Coming of Age of the Subscriptions Economy | HT Brand Leadership Series

Hosted by

Hosted by

Insight of the month

Coming of Age of the Subscriptions Economy

  • Nidhi Hola & Anurup Singhal
  • July 30, 2019

Subscription businesses started booming a couple of years ago. From new-age technology products and services to traditional products such as vegetables, groceries and milk, everything is being sold via subscriptions today. We are seeing a lot of innovations in India in this model. Edible Routes is one such example. Here, they cultivate high-quality chemical-free produce and use subscriptions to win customers.

It’s a win-win for both – the customer and the business. While the industry is growing rapidly, it is also highly volatile with many subscription businesses failing. Before we analyze why businesses are unable to drive stickiness, in this first article of our series, let’s look at subscription businesses from a customer’s point of view – what are they solving for her?

It’s all about convenience

New-age subscriptions offer ease and convenience at every step, making it a breeze for customers to enroll and order. Gone are the early-morning trips to the local mom-and-pop stores to fetch daily supplies. Orders can be placed well in advance. They can be made repetitive with a single click.

Intuitive and affordable

Manor House is an online store for home décor. For the founder, Canva is an extremely easy-to-use platform where she can create marketing collaterals such as posters, labels and social media posts without any hassle. Cost of add-ins to create such a collateral is typically a dollar per use. No more having to pay expensive design fees.

Decision-making made simple

The subscription model has simplicity built into the design – from simple plans to the ease of payment and wallet-friendly pay-as-you-go options. A single click is all you need to make any changes. No lock-in periods make commitment easy to make. And break!

Access to customer service is important

Customer service can be a deal-breaker in a market like India. Most successful subscription businesses have prompt customer service, conducted through channels such as chats, emails, calls, and standardized customer service forms.

All these are just a few of the reasons why subscription-based businesses are growing so rapidly. Customers clearly appreciate the many conveniences of ease of usage and access being offered, plus the economy that they allow.

There’s stiff competition in this industry, though. In the next article, we will look at this from a business perspective – the fundamentals of how to sustain and drive scale in a subscription business.

Nidhi Hola | Anurup Singhal

Nidhi Hola and Anurup Singhal have over a decade of experience each in working with subscription businesses in India and Asia. Views expressed in this article are of individuals and not of the organization they work with.