For a solid overview of Subscription Commerce, this Fast Company article is excellent.
The whole thing is worth reading. I was particularly struck with this excerpt.
With hundreds of companies offering subscription services and new ones popping up by the day, the big question looming on the horizon is whether we’re reaching a saturation point. This is something that Birchbox’s founders think a lot about. They see the proliferation of subscription-based companies as evidence that the model is responding to an important need in the market. “We’re happy when other companies evolve in our space because it proves that this is not a fad,” Beauchamp says. “This is the future of product discovery and shopping online.”
At the same time, as the beauty space becomes crowded with competitors, Birchbox is not taking any chances. “This is absolutely the biggest risk in our business, and we think about it all the time,” Beauchamp says. “We really believe that if you are not treasuring this business and thinking about how you can create value, you won’t be able to retain your customers.”
Birchbox Soho Store
But another important way that Birchbox is hedging against the possibility that consumers will experience subscription fatigue is through its business strategy. Birchbox’s model is not simply about the monthly box, but about using the box to lead consumers to buy full-size products on the company’s online shop. It also launched its first brick-and-mortar store last year in Soho. While many subscription companies make all their money from selling the boxes themselves, Birchbox has multiple revenue streams. “I find it hard to see ourselves living on in perpetuity without adding these additional facets to the business model beyond the box itself,” Beauchamp says.
Read the whole thing over at Fast Company.