April 26, 2021 at 09:00AM

Consumers have greatly altered their behaviors during the pandemic for everything from how they work to how they buy groceries.

The global health crisis has devastated many industries and areas of the global economy, yet subscription services have managed to not only survive, but thrive. The United States alone saw 96 million new subscriptions between February and July 2020 as consumers looked for ways to receive goods and services while they stayed safe at home.

Managing retention of these new subscribers is still a major consideration for subscription providers, however. These providers must therefore examine the frictions their customers are facing and work to personalize payment options and offer pause features if they hope to curb cancellations.

The April Subscription Commerce Tracker® examines the importance of friction-free payments in the subscription economy and how businesses can avoid pitfalls to provide seamless transactions for consumers.

Around The Subscription Commerce World

The number of online video subscriptions exceeded the $1 billion mark last year. The U.S. fueled this growth with more than 300 million accounts and with many households having multiple subscriptions. One report showed global revenues for digitally distributed services reached nearly $62 billion in 2020, up from $47 billion in 2019.

Most news publishers require subscribers to call customer service to cancel services, according to a survey. Just 41 percent of the nation’s news publishers “make it easy” for subscribers to cancel subscriptions online. Sixty percent of these news organizations have told their customer services representatives to encourage subscribers to maintain their services when they call to cancel. Research showed that long-term engagement strategies focused on determining why consumers want to cancel can be more useful in preventing abandonment.

The United Kingdom’s subscription sector has grown as the most recent lockdown has seen consumers enroll in digital and physical subscription services, according to a survey. Nearly one in five consumers said they have signed up for a monthly subscription service for delivery of alcohol, food and beauty products. Food subscription services are most popular at 29 percent, followed by beauty and grooming products at 20 percent. The largest portion of consumers, 34 percent, are 16 to 24 years old and demonstrate the most interest in digital subscription apps.

For more on these and other subscription commerce news items, download this month’s Tracker.

 How KONG Box Strategizes To Retain Subscribers

Pet adoptions have surged in the U.S. during the pandemic as consumers sought companionship in quarantine with furry friends. The eCommerce pet market is booming as a result, with plenty of toy and treat subscription boxes to choose from for surprise-and-delight experiences that arrive at consumers’ doorsteps.

KONG Box from canine toy company KONG Co. is one such subscription service and offers treats, training toys and tips, including its famous rubber chew toys. In this month’s Feature Story, PYMNTS speaks with KONG Box President Dan Probst, who explains the hard lessons learned from an unsuccessful introductory promotion and how the brand has worked to counteract inactive churns and cancellations with payment provider partnerships and pause features.

Deep Dive: Why Seamless B2C Payments Are Crucial To Long-Term Subscription Loyalty

Subscription enrollments have surged during the pandemic as consumers look to experience new products and services from the comfort of their homes. Research showed that many intend to keep their plans far beyond the pandemic, yet a sizable share are still at risk of canceling their services. Subscribers often want to end their subscriptions if there is not enough flexibility to allow them to change their plans, revealing that providers must do more to meet these demands.

This month’s Deep Dive analyzes how businesses can tailor their subscription models by focusing on personalized payments experiences and standout features in order to retain customers.

About The Tracker

The monthly Subscription Commerce Tracker®, a Vindicia collaboration, explores the latest headlines and developments in the subscription space.

KONG Box Curbs Inactive Churn With Seamless Payments …

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