Coronavirus

Balancing Business With Social Responsibility In The Midst Of COVID-19

Recurly Senior Vice President Danielle Gotkis told PYMNTS, “Balancing the need to do the right thing while keeping revenue streams alive is something that every subscription business is considering right now. Stay tuned.” Read Gotkis’ prescription for keeping subscription commerce healthy in Black Swan, a special report exclusively from PYMNTS.

The following is an excerpt from Black Swan, contributed by Recurly Senior Vice President Danielle Gotkis.

With the outbreak of COVID-19, we are living in an uncertain time. In the span of 10 weeks, the outbreak has penetrated nearly every aspect of our lives. In such volatile times, showing empathy and offering flexibility of access to your services is especially important. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it can also pay dividends well after the crisis is over. The very unknown nature of the pandemic is causing a variety of reactions in consumers, from panic shopping to the creation of endless memes. Both businesses and consumers are facing an unprecedented reality that is changing and evolving with each day that passes, with no clear end in sight.

We have become used to the convenience of having everything we need and want readily available at our fingertips, from streaming media and entertainment to a variety of consumer goods that get delivered to our doorstep on a regular basis. As consumers are looking for ways to cope with social distancing, the rollout of regional shelter-in-place mandates and a possible quarantine, we have already seen – and should continue to see – shifts in how subscription services are delivered.

Some news and media outlets, like The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg News, are lifting paywalls to make breaking news and coronavirus coverage accessible to all. As gyms close, many fitness brands are now streaming workouts online. FabFitFun announced it would open up its library of workouts on FFFTV to non-members to help people stay fit from home. With states and counties mandating closures for dine-in restaurants but granting exemptions for businesses that ship or deliver groceries and food directly to residences, the food services sector has no choice but to rely even more heavily on third-party delivery services. To ease access while reducing the risk of virus exposure, Caviar has announced no-contact delivery. Education services are likely to see a huge spike in traffic as schools across the country go into online learning mode and parents juggle homeschooling with working and trying to stay productive. It’s also a given that streaming media and entertainment services will see a massive spike in new subscribers and usage as people try to stay entertained at home in the coming weeks.

Universal has reacted by releasing movies straight to streaming. Will Netflix and Disney+ give their service away to acquire new subscribers and do the right thing during this unprecedented time? Will others join in? Will subscription businesses respond to consumers’ fear and enable them to pause subscriptions in an effort to prevent panic-related churn? Can subscription businesses join forces and bundle their offerings during this time of need to provide more value? Balancing the need to do the right thing with keeping revenue streams alive is something every subscription business is considering. Stay tuned.

Read more executives' insights on the COVID-19 crisis in Black Swan.

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