In the last 30 days, several direct-to-consumer (DTC) subscription brands have made headlines for elevating their offerings, announcing new partnerships, and some for deceiving customers.
There is a valuable lesson to learn from each of the companies listed below, with actionable insights you can implement as early as today. Discover the latest October subscription news roundup featuring Apple, Make-A-Wish, Marvel Studios, Twitter, and others.
Elevating Your Offering Through Additional Products and Services
On Oct. 24, Apple introduced an offering that gives new subscribers three free months of Fitness+ with the purchase of an iPhone, iPad or Apple TV.
Fitness+ is available in 21 countries, including the U.S., U.K., and Australia, with pricing starting at $9.99 per month or up to $79.99 annually, according to the press release.
“We built Fitness+ to be the most inclusive and welcoming fitness service in the world,” said Jay Blahnik, Apple’s VP of Fitness Technologies. “…We wanted the amazing impact of Fitness+ to reach iPhone users and make it easier than ever to get started on your health and fitness journey.”
The health and fitness app industry accumulated over 2 billion downloads last year, according to a report from data.ai. Apple is leveraging this opportunity to expand its offering while fostering customer loyalty, as it encourages prospects to become even more involved with the company once they’ve joined the Apple community through their initial purchases. This could lead Apple to have a strong Q4 after it reported year-over-year growth in Q3.
Elevating your offering with more enticing products/services can help you reach more audiences, whether it’s a one-time product or recurring subscription. Take Amazon, for example: Rather than offering only one service, the online retail giant provides e-commerce options, streaming, and other services within its subscription.
Offering multiple products or services can also strengthen your community. If subscribers keep purchasing other products or services you offer to fulfill their various needs, they will feel a stronger sense of loyalty and trust toward your brand since you are bringing convenience and access to them across multiple verticals.
Focus on what other products/services your audience would want to have in one place. This can be done through regular customer surveys.
Reaching More Audiences Through the Power of Partnerships
My First Reading Club and Make-A-Wish Establish Partnership
On Oct. 26, Make-A-Wish announced its partnership with kids book subscription, My First Reading Club.
The My First Reading Club Wish Box will be sold exclusively on Amazon, with $5 from each purchase donated to Make-A-Wish.
“My First Reading Club and Make-A-Wish have the common focus of helping children create life-changing experiences through boundless curiosity, hope, and healing that can shape their future,” said Richard K. Davis, President and CEO of Make-A-Wish America, in the press release.
Look at your subscription brand’s mission and focus; is there a larger organization that you can collaborate with to support both of your businesses? If so, reach out to said company and establish a strong partnership that aligns with your respective missions.
“The same tactics you’re using to get individual subscribers, you can use those same tactics to create partnerships,” said Eboni Bell, Founder of Dream Girl Box, in her SubSummit 2021 session.
Helping others is rewarding — both figuratively and literally. If your mission is to do good in the world through your subscription product/service, you could win the Social Good Award at SubSummit 2023!
Bevel Introduces One-Time Box to Promote Marvel’s “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”
Bevel, a Black-founded grooming brand, announced on Oct. 31 its newest limited-edition offering inspired by Marvel Studios’ upcoming film, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.” Marvel fans are now able to purchase an all-black, limited-edition razor gift set in store at ULTA or online.
“At Bevel, we’re passionate about not only serving our community, but also continuing to deliver products that solve the real grooming challenges that we, as a people, face,” said Girard Hardy, Head of Marketing at Bevel’s makers, Walker & Company Brands, in the press release. “To be able to accomplish both of these things and collaborate with ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ in the process is a great opportunity and not one we take lightly.”
Other subscriptions are leveraging the upcoming movie to generate more revenue, like BLK & Bold, which released a limited-edition coffee collection that is inspired from the Marvel blockbuster.
“Creating original and exclusive products that are also licensed is a huge win for both fans and brands with subscriptions,” said licensing expert and CEO of Pinfinity, Matthew Arevalo, in a previous SUBTA article. “You are able to authentically tap into the brand recognition and many times partner with that brand in co-marketing and acquisition, increasing your reach and potential audience.”
Limited-edition offerings are great revenue boosters, according to SubSummit 2023 speaker Sarah Williams. She experienced 30% in additional sales from selling a one-time specialty box.
If you want to launch a limited-edition item, focus on segmenting your target audience and create an offering tailored to their preferences based on past customer surveys.
Twitter Blue Will Charge Users $8/month
Twitter made several headlines over the month of October, especially in recent days as billionaire Elon Musk became the company’s owner on Oct. 27.
On Nov. 1, Musk tweeted a thread of information about Twitter Blue, including plans to charge $8/month and add features like reply, mentions, and search priority.
There’s still a lot to learn from Twitter and Musk’s latest announcement, and the SUBTA team will observe how the coming weeks will shape up the company’s future in the subscription space.
Don’t Lock Customers in Unwanted Subscriptions
Subscriptions are relationship-based businesses, and they can only thrive if that relationship is valued and benefits both parties. In the state of Washington, several subscription services have allegedly taken advantage of hundreds of residents, according to state officials.
Nearly 60% of Washington adults might have unintentionally enrolled in a subscription plan or service within the last four years, according to survey results released in early October by state Attorney General Bob Ferguson.
Just over half stated that there was a pre-checked box they didn’t know was present when making what they thought was a one-off purchase.
“This survey reveals that corporations are deceiving Washingtonians into paying for unwanted subscriptions — and consumers want this practice to end,” said Ferguson. “If you unintentionally signed up for a subscription service, contact my office so we can help.”
The survey revealed that Amazon, Netflix, and Hulu were the main subscription services customers involuntarily signed up for.
Avoid any legal trouble by being explicit about your subscription signups. And, if a consumer doesn’t realize they subscribed and wants to cancel, make it as easy as possible to do so. It’s the consumer’s right to end a subscription easily, according to Haroon Mokhtarzada of Rocket Money (formerly Truebill), who spoke at SubSummit 2022.
Even if not proven guilty, lacking transparency with customers could cost you tens of millions of dollars, as seen with Noom’s settlement over allegedly wrongfully collecting non-refundable payments from customers.
What We Learned from This Subscription News Roundup
October’s subscription news roundup has shown various ways that brands can enrich their offerings and reach new potential customers, especially ahead of the holiday season.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Is there a one-time box or product you can offer customers to increase your revenue?
- Are there brands that you can partner with while staying true to your mission?
- Are you surveying your most loyal subscribers asking for feedback about your existing offering and how you can improve?
Subscriptions are a relationship-based revenue model, and the brands that leverage this mentality as they continue to grow will succeed.