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Teachable: Subscriptions Drive Retention by Controlling Content Flow

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As consumers manage their monthly subscriptions, making difficult decisions about which to keep and which to cut, Teachable has found that, by limiting how much content members have access to at a time, creators can maintain engagement over longer periods.

The courses and coaching platform recently announced the launch of Memberships, enabling creators to offer tiered subscriptions to generate recurring revenue. In an interview with PYMNTS, Luis Jimenez, the company’s director of product, commerce, argued that this kind of meting out of information can be key to the subscriber experience.

“In the past, what we’ve seen with other platforms’ subscriptions is, you pay a monthly payment, or whatever the cadence, and then you get [provided] all the information, all the courses, all the downloads,” Jimenez said. “With Memberships, we’ve given the creators the ability to structure it in a way that’s going to set up the student for success, so they’re not overwhelmed right away. They know where to start, they know how to progress, et cetera.”

Indeed, maintaining ongoing subscriber value is key right now, with consumers, facing financial challenges, being more conservative in their membership spending. According to PYMNTS Intelligence’s study “Subscription Commerce Readiness Report: The Loyalty Factor,” created in collaboration with and drawing from a survey of more than 2,000 U.S. consumers with retail product subscriptions, the average number of retail subscriptions per subscriber was down to 2.6 as of April, the lowest number on record since February 2021.

For Teachable’s memberships, ability to control the flow of information also includes offering different content to different kinds of subscribers. Jimenez cited the example of an accent coach who offered different curricula to those trying to learn different accents.

Additionally, the company is broadening subscriptions’ reach by accepting a wide range of currencies as well as offering creators the option to price differently depending on currency.

In fact, engagement with digital offerings such as these varies greatly depending on the geography, as revealed in the PYMNTS Intelligence report “Global Edition The 2023 Global Digital Shopping Index,” created in collaboration with Cybersource, which draws from a survey of more than 13,000 consumers across six countries. For instance, the study found that 45% of those in India are “digital enthusiasts” — those most eager to adopt digital commerce features — compared to only 34% of those in the U.S.

Overall, Teachable has found that offering a wide range of payment options, not only in terms of currency but also in terms of how and when consumers in a given area want to pay, has gone a long way toward driving student adoption. Adding the option to pay in installments has increased engagement among those who are on tighter budgets.

“Buy now, pay later has been really effective in terms of getting people to purchase a course that may have been slightly out of their price range,” Jimenez said. “Giving them the flexibility to pay in a price point that they’re much more comfortable with has been really helpful for them in that regard, and we’re going to continue to invest in more payment methods to give them that flexibility.”