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SUBTA Replay: Looking Back at the Subscription Community’s Growth in 2021

  • The SUBTA Team
  • Dec 22, 2021
  • 7 minute read

Was March 2020 last week or a decade ago? It’s a bit hard to tell. Technically speaking, more than 1,000 days have passed since Covid-19 took over the world, and a lot has happened since then. 

While 2021 may have felt like a blur, it’s important to reflect on this past year. The subscription community experienced it all: Triumphs, controversies, challenges, life-changing decisions, and so much more. You’ve had a busy year, and we want to acknowledge that.

Here’s how the subscription community made 2021 a year to remember:

A Year Full of Lessons Learned 

The coronavirus pandemic forced everyone to adapt, and in 2021, the subscription community experienced its share of innovations. At SUBTA, virtual events became the new norm in order to provide a welcoming learning environment for subscriptionpreneurs all over the world and facilitate growth. 

Different event series emerged and resurfaced, including the SUBTA Lunch & Learn Webinars, the SUBTA Panel Discussions, and a new-and-improved SubSummit conference. Here’s how each event impacted the subscription community:

Lunch & Learn Webinars

Virtual events have their perks. They enabled us to connect you with several industry and thought leaders in one click throughout the year. Starting in March, experts from diverse backgrounds and marketplaces gathered every month for an hour to enlighten the SUBTA community on a specific subscription topic. 

From the best ways to leverage your current subscribers to learning how to optimize your subscription offering, here are some of the biggest lessons the subscription community learned during the 2021 SUBTA Lunch & Learn Webinars:

1. Don’t be a unidimensional subscription. Offer your customers a full stack! Jay Myers, Co-Founder of Bold Commerce, explained that successful subscriptions do not limit their offerings. Instead, they focus on curating, replenishing, and providing access to their subscribers all at once.

Learn More

2. As Marketing Guru Nancy Harhut would say, “Some words are worth more than others.” If you can recite your alphabet perfectly, then you’re one step closer to optimizing your marketing strategy.

Learn More

3. Don’t try to implement all of the acquisition strategies you learn about at once. Sarah Williams, a Subscription Box Coach and Founder of Launch Your Box, suggests picking 2-3 at the most and truly focusing on providing a one-of-a-kind experience for your subscribers.

Learn More

SUBTA Panels

The road to entrepreneurial success looks different for everyone. Unfortunately, Black and Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) often face unique challenges when it comes to building a business. 

In February, four Black subscriptionpreneurs — Donna Maria, Anthony Coombs, Kalish Nesbitt, and Nia-Tayler Clark — spoke to the subscription community about what it takes to succeed in the industry. Here is what the subscription community learned from their journey:

  • Leverage mentorship whenever you can. 

  • Embrace the challenges thrown your way.

  • Work-life balance may not be something you can enjoy if you’re just starting out your business. Coombs, who founded Splendies, said that if you’re attempting to build a business while working another job, prepare for long nights. But if it’s your passion and you apply the first two tips listed above, the rewards will come soon enough.

Watch the Panel

In SUBTA’s second panel discussion in March — “Celebrating Women Leaders in this Growing Industry” — the subscription community learned that personal branding can drastically impact your business’ growth. 

“In the beginning [of my subscription box business] I was not a part of my personal brand… I kept my face hidden away, and I did that because my target market doesn’t look like me,” said Chef Saidah Farrell, Founder of Marshmallow of the Month Club.

Your personal social media activity directly impacts the way subscribers (and your target audience) view your brands. Don’t be afraid to show your community who you are.

Watch the Panel

SubSummit 2021

The world’s largest direct-to-consumer subscription conference did not disappoint. The 800+ SubSummit 2021 attendees learned how their subscription could play an integral role in shaping the future of e-commerce.

Here are some of the biggest takeaways from this year’s event:

1. With different generations comes different expectations.

Practicality is the most important factor consumers consider before subscribing to a brand. After that, generations differ in opinions, according to Jeremy King of Attest. For example, Millennials, Boomers and Gen Zers all have mixed feelings when it comes to purchasing indulgent product subscriptions, said King.   

If your business attracts diverse generations, make sure your subscription offering is tailored to each age group.



2. Focus on quality and reliable shipping

If you want to keep your subscribers happy — and subscribed — delivering your box on time and ensuring you provide high-quality products need to be your top two priorities, according to Simran Dua, CEO of My Subscription Addiction.



3. Do you really need a loyalty program? 

If you ask Dave Cobban of UNBRKBLE, no. While loyalty programs seem effective, they can hinder the subscription experience you are attempting to create. Instead, focus on making your membership offering a no-brainer by highlighting the value provided to members instead of monthly subscribers.

Access all the SubSummit 2021 Sessions

A Year Full of Successes 

The subscription community is continuously growing, evolving, and learning, and here’s why: The industry is breaking new records every month, it seems! 

While we could dive into several pages worth of data to support this statement, here are this year’s biggest headlines:

These achievements are made possible with the support, shared knowledge, and constant willingness to help the subscription community displayed all year. Congratulations to all of you on making 2021 a year to remember!

For more, check out the SUBTA Knowledge section!

The SUBTA Team Reflects on 2021

You weren’t the only one listening and learning how to optimize your subscription business. With a mission to provide a comprehensive and reputable library of news, knowledge, and resources, the SUBTA team learned a lot while relaying exclusive insights to you, the subscription community. Here’s what stood out to them:

The SUBTA Co-Founders

The SUBTA Video Team

The SUBTA Marketing Team

The SUBTA Members and Partners Resources Team

And you? What stood out to you? 

Let us know by sharing this blog on your social media feed and tagging us in your post! We can’t wait to hear how 2021 impacted your entrepreneurial journey in the subscription space.

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Looking for more ways to grow your brand? Discover the latest trends on how subscription businesses can expand by attending SubSummit!