Subscription programs have been widely adopted by e-commerce platforms to improve customer loyalty, but their impacts on consumer behaviors remain under-explored. We collaborate with a large online retailer using a difference-in-differences design with the causal forest method to identify the causal effects of member subscriptions on customer search and purchase behaviors on the platform. We find that subscribers, compared to those non-subscribers, conduct more product searches, spend more time browsing product pages, and purchase more products. However, only 20% of the effect on customer net purchases is due to planned buying, and the remaining 80% origins from impulse purchases. We also find that the treatment effects on search and order behaviors are heterogeneous across customers. Female customers and those customers who renew their subscriptions after expiring are more likely to conduct impulsive purchases.


Paper Number 1699; Track E-Business; Complete Paper


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