How can the subscription business model survive the recession period?

As the cost of living surges and we enter a period of economic uncertainty due to a growing threat of a recession it’s time to tighten up your business operations. While opinions differ as to if or how long a potential recession may last, one thing is for certain; it never hurts to prepare for the worst. Due to COVID, the e-commerce sector has grown quickly, but when customers start to reduce their spending, this growth may soon decline.

Despite the fact that 16.9 million British homes presently have at least one subscription, this figure is down 215,000 from the previous quarter. Therefore, digital publishers may be concerned how the cost of living problem will affect their business in the long run as they contend with tightened consumer budgets and potential subscription fatigue. This article examines a few potential implications of the present economic climate and how publishers might get ready, while nothing is guaranteed.

Make it feasible for your subscription company to minimise churn

A subscription firm is concerned with decreasing churn even when the economy is doing well. Over the course of a year, an average subscription B2C brand's churn rate is thought to be just over 8%. Additionally, it is projected that subscription churn would rise as customers search for methods to reduce spending as the economy weakens.

Knowing this, it is in your best interest to make every attempt to lower turnover. To lower your churn rate during this period, you should think creatively. Giving a subscriber a discount to stay with you, offering a subscriber to a months discount on their subscription or a freezing option (instead of completely churning), making it simple for them to refer a membership to a friend, or letting them change the frequency of their subscription are a few examples of churn deflection tactics. These strategies provide the subscriber the flexibility they might require to persuade them to forgo churning during this difficult period. 

To learn more about how to minimise churn download our whitepaper Eight Steps to Minimise Churn and Maximise Retention

Reward loyal customers with discounts

Change your perspective and concentrate on keeping your current subscribers instead of always trying to gain new ones, which is expensive and will hurt your bottom line. Giving them discounts is one method to do this. Discount can be given in various ways:

  • Giving customers the choice to discontinue their subscription without losing the benefits they have already accrued might be one way to do this.  It all boils down to flexibility. Even if the business could lose out on one or two months' worth of membership payments, giving customers additional options and customizability increases the value of the whole product.
  • After the third month of the subscription, giving the subscriber a free gift with purchase. This encourages the customer to stick with you for at least three months and could persuade someone who isn't currently a member to sign up for your service. 
  • Offer a loyal subscriber a unique, one-time discount code or percentage off of a future purchase. As a result, the subscriber will become more devoted to your brand and may even increase their purchase volume.

By continuously engaging with your current subscribers, you may increase their brand loyalty and decrease their likelihood that they will leave. For example a Spanish publication enables users to pay nothing at all. Another publisher in South Africa has a "pay what you can afford" approach. This, according to the publication, is a result of their dedication to fostering "emotional" rather than "transactional" relationships with their readers.

The value of your subscription

Publishers could notice that audiences put more emphasis on perceived value for money when consumers tighten their belts in response to the economic downturn.

Publishers must use first party data to gain audience insights to guarantee that their product offering coincides with what their readers are seeking for in order to remain competitive and exceed customer expectations. To attract new readers, it is essential to customise content production and conversion funnels to individual preferences.

Publishers should also concentrate on how they promote their subscription services to make sure that casual readers are fully informed of the advantages and premium features only available to paying customers.

To learn more about how publishers can use first party data click here

Frictionless subscription experience

Your subscribers are experiencing the same uncertainty as your firm due to the current state of the economy. They will be dealing with stress related to money now and they might not have been a few months ago. With this in mind, you must create a subscription service that is as frictionless as possible. You can accomplish this in the following ways:

  • Minimising any hassles associated with a subscriber forgetting their password would make it easier for them to access their account.
  • Simplifying the process of changing a subscriber's subscription.
  • Allowing a subscriber to control their membership by email or SMS.


The beauty of the subscription business model is that it gives companies the flexibility to monetize their abilities and resources in a variety of ways. The four strategic development paths we've listed above should assist businesses in spotting possible new growth possibilities. Again, it's crucial to keep in mind that these tactics may be employed simultaneously and are not mutually incompatible. In fact, it could be a good idea to put them to the test and compare them with one another using various experimental projects.


About Evolok

Evolok helps online publishers increase their revenues and drive audience engagement using Evolok’s end-to-end SaaS solution, which provides paywalls, subscription management, user segmentation and identity management.  Evolok delivers a selective ecosystem to drive user engagement and mobilization. Evolok helps its clients increase readership and revenue by engaging and personalizing content, protecting valuable content through paywalls, utilizing login and social data to incrementally know customers and finally targeting products and pricing to boost subscriptions.

If you need any help with your subscription journey are you are thinking to migrate your publishing business to the subscription business model contact us today. 

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