Report: The 16 Things That Will Take Subscription Commerce To The Next Level

At their core, subscription services are simple and straightforward. A consumer pays a recurring fee and, in return, receives access to a selection of goods and services.

Subscription merchants have duplicated this simple formula within every industry imaginable, but few today offer subscription services that resonate with what consumers want. So, what differentiates the best from the rest?

In the Subscription Commerce Conversion Index, PYMNTS, in collaboration with Recurly, examines the state of the modern subscription commerce experience. We collected data on the checkout features of 171 subscription merchants from nine different industries to assess how easily a potential subscriber could sign up for their services, and the overall quality of their checkout experiences.

Speed, as it turns out, is a big part of what consumers are looking for in a subscription checkout process, but it is hardly the only one. More important than speed is the overall smoothness of checkout, as well as the ease with which a consumer can navigate it and the availability of certain value-adding features.

For instance, consumers like to try before they buy. Seventy percent of Top Performing subscription merchants allow customers to test products before purchasing. Meanwhile, only 41.2 percent of Middle Performers do, and just 30.0 percent of Bottom Performers offer that service.

We also learned that not all features necessarily ease the subscription checkout process for every merchant. For example, it was far more common for B2B subscription merchants to offer free shipping than B2C merchants. In fact, 100 percent of B2B subscription services offered free shipping, while just 67.5 percent of B2C merchants did.

With so many factors at play, it can be difficult for merchants to know what to focus on when looking to make improvements. So, which checkout features need to be in the forefront of their plans, and which can fall to the wayside?

To learn more about what modern subscription providers get right — and wrong — about subscription checkouts, click here to download the report.