On November 2, Subscription Sessions gathered industry experts from leading consumer brands like Cinemark, CNBC, Sling TV to uncover strategies that drive long-term customer relationships–from acquisition to renewals, payments, taxes, compliance, technology, and more.

Access all the sessions on-demand now, or keep reading the highlights of the industry event of the year.

The State of Subscriptions: Consumer trends & benchmarks

Theresa McEndree, Recurly Chief Marketing Officer, walks you through the insights from our survey report, The State of Subscriptions: What consumers want. We asked subscribers what are components of a great consumer experience–and according to consumers, personalization, flexibility in plans and payments, and loyalty opportunities play a key role in creating a seamless experience.

How industry leaders are driving subscriber growth and loyalty

The growth mindset in subscriptions has shifted from acquisition to retention–prioritizing long-term customer relationships. However, a few questions arose while designing customer journeys

  • What role do free trials play in the strategy? Should you use that money to retain instead of giving everything upfront? 

  • What happens if a customer wants to cancel? Are you able to predict which offer would make them stay?

  • Would a pausing option be beneficial? What does LTV look like after a re-activation? 

To answer these questions, Jack Marshall, Toolkits Co-Founder, sat down for an exciting conversation with

  • Michael Ribero, Condé Nast SVP Consumer Revenue

  • Megan Krouse, Cinemark Director Of Loyalty

  • Seth Harris, VP, CNBC DTC Strategy & Operations

In this panel, subscription leaders discuss the challenges that scaling brands face and share their advice on how to overcome them. 

All industry leaders agree that testing and learning over time is vital to better adjusting your strategy. Easier said than done, of course. Here’s what they’ve focused on:

  • For Cinemark, Krouse focused on the frequency adjustments and purchasing behaviors of members–measuring its incremental value to then offer the right product at the right time through the journey.

  • For CNBC, Harris shares that pricing and free trial testing were key to defining LTV and ARPU.

  • For Condé Nast, Ribero focused on understanding the ideal customer profile (ICP)–where they’re coming from, the initial offer they engage with, and when is the right time to upgrade them.

No subscription business is the same, but a common denominator to all is finding new ways to prove value constantly and keep consumers excited about their product. Top brands will certainly continue to test and iterate.

Navigating the complexities of compliance

Compliance continues to get tough, state laws are increasingly restrictive, and cancellation processes have become the spotlight in subscriptions. Linda Goldstein, BakerHostetler Partner, shares how businesses can stay up-to-date in the complex, challenging world of subscription compliance.

Let’s review the key provisions in the new Federal Trade Commission (FTC) proposed negative portion rule and a couple of best practices to comply with. 

  1. Notice and disclosures: This provision states that businesses should disclose all the material terms of the subscription in a conspicuous and unavoidable notice. To comply, make sure you ensure there are no extraneous terms, avoid taking consumers off the page, and do not use button language that suggests the consumer is ready to purchase before all disclosures are made.

  2. Customer consent: This provision states that consent must be expressed separately and apart from any other part of the transaction. To comply, make sure you don’t use pre-checked boxes, ensure all disclosures have been made, and customers give consent to the recurring billing and not the purchase.

  3. Subscription cancellations: This provision states that the cancellation journey should be as easy as the enrollment method, through the same channel, and through one click. To comply,  make sure the cancellation method is disclosed, use language that indicates the consumer affirmative cancels, and avoid multiple steps.

Want to learn more? Watch Subscription Sessions on demand now

Global payments: Optimizing for success

Payments have become a fundamental part of the subscription experience–and as consumers demand flexibility, businesses are starting to focus on balancing convenience with security

Masha Cilliers, Payment Options Ltd. Founder, and Prasanta Chakraborty, General Manager Of Payments at Sling TV, held an exciting conversation around payment optimization, fraud management, and security.

Payments are all about data and how you leverage it to improve the customer experience. Ensuring customer trust, not only at checkout but throughout the entire journey, is key. Offering easy cancellations, reducing friction during checkouts, and offering several communication channels for subscribers to reach out to you help you achieve it. 

When it comes to choosing the right payment alternatives, understanding your subscribers’ demographics, such as age and location, and considering your price point is key. If you’re selling a $10 product, the buy now, pay later option may not be the best fit. 

Additionally, Chakraborty mentions that working with the right payment orchestration and fraud management tools is ideal for ensuring PCI compliance, enabling strong security measurements, and establishing a set of rules to fight fraud.

Seamless subscriber experiences: Enabling through technology

How does the right technology help you deliver value and create exceptional customer experiences? Greg Jenkins, Findmypast Head of Product, and Jeff Sheldon, Recurly SVP of Engineering, share all the secrets.

For Jenkins, subscriber experiences are paramount, especially now that he focuses on retention. He considers four elemental pillars when considering LTV: loyalty, referrals, upgrades and upsells, and costs.

These elements, additionally, help you better understand customer needs and your scaling opportunities–data drives the decision-making to prioritize, resource, experiment, and hit objectives.

Retaining subscribers means keeping them engaged and active. Findmypast, then, pays extra attention to customers’ behavior to offer the tools that support and improve their experience. 

And while retention is important, it’s also important to let users go. Understand what’s driving voluntary churn and consider offering consumers an alternative before canceling that continues to deliver them value. 

Simplifying subscription taxes

As we discussed above, payments are key to a great customer experience. And with payments comes taxes. Sarah McCredie, Recurly Director of Product Marketing, speaks to Gina Chen, Vertex Senior Sales Engineer, about the biggest mistakes when managing taxes on the back end:

  • Not having the necessary resources: You want to make sure that tax doesn’t slow down the business. As you grow, calculating and collecting taxes becomes even more challenging.

  • Not getting enough information: Ensure you get the right billing address since every jurisdiction could source your sales differently–understand where the sales and sourcing are happening.

Chen’s recommendation to simplify taxes? Work with a compelling subscription management and recurring billing platform that grows with your business, keeps up with exceptions, delivers essential reporting, and ultimately helps you future-proof your business.

The future of subscriptions: Get more insights

The subscription industry is a resilient one. Thanks to its flexibility to accommodate consumer needs and create loyalty with periodic consumers. 

As we enter the era of retention, optimizing, innovating, and building the tight infrastructure helps businesses deliver more value and unlock profitable growth. 

Get all the benchmarks, insights, and best practices to make that happen in Subscription Sessions. Watch on-demand now!