Business concepts involving subscription services might be more interesting for the mainstream market than niche markets or stand-alone businesses. They are not only a perfect tool to enhance customer loyalty, but also a good way to acquire new customers, binding them to a certain platform in the long-run, thus furthering their interest in other products. Luxury fashion ordering service Yoox for example provides a subscription service for shoes called Shoescribe. Their online features are optimized for tablets, Pinterest and other social media platforms. For an annual fee of 129 Euros the platform offers numerous services and editorial content on shoes.
Shoescribe.com: Customer loyalty boost for shoe-crazy Yoox customers
Single purchase and subscribe offers increase customer loyalty
Apart from single sale purchase options, many of the established online stores now also offer subscription services. Take Amazon‘s subscription service for example: Their discount subscription offer gives a 10% discount on Pampers products, body care articles and some foodstuffs. It also includes direct delivery service for a time period of the customer’s own choosing. Customers are free to determine the delivery time of products for every month, two months or an even longer time period. Of course, the delivery time can be changed at any time. Advantages are apparent: Clearly communicated price advantages and a liberal termination of service policy help to address customer’s reservations for a long-term commitment.
Amazon’s discount subscription offer: Free direct delivery of discounted goods at time intervals of the customer’s choice
Purchasing food for pets is another routine, where subscription features greatly help to make things easier. German supermarket chain Tengelmann and founder of animal foodstuff retailer Fressnapf, Torsten Toeller, worked together to found Canimix, an online animal food shop boasting a subscription service, which provides regular delivery of pet food according to the owner’s preferences. Body care chain Douglas now also features a subscription service called Douglas-Box-of-Beauty that resembles BirchBox. For only 10 Euros per month samples of new beauty care products will be delivered to the subscriber’s home for free.
Conclusion: We can be sure that the hype surrounding subscription deals in eCommerce will continue and we will see quite a number of new start-ups in one or another niche market. It is exciting to observe how even the most basic products can be sold in revolutionary new ways. With a smart product assortment, customization features and a social media approach, some of those services will be successful in reaching out to the mainstream. However, we can also expect for the majority of these services to simply vanish. Therefore, the most interesting approaches are those by existing online retailers, which make use of subscription deals to enhance their customers’ loyalty.
Read in Part I of this story why subscription offers might hamper business growth for stand-alone businesses and learn about the breadth of services in niche markets.