Consumer Psychology for a Digital Age

Directory of Subscription Commerce Clubs #SubCom

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

Comments (17):

  1. Ryan Moore

    September 13, 2011 at 19:30

    Great article – would be really interesting to know how much traction each of these players have gotten.

    These guys look like they might be doing something around subscription – http://www.midtownrow.com. It’s just a sign-up site now, but they also have a blog up with some curated content at http://www.midtownrow.com/blog

    Reply
  2. Terry Meyer

    March 15, 2012 at 01:30

    Clubs of America at http://www.greatclubs.com is the coolest I have seen. My friend gets their Beer of the Month Club from them and loves it. I’m thinking about getting their Wine Club for my husband.

    Reply
  3. Emily Radder

    April 6, 2012 at 01:18

    Thank you for the article. We are another ecommerce club site. Our new dog toy subscription site offers a Dog Toy of the Month club subscription service.

    Reply
  4. ScrubBox

    April 24, 2012 at 13:41

    We’re a new subscription business in the UK providing Subscription maintenance for men – we deliver mens toiletries and other essentials. Simplicity delivered!

    You can find us at: scrubbox.co.uk

    Reply
  5. Ted

    January 3, 2013 at 12:35

    Great article and insights. For anyone looking for a box based on Eco friendly spa products check out http://www.yuzenbox.com where we send you premium size spa Ian’s healthy lifestyle items.

    Reply
  6. Jameson

    February 24, 2013 at 17:04

    You missed Conscious Box.

    Reply
  7. ZadCars

    November 27, 2013 at 14:42

    Very nice post. Anyone who don’t like to go out and shop will definitely love these lists…

    Reply
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