount’ and select ‘Amount Off Order’ and choose a manual ‘Discount code’.’ You can name the code something like ‘FIRSTFREE’ to make it clear to customers.
  3. Set the Discount Type: Choose either ‘Percentage’ and set it to 100% or a ‘Fixed Amount’ that matches the price of the subscription product.
  4. Apply to Subscriptions Only: Ensure that shopper is only buying a subscription product and not a one time purchase.
  5. Apply to Specific Products: Ensure the discount applies only to your subscription product. You can do this by selecting ‘Specific products’ in the ‘Applies to’ section.
  6. Set Usage Limits: Under ‘Usage limits’, select ‘Limit to one use per customer’. This ensures that the discount is only used for the first order of a new subscription.
  7. Set the Active Dates: Define the start and end date for the discount. You might want to keep it open-ended or set a specific period to create urgency.
  8. Review Summary: You can see a bullet point list of all the different aspects of your Shopify discount code, make sure you agree with all the different settings you have chosen
  9. Test Out the Code: Before committing to your discount code for the first order is free for your subscription product, make sure it actually works, test it out by adding the product to the checkout and seeing if it zeros out

Communicating the Offer to Potential Customers

Your free first order offer will only be effective if potential customers are aware of it. Use various channels to promote your offer:

  1. Email Marketing: Send out an announcement to your email list. Highlight the benefits of your subscription product and the free first offer.
  2. Social Media: Share the offer on your social media platforms. Engaging visuals and direct call-to-actions can help in getting the message across.
  3. On Your Website: Create banners or pop-up messages on your website that inform visitors about the free first order.

Best Practices for Offering a Free First Order

  • Track and Analyze: Use Shopify’s analytics to track the performance of your discount code. Monitor how many customers are using the code and their subsequent behavior.
  • Fine-tune Your Subscription Model: Based on the response, tweak your subscription settings. Consider frequency, pricing, and product selection.
  • Customer Service: Prepare your customer service team to handle inquiries related to the subscription and discount. Clear communication can enhance customer satisfaction.
  • Gather Feedback: Collect feedback from customers who used the free first order offer. This can provide insights into improving your products and services.

Benefits of First Free Subscription Order

Offering a product for free, especially as a part of a promotional strategy, can have several key benefits for a business. Here’s an overview of these advantages:

  1. Increased Customer Acquisition: Free offers are powerful tools for attracting new customers. People are more likely to try a new product when there is no financial risk involved, leading to a wider customer base.
  2. Enhanced Brand Exposure: Giving away a product for free can create buzz and excitement around your brand. This often leads to increased word-of-mouth marketing and social media sharing, amplifying brand visibility.
  3. Market Testing and Feedback: Free offers provide a way to gather valuable feedback on new products. By tracking customer responses and reviews, businesses can gain insights into market preferences and product improvements.
  4. Building Customer Loyalty: When customers receive something of value for free, it can foster goodwill and a positive perception of your brand, potentially leading to higher customer loyalty and retention rates. The idea of reciprocity is that they will feel compelled to say on longer so they can give back.
  5. Upselling and Cross-Selling Opportunities: Once customers are engaged with your free subscription product, it presents an opportunity to introduce them to other paid products or services, increasing the potential for additional sales.
  6. Competitive Advantage: Offering a free subscription product can set your business apart from competitors, especially in a crowded market. It’s a strategy that can give you an edge by appealing directly to consumers’ love of getting something valuable for nothing.
  7. Data Collection and Customer Insights: Free offers can be an effective way to collect customer data, such as email addresses and shopping preferences, which can be used for future marketing and sales strategies.
  8. Creating a Viral Effect: If the product is well-received, the free offer can sometimes go viral, leading to exponential exposure and potentially converting into a significant increase in sales and long-term customers.
  9. Clearing Old Inventory: If the free subscription product is from older stock, this strategy can be an efficient way to clear out inventory, making room for new products and reducing storage costs.
  10. Demonstrating Product Quality and Value: By letting customers experience the quality of your product first-hand without risk, you can effectively demonstrate its value, potentially leading to more confident and satisfied customers.

While offering a subscription product for free can be a powerful marketing tool, it’s important to carefully balance the short-term excitement it generates with the long-term sustainability and profitability of your business.

Things To Consider

Offering a free first order for a subscription product on Shopify can be a highly effective strategy for attracting new customers, but it does involve certain considerations that should be carefully managed to ensure the long-term success and financial health of your business.

Here are some key points to consider:

  1. Initial Investment: Implementing a strategy like this requires a substantial upfront investment. Giving away your product for free means absorbing the cost of production without immediate financial return. It’s important to have a financial buffer to support this strategy, especially at the beginning.
  2. Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC): While offering a free first order can lower the barrier for new customers to try your product, it can raise the CAC. You’ll need to carefully balance the cost of acquiring new subscribers with the expected lifetime value (LTV) they bring to ensure profitability in the long run.
  3. Sustainability and Inventory Management: Ensuring you have enough inventory to meet the demand of both your paying customers and those taking advantage of the free offer is crucial. This strategy might lead to a rapid increase in orders, which requires good inventory management and a sustainable supply chain.
  4. Customer Retention: While attracting customers with a free offer is effective, the real challenge lies in retaining them after the initial order. The success of this strategy is highly dependent on the quality of your product and the customer experience. It’s essential to have a solid plan for nurturing and retaining customers beyond their first free order.
  5. Assessing Long-term Viability: It’s important to continuously monitor the performance of this strategy and assess its long-term viability. Analyze customer behavior, retention rates, and overall profitability to determine if adjustments are needed.
  6. Risk of Attracting ‘Freebie’ Seekers: There’s a possibility of attracting customers who are only interested in the free offer and have no intention of continuing their subscription. Monitor your churn rate and profitability.
  7. Brand Perception: How your brand is perceived is also an important consideration. While a free offer can generate buzz and excitement, you want to ensure that it doesn’t devalue your brand or product in the eyes of consumers.

By keeping these factors in mind, you can more effectively manage and optimize a promotional strategy involving free first orders for subscription products on Shopify, balancing the initial appeal to new customers with the long-term health and sustainability of your business.

Ongoing Subscriptions – The #1 Shopify Subscriptions App

Ongoing Subscriptions has a perfect five star rating on the Shopify app store, this certainly speaks volumes about the quality and reliability of the Ongoing Subscriptions app.

In the realm of e-commerce, where the smooth operation of subscription services can significantly impact customer satisfaction and business success, choosing an app with such a strong track record is crucial.

The high level of customer satisfaction indicated by Ongoing Subscriptions’ reviews suggests that it offers excellent functionality, user experience, and customer support, making it a standout choice for Shopify store owners looking to implement or improve their subscription services.

It’s always advisable to go with solutions that have proven their worth through consistent positive user feedback, especially in a competitive and dynamic environment like e-commerce.

Shopify Discount Code for Free First Subscription Order Conclusion

Offering a free first order for subscription products is a powerful way to attract new customers on Shopify.

By following these steps and continuously refining your approach based on customer feedback and performance analytics, you can build a successful subscription model that benefits both your business and your customers.

Remember, the key to success with this strategy is not just in the setup but in how effectively you communicate the offer and manage the customer experience post-purchase.

With careful planning and execution, this strategy can significantly boost your customer base and overall sales.

Try a 30 Day Free Trial of Ongoing Subscriptions

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