retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Good piece in Advertising Age about the importance and challenges of creating subscription relationships with consumers, an approach being embraced by an increasing number of companies. At the head of the pack: Amazon.

"When it comes to subscription relationships, nobody beats Amazon," the story says. " When the company unveiled Kindle Unlimited -- a book-subscription service -- earlier this summer, it added its ninth subscription service. The announcement was interpreted as a book-industry event by most, but it was more than that. Amazon knows that the future of both digital and physical products and services requires tethering a customer to you with a stronger bond than a brand alone can permit.

"That's where subscription comes in. In Amazon's case, the subscription everyone thinks about is Amazon Prime, clearly the most important consumer-facing subscription the company offers. But beyond Prime there are eight other offerings that have subscription-like properties: FreeTime, Prime Instant Video, Prime Music, Amazon Mom, Cloud Drive, Audible Membership, and the aptly named Subscribe & Save."

However, Ad Age writes, there are three basic questions that companies have to ask themselves before going down the subscription road: 1) Does your customer need this frequently?, 2) Can the experience be made more emotionally engaging?, and 3) Will your solution be more convenient than the alternatives?

You can read the entire story here.
KC's View:
Subscriptions, if one can make them work, are great ways of creating sustainable connections with shoppers that can transcend the competition. I think they are one of Amazon's best weapons, and I remain amazed that more bricks-and-mortar retailers have not employed the concept.