Subscription Commerce

NEW REPORT: What Makes Subscription Commerce Successful

From groceries to high fashion, there’s no shortage of subscription commerce services today. When it comes to services that consumers prefer the most, though, it’s not the ones offering cheaper plans, but the ones offering the most plan options.

According to data contained inside the latest PYMNTS.com Subscription Commerce Conversion Index™, a Recurly collaboration, the best subscription services are giving customers a wide selection. One-hundred percent of the top 20 merchants PYMNTS studied offered varying plan options. What’s more, PYMNTS research also found 95 percent of the top merchants provide plan changes for customers who want to explore new subscription options.

But, unfortunately for subscription merchants, offering options alone isn’t enough to come out on top. To keep customers happy (and paying subscription dues), they also need to offer product ratings and reviews (offered by 65 percent of the top 20 merchants), an easy cancellation process (offered by 90 percent of top merchants) and clear pricing and terms for their subscriptions (offered by 100 percent of top merchants).

Other key takeaways from the Q3 Subscription Commerce Conversion Index™:

  • 59.8 out of 100 was the average Subscription Commerce Index Score, down 1.3 points (2.1 percent) from Q2 2017.
  • SaaS/Cloud Computing was the highest rated industry, receiving a score of 81 out of 100, compared to the worst performing industry (Business Services), which scored a 53.2 out of 100.
  • The average time it took to sign up for subscription services was 114.6 seconds, a 16.2 percent drop from Q2 2017.

Can subscriptions save the cinema?

Over the past few decades, a date night at the movie theatre has gone from a relatively cheap affair to anything but affordable. Pair that with the increasing availability of entertainment options that can be enjoyed in the comfort of one’s own home, and Americans are no longer heading down to their local theatres. 

But, could subscription commerce — the same business model that has helped movie theaters’ biggest competition, Netflix, and other streaming services, skyrocket in popularity — save the cinema?

For the Q3 Subscription Commerce Conversion Index™, PYMNTS caught up with Ted Farnsworth, chairman and CEO of Helios and Matheson, majority stake owner in theater subscription service MoviePass, to discuss the strategy behind introducing subscription commerce into moviegoing.

Farnsworth noted the subscription strategy has been particularly popular among smaller cinemas and theaters.

“The ones that really love us are the little independent guys, the ones that have two or three theater chains, because we are putting people in their seats,” he said. “We are paying them the full price and they are making more money on the concessions.” 

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About the Index

The PYMNTS.com Subscription Commerce Conversion Index™, a Recurly collaboration, measures frictions in the digital shopping experience for subscription services and products and how they affect the final conversion rates for a merchant. This index analyzes why certain sites are better at converting sales than others, examining several pre-payment factors that generate either friction or sales.

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