Historic churn in DTC subscriptions

Mounting margin pressure, highly fragmented data, and manual workflows make it harder than ever to retain revenue.

Zack Babin
February 26, 2024

The rise in customer churn

Over the last few years, B2C subscription businesses have faced a perfect storm. Customer churn has reached historical levels as revenue retention has become harder than ever. Understanding the factors driving this trend is critical to maintain a strong business within a highly competitive market. Let's dive into the reasons behind rising churn rates and why customer retention is more important now than ever.

Major factors driving churn

There are several macro trends that have driven a rapid increase in customer churn across every industry. Let's discuss:

Zero switching costs

In today's digital landscape, consumers are spoiled for choice when it comes to subscription services. Countless streaming platforms, meal kit delivery options, and software subscriptions are just a click away. The ease with which customers can switch between providers, often with little to no financial cost, has dramatically increased churn rates.

This lack of friction makes it tempting for customers to jump ship in search of better deals, newer features, or simply a change of pace. Subscription businesses must constantly innovate and offer compelling value to keep customers engaged and prevent them from exploring greener pastures elsewhere.

Increase financial risk

The rising cost of living is putting a strain on household budgets worldwide. With essentials like groceries, housing, and energy becoming more expensive, consumers are forced to make tough choices about where to allocate their limited funds. Subscription services, once considered small luxuries, may now be among the first expenses to get cut.

This economic pressure highlights the need for B2C subscription businesses to prove their value proposition. Customers are increasingly asking themselves, "Is this subscription truly worth the monthly cost?" Companies that can't provide a resounding "yes" risk losing subscribers.

Profit margins under pressure

Businesses of all sizes face mounting margin pressure. Factors like higher cost of capital, supply chain disruptions, and increased labor costs are squeezing businesses from the bottom up. This financial pressure can lead companies to adopt short-sighted strategies that ultimately damage customer retention.

For example, some businesses might raise prices to offset costs. However, frequent or steep price hikes can alienate price-sensitive customers and lead them to seek alternatives. Others may cut back on customer support or reduce the quality of their offerings, unintentionally driving subscribers away. 

The critical importance of customer retention

For B2C subscription businesses, maximizing customer retention is mission critical. Here's why:

  • Acquisition Costs: Acquiring new customers is significantly more expensive than retaining existing ones. Retaining loyal customers allows businesses to reinvest money into product development and other value-adding initiatives.
  • Predictable Revenue: Consistent, loyal subscribers provide much-needed stability and predictable recurring revenue for subscription-based companies.
  • Lifetime Value (LTV): Long-term customers have a higher lifetime value, meaning they generate more revenue for a business over the course of their relationship than customers who churn quickly


Strategies to combat churn

So, how can B2C subscription businesses stem the tide of customer churn? Here are a few effective strategies:

  • Unify customer data: First and foremost, you must centralize the valuable data trapped in all your systems to create a complete view of your customers.
  • Uncover predictive, actionable insights: Gain a deeper and more proactive understanding of your customers so you can identify those at risk to churn, before it happens. 
  • Automated critical workflows: Leverage the intelligence to automate and enhance the critical workflows to maximize retention rates.
  • Prioritize relationships: Personalize the customer experience and continuously demonstrate tangible value to foster a sense of loyalty that goes beyond a mere transaction.
  • Offer flexible plans: Provide different pricing tiers and payment options to accommodate various budgets and needs


The bottom line

Rising customer churn is a challenge that B2C subscription businesses can't afford to ignore. By leveraging predictive intelligence to deeply understand your customers and automation to supercharge retention workflows, subscription businesses can not only combat churn but also maximize customer LTV.

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