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Main Product Subscription Trends in 2018

Product subscriptions continue to gain momentum. Today, they constitute a sufficient share of the entire e-commerce market.

Main Product Subscription Trends in 2018

In this post, we will discuss the most impactful subscription trends defining the ways of further development in this niche.

E-commerce Subscriptions in Figures

Just to understand the importance of subscriptions, we will walk through the stats:

  • Since 2011, the share of e-commerce subscriptions increased by more than 100%;

  • Additionally, last year, 15% of online customers in the US purchased subscriptions from popular e-retailers;

  • More to it, an average subscriber has at least 2-3 active subscriptions.

The modern e-commerce subscription market can be split into several distinct types. So, what are they?

E-commerce Subscription Types

Currently, one can distinguish three broad subscription types, as follows:  

  • Replenishment subscriptions;

  • Curated subscriptions;

  • Access subscriptions.

Let’s dwell more detailed on each of them.

Replenishment Subscriptions

Thanks to replenishment subscriptions, customers can significantly save their time and money by the means of automated deliveries. Primarily, this type of subscriptions is implemented for commodity items, including medicines, vegetables, etc.

A few years ago, the Fuego Box service delivered hot sauces to its subscribers on a monthly basis. The distinguishing feature of this offer was different sauces provided in each subsequent subscription box, including full-sized packs and several samples. Using the offer, each month, gourmets could automatically replenish their food supplies with new sauces.

In fact, replenishment subscriptions can be perfectly used in various e-commerce areas. The following example of the Nice Laundry sock service just proves this statement.

Several years ago, its subscribers received packages with seven sock pairs of different types, including casual wear, sportswear, etc., every few months. More to it, they could get the advantage of the recycling program that allowed them to return individual sock pairs to the sender.

This way, customers regularly updated their wardrobes with fresh sock pairs for various occasions.

Now, let’s move on to another type of subscriptions – the curated ones.

Curated Subscriptions

Curated subscriptions are among the most popular ones since they allow shoppers to regularly receive personalized foods, apparels, beauty sets, and so on.  This way, users can precisely pick what they need to get recurrently.

To better get the idea behind curated subscriptions, we’ll consider some examples.

A good example of a curated subscription is the Graze service that delivered snack sets every week. Customers were allowed to include four food options in the set from the selection of more than 100 items. Thus, they could personally pick new foods (ranging from fruits to chocolate bars) each time they ordered a new set.

The Earthling Box service did this in a bit different yet effective way. Several years ago, the subscribers had an opportunity to get to know about other countries through curated sets of goods from different cultural communities. They could personally compose the sets by choosing from which cultures the items should come from and have much fun ‘tasting’ the world in this way.

Now, let’s look more closely at the third subscription type called access subscriptions.

Access Subscriptions

Access subscriptions enable shoppers to regularly get selected products at discounted prices, exclusive bonuses, etc. for a monthly fee. Today, these subscriptions are beneficially implemented in various industries, for example, automotive.

This year, BMW offers the subscription program allowing customers to choose from several vehicles depending on the tier program chosen. In fact, the brand offers two programs – the ‘basic’ one that allows trying out several medium-classed cars for $2 000 per month and the ‘premium’ one where each subscriber can drive one of the sport class cars for $3 700 per month.

This way, BMW gives its subscribed customers the opportunity to perform exclusive ‘test drives’ of its vehicles before deciding to purchase one.

A few years ago, the Le Parcel beauty subscription service provided the latest skincare, hygiene, and luxury makeup samples for those customers who agreed to pay $15 per month. Besides this, Le Parcel’s subscription boxes included chocolates as a little bonus to the whole delivery.

Around the same time, all comic fans could harness the Stan Lee subscription box service offering them to get thematic action figures and other stuff based on Stan Lee’s comics. The average regular price of the items included in each subscription box and purchased separately fluctuated around $125, but customers could get them for just $49,99 per month.

So, these are the major subscription types and how they can be implemented in various industries.

But Why Subscriptions?

The research performed by McKinsey & Company proves that 28% of customers primarily look for personalized experience when purchasing subscriptions. As a result, those shoppers are more likely to choose curated subscriptions. Undoubtedly, personalization is the driving force of customer purchase activity as a whole as we already stated in our blog.

More to it, those who prefer curated subscriptions over the other types expect to get a good value for money.

For access subscribers, on the other hand, convenience is the main reason to go for – 24% of respondents confirm this. And, only then such reasons as good value for money (23%) and personal experience (22%) are mentioned.

Considering the above facts, you can exactly tailor your subscriptions to the needs and expectations of your customers. How? We have great news for you!

Coming Soon: Advanced Subscription Products by Aheadworks

We are glad to announce that the whole new version of our Subscription & Recurring Payments extension for Magento 2 (SARP) is on its way!

The upcoming module is primarily designed for those online merchants who want to offer their customers a comfortable way to purchase subscriptions regardless of their type and payment method, or even mix them together with one-time products in one shopping cart.

Stay tuned for our updates since SARP 2.0 for Magento 2 will soon be available for purchase in our store!