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Make it Easy to Cancel (Seriously): Subscription Box Expert Tip Series, Post 5

Bulu Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer Stephanie Jarrett was invited to share some of her Top Tips as a Subscription Box Expert at SUBTA Women in Subscription in September. In this ongoing series, you’ll find 6 tips you need to navigate your own box program - pulled from Stephanie’s experience launching more than 16 subscription box programs that have resulted in over 10 million shipments from Bulu’s warehouse, earned $100 million in revenue, and an average customer rating of 4.5/5 stars per box.

It should be easy for your subscribers to cancel their subscription. It should be even easier for them to pause or skip a box. In fact, a good cancellation path should be designed with retention in mind. You’ve probably heard that it’s more expensive to gain a new subscriber than it is to retain a current customer. We’ve found this to be true across the dozens of subscription box programs that we’ve managed at Bulu.


Some companies have made it difficult to cancel a subscription product with them. They might hide the cancel button somewhere deep in the account page, or require a specific contact method such as a phone call or even a written notice to stop an auto-renewal. That kind of gatekeeping isn’t necessary - and it really engenders distrust of your brand with your customer. If that doesn’t make you want to find another way to retain subscribers, you should know that a host of legislation has been passed protecting a consumer’s right to cancel a subscription.


How can you encourage subscribers to stay when they click that “cancel my subscription” button? One subscription service cancellation path that we admire here at Bulu is Audible.


This account page makes it easy to find the “Cancel membership” button. It also clearly outlines the details and benefits of their current subscription - a soft retention tactic that is effective in reminding the customer why they signed up in the first place!

If you do click “Cancel membership,” you see what we assume are the most common reasons someone cancels their membership with Audible. (Don’t know why your subscribers are leaving? You should be gathering feedback to find out.) If your concern is paying for features you’re not using or price, you can downgrade to another membership level. Maybe you’re not using Audible now, but you will in the future. In that case, you can simply pause your membership for a set period of time.


Most recurring billing platforms have a feature that will let customers with monthly recurring subscriptions skip a single billing cycle at a time. You might also consider empowering your customer service team to manually skip more than one billing cycle at a customer’s request. Skip a Month has been an incredible retention tool for Bulu’s partner programs in 2020 when temporary budget concerns have impacted purchasing among most customer demographics.


The ability to pause or skip a delivery is key in retaining customers. Giving customers this flexibility helps you keep a loyal customer and your transparency builds brand loyalty, too.


Top Tips from Subscription Box Experts Series

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