is the General Manager at Sunsoil, the leading organic CBD oil brand in the Northeast and the largest
independent CBD brand nationwide.
We sat down with Bharat to unpack how the Sunsoil team designed and
deployed a best-in-class subscription-based business model, diving deep
His seamless migration and onboarding with Skio
How to design user-friendly subscription experiences
Gaining a 30% reduction in subscription CS tickets
“As Sunsoil increases sales volume and slowly reduces prices, we’ll push
that boundary even further with subscription. And, once we migrated to Skio,
we were able to double down on that core subscription channel.”
Making the Jump to Digital Commerce
Before joining Sunsoil in March of 2020, Bharat had been a long-time
customer and a firm believer in the company’s products and mission: to
dramatically lower the price of CBD and make it accessible to all.
The pandemic created a massive shock for Sunsoil’s retail business.
Declining foot traffic to natural food stores, Sunsoil’s primary customers,
meant lower sales across the board.
So, Sunsoil decided to focus its efforts on building out eCommerce.
Bharat points out that growing the company’s eCommerce presence would help
Sunsoil build the scale it needed to reduce prices. As a result, it was
critical to the future of the brand.
Notably, they shifted ad strategies to emphasize subscription models in
2020. Now, most of their revenue comes from subscriptions, which make up
nearly 80% of top-line revenue.
“Subscriptions are a key part of our revenue and growth strategy. So, we
must provide a delightful subscriber experience from end to end.”
Designing Customer-First Subscriptions
Sunsoil’s strategy is to take a highly utilitarian approach to serve its
core customer. They aim to have a simple, straightforward purchasing
experience, free from the bells-and-whistles of many modern eCommerce
Their core customer typically uses CBD to help with pain, aches, and
recurring inflammation issues. A subscription-based product is ideal for
Sunsoil’s audience is unique in three ways:
The vast majority of their customers are over 50
New shoppers tend to be skeptical of online subscriptions
Active subscribers are extremely reliant on on-time replenishment for
With a product that is so integral to their customer’s daily life, Sunsoil
was dedicated to working out all the kinks that came with setting up a
subscription. And, because their customer base is less tech-savvy, Skio’s
integration helped them easily spin up a simple and intuitive
“Sunsoil customers are using our products every single day. For us,
subscription isn't just nice to have or a bolt-on to our business model. It
genuinely makes sense for our customer, so we had to nail that
Making the Jump from ReCharge to Skio
Before Skio, Sunsoil used ReCharge for their subscription needs. Bharat
drives home the point that when using ReCharge, Sunsoil recorded a wildly
high rate of subscription-related requests.
Because 80% of their orders were coming through subscription, Bharat knew
that this was the volume of customer service issues and tickets weren’t
scalable. So, he began researching alternatives that could seamlessly sit on
top of Shopify’s native integration.
After meeting the Skio team and deciding to pull the trigger on migrating,
his team at Sunsoil knew they’d found a partner that would grow with them
over the long term.
Bharat specifically points out that the Skio team was:
Immediately responsive to any requests for resolving issues
Committed to developing a best-in-class subscriber experience
Always open to feedback, specifically regarding new functionality
Because signing up for a subscription was the core experience of a Sunsoil
customer, Bharat appreciated that Skio’s service was trustworthy, adaptable,
and enjoyable to use.
“Skio’s responsiveness to feedback and speed of turnaround on requests,
fixes, and improvements just made sense. We wanted to invest in a platform
that could grow alongside us and serve our needs as we scaled. Skio was the
Seamless Onboarding and Rapid Migration
Over the past few years, not many digital payment processors were willing
to work with CBD brands. Bharat explained Skio was instrumental in
conducting all the back-end payments work to complete Sunsoil’s migration
He adds that Skio stayed on top of the manual migration in three
Skio ensured all site references to ReCharge within their site were
Using Skio’s Shopify native checkout, Sunsoil could easily access
Skio resolved Sunsoil’s recurring login issues by implementing
Bharat notes that Skio’s dedication to a seamless onboarding directly
lowered their customer’s friction to subscribing. Critically, after
migrating to Skio, Sunsoil has seen a massive 30% reduction for
subscription-related CS tickets, thus allowing his team to get back to
“Skio’s hands-on, almost white glove type approach to onboarding was not
only helpful but incredibly refreshing. I see them as a true partner that
we'll be able to grow with over time as we continue to refine our core