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A CPG brand that produces household and personal goods has invested efforts in omni channel understanding and growth over the past few years. In part due to increased demand from the COVID-19 pandemic, one of its mass merchandiser retail partners made adjustments to its subscription model – specifically moving toward a triggered replenishment model meant to improve the user experience.

To aid understanding and further ideate future iterations, the client team and their retail partner wanted to unearth user attitudes toward and experiences with online retailer subscription programs broadly and related to this specific auto replenishment program.

The research team created an exploratory online qualitative discussion to delve into shoppers’ mindsets and experiences, including features, functions, and ideation.


The CPG brand and retail partner felt disconnected from shoppers’ reactions to recent changes to the online subscription program and set up. While shoppers’ struggles had been previously uncovered, insights are needed to understand shoppers’ attitudes related to changes in the program or broader offerings.


The research included an immersive online qualitative discussion that tackled topics from initial triggers into online subscription services, as well as recent experiences and interests across service offerings and categories.

We learned that tweaks made to the retailer offering did address key consumer barriers and specific concerns to service enrollment and usage – especially related to the client’s CPG category and products. However, we further identified areas of continued optimization that could help shopper interest; these were all around functions of flexibility and sharing control over the subscription – from the way communication is rolled out and online features, to order adjustments and changes.

These findings, as well as painting the full shopper experience over time, allowed to us put together an ideal service offering for our CPG client and their partner. The findings made it possible to see what further tweaks could be made across the subscription service to fully optimize shopper interest and retention.


An immersive online discussion was leveraged to gain a deep understanding of experiences among subscription users across retailers and categories.
Recent shoppers of the client categories online and via this retailer partner were recruited; these participants also had experience with subscriptions overall. They were asked to share – using text, image, and projective responses – their detailed perceptions of and history with online subscription purchases. The interactive and iterative nature of the discussion allowed us to get more detail where necessary and to finesse individual questions with key groups of participants.

The report and findings were broad enough to showcase overall service and category take-aways, but also specific enough to pinpoint nuanced online features and capabilities that contribute to the overall experience currently, or could in the near future, to improve the shopper experience.

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