The State of Subscriptions: What Consumers Want
Understanding the pulse of subscriber expectations is crucial for retailers. The growing sophistication of consumer demands transformed the subscription industry into a highly competitive market, forcing businesses to grapple with the challenges of staying ahead. A recent Recurly report, State of Subscriptions: What subscribers want, indicated clearly that to thrive in this environment, retailers must recognize the importance of loyalty incentives, personalization and communication strategies to keep consumers signed up and satisfied.
Loyalty incentives can take various forms, depending on the nature of the subscription service. For example, a streaming platform could offer early access to highly anticipated shows or movies, bonus content, or the ability to customize their viewing experience. An e-commerce subscription service could provide members with free shipping, exclusive discounts, or personalized recommendations based on purchase history.
And it's clear these incentives matter to consumers. For example, 80 percent of survey respondents would stay subscribed if there were loyalty incentives involved in the subscription. Also, 48 percent of respondents said they want to be rewarded for their subscription loyalty in the form of lower costs, discounts, free items, and the like. By offering these incentives, retailers can differentiate themselves from competitors and create a sense of exclusivity that keeps subscribers engaged.
By providing these extra benefits, retailers not only enhance the perceived value of their subscription offering but also foster a sense of appreciation among subscribers.
Consumers who feel valued and rewarded for their loyalty are more likely to continue their subscriptions and recommend the service to others. Interestingly, existing subscribers can even market your product or service, considering 15 percent of respondents feel like a valued subscriber when they’re given a free trial to share.
Personalization is another critical aspect of meeting subscriber expectations. Consumers expect tailored experiences that cater to their individual preferences and needs. Retailers can leverage data-driven tactics to gather insights about their subscribers, allowing them to deliver personalized recommendations, content or product offerings. This level of personalization enhances the overall subscriber experience and strengthens the bond between the consumer and the brand.
About 74 percent of respondents ranked personalization as one of their top reasons for subscribing, which includes the freedom to a trial, pause, cancel, choose a payment option, and the like. In fact, 65 percent of respondents said if they can customize their plan based on what they use, they would likely change their mind about canceling a subscription. However, personalization should be implemented thoughtfully and with respect for privacy concerns. By striking the right balance, retailers can build trust and foster a positive relationship with their subscribers.
In addition to loyalty incentives and personalization, effective communication strategies are crucial for building stronger, long-lasting subscriber relationships. However, consumers have specific communication preferences that vary by channel, generation and geography. It's important for subscription businesses to respect these boundaries.
Our survey revealed that, even with text messages and in-app notifications, most consumers prefer email. Specifically, 48 percent of respondents said email is their preferred communication channel for general subscription updates, new offerings, promotions and discounts, customer satisfaction surveys, company news, and loyalty program news. Interestingly, only 27 percent want to hear from subscription companies once a month.
By staying attuned to consumer preferences and evolving expectations, retailers can adapt their services to meet the demands of their subscribers. This might involve introducing new features, expanding content libraries, or exploring partnerships with complementary brands to offer bundled services. Understanding and meeting the expectations of subscribers is vital in the subscription industry. Loyalty incentives, personalization, and communications are just some of the tools to leverage to grow long-term subscriber relationships.
Theresa McEndree is the chief marketing officer of Recurly, leading the go-to-market strategy for demand and revenue creation.
As the Chief Marketing Officer of Recurly, Theresa leads the go-to-market strategy for demand and revenue creation. A customer champion and passionate brand storyteller, Theresa guides Recurly’s brand promise to stay at the forefront of subscription management and billing innovation. Recurly. Keep a good thing growing.TM