Everything is now becoming subscriptions. Take a moment and consider how many subscriptions you, personally, have going at this moment. For me, I have a subscription to multiple niche video streaming services, the standard Spotify subscription, as well as a monthly subscription for unlimited car washes. According to the data, I am on the low end of things as far as subscriptions go. Below we will take a look at the factors driving everything to move to a subscription service, as well as the pros and cons of such services for consumers. So let’s go ahead and dive in with the causes.
Why is everything a subscription now?
It is true that more and more things are becoming subscriptions, especially as we slowly crawl our way out of the worst pandemic the world has seen in one hundred years, but why? One of the biggest reasons that places have offered subscription services in the past is that you have a steady revenue stream that you can count on every month to an extent. Obviously, it’s not 100% certain that you will get that same amount every month, customers will cancel their service for a plethora of reasons, but it’s as close to guaranteed as you can get. This has become especially important as industries such as travel and service gasp for what they hope are not the last breaths because they spent over a year with drastically reduced income. Via subscription models these industries can have a steady level of income often with less effort required on their end, because people forget about their subscriptions all the time.
How is this good for the consumer?
Subscriptions are easy. You have a thing that you want, you subscribe to that thing, and you get the thing you want. For me, I like my car being clean, so I got a carwash subscription and I wash my car usually weekly. Some people like having new clothes shipped to them every month, and there are subscriptions for that. Some people want stuff for their dogs shipped to them, there are subscriptions for that. Some people want luxurious food shipped to them with playlists and candles to set the proper mood while they experience that food, and there is a subscription for that, (though only in some areas.) And obviously everybody knows about streaming media services, and we’ve all got our subscriptions for those. This also allows for more niche areas because those niche platforms have their subscribers that they can count on. Take Shudder for example, which is a streaming service specifically for horror and it’s fantastic.
Okay, what are the downsides?
The downside that most people have experienced to some degree is that subscription services really hate it when you want to cancel, so they often make it as hard as they possibly can so you get frustrated and just deal with losing whatever amount it is they take each month. Gym memberships are notorious for this sort of nonsense, but they are certainly not alone in doing so. The other hugely significant downside is the potential for what subscription services could become. It’s not much of a leap in logic to worry that places that offer subscriptions for their services will start locking things that are standard now behind their memberships. A hotel with a subscription service could start offering daily room cleaning as a “premium” service for subscribers instead of just what happens in a hotel. There are already plenty of subscription services that exist basically just to give you a “better deal” which isn’t really better when you factor in the subscription to the base cost of what you’re buying.
Subscription services are absolutely not going anywhere anytime soon. Even prior to the covid pandemic subscriptions were popping up everywhere and members were going up for the ones that were at all worth having, both of which skyrocketed during the pandemic. What that means is that we as consumers need to stay vigilant to make sure that we are getting quality services and products through these subscription services and that things that are just standard now aren’t suddenly locked behind being a member of a hotel chain or something. And for those that are thinking of launching their own subscription service, the best advice I can give is that if you ensure you are providing value for your subscribers your numbers are likely to grow as your subscribers recommend your service to the people they know.