Do you have any subscriptions you don’t actually use that you just keep renewing?
Have you ever asked yourself why?
A TrackMySubs customer recently told me he was listening to a podcast I was featured on, and he said he had a moment of realisation.
The realisation was that ‘fear of loss’ was keeping him subscribed to something he didn’t really need.
I asked him to tell me more.
Fear of loss
He had invested a lot of time and effort into the product setting things up just the way he liked it. He was worried that although he didn’t need it right at this moment, what if he needed it in the future?
If he cancelled, and then needed it again sometime, he’d have to spend all that time and effort again to set it up.
This was the clincher for him.
His investment in the product of personal time and effort was the greater potential loss than the actual monthly cost – and so he had kept on paying his subscription.
He explained it further:
“If I cancel the subscription, then all the work I did would be worthless. All that time spent setting it up and making it work just the way I want it to – it’s lost forever. As long as I keep the subscription then all that work isn’t wasted.”
He was continuing to pay to prevent the loss from occurring!
This is similar psychology to taking a loss on the stock market, real estate or even gambling.
Until you cash out, and actually realise the loss, it’s only ‘potential losses’. And not cashing out makes you feel like you haven’t actually lost yet.
The motivation to avoid making this ‘potential loss’ real keeps you from selling those shares, selling that property or causes you to gamble more to get to a positive position.
I found this fascinating, as app developers dream of getting their customers to experience this from their product.
They want users so invested in their product that the app becomes ‘sticky’ enough that the effort to move to an alternative (or in this case cancel) is harder than continuing to pay the monthly subscription.
What is incredible is that the stickiness in this case was so great that even when the customer had no need for it, it was still extremely difficult for him to let it go and cancel the payments.
It made me wonder how many other people are still paying for subscriptions they no longer need – just because of this fear of loss.
Do you have any subscriptions that you’re afraid to let go of?
Gabe Alves | Founder of TrackMySubs