Subscription Fatigue

What gives? Everybody seems to want $4.99/month from me. “It’s just a cup coffee,” they prod.

I get it. A few businesses did well with the ‘subscription model.’ A classic example is Netflix vs. Blockbuster. Stitch Fix subscription-fied clothing.

The case sounds good to managers. Subscriptions get more of their company’s revenue onto a recurring basis where customers, once signed up. face behavioral barriers to canceling. It feels like this reduces the exposure company revenue has to the whims of customers on a transactional nature.

But, as a customer, I’m at that point where each new subscription, even though it’s ‘just a cup of coffee,’ is too big of a hurdle for me to agree to. Subscription fatigue.

I’m guessing I’m not the only one.

Just as they are a barrier to cancelling, I wonder if subscriptions are becoming a barrier to adoption?

Also, I think subscriptions act as a veil that keeps managers from thinking about what really matters: what customers want.

They see Stitch Fix and think customers want to buy their clothes on subscription.

They miss that maybe Stitch Fix customers really want to get new clothes without having to to go through the trial-and-error process to become an expert shopper.

Update: It seems like businesses should explore mixed models, so customers can transact how they choose. Some may prefer subscription, some may prefer transactional.

Stitch Fix makes it easy to do both.

Discovery+ does not. Subscription is the only option.


2 thoughts on “Subscription Fatigue

  1. I’m glad I subscribe to your commentary. Of course the price is quite a bit less than a coffee. I get new subscribers often and often wonder how they found my scribblings. Subscriptions to my writing are also free, thereby proving the old adage about getting your money’s worth.

    • Hi Grant — Thanks! For sure. I like the phrase, ‘you get what you pay for,’ because it works two ways. It can mean getting your money’s worth. But it can also mean that you get what you incentivize.


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