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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

  • Reply
    Author
    LIAD

    Great round-up Paul.

    I came across this short blog on #subcom written by a US VC. He has some good insights – http://robgo.org/2011/08/27/what-will-the-big-winners-in-subscription-commerce-look-like/

  • Reply
    Author
    Electric Thoughts in a Digital Era » Blog Archive » Subscription Commerce – The next big ecommerce vertical?

    […] Marsden shares potential opportunities in the subscription commerce industry for it to evolve even further: The subcom industry is new and evolving, but it strikes us […]

  • Reply
    Author
    There’s no stopping the subscription train! | EdwinFroma.nl

    […] dit voorbeeld kwam ik de afgelopen nog meer voorbeelden tegen, onder andere ook op Social Commerce Today, wat spreekt van de ‘hottest trend in eCommerce’. Zo kun je op maandelijkse basis ook […]

  • Reply
    Author
    Ryan Moore

    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
    Author
    Stu Cubbon

    Here’s another good article recently posted by Sean Percival re: the subcom space http://www.seanpercival.com/blog/2011/08/27/subscription-commerce-subcom-matrix/

  • Reply
    Author
    Which commerce related verticals would benefit from a consumer facing subscription based model? – Quora

    […] also provides a fairly comprehensive list of current subscription commerce models: http://socialcommercetoday.com/d…This answer .Please specify the necessary improvements. Edit Link Text Show answer summary […]

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    Author
    SubCom – Subscription Commerce – er den nye hotte trend indenfor E-handel | Nikolai Kronborg

    […] SubCom liste […]

  • Reply
    Author
    Electric Thoughts in a Digital Era » Blog Archive » Subscription Commerce – The next big ecommerce vertical?

    […] Marsden shares potential opportunities in the subscription commerce industry for it to evolve even further: The subcom industry is new and evolving, but it strikes us […]

  • Reply
    Author
    Terry Meyer

    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
    Author
    Emily Radder

    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
    Author
    ScrubBox

    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
    Author
    トレンドだけども、どこか懐かしい?「定期購入」のECサービス | Bizna Lab ブログ

    […] コマース」というキーワードを目にするようになりました。 […]

  • Reply
    Author
    Ted

    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
    Author
    Jameson

    You missed Conscious Box.

  • Reply
    Author
    古くて新しいビジネスモデル「定期購入系サービス」が盛り上がり始めた イケダ ハヤト » Tokyo

    […]  正確な数は明らかにされてはいませんが、ちょうど1年前に海外メディアに投稿されたリストには、50を超える企業名が連なっています。現時点では、米国だけでも優に100社を超える企業が参入していると見られます。 […]

  • Reply
    Author
    ZadCars

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

  • Reply
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