Subscribe and save shopping is on the rise. As time becomes the number one coveted luxury, saving time on decision making, delivery time and the actual shopping process are all ways to appeal to the time-frugal consumer.
With Amazon, we saw pre-emptive inventory stocking (without customer first placing an order) to expedite shipping. Then they launched the Amazon Prime Now program that delivers for free within a two hour time frame. There’s also the dash button that reorders everything from dish washing liquid to garbage bags with the push of a button. Subscription services are becoming the norm for most retailers (especially FMCG items). Most household items sold on Amazon will have a “subscribe & save” option to reward subscribers with a lower price point. Pet retailers usually offer similar offers for reorder items like pet food. We’ve also seen subscription success with Birchbox within the beauty sector. Here are a few more ways retailers are tackling the subscription model:
Fabletics, a Kate Hudson backed athletic clothing company, works on a subscription service whereby new outfits are shipped to the consumer on a monthly discounted VIP rate. If you don’t want to buy anything for the month, simply press skip for the month. The outfits are pre-coordinated so no time is wasted in outfit matching. The system works because it builds loyalty through its rewards program, the handpicked outfit appeals to the need for customisation and the ease of transaction saves time.
The Honest Company, a company that built its brand on using organic products, has been successfully running the “bundle & save” program since launch. A $35 subscription fee allows its subscribers to select any 5 of the products for a month. For consumers who are buying mostly diapers and cleaning agents, it is a hassle free way of shopping.
A similar program is in effect for its newly launched subdivision “Honest Beauty” – the program offers any 3 items of its beauty or skin care products for $50 every delivery (frequency set by consumer).
These changes are significant because they signal shoppers fatigue in shopping around. Although information is more accessible than ever and customers are more savvy in researching product information and price, the overload of information is becoming a mental overload. Consumers are looking for a trustworthy one-stop shopping destination that will cater to all their needs with ease.
A reminder email with credit card details already on hand means repetitive purchase can be done with no more than 2 ~ 3 clicks – a highly desirable shopping trait.
The key take away for retailers is to preempt customers wants in the most time efficient manner. Companies who are able to offer customization in the process, letting customers feel like they have power over the decision, yet offering time saving incentive, are the ones who will stay ahead of the game in the long run.
By: Carol Lin