On a balmy Saturday evening of September 14, 2013 and the best day of my life, my wife and I welcomed our beautiful daughter crying into this world. That particular moment of watching your child be born is incomparable to any other experience you’ll ever have. More importantly, you now have the significant responsibility of taking care of another human. Rest assured, you have to strive hard to excel but you really don’t know what to expect. As Mark Twain once said, “Climate is what we expect, weather is what we get.” Regardless of how much you plan, it won’t always work out as you expect. But plan we do!
When we first got the good news, we did everything that soon-to-be parents normally do – check out baby clothes, bottles, other must-have items, and so on. On a side note, we would check out every single chubby baby in a supermarket, or wherever we spotted one, and compare it to the Michelin man for its number of rolls. It’s terrible, but in a good way.
So what does all this have to do with subscription services? A lot! Before we started frequenting baby stores, we would make lists pondering items online, mostly on Amazon.com or its subsidiaries like Diapers.com. The latter is a one-stop shop for new parents that has sold over $89 million worth of formula, wipes, baby gear—and about 200 million diapers—to 550,000 customers. Once again, it’s a subscription service that allows you to order/re-order, set up delivery frequencies, receive alerts or reminders, and more. Basically, you can automate the whole thing! And it’s just fantastic, as we definitely need a steady supply of diapers…
Recently, Target announced its foray in the subscription ecommerce services domain with Target Subscriptions. Their business model is similar to that of Diapers.com and, considering their reputation, I have no doubt that this program will be well-received.
As easy as it is to use the service, there are so many things that have to happen behind-the-scenes for the ease-of-use offered. For instance, whether you change your plan, place an order, or make an update or return, the billing system must be able to manage all of it. In fact, that billing system may make all the difference for retailers as business models continue to expand. Think about it – if my choice is between a retailer whose billing system only understands me showing up at a register with a cart full of diapers versus one that facilitates delivering them to me at my home as I need them, well, guess where I am going to be shopping?
So you see, subscription services like the one Target is now offering build loyalty in me as a customer and make it easy to stay one, probably long after my daughter is out of diapers.
Truly, there’s nothing more important in the world to me than my new baby daughter. And knowing that I have a subscription service to ensure that I will have everything covered for her care? That too is a blessing.
Let me know your thoughts below, I would love to hear them.
Next time I’ll share my thoughts on Amazon Prime’s Offline Video Subscription service. Meanwhile, I have diapers and baby wipes to order…
Arnav Bhatkar, Aria Systems
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