The rise of digital retail subscriptions has provided consumers with convenience such as scheduled deliveries of regularly used items, eliminating the need for frequent trips to physical stores.
Millennials are at the forefront of this trend, with 39% of them relying on subscriptions for most or all of their shopping needs. This generation values convenience and personalized experiences, making them more likely to adopt digital retail subscriptions.
According to the PYMNTS Intelligence study “The Replenish Economy: A Household Supply Deep Dive,” the growing preference for online subscriptions is reducing trips to physical stores, with 42% of consumers now shopping in-person less frequently or not at all.
Consumers patronizing Stitch Fix and pet healthcare brand Chewy’s Goody Box lead the pack, with 56% and 53% of subscribers, respectively, among the most inclined to ditch the traditional mode of shopping. Following closely are subscribers of industry giants Amazon Subscribe & Save and HelloFresh, with 48% and 47%, respectively, expressing a similar sentiment.
Access to the personalized experiences offered by these brands, accessible from the comfort of consumers’ computers and phones, is a key factor driving the preference for online shopping over in-store visits.
Stitch Fix, for instance, delivers curated clothing and accessories tailored to customers’ style preferences and measurements. This not only enhances the overall shopping experience but also eliminates the need for in-person visits to clothing stores.
Amazon Subscribe & Save and Hello Fresh, on the other hand, offer the convenience of having household supplies and groceries delivered directly to the consumer’s doorstep. This time-saving solution is particularly beneficial for individuals with busy schedules.
Retail subscriptions, however, have differing effects on in-store shopping. According to the study, less than 5% of subscribers said that subscriptions have eliminated the need to visit stores for specific categories of items, indicating that there remains a space for both online and in-person shopping experiences to coexist.
Subscribers to Chewy’s Goody Box account were the most likely to say so at 11%, followed by Dollar Shave Club (7.8%) and Gwynnie Bee (7%). The study also found that nearly 30% of subscribers envision themselves doing all their purchasing through scheduled subscriptions, although for now, 35% of subscribers have no plans to change their in-store shopping habits.
Overall, the study emphasized the importance of service quality in retaining subscribers. Consumers who experience poor service or have limited control over their subscriptions are more likely to cancel their subscriptions. Therefore, companies must prioritize delivering customer service that fosters a positive and seamless experience for their customers.
Additionally, online merchants must continue innovating their subscription offerings and provide flexible experiences to ensure long-term loyalty. This includes expanding payment options, improving inventory management systems, ensuring accurate product information, and implementing reliable delivery services.
Lastly, brick-and-mortar stores need to adapt to changing consumer preferences by enhancing their in-store experiences and finding ways to integrate digital retail subscriptions into their business models to remain competitive in the evolving marketplace.