Selling locally doesn’t have to mean selling in store. Brick and mortar businesses can actually use subscriptions to serve their customers better while also generating recurring revenue.
But the benefits of subscriptions go beyond just making money:
- Count on pre-purchased inventory
- Forecast inventory needs
- Rely less on foot traffic
- Track and quantify customer feedback
- Get peace of mind from consistent revenue
This is particularly true for industries in perishable goods, like food shares and bakeries. It can also be combined with elements of an exclusive subscription to offer a program that gives members access to online products, in-store experiences, and physical products.
Some businesses even use subscriptions for their wholesale or bulk purchase program, centralizing all customer activity in one place. Compared to other models, a brick and mortar subscription can be whatever you make it. The only criteria is a stable physical aspect to your business, such as a retail location, restaurant, studio, or other space.
This article is an installment in our series article about 7 Subscription Models To Master. If you want the complete guide, check out the ebook — if you prefer the abridged version, view the articles listed below.
- Introduction: How to pick the right subscription model for you business
- Recurring replenishment models
- Curation models
- Access models
- Model 6: Exclusive
- Model 7: Brick & mortar (this article)
Before they started their subscription, the artisanal ice cream shop depended almost entirely on summer foot traffic for their revenue. So when COVID forced them to close their doors, they had to find another way to sell, so they launched their one-of-a-kind ice cream club.
Today, they have over 1,000 subscribers they’ll continue to serve well afrer they can safely open their storefront again. The subscription also helped them optimize their operating costs, leverage customer feedback, and serve customers during the winter — a time when people are less inclined to venture into the cold for ice cream.
Key takeaway 1: Find a way to make subscriptions work for you. It might seem like keeping ice cream cold during delivery would be a challenge, but Chaeban used coolers of dry ice and an organized delivery system to get it done.
Key takeaway 2: Go local. Your subscription doesn’t have to be an international endeavor. Your local customers would probably love to support you — and get your products delivered right to their door.
General Assembly Pizza
This premium pizza joint serves up slices both in store and through the mail with a subscription that delivers frozen pizza to customer in the Toronto Area.
With six different varieties to choose from, and a choice between a regular shipment of four, six, or eight pies, General Assembly’s service gives subscribers lots of flexibility, and of course the chance to enjoy artisanal pizza at home.
With social distancing protocols likely still affecting their business, GA Pizza is adding extra revenue while also serving customers who might not be comfortable coming in to dine in person.
Key takeaway 1: Go local. This is another great example of a business that realized the potential a subscription could have for just their local customers.
Key takeaway 2: Offer flexibility. This gives you the opportunity to serve customers with different needs. You can even give customers the ability to edit their upcoming orders with Bold Subscriptions.
ZDT’s Amusement Park
This Texas amusement park sells VIP memberships, charging a one-time signup fee using a convertible subscription model and then an ongoing charge every month. The membership provide access to unlimited rides, video games, and attractions, plus discounts and free parking.
Key takeaway 1: Offer added benefits. ZDT’s Amusement Park offers up additional VIP benefits like free parking and other discounts to make the membership even more appealing.
Key takeaway 2: Try out minimum terms. With a minimum one-year commitment, the park wins guaranteed revenue from every subscription they sell.
Boston-area community supported agriculture (CSA) Family Dinner program by letting customers choose their ideal food share type online, including the size and dietary preferences with build-a-box model.
Members can also order special add-ons, like a Thanksgiving turkey to round out their holiday meals, or segmented subscriptions for specific items like eggs, milk, or coffee.
Key takeaway 1: Offer add-ons. Giving subscribers the ability to add more product to their order can help you make a little more money every month. Try sending subscribers an email reminding them to add more items to the next shipment.
Getting started on adding a subscription element to your brick and mortar business is easy. Just start brainstorming ways you can offer customers extra services for a monthly fee, or send out an email to a segment of your list asking if they’d subscribe to your products.
If you want even more tips and guidance, check out our ebook below!
Got some ideas already? Let us know in the comments!
Special thanks to our friends at Bold Commerce for their insights on this topic.