Are the Dog Days of Brand Leveraging Over for the Subscription Model?
WebiMax Contributor, April 5, 2012
Seasoned, online marketing professionals understand traffic is one thing but creating repeat customers, a community, is another desire, which is much more profitable. Driving traffic is different from creating a parking lot for your target market.
Blogging is one way many brands attract attention and regularly add to respective communities. The community-centric philosophy also applies to blogging. Getting immediate attention for a spectacular post is great but doing it consecutively to garner repeat attention is better.
A recent entrepreneur, featured in the New York Times, used the 'repeat' notion to find a niche, sniffing out success. Alex Zhardanovsky could be categorized as a repeat entrepreneur, trying a hand at skin care, weight loss, and prize giveaways. Failed iterations, finding way into the doghouse, finally prompted Zhardanovsky to bark up another tree, that of dog food sales.
Okay, Alex, an online pet supply store is no novel notion either, unless you adopt a different approach (which is what he did). Why not implement the 'repeat' notion? He began formulating a business model, allowing him to sell pet food on a repeat basis. Hey, the process works for notable brands such as Netflix. It makes sense; dogs eat repeatedly; naturally, owners are a target for a devoted source.
'User is king' these days. Zhardanovsky and partner didn't act first then expect from customers; alternatively, the partners asked their consumers what they wanted first and then used the information to pave their business model. "We had an overwhelmingly positive response from our customers who wanted to sign up for the service," admits the entrepreneur.
Like all creatures great and small, dogs are unique. Surely each dog eats on a different schedule, necessitating respective amounts. Customers may receive regular deliveries as well as modify when and how much. Additionally, customers may suspend or change locations depending on vacations and seasonal locations.
It all sounds good in theory, Alex, but people respect results more. Alex shipped 60 orders in his first month of business (July 2010). All businesses have to start from somewhere; that's okay. It's about progression. How has the dog-food brand progressed? In January of this year, Pet Flow did a little better than its first month - about 26,940 orders better. What else makes Alex and his partner's tail wag? The $13 million in revenue they collect (60% of revenue comes from monthly subscribers – they expect to eclipse $30 million this year).
Could a subscription model work for your brand? $30 million a year is enough incentive to at least consider the idea. Another entrepreneur, leveling the business model, admits, "I think subscription models work best in two instances. Where the product is a necessity or when it's an absolute passion."