5 INDUSTRIES WITH SUBSCRIPTION MODEL POTENTIAL

We can subscribe to many different things these days. Razors, coffee, beauty products, even mystery packages of delight. But one place we didn’t expect to see the subscription model crop up is the car industry.

Yet over in the States, Cadillac are experimenting with a new subscription service called BOOK. For a $1500 monthly fee, customers get interchangeable access to the company’s entire range and a dedicated concierge service – all handled through the BOOK app.

So this got us thinking. What other sectors could benefit from a subscription-based approach?

TRAVEL

What if regular jet-setters could pay a fixed monthly fee for access to flights and accommodation?

The wing of an aeroplane flying above small whit clouds and a very blue sky

With the right incentives, it would surely be enticing to travel lovers. We’d envisage a credits-based system, whereby subscribers are allocated a certain amount of credits depending on their level of subscription.

These could then be used over the course of the year, with different destinations and travel options assigned credits according to their level of status or quality.

Potential pitfalls

With hundreds or even thousands of potential combinations of flights and accommodation, setting the whole thing up would be a hugely complex process.

It would also rely heavily on value, with frequent users needing to be guaranteed savings over and above simply booking as they would now.

CYCLING

Cycling participation in the UK is booming – up around 22% in the last decade or so. But it’s not a cheap hobby, with a decent road bike costing into the high hundreds/low thousands of pounds.

A man cycling next to a green grassy verge with a deep blue sky overhead and dramatic clouds.

Borrowing a little of the thinking from Cadillac, perhaps cycling lovers could subscribe to a service that gives them access to different top-of-the-range bikes – mountain, road, whatever their poison.

With unlimited exchanges, it would remove the hassle of maintenance, and also provide the flexibility to switch up for different rides.

Potential pitfalls

A big one – theft. It’s a lot easier to steal a bike than a car!

Those behind any such service would have to think long and hard about how to combat the issue.

DIY

Home improvement can also be a costly pastime. Plus it’s often the case that DIYers may only need a piece of equipment for one job, meaning that power sander goes straight on eBay (at a loss) after its work is done.

A rustic flat lay of DIY tools such as a hammer, axe, gloves and Stanley knives.

Subscription could be the solution. Pay a set fee, get access to all the equipment you need, whenever you need it.

Potential pitfalls

Lifetime value would be an issue. Is the market of people in a perpetual state of DIY big enough to sustain the model?

Perhaps a simple rental service (of which there are a few already in existence) would be more appropriate.

ACCOMMODATION

Pick amongst the Airbnbs and serviced apartment worlds, and somewhere in there is a marketplace of somewhat transient individuals. They need flexible short or mid-term accommodation, sometimes in different cities, but don’t want the constant hassle of having to search for the next place, sign agreements, pay deposits, etc etc.

A man with a tattoo on the back of his leg wheeling a suitcase along a road towards a sunset.

A subscription service offering quality living space in major cities would be the ultimate one-stop shop. Perhaps it could even offer removals and storage.

Potential pitfalls

To accumulate enough inventory to make it work, the set-up costs would be astronomical. If it were viable, early entrants would need to have stakes in the property game already.

GREETINGS CARDS

We put the concept of this blog post out to the office, and it provoked quite a discussion. In amongst the unworkable and occasionally unmentionable responses, a greetings card subscription service almost went unnoticed.

But when you think about it, it’s actually a wonderfully simple idea. Imagine having a batch of post-Christmas thank-you cards on your doormat in January, or a beautifully designed set ahead of a busy month of birthdays.

A thirtieth birthday card with a girl sitting on the front with a pink ribbon

Or, if you’re something of a lothario, a large pack of Valentine’s cards in early February.

Potential pitfalls

None. We can’t think of any. It’s a lovely idea.