Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Mon Mar 12 2012 16:58:00

Subscription Commerce Is a Close Shave

By: Ina Steiner

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Last month, Greg Holden wrote about subscription commerce and discussed two clothing websites, Wittlebee and Trunk Club, that send subscribers clothes each month automatically based on their profile. For instance, parents provide information about their children to Wittlebee and, for $39.99 per month, they receive eight items of clothing that are hand-selected for their children by a team of "mom stylists."

The Dollar Shave Club has a similar model but is targeted at men who want to get razor blades delivered automatically. The company received a lot of viral attention last week thanks to its humorous video explaining its subscription concept. For $1/month, men receive 5 double-blade cartridges each month. Part of the appeal is the simplicity of the site - there are three plans to choose from and only three plans. The graphics convey the subscription information simply and effectively.

With five employees and a fulfillment center in California, the Dollar Shave Club founder Michael Dubin told BusinessWeek it will add shaving cream and an after shave moisturizer to the lineup.

Entrepreneurs tend to copy models (daily deals and flash sales sites), so expect to see more vertical subscription commerce.

The gorilla of retail, Amazon.com, already offers a program called Subscribe and Save - "Automatic delivery and extra savings for your most frequent purchases," though it lacks the simplicity of The Dollar Shave Club. (It is also testing same-day grocery delivery through its Amazon Fresh subsidiary in Seattle.)

Amazon Subscribe & Save is available for items in food, health and beauty, office supplies and a host of other categories, and it works as follows:
  • automatically receive a new shipment of the item in the monthly intervals you select
  • get a discount on our everyday price
  • get free shipping on every Subscribe & Save shipment
  • pay for each order only when the item is shipped
  • have the option to cancel at any time
Amazon sends subscribers an email before it sends the next order letting shoppers know that the process has begun and giving them time to make updates to their subscription as necessary. (And probably uses the opportunity to market additional products as well.)

Subscription commerce has an appeal for busy consumers, and it will be interesting to see if there's any innovation to come or simply imitations.




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Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Subscription Commerce Is a Close Shave   Subscription Commerce Is a Close Shave

by: BetterThingsToDo This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 12 19:23:17 2012

The biggest problem is trying to get these guys to STOP sending when you want to quit getting something. Its like pulling teeth to get them to stop much less its major surgery to get a refund back to your charge card.

Thanks but no thanks

Perminate Link for Subscription Commerce Is a Close Shave   Subscription Commerce Is a Close Shave

by: Another Coin This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 12 23:10:45 2012

I agree with Better, once you join a lot of these monthly plans or subscriptions, especially TV infomercials, getting it to stop can be near impossible. I once had to close an account to get a certain online company to stop debiting it. My advice is to stay away from free trials and try it offers.

Perminate Link for Subscription Commerce Is a Close Shave   Subscription Commerce Is a Close Shave

This user has validated their user name. by: Nan
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Tue Mar 13 08:35:51 2012

I use Azon Subscribe and Save.  It's great for constant re-occurring  things like paper towels, coffee, laundry detergent.  And there is a 15% discount if you use S&S.  I have never had any trouble ending a subscription or changing the delivery date.  And they give you good advance warning in case you need to skip or reschedule a shipment.

I agree about other 'club' subscriptions though.  They don't want to let you go.  

Perminate Link for Subscription Commerce Is a Close Shave   Subscription Commerce Is a Close Shave

This user has validated their user name. by: Stockmiser

Tue Mar 13 09:54:22 2012

Love love LOVE Amazon's ''subscribe and save''!

My 2 teen daughters use it for their acne cleaning products.  They cost 1/2 what they do in the store, ship them for free, and I have complete control over the frequency  the shipping.

In fact, cancelling is so easy that you can use the ''subscribe and save'' option to get a discount on the item AND the free shipping (even if it's less than $25, and without a prime membership) just to make a single purchase - and then cancel future shipments.

Perminate Link for Subscription Commerce Is a Close Shave   Subscription Commerce Is a Close Shave

This user has validated their user name. by: Tula

Wed Mar 14 09:42:11 2012

I used Amazon Fresh several times when I was working in Seattle (for Amazon, actually) a couple years ago. Their service and product quality was outstanding. Their pricing was fairly high on most things, though. Safeway was cheaper and also did deliveries, so they do have some competition there.

Perminate Link for Subscription Commerce Is a Close Shave   Subscription Commerce Is a Close Shave

by: clarkhans This user has validated their user name.

Wed Apr 18 02:41:43 2012

Thanks for your having suggestions guys. Razor blades for shaving may cost $15 to $20 per pack. That's crazy! Try Dollar Shave Club and save cash? Article resource:  Dollar Shave Club makes shaving razors good and cheap .



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