As subscription merchants look to meet consumers’ evolving expectations, flexible plans are becoming an industry standard.
The recent PYMNTS Intelligence study “The Replenish Economy: A Household Supply Deep Dive,” created in collaboration with sticky.io, draws from a September survey of more than 2,000 U.S. consumers and more than 180 subscription merchants to understand the impacts retail subscriptions have on consumer shopping habits.
The results reveal that offering flexible plans is the norm. In fact, they showed that three-quarters of retail subscription merchants allow existing subscribers to change their plans whenever they would like.
Indeed, flexibility can be key to subscriber loyalty, as sticky.io CEO Brian Bogosian noted in an interview with PYMNTS’ Karen Webster earlier this year for the J.P. Morgan Payments Series: Global Innovators in Payments, stressing that consumers’ financial challenges raise their expectations for subscriptions.
“The bar continues to get higher,” he said. “People’s budgets are getting squeezed. People aren’t spending money frivolously. If they don’t get value, if they don’t get flexibility, if they don’t get incentives to continue, they’ll drop off.”
Indeed, subscription merchants are seeing the same, as Alex Brown, president of sustainable cleaning supplies subscription firm Truly Free, explained to Webster in a conversation for the PYMNTS series “Tough Questions: Retaining the Selective Subscriber of 2023.” He noted that flexibility builds trust.
“Allowing people to see that they can pause or cancel or have this full control over their subscription is what delivered more trust,” Brown said. “At the end of the day, it’s about trust.”
Truly Free is not the only subscription merchant seeing this. Scott Levine, co-founder and chief financial officer of direct-to-consumer (D2C) snack company Scott’s Protein Balls, noted in an interview with PYMNTS that one of the main friction points across many brands’ subscription offerings is the lack of flexibility, where customers get locked into an order volume that ultimately does not work for them and thus cancel their membership. As such, Levine said, for the program to be as successful as it can be, consumers need to have a range of choices.