The subscription economy gets an online marketplace
The subscription model, once reserved solely for magazines sales and premium TV channels, has exploded in popularity. From Netflix to Amazon Subscribe and Save to Dollar Shave Club, subscriptions have become a familiar fixture of e-commerce. A startup called Cratejoy is combining this popular way of paying with an online marketplace.
CEO Amir Elaguizy states on the Cratejoy site that his mission is to "bring the best business model in the universe to everyone on the planet."
Cratejoy makes big promises for subscription services interested in being listed as merchants. The site reads, "We’re going to directly help you get more customers. There’s no special feature or trick here. We’re just marketing on your behalf. We’re using every tool in our arsenal to drive as much traffic as possible to Cratejoy.com. Then we send that traffic to Cratejoy merchants."
Cratejoy is not the only player trying to establish itself as a built-in part of the emerging subscription economy’s infrastructure.
Zuora, a startup founded by former employees of WebEx and Salesforce, sells a billing and commerce platform specifically geared towards businesses using a subscription model. The company recently received a $115 million injection of investment capital.
Zuora CEO and co-founder Tien Tzuo is also an advocate of the subscription model as the next big thing. In an interview with TechCrunch, he mentioned a discussion with Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff in 2007 about the emerging subscription economy.
"Benioff [recognized] every company was going through a similar transformation. Stop selling products and start serving subscribers," Tzuo told TechCrunch.
But while there are certainly more subscription services than there were a decade ago, it’s not clear that every business is suited for the model, or that customers always prefer it. An article in Inc. from 2014 makes the bold claim that the subscription model will become the de facto one for any business hoping to grow, but it hardly seems that cut and dry.
For instance, in 2013 Adobe experienced some backlash to its subscription-only plan for Photoshop.
"Paying Adobe rent for the rest of my life is absurd," said Nick Scott, whose comment on a Change.org petition was quoted in ComputerWorld. "I’ll definitely be looking elsewhere next time I need to upgrade."
- Announcing the Cratejoy Subscription Marketplace – Cratejoy.com
- Zuora $115M Investment Round Validates Subscription Approach – TechCrunch
- Why You Need to Consider the Subscription Model for Your Business – Inc.
- Backlash begins against Adobe’s subscription-only plan – ComputerWorld
What are your thoughts on the potential of the subscription economy? Does the marketplace model mesh with the growing number of subscription services?