What Makes a Subscription Service Work?

Subscription services appear to be all the rage these days. Brands like them because they cut out a retail middleman and create a more regular revenue stream. Consumers like them because they’re convenient, offer greater choice, and allow customers to tailor their buying experiences to their needs. But not every product or service is suited to a subscription model, and if you can’t help consumers see the benefits of yours, you won’t get very far.

In a recent article for eConsultancy, Rebecca Sentance recounted a panel discussion that took place recently where panelists discussed the distinction between products that we need, such as food and toiletries, and products that we want, like wine or beauty products. The nature of the products themselves will dictate whether a subscription plan is viable, and the success of similar products as a subscription doesn’t guarantee that a product will go down well on a subscription basis.

“Certain products just don’t work well as a subscription service,” wrote Sentance. “Underwear and socks are a tricky proposition for a subscription because people only need them semi-regularly, but they also don’t work as a rental item, which is how other clothing subscriptions like Rent the Runway succeed with a subscription model.”

An Incentive to Buy

Panelists agreed that to succeed, subscription-based items must offer a regular incentive to buy. The subscription model works best for products and services that customers need regularly (or higher-priced items that they need semi-regularly). But the management of the subscription process is also key: customers won’t be wowed by a subscription process that’s cumbersome, limited and hard to manage. For this reason, it’s critical that subscription businesses have a good management platform in place.

A Good Subscription Platform

Subscription DNA’s subscription management software is ideal for small and medium-sized businesses that wish to build a startup subscription business model. It features group enrollment tools and group communications, email marketing automation, cloud billing automation and payments, intuitive membership management, CRM and premium content, and paywall management. Your customers can even log in and manage their own accounts right from your Web site.

To succeed in the business subscription model, it’s important that you build the type of community that keeps subscription customers engaged, interested and loyal. Contact Subscription DNA via to learn how you can market to, communicate with and support younger consumers.

Top Paywall Considerations for Consumers

Many businesses, such as newspapers, blogs, and video and music streaming services, utilize paywalls that only allow paying subscribers to access content, or that offer samples free of charge to entice viewers into subscribing. Some companies have found this model lucrative, but to be successful, it’s essential to understand the mindset of consumers.

Types of Paywalls

The way your paywall is designed will have a major impact on the number of people who subscribe. Some paywalls don’t allow people to view any content unless they have purchased subscriptions, while other models give access to a limited amount of content before a subscription is required, or provide access to premium content for a fee and access to non-premium content at no charge.

Why Do Consumers Pay for Subscriptions?

A paywall model in which some content is freely accessible and other content is viewable only by subscribers can be successful if your company offers plenty of unique and interesting content. It’s important to put your most desirable content behind the paywall to attract and keep subscribers. This is where market research comes in. Analyzing which content gets the most attention and surveying current and prospective customers to find out which types of content are most appealing to them can help you figure out what people would be willing to pay for.

If your company already has a strong brand identity and produces copious amounts of content, a metered paywall, in which customers can view a set number of pieces of content for free, they must subscribe to view more, maybe the best solution. This model can be successful if customers are already familiar with the type of content your company produces. Providing subscribers with access to high-quality content can elevate the perception of your brand and increase customer loyalty. If you decide to utilize this model, choose a threshold carefully. You don’t want to give away so much free content that few people have an incentive to subscribe, but you want to give customers enough of a taste that they will be intrigued and want more.

Learn How a Paywall Could Help Your Business

Subscription DNA offers paywall software and premium content management features that can be utilized in a variety of ways to suit the needs of your business and to help you attract and retain customers. Our software can be used to restrict access to news articles, white papers, blogs, videos, podcasts, infographics, and other content.

Subscription DNA’s software can verify a user’s subscription status at each visit and prevent workarounds, such as logging in on different devices to view more than the amount of content allowed without a subscription. It also includes a secure subscriber portal where members can manage their subscriptions, profiles, and payments. Contact us today to learn more about how our paywall services can help your business.

How to Create a Unique Subscription Service in a Crowded Market

Subscription services have exploded in popularity in recent years. Customers choose subscription services to sample a variety of products or to receive items they regularly use automatically. The field has become so crowded that subscription companies need to identify ways to stand out from the competition. The key is to find a unique niche and to fill a gap that exists.

How to Find Your Niche

Start out with a general idea about the type of products you want to sell. It’s best to focus on an area where you have prior knowledge through education, professional experience, or a hobby.

As an insider, you will understand why people are so passionate about the topic. You may have had personal experiences that others can relate to, or you may have tried and been disappointed by other products, just as your potential customers have been.

The internet can be extremely helpful when it comes to identifying a niche for your business. Blogs and online forums give people of all backgrounds an opportunity to ask questions, share advice, and vent about their frustrations. Reading comments can help you learn what is on people’s minds and identify problems that your business can solve.

Identify Ways to Set Your Company Apart

Research existing subscription services that sell products in the same general category you are thinking about selling. Consider the variety and quality of the products offered and compare those to the cost. Are customers getting their money’s worth? Are they receiving unique or innovative products that they would be unable to find in local stores or online?

If most subscription services in your target area appeal to a wide audience, think about specific groups who may feel left out. For example, if you want to sell meal kits, you might decide to focus on recipes for people who have a limited amount of time, who are vegetarians or vegans, or who have allergies. Perhaps your prospective customers would like to broaden their horizons with meals from other cultures or find healthier ways to make classic favorites.

Create a Unique Subscription Service

Starting a subscription service isn’t necessarily difficult, but standing out in a crowded field can be challenging. Understanding what makes your potential customers tick and recognizing the limitations of other businesses can help you differentiate your subscription service from competitors’.

Signing up for your subscription service and making regular automatic payments should be as straightforward as possible. Subscription DNA can make it easy for customers to enroll and pay for your service so they can focus on enjoying the products they receive. Contact us today to learn more about our subscription membership management services.

Monthly Subscription Boxes for Food & Drink Are Trending

There’s no denying what profound effect subscription boxes have had on consumption trends today. More people admit to choosing a subscription service that delivers products they use or want to try each month, versus going out and shopping brick and mortar stores for that purchase.

With the rise of giant online commerce platforms like Amazon and the ease of using mobile apps, we’re also continuing to new versions of subscription services be introduced constantly.

A report from McKinsey and Company found that subscription boxes experienced “explosive growth” from 2011 to 2016 with a 100 percent annual growth rate.

As this trend continues to grow, one of the major types of subscriptions people are turning to is the food and beverage category. Not only because it saves time and is convenient, but other unique options, like fully measured ingredients with recipes to create or foods that fit into a specific way of eating, can all be delivered directly to their door. There is also the opportunity to get certain regional or artisanal food or drink not available in a local area which is a major plus for some.

Think craft beers, artisanal cheeses, and cured meats. The list is endless. 

The other great thing people find with subscription boxes for food and drink vs. just going online to shop for specific items when they need them is that they can get items that have been curated by experts who are choosing items they’ll likely enjoy without ever having known about them.

This “treat” element that is provided to consumers allowing the trend to continue moving forward with strong momentum.

For the companies offering the subscription services, this is also a great time to focus on building their brand and the experiences consumers have with their offerings as they’re seeking out new subscriptions to sign up for.

In addition to creating a unique value prospect for potential customers, it’s critical to have a subscription management service that works. One that involves minimal friction for the end-user and one that ensures monthly funds are deposited for the services without hiccups.

If you’re looking for a way to manage all your subscription service memberships, look no more. At Subscription DNA we have all of the management and robust reporting tools you need to manage and support your customer through their entire lifecycle.

Contact us to learn more today!

Do Small Businesses Need Subscription Management?

While subscription management may seem like the kind of things only large companies such as Netflix use, the truth is that even small companies are good candidates for the subscription business model. The advantages of subscriptions are offering your customers the flexibility to subscribe rather than purchase outright (and a regular amount to make budgeting easier), and for your business, it’s a good, steady stream of revenue.

Your business is a good candidate for the subscription model if:

  • You sell products or services that customers buy on a repeat basis, such as maintenance or cleaning services, or products that require regular refill supplies.
  • You sell services that people need to access on an ongoing basis. A good example is a web-based software that needs regular maintenance and updates.
  • You guarantee or warranty your products or services. The subscription billing model is ideal for product protection or replacement plans.
  • You have a lot of accounts receivable activity. A subscription management platform is a great way to manage your regular billing process.

The subscription model has the advantage of encouraging one-time customers to become long-term customers. These repeat customers your small business gains via the subscription model can help boost your customer retention rate and your revenue.

Putting the infrastructure in place to offer your customers a subscription model is easier than you might think. You can either do it in-house or adopt an easy-to-use, Web-based subscription management platform such as Subscription DNA that will allow you to charge, refund and manage subscribers, including email marketing and communications.

Subscription DNA’s subscription management software is ideal for small businesses, and features group enrollment tools and group communications, email marketing automation, cloud billing automation and payments, intuitive membership management, CRM and premium content and paywall management. Your customers can even log in and manage their own accounts right from your Web site.

Even small businesses just beginning to use the subscription model can quickly and easily build the type of community that keeps subscription customers engaged, interested and – most importantly – loyal. Contact us to learn how you can not only attract more subscription customers but keep them loyal into the future.