So SubCom – subscription commerce – is the hot trend in e-commerce right now, turning category fans into loyal advocates with subscription clubs that offer monthly trials of new products in surprise boxes delivered to the door.  It’s a Janus-faced proposition – offering value to both customers and to brands – as ‘tryvertising’ media.

For example Luxe Box (Birchbox for Canadians run by Loose Button and a leading online subscription club for beauty products (10K+ members, growing fast (70% by word of mouth)), summarises the value proposition of ‘subcom’ subscription clubs as follows

  • Value proposition to members
    • Members pay $12/month (or $36/quarter or $120/annual) to receive a Luxe Box with 3-5 deluxe-sized samples every month. They get a variety of skincare, makeup, haircare and fragrance samples to try in the convenience of their own home. It taps into their need to try products before committing to a full-size purchase. The samples are deluxe-sized so they can use it for 3-5 times to get a good feel of the product.
    • Our beauty editors provide them with tips and tutorials on how to make the most out of their products.
    • We also host and run special giveaways and promotions for our community on a regular basis.
    • Customise products based on beauty profile of members, feedback, preferences and other data
  • Value proposition to brands:
    • It is a great way to get exposure to highly targeted community of beauty enthusiasts who pay money to receive and try products every month.
    • They get actionable insight on their products through analytics and feedback reports.
    • Instead of 1-on-1 marketing (1 sample for 1 member), brands get to reap the 1-to-many effect since blog reviews and YouTube videos amplify the reach every month.
    • We also help them to raise awareness of their brands and products through joint marketing campaigns.
    • Direct traffic to brand (store or e-commerce site)

The subcom industry is new and evolving, but it strikes us that emerging opportunities for these clubs include

  • More social features that make them more, well, club like (it’d be nice to have a members forum to discuss contents)
  • More ‘CineMatch’ style personalisation – using feedback, quizzes, and the open graph data
  • Celebrity curation – this month’s box chosen by…
  • Further incentivising members to post reviews (video/photo/text) of their favourite box contents could amplify the word of mouth effect of subscription clubs
  • Digital boxes – virtual boxes of apps – curated bundles of apps by subscription
  • Samples for friends – includes samples and vouchers to hand out to friends to increase the viral effect
  • Specialisation – boxes for specific demographics – if there’s a magazine for a demographic, there’s a sample box subscription club opportunity
  • Share a subscription with a friend – get it every two months – swap and share

Anyhow, we haven’t found a comprehensive directory of SubCom Subscription Clubs – so here’s a roundup from our posts to date – and those from useful post this week by Sean Percival. Check them out – and ask yourself how could your business or brand profit from the subcom – subscription club trend?

And do let us know of any we’ve missed.

Beauty & Skincare

Clothes & Accessories

Culture & Art

Food & Drink

Household

Kids & Parenting

Multi-Vertical

Organic & Produce

Other

Subcom Platforms