4 Successful Examples of Ecommerce Subscription Businesses

May 11, 2021
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Emmanuel Umukoro


If e-commerce subscription were a band, it would have the top single downloaded on any music platform in the world. If subscription e-commerce was home, with no sign of slowing down, its value would have tripled. If subscription e-commerce was a stock, you would be forced to buy it by any analyst.


This is the power of what is already known by many subscription businesses: it is one of the world's fastest-growing industries. According to McKinsey, for the last five years, the subscription economy has risen 100% year-over-year.

The progress is remarkable, and now the major players have taken notice due to the success of so many early adopters: P&G, Sephora, Unilever, and Walmart have all launched subscription boxes.

I'm going to share four subscription businesses that do it right. While business model, vertical, and target demographic differ between all businesses, here are a few examples that we were impressed with at Chargezen:

#1 Box of Style - Business Type: Subscription box

The subscription box is what got it all started. People have requested a personalized, personal box based on their tastes in the modern age of e-commerce. Join curated boxes for subscriptions. Onboarding surveys, imaginative registration flows, and reviews from follow-up help gear each box precisely to the subscriber.

By providing an onboard survey where subscribers select their style preferences, Rachel Zoe's Box of Style, a quarterly curated luxury fashion box, accomplishes this objective. The box is then curated by Rachel Zoe herself and contains a small number of quality pieces to be shipped to subscribers each quarter. She offers style tips on how to wear and use each piece in the box to improve interaction.


Curateur - box style ecommerce subscription type

The best businesses that use the subscription box model are ones that curate each box. Whether you ship monthly, quarterly, or at a different interval, each time a box is opened, the key here is to provide a unique experience. The goal is to surprise and delight customers with products and experiences they crave without explicitly asking for them from those customers

#2 Huel - Business type: Subscribe and save

Huel picked up the subscribe and save model and hit a home run. They started by selling one bottle at a time of their "perfectly balanced and nutritionally complete meal," and soon found out that people loved the product. They decided to concentrate on subscriptions instead of forcing their customers to buy one bottle or large quantities at a time to stock up.

Huel - subscribe and save ecommerce subscription type

Understanding that the subscribe and save model empowers merchants at whatever interval they want to sell their goods in a convenient quantity, Huel upped the ante and gave the subscriber full power: they started selling 12 bottles of multiples delivered anywhere from weekly to every 8 weeks. This made it possible for Huel to concentrate on delivering a quality product without worrying that its customers forget to order when they are small.


#3 Native -Business type: Digitally Native Vertical Brand (DNVB) – Subscription first


Native - subscribe first ecommerce subscription type

DNVBs are products primarily targeted towards e-commerce. It only makes sense to build a product around being sold online in an environment where individuals want their favorite goods shipped to them on their timeline. Although DNVBs can be accessible in shops, the business model is "subscription first" and thus equips their online platforms with marketing materials, promotional campaigns, and other sales efforts.

Native Co is dedicated to providing quality items for personal care that use natural ingredients. As one of the industry's largest personal care companies today, they recognize the need to customize the whole consumer experience to offer exactly what they want to their subscribers.

Native offers everything a subscriber requires to be onboarded and stay satisfied by creating a desktop and mobile-friendly website, a clean customer interface for subscription management and combining loyalty and rewards solutions.


#4 Freshly Picked - Business type: Membership model

In 2021 Memberships might just be the next big thing for e-commerce merchants. People were immediately addicted when Amazon Prime began offering memberships. In reality, Amazon Prime had over 100 million subscribers as of January 2019. Although most people aren’t amazed that lots of people shop on Amazon, the kicker is that these people aren’t subscribed to a product, they’re subscribed to a service.

Sellers of matching 'mom and daughter' moccasins, clothes, bags, and more, have created an impressive model of membership. Their subscription-based membership offers users 20% off all products, free delivery, a $10 monthly shop credit, and first access to new products (by hiding certain products from those not subscribed).

Subscribers monitor their access to their membership through their Customer Portal and may use a loyalty solution often integrated into the Customer Portal to apply stored monthly credit to any purchase at any moment.


Freshly picked - membership ecommerce subscription model type


The best customers for the membership model are merchants in the jewelry verticals, fashion, apparel, or those that sell digital subscriptions – think a magazine or news website where access to specific content is gated. The future of subscriptions lies chiefly in this business type, as stores don’t need to be selling products, just the membership.


Subscription e-commerce on Shopify

Chargezen is the leading platform to launch and scale up your subscription business whether you are considering launching a subscription program or you already have a thriving brand and want to take it to the next level. We help merchants like you create innovative and highly impactful subscription-focused businesses as the force behind some of the world's largest subscription stores.

To learn more about how we can help Shopify merchants supercharge their e-commerce subscription business, get in touch with us by clicking the Get Started button below or write me at success@trychargezen.com for assistance.

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