Resources for Buying and Selling Online Businesses

Grow Your Subscription Income With Rodeo


Ben FisherBen Fisher is the Co-founder and CEO of Rodeo, a consumer-centric subscription platform for challenger CPG brands. He is an entrepreneur who understands the technologies and growth strategies for an e-commerce brand and is passionate about helping entrepreneurs scale their businesses and achieve their maximum potential. Before Rodeo, Ben was the Co-founder of CartHook, a customizable e-commerce checkout used by hundreds of DTC companies on Shopify and famous for its one-page checkout and one-click post-purchase upsells.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • [02:34] Ben Fisher explains how he got into the subscription model space and how Rodeo helps entrepreneurs
  • [09:54] Rodeo’s idea client profile — a case study
  • [15:27] The steps of working with Rodeo on Shopify and the additional services they offer
  • [20:12] Ben talks about the reasons for high churn rates and how Rodeo helps brands avoid them
  • [24:03] Rodeo’s pricing structure
  • [27:25] The mistakes entrepreneurs make with the subscribe and save model
  • [32:30] What is the boost revenue button?

In this episode…

Every e-commerce brand strives to acquire repeat customers. One way to accomplish this goal is by offering a subscription, but how can you perfect this method?

With the evolution of the e-commerce space, the tools and strategies people use to sell have changed. Ben Fisher notes that about 70% of Shopify brands are offering subscription products this year. However, with more and more brands pushing subscriptions, it can become a negative experience for people, resulting in higher churn rates. Ben describes how he helps clients reorchestrate the reordering experience into something better for everyone.

In this episode of the Quiet Light Podcast, Pat Yates sits down with Ben Fisher, Co-founder and CEO of Rodeo, to discuss how to introduce a successful subscription model. Ben explains how Rodeo assists entrepreneurs with the subscribe and save model, its ideal client profile, the reasons for high churn rates, and how entrepreneurs can avoid the common mistakes made with e-commerce subscription models.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Sponsor for this episode

This episode brought to you by Quiet Light, a brokerage firm that wants to help you successfully sell your online business.

There is no wrong reason for selling your business. However, there is a right time and a right way. The team of leading entrepreneurs at Quiet Light wants to help you discover the right time and strategy for selling your business. They provide trustworthy advice, effective strategies, and honest valuations. So, your Quiet Light advisors aren’t your everyday brokers — they’re your partner and friend through every phase of the exit planning process.

If you’re new to the prospect of buying and selling, Quiet Light is here to support you. Their plethora of top-notch resources will provide everything you need to know about when and how to buy or sell an online business. Quiet Light offers high-quality videos, articles, podcasts, and guides to help you make the best decision for your online business.

Not sure what your business is really worth? No worries. Quiet Light offers a free valuation and marketplace-ready assessment on its website. That’s right—this quick, easy, and free valuation has no strings attached. Knowing the true value of your business has never been easier!

What are you waiting for? Quiet Light offers the best experience, strategies, and advice to make your exit successful. To learn more, go to, email [email protected], or call 800.746.5034 today.

Episode Transcript

Intro  0:07

Hi folks. It’s the Quiet Light Podcast where we share relentlessly honest insights, actionable tips, and entrepreneurial stories that will help founders identify and reach their goals

Pat Yates  0:32

Welcome back to the Quiet Light Podcast. This is Pat Yates sitting in for Joe Valley. Today we have Ben Fisher a really fascinating conversation. Ben is with is the website but the company has called Rodeo and they work really hard to increase your subscribe and stave so just a little information about Ben. Ben’s journey began as a young kid selling strawberries door to door in Maine. And if you could imagine a kid walking out with just strawberries, how do you not have blueberries and a whole complement I’m not even sure I should. I asked him about that during the podcast. But then he used the profits to be able to do computer programming books and learn about coding when he was a teenager. He co-founded CartHook a platform that optimize the checkout process for DTC e-commerce brands on Shopify and enabled them to offer post-purchase upsells. Post-purchase upsells created a new revenue channel for brands resulting in an additional quarter of a billion dollars in revenue. And it was acquired in 2022. Today, Ben runs Rodeo a platform for eight-figure DTC brands that use subscription models to maximize customer retention and LTV. This is a fascinating conversation. And if you’re out there working on your subscription model, Subscribe and Save whatever everyone’s gonna call it, then this is the kind of podcasts you really need to listen to. And I would reach out to Ben at So let’s get right to Ben, I’m excited about this conversation today. And Ben, how are we doing today?

Ben Fisher  2:00

I’m doing great. Thanks for having me.

Pat Yates  2:02

Man. I’m so excited to get into this today. It’s funny because we have so many entrepreneurs and especially as an advisor, we get so many questions about ways to expand their business. We don’t just get people coming in looking to sell they want understand how to improve and get in a position. So I’m really excited to talk about the business today. And I’d love for you to introduce and tell us basically the 30,000-foot view of what you do the broad is thanks. So if you could tell us a little bit about yourself. I’d love to hear your background and then go into the business itself.

Ben Fisher  2:34

Sure. So going back to 1985. All right, gotcha.

Pat Yates  2:39

Oh, that’s okay, I can do that. I’m not old, we can do that.

Ben Fisher  2:41

No, just funny, I did start programming. And I guess this is a part of like my I’ll say like my hero’s journey. And just my sort of where I am. And how I got here was I started programming at like an absurdly young age, like fifth grade, I grew up on a tree farm in Maine, I’m an only child. And so like, I had a lot of time on my hands. And so I got really interested in computers and like learning how to code and I used to sell strawberries to buy computer books. And so, fast forward, I’m still doing more or less what I was doing in fifth grade, right? Which I guess is both a blessing as well as some days a curse. But I would say is like a lot of what I’ve been interested in the last 10 years, I’ve really focused on building tools, and specifically tools that help e-commerce entrepreneurs make more money. I’m sure like, for anyone who’s built the business out there, you have a lot of really interesting and cool ideas. For me, one of the challenges was like, what’s the revenue model? What’s the business model? And so after I’d say like, several cool projects that like I never figured out the business, I decided to focus specifically on e-commerce, because I was like, if I can help other people make more money, then it becomes a win-win, because naturally, there’s a business model there. And so that’s what I’ve been focused on for the last nine years. And specifically on the Shopify ecosystem. So I don’t know for how many of y’all are listening, how long you’ve been in e-commerce, but now Shopify is known as the, you know, the dominant platform for certainly, early on, it was perceived as only for small merchants, over the last like four or five years, they’ve really never even been longer than five years or so they’ve accelerated and focus on the upper mid-market to enterprise, which is the space that the Magento is and the big commerce is used to play. Anyways, with that, and that’s it as the evolution of the Shopify ecosystem, a lot of things have changed in e-commerce as well. And one of those big things is the different tools and strategies people have to sell. It used to be with e-commerce, you could sell your product and then you had to sell a product again, hopefully to the same person like a few months later, but now about 10 years ago, we had sort of like this box of the month model that came out where you could actually subscribe to product And as of this year, about 70% of brands on Shopify, offer some sort of subscription product, and specifically direct to consumer e-commerce brands on Shopify, that’s the last stat that I’d seen. And so we went from a place where offering a subscription to a product was somewhat novel. And like, you might subscribe to like a couple of things. But now an enormous number of brands are all asking you to subscribe. And the problem there is in part that if you had a digital subscription, whether or not you watch Hulu or Netflix this month, you might have wasted five bucks. That’s not a huge deal. You don’t like wasting money. But when you’re subscribing to physical products, specifically, like food and beverage brands, it really is to actually like it’s painful to receive a package in the mail for something that you actually don’t need more of. Like, I actually have my freezers currently full of paper towels, because I had a shipment show up like a family size of paper towels, and I wasn’t ready for more. And so what you’ve seen over the last couple of years is that as this business model has exploded, and then everyone’s offering subscriptions, the reality of subscriptions is that they’re not always convenient. And as more and more brands are kind of pushing subscriptions as a model, it actually becomes a broken and bad experience for more and more people. And so, what I have focused on specifically what are tools to help other brands or to help brands still generate recurring revenue, but still provide a great consumer experience. Because at the end of the day, the goal for any brand, is you want repeat purchases from customers, right? It’s to have as many people to have satisfied customers and get them buying from you on a recurring or regular cadence, whatever that mechanism is, and subscriptions up till now have really been that mechanism that people perceived as recurring because it automatically renews unless the person cancels. So as I don’t know how far into the weeds you want to go into exactly how our what our product does, but what I was going back to that analogy, or the anecdote, rather, of my paper towel example, is that happens to people all the time, especially like if it’s a food and beverage brand, unless you’re buying a medication where you know the exact dosage you’re taking every day, like one aspirin or something, 30 days or product isn’t going to last, necessarily 30 days, and that issue becomes compounded when brands aren’t necessarily matching their packaging to the subscription cadence because it’s sort of funny that every single brand basically offers the same subscription plans, like every 3060 90 days, are you telling me that all their packaging is really thought out that this is exactly 30, 60, 90 days of product? That’s a very, very good point. And so and especially in the post-COVID, now that people are traveling and stuff, like our consumption patterns aren’t even consistent, like people are out of town and whatnot. And so at the end of the day, and this has been our thesis that subscriptions are great for certain types of products, and for certain people, right? Like, if you look at any sort of customer base, the numbers I generally see are about like, let’s say 15%, of a brand’s customers will be like subscribers, and say like, half of those, I want to have those, let’s say, in a percentage of those will be like loyal subscribers, but you have this enormous, larger pool of customers who they buy repeatedly. Like, if you were to analyze your order history, you probably do see people who buy on somewhat frequent basis, but they’re not subscribers. And there is a way to enable those folks to essentially be able to buy from you frequently without having to remember themselves because ultimately, even like the promise of subscription is this idea of set it and forget it. The problem is the reality when you’re dealing with physical products is it rarely works out that you get as much as you need when you need it.

Pat Yates  3:55

That’s really an incredible point. Because I’m searching in my mind just thinking of things that I’ve had on subscriber savor my wife has and then you end up with to two months of it. And you say, Well, I got to shut it off. And then you basically don’t go back to it unless you remember it. So it’s a really interesting point. So let me ask this. So again, we’re talking with Ben Fisher with and we’re learning how to really take this subscribe and say make it better. So tell me an example of what kind of businesses you work with. Maybe give one good example of someone that’s like a perfect case study. It doesn’t have to be the person it could be an item if you want to say because I’m curious who the wheelhouse customers are here.

Ben Fisher  9:54

Yeah, so we focus specifically on CPG. So food and beverage health and wellness and beauty and cosmetics. So specifically products that have some sort of unpredictability to how often you’ll go through them. A great example of doesn’t say like, so for example, with wipes, one of the companies who work with Biom, they sell eco-friendly, like wipes, it’s an alternative to like the caustic, Lysol spray, like this is actually like a beautifully designed product that you actually want to have outside in your home. But you’re not going to consistently use the same number of wipes every month or every week. Right. But Biom still wants to make it super easy for someone to be able to buy, right to buy and, and, and for Biom to be top of mind when that person is ready or getting close to running out so that you don’t run out and then go to like the local store and buy whatever wipes that they have available. Right. And so Biom is actually a great example of a business where a customer isn’t necessarily always going to want to subscribe, by default, because they’re like, Well, I don’t necessarily know, someone thinks about subscribing is you then have to pay attention and self-monitor and go like, well do I need to skip this month, like, there’s an element of anxiety that can happen, a lot of people are like, I’m forgetful, so I’ll forget that I have to have this subscription. And then there are certain people who’s like, I don’t care if I have a few extra wipes or like I just want them on hand. So subscriptions per subscribe and save is perfect for that type of consumer. But there’s a lot of us where it’s like, I know I want it, I just want to be easy to buy when I need it. And so what we developed is what we call an on-demand experience. Where so you can have basically customers will get a smart reminder that ask them if they’re ready for more, and their card is stored on file. So that’s the important pieces, store the person’s card on file, and then check in with them, let’s say after 30 days and say, hey, you’ve been using Biom like, basically, do you have another? Like? Do you have another week left? Like do you think you’ll need more in like 30 days and or like we’re in like one week, and the person can either snooze the reminder or essentially click a button and rebuy what they had before?

Pat Yates  12:13

So you try to get ahead of the timing. Let’s say you talked earlier about how regimented some people could be 30 60 90. That’s how they do their Subscribe and Save. So this is meant to be not necessarily the actual in-your-face purchase, it’s meant to be a reminder of the need to purchase and then they help schedule it out instead, am I saying that right? As far as how the flow would go?

Ben Fisher  12:35

Yeah, so you could even think of it as with a typical subscription, it will automatically renew on its own after let’s say 30 days, what we do and we still support that, right we do our technology, our platform supports a traditional subscription. But our on-demand model is just another option that brands can offer customers who don’t want to subscribe. And what it does is they say, hey, all right, you don’t want to subscribe. So just put your card on file. And we’ll check in with you on a regular interval based off of how quickly we basically are able to see you like consuming the product. And an order will not be placed unless the customer is like, yep, I’m ready. And so ends up happening as you get a lot of people who would typically just be buying in response to email marketing, or if they think about it, you’re base game to eliminate 95% of the checkout friction by first off having their card on file. And the second piece is they have opted into getting reminders from you checking in to see essentially how quickly they’re consuming the product. And if they’re ready for more.

Pat Yates  13:41

Is it a pseudo way of being able to set when you want that refill and just not making it so structured? Is it as simple as thinking that and people feel is that they have more control over that refill than they do with a regimented time range?

Ben Fisher  13:54

Yes, correct. I mean, that’s really like a good way to describe it. Like I mostly read like a pharmacy, a pharmacy will check in and say do you need a refill, they won’t just necessarily refill your prescription. And so it’s what we call, it’s like,  it’s a middle road, where, you know, we really have two options today as consumers, you can buy whenever you think of it, and like remember it, or you can buy it and automatically get it every single month. And the reality is that like life is more nuanced than that. And so Pete like brands, and entrepreneurs should be able to offer additional sort of intermediate options. And so there’s on-demand is like a middle ground between its subscription, like it’s still that Pavlovian, like reminder, hoping, you know, kind of encouraging someone to buy, like every 30 60 90 days or whatever the timeframe is for them, but they’re actually getting more people to opt into it because it’s not so prescriptive. And it’s not the same sort of, we’ll call it like limiting model that people have experienced now that more and more people have had bad experiences with subscriptions.

Pat Yates  15:00

Yeah, that makes a ton of sense. So let’s say for instance, that I’m selling supplements, let’s just make it. And I have these on Shopify, and I want to go out and I want to use your services. And I come in today and I say, Ben, let’s go, what is the first step? And what typically do the clients need to be able to get onboarded and work with you? I mean, I’m sure there are steps to get it going to have that working on your system. So tell a little bit about that.

Ben Fisher  15:27

Yeah, so one of the great things about Shopify is as long as you’re on Shopify, like most apps in the Shopify ecosystem, you can install with a click. So the initial installation process, it’s easy out of the box, like you literally just go into the app store, you click the install button, it’s installed. There are some then configurations that you do. What we do is we I mean, when you’re on boarded, working with Rodeo, we guide you through the different steps. It’s straightforward, but it’s questions we have to ask, like, do you want different shipping? Like, are you offering free shipping for people who subscribe as opposed to maybe it’s not free? If they don’t subscribe? Like, what are some of the different perks that you want to incorporate into your subscription program in the first place? So for example, you can have products that are only available to subscribers, we have one brand that we’ve worked with, that they would collaborate with, like different coffee makers, every couple months, and so they had coffee that you could only buy if you had a active subscription. And now is a way to layer in value to the subscription beyond just hey, here’s more stuff. Like they made it feel like a perk just to be a subscriber, like you’re getting access.

Pat Yates  16:42

Yeah. Now let me ask this. I know that when people come in, there’s systems that work a little differently inside Shopify, the way they do this, I know that you have a lot of different services that you offer. I mean, maybe tell me a little bit about that, because I noticed it, you help with branding design, maybe a little bit more how it’s marketed. I mean, when they come in, and they’re wanting to work with your company, how do they actually get it to market because I’m envisioning installing the app but needing some work after InDesign or the way that it workflows maybe I’m wrong about that.

Ben Fisher  17:12

Yeah, so we don’t do anything on the actual like design development side, we are on the software side, but we do do is we do provide because of our experience, and like my partner, he’s also an engineer. And both of us have been working in the space for so long. Part of the reason we started Rodeo was we wanted to work with other experienced entrepreneurs and provide sort of like, what we’re good at, which is the technology side, and just a lot of pattern matching, and having worked with a lot of brands over the last 10 years. And so oftentimes what will happen is, there will be a bit of a collaborative piece where an entrepreneur who has an e-commerce brand, like I’m thinking about maybe, like, they’re looking for advice or feedback of around even what they’re offering as a subscription. Or maybe they want to package it more as a membership, as opposed to a subscription to individual products. So we do help with that. But we don’t do any actual design development.

Pat Yates  18:08

Yeah, that makes a ton of sense. So what about timing, I mean, to customers come in and work with you long term continuing to do this, is it usually an onboarding process, tell me a little bit about start to finish the kind of timing it takes to get traction with something like this.

Ben Fisher  18:23

So we typically work with brands that already have at least a couple million dollars a year in revenue. Like we work with some brands that do 10s of millions, brands that we’ve worked with some brands to do hundreds. And so we don’t work with brands, typically that are just starting out. And the reason behind that is we can be most helpful in serving brands that already have revenue. Because early on, what you’ll find is a lot of early-stage e-commerce brands are just, they’re trying to figure out whether or not they have a business, they’re trying to figure out how to grow it. Where our experience is really helpful as we scaled so many companies that if you’re a brand, that scaling, were disproportionately valuable to you, because the questions that you have are probably things around, like the technologies you’re using, like what’s the right way to do this to avoid issues around, like on the operation side of your business around fulfillment? And those problems are magnified for companies that are doing north of $10 million. And so just by and large, who can we be most helpful to? Like, that’s our sweet spot is focusing specifically with brands who already have product market-fit, and then what they were, the reason they work with us is to help them accelerate their growth. And a lot of the brands we work with, actually, every single brand we’ve worked with, they already had an existing subscription program. So none of them were starting from scratch. Right?

Pat Yates  19:51

See, that’s interesting point because I’m thinking about the people that did it wrong first, let’s say that they had 15,000 subscribers a year and a half, two years ago. Now they have 8000, let’s say that they understand that they can do this better. But is there an opportunity recapture those seven? Because they have a better system? Have you have any data around how people can actually improve what they’ve already messed up?

Ben Fisher  20:12

Yeah, no, absolutely. And I think what’s interesting is when you look at like why? Obviously, the answer is it depends. But if it doesn’t, the example doesn’t even have to be as dramatic as that. It could be somewhat, it could be a business that hasn’t really grown. Because with subscriptions like that, basically, the killer for subscriptions is churn. It’s people canceling. And so one of the first things that we do when a brand onboard with us is we look at all their customer cancellation reasons. And the number one reason brands that consumers canceled subscriptions, is they have too many products. Prices is the other reason it’s either price or it’s too much product. And then the insane thing about too much product is it goes back to the fact that this auto-delivery mechanism of subscriptions, while so powerful, is actively leading, like customers who like your product to cancel, because they’re getting too much of it. And so for folks like that, what we do is we can actually identify all of your customers who cancelled for that particular reason, essentially create a segment of them, and then work with you to get them to do like, for example, the on-demand program where, hey, we know last time you were getting too much product, now we have a way to enable you to be in, like 100% control. And the benefit is that you’re still getting reminded you’re not having to remember yourself. And aren’t your cards on file, we know your preferences, because you’ve purchased before. So we’re able to pre-build a cart every month based off of what you’ve previously purchased. But now you can avoid that problem of getting too much product because you weren’t ready for it. Does that make sense?

Pat Yates  21:55

Yeah, it absolutely does. I mean, it’s really fascinating. I mean, in the business that in my e-comm has Sonar do any of the Subscribe and Save. It’s really not that kind of product. But it’s really interesting, because even it made mention, as I was reading up on this a little bit, that you may have an opportunity to even expand what that customer is buying from that same vendor subscribers say maybe because they’re able to put other things there. Tell me a little bit about how that can happen. I mean, cross-promotion, where you end up reselling someone that’s already on a subscribe, it’s like selling the people you’re already dealing with.

Ben Fisher  22:25

It’s funny, like, that’s great. So one of the things that we developed was, oh, let’s go to the insight, the insight is that the highest open email that a brand sends is the upcoming order reminder email, which brands hate sending that I’ll say like some brands, hate sending it to hate reminding people, they have a subscription, because that leads to someone realizing I don’t need more product. I’d arguable that’s literally the cost of doing business is, like if you’re building a great business, you want people who need your product to have your product not getting forced fat. And because then they then they resent you. What’s great about that, though, is or the fact that that email is open so much, it’s also a great opportunity for you to almost frame it, that upcoming order email can be framed as a, hey, your orders about to renew, you still have time to add a few more things to that order. And so what we’ll do is like, what with Rodeo, we have the ability for you to embed complimentary products that can be added to your upcoming order with one click. Right. So that becomes a revenue expansion opportunity, not just one where yes, some people will cancel because that’s life. But it can be offset. Now is that a fact? Well, some people are actually increasing their average order value, because you have these offers incorporated within that email. And it’s only a single click to add it.

Pat Yates  23:49

Yeah, maybe talk a little bit about your pricing and how that works. And you don’t have to talk specifically because I know this dates it and it could change but maybe give us an idea if someone comes in, what they expect to be paying for your services?

Ben Fisher  24:03

Sure. So it’s largely performance-based, we have a flat rate of 599 a month, and then it’s 1% and 20 cents per subscription order. The way we framed it that way is in part like the 599 is because we’re more hands-on as a business like we want to be hands-on. And so there’s just like a cost to have us be able to afford to be able to do business with a brand to be able to give them the amount of time that we want. And like the typical brand that’s working with us, like they’re doing a fair amount of volume and, and having that sort of performance piece around like the 1% 20 cents. That matters because it also enables us to continue coming up with creative ways to help them grow their revenue, right. Like if the brand’s not making more money, then we’re not doing our job and we’re not making more money and so intended to align incentives.

Pat Yates  24:56

So obviously one thing you want to make sure people understand is This isn’t something you come in and you just run a SaaS program and it cranks it out you do personal help with these people understanding that Subscribe and Save and your business and Rodeo and how to grow that. Is that correct?

Ben Fisher  25:10

Yes, yes.

Pat Yates  25:11

You find a lot of companies that just sort of come in and give you a fix. And they say, well, here, it’s automated. That’s how people work. But giving that direct feedback is really, really amazing. So another question that I had, I mean, do you find that your customers stay long term? Is it something that the improvement is so solid? I’m sure that every case is different. But do you feel like with most of your clients, they’ve seen that increase? And it’s something they continue to work with you 12, 18, 24, 36 months down the line?

Ben Fisher  25:40

Yes. We’ve been around for about two years. So you can’t say that we’ve had anyone for 10 years. But because it part of this wasn’t even technologically possible and Shopfy until two years ago. So we were one of the first apps to launch that we’re able to leverage these new API’s that Shopify had created. And this goes back into like the history of like, the evolution of Shopify, but for about seven years, there were two companies that were allowed by Shopify to offer subscription solutions. And that’s because Shopify itself couldn’t natively support subscriptions. And so they let two companies for seven years have a duopoly and they were the only ones who were able to offer a subscription solution. And then two years ago, Shopify released, sort of like some initial API’s to let other developers also compete.

Pat Yates  26:36

I’ll tell you what really strikes me. Sometimes I look at businesses that I think they do way too much like I look at marketing agencies all the time, they’ll do 75 things you need inside your business, you really decided to concentrate on one and one that not a lot of people spend a lot of time on. But what I found amazing in this and maybe you can talk to the listeners a little bit about how it’s important to even compartmentalize this because there may be people out there that understand a little bit about Subscribe and Save. And maybe the listeners who are doing it think oh, it’s pretty simple. I just put it out there and people subscribing. They keep saving, but they can’t avoid the churn. So you’re a specialist in this? What are the main hiccups that you see people that don’t work with someone before they come into you, what are they experiencing that you try to fix? Because maybe people sitting there right now saying, I can’t get past this in my Subscribe and Save? And if he says it, I need to work on what are those things?

Ben Fisher  27:25

Yeah, well, so I mean, a few things I think part of it is it’s especially as I was saying, like, part of what’s happened at a macro level is we have so many brands offering subscriptions regardless of whether or not their product actually makes sense as a subscription. So I think for any entrepreneur, part of its thinking about well, does my product on its own make sense as a subscription. If not, there are still ways for you to offer a subscription product it can be at, like as a membership where it’s not necessarily about sending them more product every single month, it could be around curation, that could be a digital product, something that where someone will pay like 10 bucks a month for where maybe it’s not the full-blown product, what they get instead is you get a discount for buying products on your store. Right. So there’s different flavors of subscription revenue. Like if you can think of it, it’s an umbrella, the umbrella of the parent is membership. And membership is like what you experienced, like Amazon Prime, or Costco where you pay a membership subscription. And it gives you some sort of perks, whether it’s like a discount off of some products or two days shipping if you’re an Amazon and then you can subscribe to individual products. What I will say like focusing on the subscription piece, one thing that I’ve seen brands kind of mess up is doing really heavy to steep discounts. And the reason that can kill your subscription program is it ends up a lot of people will subscribe simply because of the discount. And in talking to a lot of consumers and part of what we do again is like we’re super nerdy about this, like, and I’m a consumer, I spend a lot of time looking at and buying stuff and thinking about like, what the experience is like and comparing like brand experiences. I’ve had conversations with consumers who are like, I felt like I was being ripped off if I paid full price, even though I only wanted it once I bought it for the subscription and then I cancelled it. Right? So what ends up happening is you’re by focusing on the financial incentive, you’re bringing in a lot of people who if they don’t actually want to subscribe, and so that is very dangerous when you’re doing a very steep discount. So let’s say anything over 20% the amount you discount varies and like depending on your business, maybe like certain different businesses can support different margins. But just like all things being equal, like if you’re heavily discounting your product, you’re probably attracting a lot of people who just don’t want to subscribe it’s just it’s too enticing them to pay full price. Right. And what that actively does is it doesn’t give you a good signal around, well, how many of these people are actually going to stay, it will artificially inflate your churn. And so you have a what I call like, you have like an anemic subscription program, as soon as you start going down that road, and I think part of the problem there, too, is focusing so much on price. Like if you look at Amazon, Amazon Subscribe and Save you save like 5% like Amazon has not framed there’s like, Subscribe and Save as like, you get 30% off the product. And I think that goes back to the reason when subscription works, it works, because it’s convenient, it’s a convenient way for a certain type of person to like, receive a product. And again, for most of us, it’s like we’re so busy with life, like, we don’t want to be remembering like my solution actually, before Rodeo was I had a calendar reminder to rebuy products with a link to the product page to like to buy the product. That was my original solution before Rodeo was I did it myself with my calendar. And so like different people want to buy in different ways. And ultimately, we all want control of our money, especially with what’s happening in the economy, where people are just they’re looking at where their money is going. And so yeah, focusing on the financial incentive of a subscription is kind of just making it sound like all you’re getting as a benefit of a subscription is like the benefit is the discount, when in fact, the whole point of a subscription, this is subscription should actually be a convenient mechanism for you to consume, right. And so I would again, focus on ways beyond just price to inflate the value of the subscription, whether it’s by layering on like a free digital product. But again, I would hesitate to like some of the brands we work with, they don’t even discount their subscription at all. Like there’s one brand we’re talking to right now is actually considering removing it entirely. Because the whole point is their products great. Like why would you need a discount to buy it? The whole point is that we’re actually making it convenient for you to not run out.

Pat Yates  31:57

Yeah, that’s a great point. So again, I’m talking with Ben Fisher Rodeo at If you can’t see the video, he’s a Yankees fan, which means most people don’t like him probably as it is, but Ben then leave another question, I see that you have a boost revenue button on your thing, which is really great. It’s a great way to call it, I’m sure that you have an onboarding or at least meeting with people or a trial or something of sort that lets people understand. So if they came in to talk to you guys, tell me a little bit about the process where they’re learning about it through you, can they do a webinar? What do they do?

Ben Fisher  32:30

Yeah, so if you go and you click the boost revenue button essentially, it’s scheduled a consultation call with me. And what we’ll do is I’ll focus on not showing you the dog and pony show of the product, necessarily what we’re focused on is understanding your business and where you’re at. Specifically, like understanding, yeah, like, what are your quarterly goals? What are your end-of-the-year goals? Like, what’s the size of your subscription program today relative to like, your entire, like book of business? And what are the things that you’ve been struggling with? And what are you trying to accomplish? And from that, I can kind of give you my honest assessment of like, can we be helpful? And in what ways can we be helpful. And so it’s largely around brands that, they have a healthy business,  they are looking for ways to increase, repeat, repeat purchases, both on the subscription side, as well as in more, we’ll call it like other creative ways, like on-demand where, all right, not everyone wants, like knowledge that not everyone wants to subscribe. But there’s still ways to create predictable, or semi-predictable revenue. Because a lot of people just aren’t going to subscribe to your product. And actually, one question, I didn’t ask it, but I should have had beginning of this is do you have any physical subscriptions yourself?

Pat Yates  33:48

Myself? I do not think so for products at this point that used to be for my wife was taking a certain kind of weight loss program, and she had to get these bars, these snack bars that she had on subscribe, but it became a problem. That’s exactly what I was going back to. They piled up. They were going.

Ben Fisher  34:06

Yeah. And I think that’s like, the funny piece of all of this is like, when you talk to people, and even when I talk to a lot of our, like, brands that are trying to push their subscription program. One of the first questions I asked them is how many subscriptions Do you have? And several don’t have any like, I’d say by and large, the answer is like maybe one, like they have one product, too. And I think what’s kind of funny is like there’s a little bit of it, and I get it right? Like you are looking at your business and you’re like, well, subscription revenue, on average, people buy at least three times and the reason LTV is times three typically is you buy it once you get one renewal, then you realize that you got too much of it and then like shit, and then you forget that you’re still subscribed. And then that third time is when you cancel. That’s why LTV, oftentimes for subscription is that’s not true for everyone. But when brands are looking at like oh we need to get more and more subscribers. One thing I asked you to take, like a pause on is like, your goal is not a subscription, your goal is to get people repeated, like to have happy customers repeatedly buying. And subscriptions are a way to do that. But there’s other creative ways that are now being developed. And I think if you look at your life, and you’re like, well, you don’t have any subscriptions, yet, you’re basically trying to get all of your customers to subscribe. There’s an insight there. And I think that I encourage every entrepreneur to kind of pay attention to that, because it’s really easy to focus on, just like what everyone else is doing. And kind of think from like, first principles of like, what’s the goal here? And what can I even learn from my own behavior, to inform like some of the decisions I’m making within the business?

Pat Yates  35:29

It’s really amazing. I mean, this is fascinating to begin with, because while I talk to a lot of companies that have some subscribe, and save and recurring revenue like that, it’s not only structure where they focus on it this much, it’s just really like, okay, we have this, which is great. If anyone that’s listening goes to to see the site, obviously, you’re gonna see some pictures, and then I got to ask this question. You and Joel both have pictures with dogs in there. What story with that? Because your dog has the same expression you do in the picture. That’s really funny.

Ben Fisher  36:17

That’s so funny. I’ve heard that so many times. That Charlie, and she does, like people said that we look very similar. Yeah, and that’s Joel’s dog. Shotzi. Yeah, so I guess it started off with me, because like, every single photograph of me even on LinkedIn is me holding Charlie. And so just to be consistent, I was like, I think Joe and I were like, Joel, you need to hold a dog otherwise. And luckily, he had a dog to hold. He didn’t borrow the dog, the dog is actually his. But I think, part of it, too, is our personalities as well, that we try to inject in everything, which is to try to have a little bit of fun. And although we’re professionals, it’s like, how do you make a tool that isn’t necessarily on its face? Fun? And interesting. How do you make it delightful? And how do you inject that into the personality of the business itself?

Pat Yates  37:09

Yeah, because pets can be a great place to actually come to your business, because people are really regimented in what they do with their pets. So typing out subscribe stuff. Well, this has actually been an amazing conversation, Ben, but is there anything else you think that we didn’t touch on that people out there would want understand about Rodeo with hay

Ben Fisher  37:29

I mean, what I’d say that is two things. If you have an existing business, that you just have not gone into subscription yet, I’m thinking specifically probably if you sell beauty, or largely beauty is one of those places where people buy repeatedly, but they vary what they buy. And so a lot of beauty companies don’t do offer subscriptions, because they’re like, well, people change what they’re buying every single time they buy. I’d love to talk to and just like be like, sort of, like, a bit like a whiteboard for you. And just to kind of talk through some of like, what are you seeing and potential ways that like, I could imagine you guys be able to drive repeat purchases. And I guess this is open for anyone, any of your listeners who are listening is like, I guess as it came across, like I kind of nerd out on this stuff. And I think about it a lot. And I really enjoy it. So if there’s any way that I can be helpful, I guess click the boost revenue button or get in touch with me through LinkedIn? I’m also on Twitter my usernames skinny and bald because I’m kind of skinny kind of bald.

Pat Yates  38:39

Is that AND bald?

Ben Fisher  38:40

AND. Yeah. I’m bald here today.

Pat Yates  38:43

Okay, I’ll remember that? I’ll get that. All right, that looks like it’s semi-self-inflicted. It looks like it is awesome. But then you took the rest and just sort of made it consistent.

Ben Fisher  38:54

In college. Yeah, it got to that point where like that awkward middle part. No, but if I can be of service and helpful to anyone I’m happy to talk through. And again, the brands where I can be most helpful to you already have probably are doing at least one and a half million dollars in revenue. And the reason behind that is at that point, these brands are probably just trying to figure out how to grow faster, as opposed to figuring out do they have a business in the first place?

Pat Yates  39:20

It’s really amazing, because you’ve done such an amazing job. This has really been a fascinating podcast, because even though I understood about Subscribe and Save. You really take it as under your wings. I mean, a lot of marketing agencies of go back do a lot of things. They might even they’ll say, well, you can do this, but the fact that you’ve compartmentalized one thing and actually what’s amazing is, it’s like you’re going to enhance the people that are already buying from you. So you have a captured audience. It’s not like you have to sell someone, they just have to get consistent and maybe even look at other products. So it’s an incredible growth opportunity for both sides. Thank you for coming in today. It’s been awesome. And all the listeners out there again, if you want to reach out to Ben on Twitter, it was is skinny and bald is handled that’s awesome. I can’t for…

Ben Fisher  40:03

It’s also on LinkedIn. That’s my handle on LinkedIn as well. You can run it on LinkedIn.

Pat Yates  40:08

Right and then it is the site for Rodeo and Ben, man thanks for bringing into the Quiet Light Podcast today. We really appreciate you to have it and spending the time today.

Ben Fisher  40:17

Thank you so much for having me, Pat. Appreciate it.

Pat Yates  40:19


Outro  40:21

Today’s podcast was produced by Rise25 and the Quiet Light content team. If you have a suggestion for a future podcast, subject or guest, email us at [email protected]. Be sure to follow us on YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram and subscribe to the show wherever you get your podcasts. Thanks for listening. We’ll see you next week.

Thinking of Selling Now or Later?

Get your free valuation & marketplace-readiness assessment. We’ll never push you to sell. And we’ll always be honest about whether or not selling is the right choice for you.