Subscription economy

Let’s take a quick trip down memory lane. Do you still remember the prime time of DVD renting? Do you have a fond memory of going to a physical DVD store and hearing your parents argue whether to go for Comedy or Action for movie night? Do you still remember the crisp plastic that encloses the movie discs? And when you come back to return your rented DVD, do you remember wanting to rent more movies?

Before the tremendous commercial success of Netflix, Hulu, Mubi, and other video streaming platforms, DVD renting was the trend. The DVD store near you would have a limited selection of movies, probably changed each month, then you get to pick which ones to take for a while, for a certain fee of course.

But sometimes, you go into that store and the movie you want is still being rented to somebody else, so you have to wait for your turn. So if you’re a big movie fan, you’ll have a better way of enjoying your movies if you just purchase your own.

This is the practice of buying that we’re all familiar with: pay once, take the product home and it’s all yours to enjoy. We do this all the time from our clothes, food, entertainment needs, and other necessities. But enjoying your products doesn’t have to end there.

If you’re planning on building your own start-up, you need to get into the shoes of a buyer first. Think about their motivations to purchase then consider asking these questions: how do I make these one-time buyers stay, and how do I turn my current market into loyal and trusting customers?

In this blog, you’ll get to learn more about the subscription economy and how you can use it to transform the way people buy from you. Even better, you’ll get to see subscription business models examples and see how you can apply them to your start-up with Strikingly.

A Deep Dive into the Subscription Economy

Open up your smartphone or laptop and look at your installed apps and software. Do you have Spotify premium? Do you have a standard or premium membership on Netflix? Do you pay an annual fee for the license to use your Microsoft Office 365 account?

If you answered yes to one of these questions (or to all of them), then you already have a fine grasp of what the subscription economy is. You may not know the exact textbook definition for what a subscription economy, but in some cases, you may already be using it.

Simply put, a subscription economy is a business model where the consumer pays for a subscription to a product, set of products, and services or set of services.

To ‘subscribe’ to a product or service means that the customer is willing to pay a set fee to receive products or use services on a weekly, monthly, or yearly basis, sometimes even daily. This is a model often used in many SaaS or Software as a Service companies. But a lot of businesses who used to operate on a pay-per-product model, are now slowly incorporating the subscription economy into their operations.

The subscription economy is often observed in digital products and services, but this model is not limited to digital subscription services only. Companies like NatureBox offer a monthly subscription service to their buyers, where they promise to send a set of unique and new 5 full-sized bags of healthy snacks for $19.95 each month.

If you take a look into the beauty and lifestyle industry, you’ll notice that a lot of make-up companies have been incorporating subscription businesses into their model. These companies offer to send new make-up tools and other beauty-related products to their customers on a monthly basis. Some make-up companies even offer customization options for different skin types and skin colors.

Want to learn more about how a subscription economy can help your start-up? Take a quick look at the benefits that a subscription economy offers:

Benefits of Subscription Economy

Here are some amazing benefits of the subscription economy that you can use for your start-up business website:

  • Provides unique services to customers - Subscription-based services are known to provide customers with incredibly unique products and services based on the customer’s preferences and choices.
  • Makes shopping more convenient - Subscription services provide convenience like no other. Before establishing your start-up, you need to provide convenience to your potential customers by making payment options flexible, and giving them control over the changes that they want to make with their subscriptions.
  • Allows a variety of products and services - One of the best subscription marketing techniques to use is to promote a variety of products and services. For example, GameFly, a subscription company, offers over 8,000 console games to choose from for a monthly charge.
  • Highlights simplicity - By integrating subscription economy into your business website, you can make the purchasing process much simpler. On top of that, it makes it much simpler for your customers to shift through different membership plans or customize their orders.
  • Extends customer service - Subscription economy allows you to still get connected to your customers and be able to see their feedback about your business. This is a fantastic way to make your customers feel involved and heard. In the long-term, this can lead to more customers that you can turn into potential loyal buyers in the future.

Subscription business models examples

To understand more about the subscription economy, here are some business model subscription examples to get some inspiration from:

Zizzle website

Image taken from Strikingly user’s website

Take a look at the website above. The company, Zizzle, offers services concentrated on teaching people how to read and write in Chinese.

In the picture above, you can see one of their subscription membership options. Starting from $9.99, anyone who is interested in studying Chinese can have access to various features. Some of the features include unlimited access to visualized stories, an individually-tailored vocabulary list, 3000 essential Chinese words, and more.

Zizzle took advantage of the subscription economy’s benefits including providing uniques services, a variety of services, simplicity, and convenience.

When developing the website for your new start-up you shouldn’t forget to include these features to stand out from the competition. To make it easier for you, you can set up your website easily using Strikingly’s tools and templates.

Strikingly’s fantastic set of features and tools can help you sell digital subscription services without much effort.

Continue reading below to see how you can integrate Strikingly’s features to your start-up business’ website:

Designing your start-up’s website

Take subscription membership economy to another level using these features from Strikingly. Follow the steps below to make a stunning website for your start-up:

  1. Add services to your website

Adding products and services

Image taken from Strikingly product

After you've picked out the template design you want, you need to upload the services you offer on your site.

From the left-side menu, click on Store then choose Products. This will lead you to the window that you see in the image above.

Under Products, choose the Product Type. Choose whether you'll be selling physical goods, offering services, or selling digital products.

Once you've selected the product type, you can start adding an attractive product name and image. Make sure to add descriptions too to specify the contents of your products, their features and unique selling points.

  1. Add payment channel

Adding payment gateway

Image taken from Strikingly product

Since you'll be integrating the subscription economy into your business, you need to add a payment channel to make it more convenient for your customers.

From the left-side menu, select Settings, then click on Accept Payments.

From there, you can set your store's currency based on your location. Then, add a Payment Gateway. You have the option to accept payments through PayPal or Stripe. This will be easier for your customers since PayPal is a widely used payment channel.

  1. Add membership plans

Create new membership

Image taken from Strikingly product

After adding your payment gateway, it's time to add membership plan options.

From the left-side menu, click on Audience then select Membership. Then from the Membership window, click Next. Clicking that will prompt the setting that you see on the image above.

From there, you can create the tier name. You can call it Basic, Standard, and Premium or something different like a Platinum, Silver, and Gold Membership Plans.

Then, choose the registration method. You can choose free membership, paid subscription membership, or buy product to register.

  1. Add pricing table

Add pricing table

Image taken from Strikingly product

Finally, you can add a pricing table to promote your membership plans.

While editing your site, click on Add New Section then choose Pricing. Then, select Pricing Table which will lead you to the section as presented on the image above.

You can edit this pricing table in terms of design, name of membership and its price, membership features, background and layout

After you're satisfied, save the changes and publish your website.

Integrating subscription economy into your start-up business can be challenging. Luckily for you, all you have to do is sign-up for an account on Strikingly, and make use of its membership plan features to make your start-up even more incredible.