Top-Performing Subscription Merchants Let Their Customers Take a Break

subscription box

Top-performing retail subscription merchants offer their customers the option to take a step back, while merchants that do not provide this kind of flexibility tend to struggle.

Difference in customer experience

By the Numbers

The December installment of the Decision Guide report, “The Retail Subscription Features That Make Top-Performing Merchants,” a PYMNTS Intelligence and collaboration, drew from a survey of 188 retail subscription merchants in September. It examined, among other matters, how various features relate to merchants’ performance.

The results revealed that offering consumers flexible options is strongly linked to subscription providers’ success. For instance, 100% of top-performing merchants offer the option to pause or skip, while only 20% of bottom performers do the same.

A Deeper Dive

Flexible plan options are increasingly becoming table stakes. PYMNTS Intelligence and’s study released last month “The Replenish Economy: A Household Supply Deep Dive” revealed that three-quarters of retail subscription merchants allow existing subscribers to change their plans whenever they would like.

Alex Brown, president of sustainable cleaning supplies subscription firm Truly Free, noted to PYMNTS’ Karen Webster in a conversation for the series “Tough Questions: Retaining the Selective Subscriber of 2023,” that offering this kind of flexibility is vital to establishing strong relationships with customers.

“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 in May. “At the end of the day, it’s about trust.”

In the same conversation, CEO Brian Bogosian discussed the different kinds of flexibility that consumers are coming to expect.

“Flexibility is key,” he said. “Flexibility to not only be able to cancel, but to pause, replace products, move to a different tier, as much flexibility as can be provided … extends that customer’s lifetime value.”