We all know that making it easier to buy products on our website will increase sales and leads. But a less-known strategy is to make it easier for people to disengage. Here is an example from Katy Milkman’s Choiceology podcast.
An online newspaper made it easy to sign up and very inexpensive: 1 British Pound for the first month. However, to stop the 27-pound fee, you would have to call England from the USA during business hours. On a toll line.
Richard Thaler realized it would be too much trouble for him and he would end up with a life subscription even if he wanted to stop the subscription. Just like the Hotel California song:
… Mirrors on the ceiling
The pink champagne on ice
And she said, “We are all just prisoners here
Of our own device”
And in the master’s chambers
They gathered for the feast
They stab it with their steely knives
But they just can’t kill the beast
… Last thing I remember
I was running for the door
I had to find the passage back
To the place I was before
“Relax, ” said the night man
“We are programmed to receive
You can check out any time you like
But you can never leave!”
So, he decided to pass on the trial subscription.
Many apps and services have a free 30-day trial and after the 30 days, you must unsubscribe otherwise they charge your card. This may sound like an easy revenue generator. Lure subscribers in with a free or highly discounted intro offer and then you have
According to a study done at Stanford Business School, overall, even though auto-renewal generates a higher revenue in the short term, auto-renewal and auto-cancel are revenue equivalent after one year, but with fewer subscribers in autorenewal.
The lesson here is that it’s important to make it easy for people to opt out of free trials or discounted plans. Offering easy cancelation is critical. And make sure subscribers know that it will be easy to opt out if they are no longer interested.