Digital Trends and MDM – Spotlight on Subscriptions

By Kerry Young on Jul 31, 2020

Subscriptions are a way to keep revenue flowing for B2B and B2C companies, especially in a COVID-impacted world. In fact, subscription based revenue actually grew by 9.5% in Q1 of 2020, in contrast to S&P 500 sales, which fell 1.9%.

Whether it’s curated product boxes or monthly refill programs, consumers appreciate – and have even come to expect – this new way of gaining predictability and personalization in their shopping experiences.

A Win-Win

Due to the present circumstances, customers are seeing added benefits of subscriptions. Many customers can’t casually hop out to their favorite stores right now, and they’re looking for a way to scratch that shopping itch. Subscription boxes are adapting to that need by offering customers the opportunity to “shop” their subscription box by keeping what they want and sending back the rest. Customers are also turning to boxes to get hard-to-acquire products, like fresh produce or cleaning supplies, even when supply runs low elsewhere.

For businesses, the attraction of the subscription model is evident as well. Dependable, recurring revenue matched with a new channel to offer existing products is especially enticing in our current environment. Now, verticals ranging from education to fishing gear are represented with subscription boxes. And many markets already well-serviced by subscriptions, such as fashion, are niching down to more narrow offerings (socks, underwear, etc.).

As Ryan Watson of fishing gear subscription seller Catch and Co. explains, “people are looking for experiential shopping…in their house, and they want convenience and excitement.”

Better Data = Better Experience

Though offering a subscription model for current products is appealing, it also presents unique challenges. Logistics can be tricky, where fulfillment periods see intense spikes in order volume, causing staffing and inventory issues. From a logistical standpoint, managing the supply chain can be overwhelming, including balancing suppliers, locations, sourcing, shipping, etc.

In addition to potential logistical pitfalls, providing value and satisfaction to customers month after month is a constant concern. A canceled subscription is just a click away. For this reason, subscription sellers must also understand and nurture the relationship with their customers.

In order to overcome these challenges and provide a positive experience for customers, enterprises must ensure they’re working from a firm foundation of high-quality data.

The following domains can help:

Customer Domain – The key to building lasting relationships with subscription customers is in the details. Utilizing Customer Domain data, companies can identify the products customers desire, and at what frequency. By analyzing customer profiles, orders, returns, and browsing data, subscription enterprises can create unique and engaging product offerings for customers, as well as suggest upsells and cross-sells they would enjoy. When customers receive value and enjoyment with each delivery, loyalty follows.

Product Domain – With Product Domain data, companies can retain all of their product information (with potentially millions of product attributes) in one centralized location. This is especially important for subscription services, which often gather disparate products from a variety of sources. Maintaining accurate product data enables services to give customers greater control over the products delivered to their homes.  Also, when subscribers can customize their boxes, having accurate and robust product data reduces returns and increases customer satisfaction.

Supplier Domain – Sellers have dealt with unprecedented supply chain issues over the first half of 2020, and subscription box sellers are no exception. With a Supplier Domain, sellers can have one trusted, centralized location for all supplier data, improving collaboration and ensuring on-time delivery of products across a number of suppliers.

Location Domain – Subscription services require well-orchestrated coordination to get the right products to the right customers, at the right time in the right place. Location data helps provide the context of “where” to other data domains, ensuring subscription delivery happens without a hitch. Location data can also enable companies to lower costs and find efficiencies, helping keep prices low for customers and margins high for the business.

Multi-Domain MDM – Connecting the Dots

Just as subscription boxes take products from various sources and deliver them in one great package, Multi-Domain MDM brings together data domains to help companies connect the dots and gain greater insights.  It helps businesses leverage their data to power digital initiatives – like subscription services – and act with agility to respond to disruption and trends.

To learn more about what your business can accomplish with Multi-Domain MDM, read our Solution Overview here.

About the author

Kerry Young

Kerry Young joined EnterWorks in 2006 when Ennovative, Inc., the multi-channel publishing software company he co-founded, was acquired by EnterWorks. He directs EnterWorks’ operations and leads EnterWorks’ professional services and consulting organization, ensuring effective customer implementations and ongoing success. Mr. Young brings more than 25 years of technology and business management experience to EnterWorks, having served as CTO for a subsidiary of the Dow Chemical Company, and earlier as VP, Information Technology for Marshall Industries, a $1.7 billion industrial electronics distributor. He previously managed information systems for a subsidiary of McDonnell Douglas Corporation. Mr. Young holds a B.S. degree in Computer Science from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and an M.B.A. from California State University Fullerton.

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