Subscribing to Any and Everything
Diversified Business Trends: Don’t Own It. Just Use It!
Subscription services are growing at a rapid rate. Billions of digital consumers are subscribing to services rather than buying actual products. Simply put, the subscription economy is a business model which sees consumers paying for services on a regular basis. Take CommonWealth Magazine or the Apple Daily, for example. Due to the decline of physical bookstores and paper print publications, along with the rapid evolution of the Internet and AI technology (as well as the popularization of cloud services computing), both media outlets have branched out into online subscription services. To freely view full content online, customers need only to register and pay a monthly fee of no more than NT＄100 or so through online banking or with a credit card.
“Traditional business models are based on the sale of products, but the subscription model is centered on customers and their needs. In the case of transportation, consumers only need to move from point A to point B; they don’t necessarily have to own a car,” explains Zuo Xuan-ting, CEO of Zuora, the world’s largest subscription management platform. “As long as companies can create and standardize their services, the subscription model can apply to everything.” Apparently, the subscription era has landed upon us.
In the past, we would have to buy an entire CD for just one song. Now we can legally download millions of songs from different countries and in different genres by simply paying a monthly fee to music streaming platforms such as KKBOX, Spotify or Apple Music. Not that long ago, those who wanted to play the latest PS4 games would have to pay a large fee to a buyer who would fly to Japan to buy video games on their behalf. Now, for ¥476 (about NT＄132) a month, they can play 10 different PS4 games every month and interact with other players from all over the world online.
Until recently, those hoping to earn extra income were often trapped by the sheer volume of competition, as well as their lack of understanding of digital marketing and advertising. They may have excelled in creative endeavors like illustration, writing, and video editing, or have had a uniquely discerning eye for what to deal in; yet they would end up working on their own Facebook fan pages without paying due attention to their own true potential.
With the startup Atavist joining the web development giant Automattic Inc., however, WordPress offers a platform for writers, graphic artists, and e-businesses to present themselves to the world. These people no longer need to specialize in a web programming language as a prerequisite to do business. They can focus on creating artwork, filming, or finding new items to buy and sell. Atavist’s paywall and subscription features help users manage content, reduce pop-up advertising, and increase the amount of content viewed. The platform puts a spotlight on outstanding works to reach out to a wider audience and build customer loyalty. As the number of subscribers increases, income from the subscription services will also increase. Today, in addition to having a platform on which to showcase their work, content creators can earn extra income from subscription fees.
What’s more interesting, due to skyrocketing prices and the stagnation of salaries in recent years, the millennial’s mindset regarding transportation is quite different from that of past generations. They simply want to get around conveniently, comfortably and, if possible, stylishly and quickly. For this reason, at the end of 2018, Mercedes-Benz launched the Mercedes-Benz Collection in two US cities. For NT＄30,000 per month, customers can order and drive a Mercedes-Benz an unlimited number of times for an unlimited number of miles via a mobile app. Subscribers no longer need to worry about auto insurance, maintenance costs, road rescue, etc. Today you can drive a Mercedes convertible and tomorrow an SUV, all via subscription. Mercedes-Benz isn’t the only company that is thinking outside the box. Makers of products as small as razors and as large as heavy industrial equipment now provide subscription services. The trend of subscribing to any and everything seems to be all the rage in the business world. It also appears to be a pathway to creating more job opportunities and some extra income.