Driving to the store and buying your favorite product is so yesterday.
Stocking up on coffee or racing to the video store to rent a DVD seems as antiquated as arcades and tube TVs. Today, shopping is about convenience, especially when you're talking about items you use an abundance of and want replaced seamlessly and without interrupting your daily routine.
That mentality and need has interjected the subscription based business model and put traditional retail on notice that the landscape of how consumers shop is changing.
The idea behind subscription based shopping is giving customers the ability to sign up for various products and have them shipped directly to them without them having to think or remember to buy it on their own. Certain retailers have already felt this paradigm shift and acted accordingly, such as Target. The brand that is known for their red bull's eye is setting its sights on giving customers discounts for signing up for this service, that would include more than a thousand products.
Once again, the benefit of this shopping simply centers on customers getting what they want without thinking and with a simple click of a button to start the process. Coffee is just one of the easier examples to point to, particularly if you're on a two cup in the morning and two cup in the afternoon habit. Subscription shopping can go above and beyond coffee and also can include health and beauty supplies or baby products. The healthy and beauty shows up in the form of the famed BirchBox, which charges you a flat rate for a myriad of sample type items.
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As for babies, what mom and dad wouldn't want an endless supply of baby wipes, pacifiers or anything else babies go through quickly? You could point to the arrival of streaming media services like Netflix, MLBTV or WWE Network as another means of subscription shopping that simply isn't tied to something tangible likes clothes, shampoo or diapers.
It's hard to overlook this fairly new shopping medium given its simplicity and comfort it gives busy customers who might be standing in the shower only to realize that they're out of razors or soap. If you want to nitpick subscription services that keep you stocked up for days, weeks, months or years to come is the fickle nature that is shopping.
If you're buying clothing, and your style changes, what do you do with that subscription and, more importantly, the cost involved? Perhaps you'll get tired of that BirchBox or no longer want to watch your favorite pro wrestling matches on the aforementioned WWE Network, but you're already tied committed to a certain number of months.
That is a valid point but feels like a bit of reach to find something negative. It's hard to imagine someone consciously saying that they're not interested in having a staple product delivered to them, knowing full well they'll use it on a consistent basis. BirchBox insulates itself from this excuse by always offering an eclectic mix of sample items. The movies and television show angle from the likes of Netflix when discussing subscriptions makes more sense, given that entertainment in this facet is arbitrary. The low price points of Netflix ($8) and WWE Network ($10) hardly make the notion of buying and not using a deal breaker, especially considering that Netflix can be canceled any time, and as of now the WWE is only asking for a six month subscription to start.
The future of subscription buying seems bright for a number of detailed reasons. This customer centric approach to buying, selling and shopping probably won't lead to established stores closing any time soon but certainly will be pressure on marquee retailers to rethink how they do business.
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