Use Subscriptions to Tackle 'Flavor Fatigue'
The subscription commerce market is growing daily as consumers are drawn to the convenience a seamless, recurring experience provides. By 2023, Gartner predicts that an impressive 75 percent of direct-to-consumer (D-to-C) businesses will have a subscription offering.
In such a crowded market, however, it’s not enough for merchants to simply offer consumers recurring orders at a discount. Today’s consumers are fickle and more in control than ever, so to differentiate, merchants must provide flexible and customizable services. This can be done by eliminating common pain points subscriptions may cause.
Address 'Flavor Fatigue'
A consumer may grow tired of a specific product to which they’ve subscribed. This is common with food items such as protein powder or granola bars. Also known as “flavor fatigue,” this is the feeling of boredom one experiences after consuming the same item for an extended period of time. And this doesn’t only apply to edible products.
Offering subscribers the option to swap products enables them to easily trade out one product for a different but similar item. What’s more, brands can make this as easy as possible for customers by making the product substitution process available in only a few clicks. This reduces any friction that would lead a customer to grow frustrated and cancel their subscription altogether. Our data shows that subscribers last 71 percent longer when they have the ability to swap a product, proving the importance of flexibility in a subscription offering.
Provide Features to Easily Add Items
Instead of swapping out a product, a consumer might be interested in adding more products to their usual subscription, such as new coffee or soda flavors. As mentioned, single-click updates should be enacted for a consumer to easily make this change. And in today’s mobile world, merchants can make it even easier for consumers to update their orders from anywhere.
As consumers continue to subscribe, merchants must ensure they foster loyalty by anticipating customers’ needs. For example, parents will regularly want to update their subscriptions as their children grow into new diaper sizes. Recommending product additions that best fit a subscriber’s preferences not only offers a personalized experience for customers, but is an opportunity for merchants to upsell and extend customers’ lifetime value.
Allow for Temporary Skips
Adding a feature to skip an order encourages subscribers to take a short break instead of canceling their subscriptions altogether. Our data has found that subscribers last 135 percent longer when they have the option to skip an order.
For example, the need to skip an order can be a simple solution to overstock (i.e., when a customer has too much of a product on hand). In fact, overstock is the most common reason a consumer cancels their subscription — and it can easily be avoided. Or, as more people are planning to travel this year than during the pandemic, they might need to skip their household essential orders (e.g., laundry detergent or cleaning supplies) while they’re on vacation and resume the order once they return.
Put Customers in Control
Subscriptions should give customers peace of mind — not cause headaches. Consumers will stay with a merchant longer if they know they can manage their subscriptions as their needs change, whether that’s substituting items, adding more products, or skipping deliveries for a month or two. It’s the merchant’s role to acknowledge and stay ahead of these needs and ensure that their subscription program has a frictionless, self-serve aspect that eliminates any potential pain points.
Greg Alvo is the CEO of Ordergroove, a company that helps brands and omnichannel retailers practice and achieve relationship commerce, shifting consumer interactions from one-and-done transactions to ongoing, highly profitable relationships.