Navigating Economic Uncertainty With Payments and Cancellation Flexibility

Vindicia - Subscription Commerce: Economic Strains Put Nonessential Subscriptions Under Fire - September 2022 - Explore how subscription commerce merchants can retain customers amid economic uncertainty

Inflation may be moderating, but high prices on everything force consumers to rethink what’s really essential. Juan Palacio of BloomsyBox tells PYMNTS how flexible payments and cancellation policies are helping turn flowers into an essential monthly purchase.

Vindicia - Subscription Commerce: Economic Strains Put Nonessential Subscriptions Under Fire - September 2022 - Explore how subscription commerce merchants can retain customers amid economic uncertainty

PYMNTS interviewed Juan Palacio, founder and CEO of BloomsyBox, on how the company is responding to economic pressures by making the payment and cancellation experience more flexible. 

With economic conditions worsening due to inflation and pandemic-related disruptions, consumers are trying to limit how much they are spending on unnecessary purchases. As a result of this newfound frugality, subscription merchants that provide nonessential goods and services are feeling the pinch. 

BloomsyBox is a subscription company that sends flowers, plants and tropicals — sourced from locations around the world and arranged by a team of flower designers — to customers on a weekly, biweekly or monthly basis, depending on the subscription plan. Since the economic downturn, Palacio said, there has been a noticeable uptick in cancellations and customers wishing to pause their subscriptions. He also noted that rising costs forced BloomsyBox to start charging for shipping, which it had not done during its first six years of existence.

Flexibility in Cancellation 

While BloomsyBox obviously cannot control the macroeconomic factors making customers reconsider their subscriptions, Palacio said the company has taken steps to help subscribers make the decision that works best for them. Customers can cancel or pause their accounts at any time, for any reason. Palacio believes this flexibility is important in the current climate. 

“If they change their mind because their situation changes, they need to have the freedom of canceling [or] pausing the subscription. So for us, [the question] is how do we make it easier for our customers to manage their subscriptions while we navigate these uncertain times?” 

He encourages other subscription merchants to do likewise. 

“Be completely open, be flexible with your customers, let them manage their subscriptions as openly and as flexibly as possible. And that’s probably the best way to go about this.” 

Plans to Bring Flexibility to Payments 

In addition to empowering customers to cancel how and when they want for whatever reason, BloomsyBox is in the midst of overhauling its payments system. The plan is to bring the same type of flexibility to the payment aspect of the subscription, Palacio explained. 

Already, BloomsyBox offers some latitude in how customers can pay. The company supports all the major payment methods, from prepaid — a perennial favorite, according to Palacio, because many customers buy the subscriptions as gifts — to digital wallets to credit and debit cards. This diversity in payment choice is essential, he said, because customers want to pay how they want. 

Customers have also been clamoring for the ability to pay when they want, down to the day of the month they pay for their membership. At present, BloomsyBox is unable to support this functionality, but it has taken note of this interest and is responding accordingly. The company is looking for a payments provider to help overhaul its payments infrastructure. The goal is to allow users to pay anytime they want and change their payment schedules as they deem necessary, with the system being dynamic and powerful enough to communicate these changes to the relevant parties, such as BloomsyBox’s procurement infrastructure and shipping and logistics systems. 

Palacio believes that making the payments experience more flexible will be key to attracting and retaining customers. At the end of the day, however, merchants need to improve their payments systems so they can focus on the real objective: 

“Companies need to find a way to continue to surprise their users, probably with other products [and by] enhancing the relationship in many ways. That’s the real challenge. And that’s where the industry is going.”