You name it, there’s a subscription for it. From unlimited movies on specialty streaming channels, to weekly beauty boxes, high-fashion magazines delivered to your door, and top picks from the Cheese-of-the-Month Club. Subscriptions are not just popular, they’re an excellent way to connect with customers and make their lives easy.
But we tend to think of subscriptions as something paid for online and delivered to your home. Where does that leave brick and mortar merchants?
Rest assured, subscriptions aren’t exclusive to online purchasing and the products don’t need to be for home use. Now that shoppers are flocking back to stores after a prolonged period of no-contact restrictions in public spaces, retailers are eager for new ways to entice, engage, and serve customers better. One of the best ways to do that is by making the subscription model an in-person experience.
What are in-person payment subscriptions?
And in-person payment subscriptions entitle a shopper to goods and services from in exchange for a monthly payment or recurring payments to a specific store. All the customer needs to do when they visit the store is create an account and make the initial payment using their preferred method. The shopper is issued a unique QR code that they then scan or tap at checkout whenever they want to use their subscription.
Take Club Pret for example. Customers can subscribe to this popular food and beverage franchise with outlets in the United Kingdom and around the world. After signing up and making a first payment, customers can visit the store and choose any beverage, several times per day, for the entire month. They also receive discounts on food items and earn rewards for store visits and purchases.
How do retailers benefit from offering in-person payment subscriptions?
Retailers gain most from subscriptions by building a strong relationship with high-value customers. Certainly every customer is important, but those who are keen to become subscribers are ready to make in-store visits a part of their regular routine.
The process also generates valuable subscription and transaction data that can help retailers learn more about what makes their shoppers tick. Learning what customers want, when, and how their tastes and preferences evolve lets merchants make informed business decisions about what to offer, how to innovate, and how to set prices to keep customers interested while ensuring maximum profitability.
While every customer’s preferences are important, those that stop in regularly are more closely aligned with your brand mission and values. Following your subscribers’ lead can help you identify and make inroads with adjacent audiences and demographics you haven’t yet tapped into.
Another major benefit of the in-person subscription model is the predictable revenue stream. Knowing how many people have paid for products that month can help retailers plan ahead and get ahead. Even better, once a customer has signed up and purchased a subscription, they usually stay subscribed. A flexible cancellation policy gives customers an easy out, but most will stay put if they’re satisfied.
The payment process is also highly secure and convenient. Because the transaction only happens once, your sales associates can dedicate their energies to providing impeccable service. Customers feel special when they “skip” payment on subsequent visits and order their beverage or acquire that special something with a single swipe of their customized QR code from their mobile device.
What’s next for in-person payment subscriptions?
While in-store payment subscriptions are still relatively new, there’s no sign consumers will jump off the subscription model bandwagon any time soon. The possibilities are endless. All it takes is a creative retailer to design a subscription package that responds to customer wants and needs.
The subscription model has enormous potential for brick and mortar businesses that specialize in food and beverage, entertainment, cosmetics, fashion, accessories, and personal and pet care.
In fact, take a cue from your most loyal customers and ask them what they’d love to see in a subscription package. You’ll learn it’s more than a great business model. It virtually guarantees an opportunity to nurture a long-lasting connection with your most committed customers.
For more on building an outstanding in-store experience for your customers with secure, convenient payment technologies that serve them better, speak to one of our specialists at OTT Pay.