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Trend Watch: Home Improvement Subscriptions Are On The Rise



Last updated:  November 30, 2021 eCommerce   

The real estate market was red hot throughout 2020, and with it came a boom in repairs and remodels. Consumers that moved during the pandemic faced an array of home improvement needs. And, with more time at home, even those who didn’t relocate kicked off projects to spruce up their spaces. In fact, Harvard University research revealed an 8.6% growth in remodeling and maintenance spending over the past year.

Home decor and improvement brands eager to seize this momentum and monetize the trend have turned to subscriptions, drawn to the reliable revenue and wealth of customer data they deliver. At first glance, decorating or remodeling may not appear to be subscription-friendly—some home projects are complex, costly, temporary, and simply more high-touch than a standard subscription model can support. But a thoughtful approach to a subscription model can work in even the most unexpected industries. While subscriptions won’t replace traditional business models in this industry, they can serve as strong complements that meet specific customer needs.

From seasonal decor upgrades to design-as-a-service, new models are rising to offer something for everyone.

Decor Brands Connect Subscriptions With eCommerce and Community

Decocrated is one of the most popular and highly rated home improvement subscription brands on the market today—and for good reason. For a quarterly $80 fee, members receive a box filled with decor to freshen up their homes for the season, based on preferences they share when they sign up. Items include curtains, art, table centerpieces, and more.

But there’s more to a Decocrated membership than a box of goods—the brand elevates the customer experience by giving members access to an exclusive online shop where they can browse for additional items to purchase. Members can also exchange decor tips in the online community forum. For subscription companies, these additional eCommerce and community channels build customer loyalty, yield more revenue, and reveal deeper insight into customer preferences through purchases, comments, and other behaviors.

Other brands have sought to transform a uniquely physical experience into one that’s subscription-first. Third & Main works with small businesses across the U.S. to source items for its subscription boxes, with curators hand-picking decor that shoppers may have otherwise found only by browsing in a boutique along Main Street. Plus, through its blog, the brand shares content about the small businesses it works with, which ensures that members still feel that connection to business owners.

For $119 per quarter, customers receive a box of vases, candles, throws, and other unique pieces. As for Third & Main, the brand not only reaps all the benefits of a subscription model, but also enriches the economy by supporting small businesses. While pandemic-induced online purchasing primarily “benefited the giants,” with ten large retailers accounting for 68% of all U.S. ecommerce sales last year, Third & Main is helping mom and pop shops pivot.

And the subscription trend hasn’t missed DIYers, either. The best part of do-it-yourself projects is the doing—not the shopping for supplies. Home Made Luxe enables consumers to start work faster, shipping items like paper, paint, stencils, and more right to members’ homes. The brand offers 1, 3, 6, and 12-month subscriptions, and, like Decocrated, gives customers the option to buy standalone items. An added bonus? Customers can view step-by-step tutorial videos on the company’s blog to learn how to execute projects, from hand-made wreaths to planters.

Home Improvement Subscriptions Take Physical and Digital Forms

Consumers love to be surprised, which is why subscription boxes became such an effective eCommerce tactic in the first place. The Handy Box takes this value proposition to new heights, not only surprising members with a box of unexpected items, but also introducing them to gadgets they never knew existed. With a 1, 3, 6, or 12-month subscription, customers receive a box full of tools (think tiny screwdrivers and cord organizers), kitchen technology, and other gear. Handy’s promise? To deliver the handy items you’re looking for, and can never seem to find. Plus, like Decocrated, Handy Box gives customers the opportunity to buy individual items from their eCommerce shop, opening the door to additional revenue and data.

But home improvement subscriptions aren’t just for physical goods. Spoak gives budding designers the software they need to perfect their own spaces—and offers avenues for growth. Memberships are personalized to a user’s experience level. For a monthly fee of $14.99, subscribers get access to floor plans, palettes, mock ups, mood boards, and other design tools, in addition to a Slack community for exchanging tips and invitations to events with other designers.

For designers interested in growing their skills and potentially even taking on professional work, two additional tiers are available. For slightly higher monthly fees ($19.99 and $24.99), members unlock other benefits, such as classes from the BeSpoak School, or a spot at Spoak’s online Job Fair where members can book design jobs. The brand’s robust online community is a key part of its customers’ experience. These digital resources create fertile ground for many different types of user engagements, all of which result in rich data that Spoak can use to grow its business.

Like eCommerce players across many other industries, home improvement brands have seen the potential of the subscription economy. With a reliable revenue stream, companies have more wiggle room to experiment with new products, grow their teams, and expand their businesses—and the consistent, monthly influx of customer data gives companies the insight they need to do so in an informed, strategic way.

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This originally appeared on Upscribe and is made available here to cast a wider net.
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