The Remix To Subscription

Making it easy to share subscription boxes can bring you more leads and happy customers

When I was born, my Grandpa signed me up for a lifetime National Geographic subscription just like he did for all my cousins before me. He wanted to make sure we knew what was going on in the world. I am not sure that he ever subscribed himself, but the idea of being able to send something to all of us was more important and a sweet reminder when we were far away. Coming from a big family, this meant he was managing close to 30 NatGeo subscriptions. Thats way better than one subscription per user. The magazine business has been selling subscriptions longer than anybody and may be on to something by promoting ‘giving the gift of National Geographic’ to your loved ones.

Times have changed, there is no longer the rush to subscribe to magazines or newspapers, but the idea of sharing something with someone you care about that comes once a month still feels special and intimate. Often, people are so much better about being thoughtful towards the people around them than they are at caring for and treating themselves and at the very least it makes gift giving really easy.

Thanks, Grandpa!

I’ve been a long-time subscriber of Blue Apron. They have a feature where you can send a free box to a few of your friends. I have absolutely convinced several friends to subscribe to Blue Apron with this feature. It also gives us something great to talk about “did you try the amazing salmon last week” so now, instead of just making meals at home, I am able to share the experience with the people I care about.

If it was easy, I would probably get a 1–3 month subscription of weekly boxes for my friends when they move in together or tie the knot just to have one less thing to worry about and something fun to do together. I would similarly get a Bark Box for new pet owners and a MeUndies subscription for all of my long distance best friends.

Subscription boxes should be on every registry, but we need to change how some of the account settings work and promote the idea of ‘Spreading the Love’. Here is what any subscription service would need to change:

  1. Make it easy to ‘manage subscriptions’ rather than ‘manage account’ so you can keep track of multiple subscriptions in one place
  2. For ‘gift’ subscriptions, allow users to select a set time (3, 6, 12 months) and pay upfront
  3. Promote the feature on the website (like the MeUndies matching pairs) and in email campaigns as a way of upselling current users ‘Love your undies, share the love with a friend’
Wouldn't it be great id you would order matching pairs to different addresses?

For things like Plated, Dollar Shave Club, and Fictioncrate, it’s easy to make selections for someone else or leave the subscription un-modified but the model works just as well with something with more moving parts.

For example, with MeUndies, users can fill out their ‘best guess’ in terms of sizes for their friend and the friend will get an email allowing them to make adjustments. This allows the subscription to get started if no response is received and starts the dialogue with the new user.

The new user can eventually be asked to ‘give back’ or ‘pay it forward’ and the original user can be asked if they want to renew after the initial period. This model allows more people to try the product and get added to email marketing campaigns to learn more about your brand. Most importantly, it allows people to share something unique and nice to make the people they care about most feel special.