Want all the ingredients to make a delicious dinner without having to leave the house? You can rely on subscription services to deliver all the meals you need, right to your doorstep.
In fact, there are subscription services for seemingly everything nowadays, and consumers are here for it—the subscription economy grew by more than 100% between 2013 and 2018. Rather than dragging themselves to a shop, or spending time downloading films or music, consumers can have everything they want either delivered right to them, or accessible via an app within seconds
But as is often the case, people can have too much of a good thing, and subscription fatigue is setting in, with TV streaming and news services being hit particularly hard. For instance, almost half of consumers are frustrated by the sheer number of subscriptions they need to watch their favourite TV shows. And with people paying for subscriptions for everything from razors and magazines, to clothing and fitness kits, this fatigue is perhaps unsurprising.
If your own business is subscription-based, or you at least offer a subscription billing service, this news might be alarming. But there are certain steps you can take to combat this fatigue and keep customers signed up.
Keep adding value
When it comes to deciding which subscriptions to cancel, the deal-breaking decision is usually a pretty rational one – which services are still providing value? Your customers will look elsewhere if you’re not meeting their needs, which is why the concept of value nurturing is so important. The reason this combats subscription fatigue is pretty obvious—why would customers become tired of your services if it offers them new and exciting things each month? So, instead of providing the same products or services over and over again, think about how you can keep making your subscription worthwhile to subscribers.
One company that has got this down to a tee is Vacation Crate. Aimed at travel lovers, customers receive monthly boxes with items from different countries around the world. Not only is the selected country different each month, but the company is continually expanding on the types of items they include in their boxes.
Subscribers can expect anything from fairtrade artisanal goods and food to art, body products, and everything in between. Another subscription brand offering similar value is The Cheese Geek, who have a no-repeat guarantee, meaning subscribers will never get the same cheese twice during the course of their subscription. As such, it’s hard to see how aficionados would ever get bored.
Be flexible with subscription periods
Subscription businesses typically offer recurring billing plans only—payments which continue for an indefinite period of time. But this can contribute significantly to subscription fatigue, with customers locked in until they actively opt-out. This may dissuade non-committal individuals from signing up to your company in the first place, especially considering the number of people who forget to cancel a subscription and end up paying for something they don’t actually use. In fact, difficult-to-cancel subscriptions cost people an average of £50 per month.
Instead, consider offering fixed-term subscriptions that stop after a certain period, or enabling customers the chance to pause. There are numerous companies that employ these kinds of strategies, such as food brand HelloFresh, which lets customers skip weekly orders whenever they choose. This helps to combat subscription fatigue while finding a way to retain customers.
If you do decide to offer short-term subscriptions, be sure to engage with any of your users whose accounts become dormant, so that you can lure them back with an offer when they are ready to subscribe again.
Use tiered pricing
Another major reason why individuals unsubscribe is that they simply become too expensive. With people subscribed to numerous different brands, and looking to cut this number down, anyone going on a subscription cull will likely start with the most expensive.
That’s not to suggest that you drop the prices of your products or services altogether. One more sensible solution would be tiered pricing plans. By giving customers the choice between low-cost entry-level packages and premium plans, as well as optional add-ons, they can upgrade and downgrade their subscriptions as they fit, rather than unsubscribing altogether.
A good example of a company that has implemented this pricing strategy is Strava. The running and cycling app swapped its one-size-fits-all premium subscription for three modular ‘packs’, costing $2.99 (£2.39) each, instead of the $7.99 (£6.39) price it was beforehand. Each pack caters to the different purposes subscribers might use the app for and are divided into race preparation, performance analysis, and a safety pack. Customers can still opt for the $7.99 option though, with a discount applied for buying all three together.