Recapture cancelled subscription with a time-limited discount

Bonsai Bonsai retain


Bonsai presents a special one-time offer of 50% off the subscription for the next 3 months when a user attempts to cancel their account. This limited-time discount incentivizes users to reconsider cancellation and continue using the service.
a screenshot of the retain flow explaining how to Recapture cancelled subscription with a time-limited discount

Business Outcome

Reduce Churn

By offering a temporary discount, Bonsai aims to reduce customer churn and retain users who were considering canceling their subscriptions. Lowering churn rates can lead to increased revenue and a more stable user base.

Behavioral Outcome


The limited-time discount encourages users to stay subscribed to Bonsai, giving them an opportunity to continue using and deriving value from the service. This extended engagement period may lead to increased user satisfaction and long-term retention.

The Behavioral Science

Scracity Effect

Scarcity, the principle that people tend to place a higher value on items or opportunities that are rare or limited, is also at play. The time-limited nature of the discount creates a sense of urgency and exclusivity, further encouraging users to take advantage of the offer.

Loss Aversion

Loss aversion is the tendency for people to prefer avoiding losses over acquiring equivalent gains. In this context, the potential loss of the discounted subscription price may motivate users to accept the offer and avoid the perceived loss.

How It Works

When a user initiates the cancellation process, Bonsai presents a pop-up window with a special one-time offer.

The message clearly states that the user can receive a 50% discount on their subscription for the next 3 months.

The limited duration of the offer and the significant discount percentage tap into the user's loss aversion and the scarcity principle, making the offer more compelling and increasing the likelihood of the user accepting it and continuing their subscription.

How It Might Backfire

Perceived Manipulation

Some users may feel that the last-minute discount offer is manipulative, potentially damaging trust in the company.

Expectation of Future Discounts

If users become accustomed to receiving discounts when attempting to cancel, they may intentionally initiate the cancellation process in the future to receive similar offers, leading to a cycle of cancellations and short-term retentions.

Temporary Solution

While the discount may retain users in the short term, it does not address the underlying reasons for cancellation. If the core issues remain unresolved, users may still churn after the discounted period ends.

How To Test

A/B Test

Run an A/B test comparing the churn rates between users who are presented with the limited-time discount offer and those who are not. Monitor the retention rates of users who accept the offer to evaluate the long-term impact of the discount.

Surveys & User Interivews

Gather qualitative feedback from users who accept the offer to understand their motivations and experiences.

Frequently Asked Questions

Bonsai's retention tactic of offering a time-limited discount can be effectively used to enhance a product-led growth (PLG) model. In a PLG approach, user retention is crucial for long-term success.

By implementing a similar strategy when users show signs of disengagement or attempt to cancel, you can provide an incentive for them to continue using the product. This extended usage period allows users more time to experience the product's value, potentially leading to increased adoption and word-of-mouth referrals. Additionally, the scarcity effect created by the time-limited offer can drive urgency, encouraging users to make a quick decision to stay, which aligns well with the self-serve nature of PLG models.

Bonsai's retention tactic can be adapted for conversion rate optimization by applying similar principles to different stages of the user journey. For instance, you could offer a time-limited discount to users who have shown interest but haven't yet converted.

This approach leverages the scarcity effect and loss aversion to encourage users to make a purchase decision. By clearly communicating the limited-time nature of the offer and the potential savings, you can create a sense of urgency that may boost conversion rates. However, it's important to use this tactic judiciously and test its effectiveness to ensure it doesn't negatively impact your brand perception or create unrealistic expectations among users.

To use Bonsai's retention tactic for website optimization, consider implementing targeted pop-ups or banners that appear when users exhibit behaviors indicating they might leave the site. These could offer a limited-time discount or special offer to encourage continued engagement.

For example, you could trigger an exit-intent pop-up with a time-sensitive offer when a user moves their cursor towards the close button. This tactic can be particularly effective on product pages or during the checkout process. Remember to clearly communicate the value and time-limited nature of the offer to leverage the scarcity effect. Always ensure that these interventions enhance rather than disrupt the user experience, and conduct A/B tests to optimize their effectiveness.

To A/B test Bonsai's retention tactic, you can set up an experiment where a portion of users who attempt to cancel their subscription are shown the time-limited discount offer (Group A), while others proceed through the standard cancellation process (Group B).

Track key metrics such as churn rate, retention rate, and customer lifetime value for both groups. Additionally, monitor the acceptance rate of the offer in Group A and the long-term retention of users who accept the offer. You can also gather qualitative feedback through surveys to understand user perceptions of the offer. Analyze the results to determine if the retention tactic significantly improves key business metrics without negatively impacting user satisfaction or brand perception.

Bonsai's retention tactic can improve the user experience by providing users with an opportunity to continue benefiting from the service at a reduced cost. This can be particularly valuable for users who may be considering cancellation due to financial constraints.

By offering a temporary discount, Bonsai demonstrates flexibility and a willingness to accommodate user needs, which can enhance brand perception and user satisfaction. The tactic also gives users more time to explore and derive value from the service, potentially leading to a more positive long-term relationship. However, it's crucial to implement this tactic thoughtfully, ensuring it doesn't come across as manipulative or create unrealistic expectations, which could negatively impact the overall user experience.