Consumer buying trends are consistently changing; from purchases, in-store assistance, to mobile shopping, and now monthly subscriptions. In today’s technologically advanced society, the consumer purchasing process is consistently adapting to the hectic lifestyle of the consumer. Through these new waves of shopping experiences, consumers are optimizing their efforts in subscription purchases.
Approximately 15% of online shoppers have signed up for one or more subscriptions to receive products on a recurring basis, frequently through monthly boxes. Subscription eCommerce services offer these consumers, often younger, affluent urbanites, a convenient, personalized, and often lower-cost way to buy what they want and need.
What Kind of Subscriptions Can I Get?
There are three broad types of subscription models for consumers:
- Replenishment – allow consumers to automate the purchase of commodity items, such as razors or diapers.
- Curation – seek to surprise and delight by providing new items or highly personalized experiences in categories such as apparel, beauty, and food.
- Access – pay a monthly fee to obtain lower prices or members-only perks, primarily in the apparel and food categories.
Why Are Subscriptions Popular?
Subscription packages are taking the consumer market by storm. These services are appealing to consumers because they offer instant access, various product selections, different price points, and personalization. These companies are learning about the customers and providing services upon a scheduled basis, and not hindering the consumer’s daily routines.
Subscription based services assist consumers, by taking the regular store visit nearly out of the equation. For consumers with a hectic lifestyle, these services are ideal.
Keep in mind consumers also want a great end-to-end experience and are willing to subscribe only where automated purchasing gives them tangible benefits, such as lower costs or increased personalization.
At the base level of consumer subscription programs, the effort is focused on building a loyal relationship with consumers. Subscription service providers are learning about their customers while discovering their wants and needs based on digital footprints and buying trends. These trends allow companies to provide deeper insight to the consumer, thus providing quality services and maintaining a loyal customer base.
Subscriptions: Retention over Acquisition
A major focus of any business is to retain customers and build a loyal relationship with them.
In fact, it costs five times as much to attract a new customer, than to keep an existing one. – Khalid Saleh, CEO of Invesp
Subscription model boxes are praised because they make the consumers feel less like a one-off sale. Therefore, retention of consumers is a primary focus for subscription companies. It’s easy to understand that retention is cheaper than acquisition. Companies must provide exceptional customer experiences, seamless delivery and rewards; then consumers will transform from one-time sales, to life long subscriptions.
Loyal customers are a business’s most valued asset. They will not just appear out of thin air. Creating loyal customers requires time, care and attention. Not focusing on customer retention and loyalty is basically leaving money on the table.
Who’s Doing It Right?
Meal kit providers offer busy customers the chance to save a lot of time. Consumers have access to a wide variety of food choices, eat healthier, improve their cooking skills, and limit the amount of food waste. This market is generating approximately $3 billion.
The secret to their success is an emerging class of devoted pet owners, dedicated customer service and personalization efforts. Also, BarkBox manufactures 90% of their own toys and treats, and when buying from outside brands, the company pays particular attention to making sure all products are organic, come from a good source and are made in the U.S.
BoxyCharm ships more than 500,000 boxes of five full-size brand-name or popular new makeup items valued at $100 or more once a month. The company uses artificial intelligence to forecast market trends and learn more about what consumers want. Even further, BoxyCharm notices social media influencers launching their own beauty brands and then works to foster relationships with them.
Offices can choose to receive new boxes every day, every week, every month, or even every quarter, deliveries are customizable. SnackNation is also a platform for emerging nutritional brands. SnackNation collects data and other insights that its partners can use to improve their products. About 50 new brands are introduced into SnackNation boxes each month, after a rigorous taste test. Its tasting panel tests 100 to 200 brands a month.