42% of Retail Subscribers May Bail if Merchants Ditch Free Shipping

42% of Consumers May Cancel Subscriptions Without Free Shipping

For consumers with retail product subscriptions, free shipping is essential to maintaining their loyalty.

For PYMNTS’ study “Subscription Commerce Readiness Report: The Loyalty Factor,” created in collaboration with sticky.io, we surveyed more than 2,000 U.S. consumers with retail product subscriptions in April about the factors that keep them loyal and those that send them right to the “unsubscribe” button. The results revealed that, when it comes to subscriber retention, free shipping goes a long way.

Why subscribers opt out

Specifically, the study found that 42% of those surveyed said that if free shipping is discontinued, it could motivate them to cancel their retail product subscriptions, a greater share than said the same of any other reasons for canceling.

As for the second-highest-ranked factor that consumers said would prompt them to cancel their subscriptions, one in three would do so if they could not pause or skip. That is, subscribers crave flexibility, and if providers try to force them to be more committed than they are ready to be, these consumers may take their money elsewhere.

On the flip side, surprisingly few retail product subscribers are dissuaded by a lack of trustworthy information and reviews about products. Only 26% of those surveyed listed lack of information about the products as a possible reason for canceling their subscription, and just 23% said the same of inaccurate or deceptive ratings and reviews.

Yet, while consumers may tolerate misinformation or a lack of information about the products themselves, they are not as lenient when it comes to payments. Thirty percent of subscribers stated they may cancel if they received misinformation about recurring charges, and 32% said they would consider doing so if their subscription was renewed without their approval.