Learn about the fast-growing business model from the best eCommerce subscription examples.
During the past decade, subscription models have exploded in popularity among eCommerce businesses.
You’ll enjoy savings on highly-desired products and high-quality services as a subscriber. As an online retailer or service provider, you’ll see your business thrive thanks to decreased marketing costs, the opportunity to expand the international reach, and more flexibility in brand expansion.
What’s not to love about buying subscriptions for yourself and your customers?
Many businesses are now reliant on monthly or annual recurring revenue from subscriptions. From SaaS software to clothing retailers, subscription models have proven their flexibility across industries and are often one of the top-grossing categories in marketplaces.
In this article, we’ll be covering several different eCommerce subscription examples and models that global brands/companies have used over the last few years. If you’re looking for subscription models for your own business, then you’ll be able to extract some useful ideas from this article.
eCommerce subscription examples from global brands
Today, subscription models are a hot topic of conversation in the eCommerce world.
With so many different subscription models out there, we wanted to find out what’s working and how you can leverage these strategies for your brand. Here’s how some of the biggest eCommerce companies are turning their customers into monthly subscribers – the best eCommerce subscription examples to learn from:
Pela Earth is a brand that wants to create a waste-free future. They offer a subscription box that includes reusable products made from recycled materials. The company believes in keeping our planet healthy and clean, so they make all of its products using recycled materials.
Benefits: Buying sustainable products with confidence and reducing waste.
2. Inspired Go
Inspired Go is a healthy-meal subscription model business offering breakfast, lunch, and dinner plans, as well as snacks. The subscription model enables the company to cater to busy professionals who need a convenient way to eat healthier.
The key to their success is that they’re not just another meal delivery service; they are part of a wider community of like-minded people who want to eat healthily but don’t always have the time or energy to cook.
Benefits: When you subscribe to Inspired Go you save 5% on every single order, adjust your order anytime you like, and get regular reminders to adjust your order.
Skin Authority is a skincare brand that offers a monthly subscription box with products that help women look their best. The company’s primary target audience is women ages 25-40, but it also offers its products to men and teenagers.
Skincare products are usually used on a long-term basis and need frequent restocking. At Skin Authority, you can choose individual product subscriptions based on your preferred time frame – 30, 60, 90, or 120 days.
Benefits: Save 10% on each delivery without having to worry about restocking.
To build a successful e-commerce subscription model, choose a niche market that needs something new and exciting in order to stay competitive. A great example of this is Blackout Coffee.
Blackout Coffee Co. is a monthly coffee subscription business. The company has developed a subscription model where subscribers receive fresh coffee beans every month.
Benefits: Premium-quality coffee delivered every month at your doorstep.
The Barbell Brigade sells performance supplements. Their subscription model is simple and straightforward: customers pay each month for a box of supplements, which is delivered on the first of every month.
Benefits: Easy refill of necessary supplements while also availing a decent discount
6. Sock Panda
Sock Panda sends high-quality, exclusive, and limited edition socks to your door every month.
The company’s success relies on its ability to offer customers high-quality products at reasonable prices. The company also uses email marketing campaigns to engage with customers on an ongoing basis.
Benefits: Quirky socks delivered every month
Allies Skincare offers an auto-replenishment option to restock skincare essentials.
It allows customers to restock without any hassle or extra work on their part — they just wait for their product to arrive at its scheduled time. All you have to do is set it up once and forget about it.
Benefits: Get timely delivery of your skincare essentials and save up to 30%
Evivo is a baby probiotics company that offers a monthly subscription for parents who want their children to have healthy gut bacteria.
The brand offers a subscription service, where parents can get their monthly supply of Evivo delivered to their door. This model has been successful for Evivo because it helps eliminate the hassle of having to go to the store and buy the product every month. It also helps build customer loyalty by getting customers used to buying from them every month (and helps them keep track of when they need to refill!).
Benefits: Reduce bad bacteria in your baby’s gut by 80% the easy way.
9. Apple One
Apple has always had a subscription service: iTunes. But with One, Apple is bundling up to six of its biggest services into one easy subscription. The company describes it as “one app for all your subscriptions.”
One is a powerful digital membership that brings together the best Apple services for you. With One, you can connect with your favorite artists and musicians, discover new music, get more from Apple Music, watch your favorite shows on Apple TV+, and more!
Benefits: Get access to
- Apple Music
- Apple TV+
- Apple Arcade
- Apple News+
- Apple Fitness+
Amazon Prime is one of the most successful subscription models out there. It is a membership program that gives customers access to free two-day shipping, unlimited streaming of movies and TV shows with Prime Video, and access to the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.
The key to its success is that Amazon Prime offers so many services, it’s hard to imagine life without it.
Benefits: Free two-day shipping on all orders, free same-day delivery in some cities, and discounts on movies, music, and other digital content.
Birchbox is a beauty subscription box. The company offers boxes filled with high-end beauty and lifestyle samples. If you’re interested in trying new products, but don’t want to spend much money on them, Birchbox is a great option.
Their business model has evolved, but Birchbox has always been focused on building a community around its brand. The company now sells full-size products online, but it still maintains its subscription box service.
This eCommerce subscription model is an example of how to build your own community around a product or service and then sell additional products and services to those customers at retail prices.
Benefits: Try new products each month that meet your beauty goals and needs.
One of the most common subscription models is the meat delivery subscription business. ButcherBox is a meat delivery subscription business that sends out boxes of high-quality meat to customers.
ButcherBox’s business model has proven successful because it offers consumers a convenient way to get their meat delivered right to their door. Customers can choose between four different box sizes. You can also create a custom box based on your needs.
Benefits: Get high-quality meat delivered to your doorstep without any hassle.
13. Rent the Runway
Rent the Runway is a subscription service that lets you rent clothes for multiple occasions. The service offers over 800 designer brands and styles in sizes 0 to 32W, so you can find something for any occasion or event.
Rent the Runway also has membership plans that let you keep as many pieces as you like in your closet, with unlimited exchanges and returns.
Benefits: Stress-free styling, newness for every event, 800+ brands to choose from, fast & free shipping, cleaning & rental coverage
Harry’s is a subscription-based online shaving company that delivers high-quality razors and shaving products at affordable prices.
Harry’s has grown to become one of the leading subscription businesses in the world by focusing on two things: quality and convenience. Harry’s has invested heavily in technology to ensure that each customer gets a great shave every time they use their product. In addition, Harry’s offers free shipping on all orders over $15 and provides free returns for up to 45 days after purchase.
Benefits: Get premium shaving kits delivered based on your requirements.
Scribd is a subscription service that offers unlimited access to millions of books, audiobooks, and documents. Scribd’s membership model is based on a freemium model where the free version includes limited access to certain content, but allows users to unlock unlimited access through paid subscriptions.
The Scribd model is similar to that of Netflix and Spotify in that it offers unlimited access to its content for a fixed price.
Benefits: Access to endless entertainment and knowledge with the ability to read/listen anytime, anywhere.
Freshly is a meal delivery service that sends you weekly packages of pre-made, high-quality ingredients. It also offers a subscription plan so that you can choose which meals you want to make and skip the rest. The plan includes all of the ingredients you need, including meat, fish, and vegetables.
Benefits: Get freshly cooked meals delivered to your doorstep.
17. Blue Apron
Blue Apron is a meal delivery service.
Blue Apron’s subscription model is based on the idea that customers want to cook more, but don’t always have time to do so. The company offers variety and convenience by providing fresh ingredients pre-measured and prepped so you don’t have to worry about it when you get home from work.
The company also includes recipes for each week’s meals so that subscribers can prepare them at home. Blue Apron’s business model has allowed it to grow quickly over the last few years and has led it to become one of the most successful companies in the world that use a subscription model.
Benefits: Quality meal kits based on your preferences and taste.
18. Healthy Surprise
Healthy Surprise is a subscription box company that sends families healthy snacks every month.
Their subscription model is very simple: you pay for one box per month, and then Healthy Surprise delivers it to your door.
The company partners with the biggest names in healthy food, including Naturebox and GoMacro, to bring customers the best snacks on the market. It also gives its customers the option to add extra items to their boxes at an additional cost.
Benefits: Highest quality products delivered in the most convenient way possible.
Dollar Shave Club is an American male grooming brand that offers monthly deliveries of razors and other personal care products. They use a subscription model to sell their products online, with customers paying for their products every month.
The razors are made in Germany and come in a variety of colors and designs. You can choose between different blades, including ones for sensitive skin or men with thicker hair. The subscription also includes shaving cream, face wash, and other products.
Benefits: Easy refill of necessary personal hygiene products for men.
Audible offers access to more than 150,000 audiobooks with more being added every day — all for $14.95 per month.
With Audible, listeners have access to a variety of audiobook narrators as well as special features like Whispersync which syncs your reading progress across devices so you never lose your place when switching between devices like Kindle Fire tablets or smartphones running Kindle apps.
Benefits: Access to a wide variety of audiobooks from any device of your choice.
Glossybox is a beauty and lifestyle subscription box service that sends boxes to customers monthly or quarterly. It offers a variety of products such as makeup, skincare, and accessories. The company was founded in Germany in 2010 and has since grown into an international brand.
Every box contains five full-size products, ranging from high-end cosmetics to niche skincare brands that are hard to find in stores or online. You can also purchase past boxes at discounted prices if you miss out on them the first time around.
Benefits: Explore beauty and lifestyle ranging from high-end cosmetics to niche skincare brands.
Ipsy provides makeup sample subscription boxes for women. The company offers a $13 monthly subscription service, where the customer receives a personalized makeup bag filled with four to five samples each month.
Ipsy’s subscription model allows customers to try out new products before buying full-size versions. This helps reduce customer churn and can increase sales. The service is available for both men and women and includes products from brands like Urban Decay, Benefit Cosmetics, and Stila Cosmetics.
Benefits: Conveniently try out new products before buying full-size versions.
23. Pet Treater
Pet Treater is a monthly dog/cat box subscription service that delivers the best natural and organic treats, toys, and food to your door. Every month, they send a curated box of fun toys, treats, and chews that will keep your pup happy, healthy, and smart!
Benefits: A fun box of treats and toys for your cats and dogs.
24. Sam’s Club
Sam’s Club Plus is a membership service for Sam’s Club members who want to save more money. This membership program offers exclusive savings, unlimited 2-day shipping on millions of items, and more.
Sam’s Club has been able to grow its membership by offering exclusive benefits that are unavailable elsewhere. If you have an existing membership base or large customer database, consider creating a subscription service to target those customers who may be interested in additional perks or rewards beyond their initial purchase.
Benefits: Free shipping, curbside pickup, pharmacy savings, optical savings, instant savings, Sam’s Club Mastercard®, members-only fuel savings, tire and battery center, etc.
25. Best Buy
Best Buy Totaltech is a membership program that offers a variety of benefits to anyone who purchases tech products from Best Buy.
It gives you access to exclusive deals and discounts on products, services, and more. The program offers members free shipping on all purchases, free returns, and exchanges, early access to sales events and special deals, as well as other benefits.
Benefits: Free Geek Squad® tech support available 24/7/365, Up to 24 months of product protection, Free delivery and standard installation for new Best Buy purchases, VIP access to dedicated phone and chat teams, among many others.
BookCase.Club is a monthly subscription service for book lovers that sends subscribers a new book each month based on their preferences and reading history. Customers also get access to exclusive content (like author interviews) as part of their subscriptions.
It’s a good option for people who love reading and want to discover new books they might not have considered otherwise.
Benefits: Receive a new book each month based on their preferences and reading history.
27. Geek Gear
Geek Gear is a monthly subscription service for geek culture merchandise. The boxes are curated by the team at Geek Gear, but they also allow users to customize their own boxes. You can choose between one of the many pre-selected boxes or create your own.
Geek Gear’s customizable approach allows them to cater to their customer’s needs more effectively than other subscription box companies that have very specific curations based on their brand identity or target audience demographics (such as age).
They also allow customers to choose what goes into their boxes which helps them feel like they have more control over their experience with the brand and gives them more confidence in knowing what to expect when they receive it in the mail each month.
Benefits: Receive pre-designed or customized boxes filled with geek merchandise.
28. Toy Box Monthly
If you’re a parent, you’ve probably heard of the Toy Box Monthly subscription box. It’s a monthly subscription service that delivers toys and games to your door. They’ve been around for years and have built a great brand.
Toy Box Monthly offers Classic, Deluxe, Mega Deluxe, and Mega Mega Deluxe boxes to fit different budgets and interests. This allows them to reach more customers than if they only offered one type of plan (although they do offer discounts if you buy multiple months at once).
Benefits: Toys and games for children of ages 4-8 are delivered to your door.
29. Carnivore Club
Carnivore Club is an online meat delivery service that provides grass-fed beef and other high-quality cuts.
What we love about Carnivore Club is they realize that you should offer high-quality products at a reasonable price point. Customers will be willing to pay more for a better product if they believe it’s worth it.
Also, make sure your product fits into people’s lives. People will only buy something if it makes sense for them financially and physically; otherwise, they’ll just choose a cheaper option that doesn’t fit their lifestyle as well (or at all).
Benefits: High-quality meat delivery service from the comfort of your home..
30. Escape The Crate
Escape The Crate is a subscription business that tries to sell the experience of an escape room into a box.
It’s a monthly subscription service that sends you an escape crate kit every month. You have to solve the clues and puzzles inside.
Benefits: A-one-of-a-kind service that mimics the experience of an escape room into a box.
31. Shaker & Spoon
Shaker & Spoon is a cocktail subscription business.
The idea behind Shaker & Spoon is simple: customers sign up for monthly subscriptions and get a box of curated ingredients each month. They can then use the ingredients to try out new recipes or simply enjoy them in their own drinks. The company uses its own website as its primary sales channel.
It’s also important to note that Shaker & Spoon offers different plans at different price points. This allows customers to choose their preferred plan based on their budget.
Benefits: Add an interesting element to your cocktails with their box of curated ingredients each month.
32. Jerky Snob
Jerky Snob sells premium jerky delivered to your home or office. It offers a subscription service for the freshest and best jerky on the planet.
The Jerky Snob subscription model allows customers to receive fresh, high-quality meat delivered right to their door every month without having to worry about the hassle of going out and buying it themselves. It’s also a great way for new customers to try out new flavors without committing to larger purchases first (which could end up being wasted if they don’t like it).
It’s also great for current subscribers who want more variety in their jerky selections without having to do all the work themselves — especially since each subscription box contains three different types of jerky!
Benefits: Get premium jerky delivered to your home or office.
“What if there was a subscription box for introverts? A place where you could get all the things you need to be happy and comfortable at home, delivered to you once a month.”
Introverts Retreat is a book subscription box, but it’s also much more. It’s a community of like-minded people who value spending time alone and want to create an experience that allows them to connect with others who feel the same way.
Benefits: Receive curated book boxes for bibilophile introverts.
34. Bespoke Post
Bespoke Post is a personalized subscription box service that sends monthly boxes of curated items directly to your door. Bespoke Post works with brands to create limited-edition collections, which are featured in their monthly boxes.
You can choose from four different boxes, each of which contains a different selection of items curated by experts. These are the Coffee Club (coffee lovers), Craft Beer Club (beer lovers), Beauty Box (makeup lovers), and Home Box (home decor lovers). The contents of each box vary based on what you select, but there are always some recurring items like coffee beans or beer glasses.
Benefits: Receive monthly boxes of curated items of different categories directly to your door.
Allure Beauty Box is a subscription service from Allure magazine that sends out five to seven deluxe samples (plus some bonus products) every month.
Allure Beauty Box features brands like Marc Jacobs, Benefit, and NARS. While it’s not the cheapest option out there, the price point is fair for what you get — especially if you’re a beauty enthusiast.
Benefits: Receive 5-7 deluxe beauty samples (plus some bonus products) every month.
36. Japanese Crate
While there are many different types of subscription boxes, the most popular ones have an element of surprise and mystery. You may not know all the items that will be in your next box until it arrives at your doorstep.
The Japanese Crate is one such example.
Japanese Crate is a monthly subscription box for Japanese candy and snacks. The company provides a wide range of products from popular brands such as Pocky, Kit Kat, and other local favorites.
It’s important to note that Japanese Crate doesn’t have a specific theme per month, but rather, it offers a variety of different treats from all over the country.
Benefits: Receive interesting boxes of Japanese goods every month.
37. We Craft Box
We Craft Box is a subscription box for DIY hobbyists, crafters, and makers. Every month, subscribers get a curated box of top-quality craft supplies that they can use to create new projects.
Benefits: An ideal craft kit for DIY enthusiasts with different projects every month.
Goddess Provisions sends out subscription boxes related to spirituality.
While the products are good, the real value is in the educational content that comes with each box.
The company’s mission is to empower women by providing them with tools and information on how to change their lives for the better.
By providing useful information, Goddess Provisions has built a loyal audience of customers who look forward to their monthly product shipments.
Benefits: Receive subscription boxes related to spirituality.
There are some distinct advantages to a subscription-based retail model. The most obvious is, of course, the predictability and regularity of revenue/receipts that online businesses experience using this model. These two factors make it easier for online businesses to forecast how much cash will come in over different periods.
This model also allows for a certain regularity in customer behavior and therefore can achieve strong engagement with customers who, after signing up for a subscription, will religiously come back on a daily/weekly basis without fail.
All this adds to customer satisfaction and is reflected in the overall customer service experience they receive while making purchases through an eCommerce store.
The numbers speak for themselves. Subscription models are here to stay, but the fact that so many companies have already strapped in means it’s time for you to think about how you can make subscriptions work for your business.
If you’re diving into subscriptions head first, don’t assume that what works for your competition will work exactly as you’d like it to. The subscription world is an incredibly dynamic one, and experimentation is likely to pay off in the end.
That’s where Appstle comes in.
We can help you –
- Establish solid recurring revenue streams to scale business to new heights
- Grow your business by simplifying the buying experiences for your customers, and reducing frictions
- Continuously improve, with the strong customer, revenue, and product analytics
Excited to start your own subscription model business the right way? Install Appstle today!