Presented by Recurly

While subscription models offer tremendous growth opportunity, they inevitably add complexity to your acquisition and retention efforts — but there’s a solve for that. Hear from a panel of experts on how to drive subscriber growth and LTV in a competitive landscape in this VB Live event!

Access free on demand right here.

By 2023, 75% of DTC brands will have a subscription offering. Today there are endless opportunities to subscribe to products and services of all kinds across all manner of verticals, from software to loot crates to fitness to clothing to food — and on and on. The pandemic has brought about a number of changes to the subscription market, but as things continue to shift and settle, it’s become clear: there is no bubble. Subscriptions are here to stay.

“What’s happening with consumers, they’re dedicating more dollars to subscriptions in their budget — it’s a part of life now,” says Logan Dunn, head of growth at Wyze. “Because of that, we’re not just competing with Ring for subscriptions, we’re competing with the subscription budget world.”

The pandemic supercharged the subscription world, says Alycia Simpson, senior director of demand generation at Recurly.

“The pandemic took an already convenience-driven world and accelerated it,” Simpson says. “When COVID hit, it wasn’t just a want anymore, to have things delivered. It was really a need.”

According to Recurly’s report, “The Impact of the Global Pandemic on Subscription Growth Rate,” companies across industries saw a lift in trials, conversations, and subscriber growth, in some cases more than 100%, when COVID hit. Education and elearning grew more than 300%. Within subscription growth, consumer goods saw an increase of 148% at the height of the quarantine in May.

Subscriptions also solve for motivation, notes Jeff Bladt, VP of pricing and inventory at ClassPass. In the fitness business, their goal is to convert people at peak motivation —  they get more people to sign up for a fitness subscription in January because the present self is more motivated than the future self, he says.

“This extrapolates across categories,” he adds. “Subscriptions are a great solve for oscillating motivation. Our internal job is, how do we keep that motivation high, or when it dips low, how do we respond?

Developing pricing and packaging

Part of keeping motivation high and a subscriber subscribed is ensuring that both new customers and ongoing clients respond favorably to your pricing and packaging tiers.

Bladt notes that for ClassPass, they think about their product as buying access, with a credit system that lets subscribers pay for what they use, rather than a tiered system that locks customers out of higher end experiences.

“Hopefully, through putting [a lot of] value in the product and building out our supply network, we can retain users longer or ideally get them to upgrade to bigger plans,” he explains. “It creates this natural usage-driven, life-cycle marketing that we do in the product. But for us, we’ve never wanted to tier the experience in ways that are unnatural. We want to tier the experiences based on the core thing we want — which is users using the product as intended.”

Success comes from thinking very deeply about pricing and packaging, Dunn says. At Wyze, they’ve found a great deal of success by packaging subscriptions and hardware together: More than 50% of their customers choose that added value.

“We’re going through the same thing Jeff just talked about, working on how we do an unlimited plan,” he says. “This is an easy way to show value, but it’s so much more complex from the business side. So much thought needs to be put into how you do pricing and packaging.”

Payment methods as a growth strategy

The success of your subscription business is directly impacted by what payments you accept, and how you accept them — which means you need to move beyond credit cards and debit, and start considering alternative payment methods (APM), whether you’re trying to attract the millennials who rely on Venmo, or you’re going global.

“It comes down to flexibility for consumers,” Simpson says. “Do you have what you need to succeed across the board?”

Companies using Paypal have seen a 25% increase in conversions and a 19% increase in revenue across the board, she says. And when it comes to retention, for instances where a payment declines, having an alternative payment method for the customer means you haven’t lost that customer due to involuntary churn.

“The thing that finally prodded us to get serious about things beyond just simple credit cards was going global,” Bladt says. “In the U.S., you can hack it, at least at the start, using credit cards as your exclusive way to interact. But once you move into Europe, credit cards are a minority of our purchases in, say, Germany, where direct deposit is much more common. You have different paradigms in the Asian markets.”

Involuntary churn prevention

Involuntary churn is one of the biggest issues a subscription company can face — about 14% of all recurring transactions are at risk of failing, Simpson notes, which is a big hit to revenue, once you start putting dollars to those transaction numbers. But there are a couple of ways to attack involuntary churn.

One is to be proactive, using things like an account updater to ensure accurate credit card information is updated before a renewal is processed. The second method is to be reactive, using dunning best practices, to eliminate one-size-fits-all retention marketing. Recurly uses machine learning and the data it’s accumulated over the last 11 years to analyze the most effective strategies for an individual subscriber. That includes looking at when they signed up, what they signed up for, what payment methods they use, and so on, to optimize that dunning cadence.

“You’re talking to that person in a way that will be most effective, and how many times are most effective, to recover that person back,” Simpson explains. “That also talks to not just doing bucket decline codes. Understanding what the specific decline code was, what card it was from, and so on.”

Hear the whole conversation including tactics on addressing voluntary churn! Access this webinar for free now, and learn more about portfolio creation, optimizing acquisition efforts for LTV, building propensity models, the cost-effective way to offer trials and coupons, and more!

Access free on demand here.

You’ll walk away from the conversation with insights on:

  • The most efficient channels that are driving subscriber growth
  • How to approach pricing & packaging
  • Tactics that are driving customer LTV
  • Strategies to implement during renewals and cancellations


  • Jeff Bladt, VP of Pricing and Inventory, ClassPass
  • Logan Dunn, Head of Growth, Wyze
  • Alycia Simpson, Senior Director of Demand Generation, Recurly
  • Seth Colaner, Moderator, VentureBeat