Busymil­len­ni­als thrive on sub­scrip­tion treats


EV­ERY­THING from cu­rated brown­ies to bam­boo tooth­brushes is wing­ing its way to doorsteps across the coun­try.

The sub­scrip­tion busi­ness model in New Zealand is ex­plod­ing, mir­ror­ing its pop­u­lar­ity in the US, where an es­ti­mated 5.7 mil­lion sub­scrip­tion busi­nesses have cus­tomers re­ceiv­ing even cannabis prod­ucts by de­liv­ery.

New Zealand of­fer­ings in­clude wine, cheese, un­der­wear, beauty prod­ucts, brown­ies, and unique tooth­brushes.

Lash­ings owner Jackie Lee has been of­fer­ing a monthly sin­gle­o­ri­gin brownie drop since Fe­bru­ary, a nat­u­ral pro­gres­sion from the week­end mar­ket cir­cuit.

‘‘We live lives where we ex­pect ev­ery­thing to be in­stan­ta­neous, where In­sta­gram pho­tos drive ‘want’ and ‘need’ and cre­ate a sense of FOMO [fear of miss­ing out], so a well-crafted sub­scrip­tion box tar­geted at the right au­di­ence can be very ap­peal­ing,’’ Lee says.

‘‘It’s very much a mil­len­nial lux­ury, or a low­ef­fort gift for oth­ers. We don’t have time to put as much ef­fort into pur­chas­ing gifts or treats tra­di­tion­ally: sub­scrip­tion boxes ful­fil this.’’

Massey Univer­sity se­nior mar­ket­ing tu­tor Si­mon Cope says the se­cret to sub­scrip­tion ser­vice suc­cess is of­fer­ing mass cus­tomi­sa­tion – some­thing tra­di­tional re­tail­ers have ‘‘strug­gled to do for a long time’’.

‘‘The most im­por­tant rea­son for sub­scrip­tion com­pa­nies’ growth is that re­tail tastes have changed,’’ Cope said. ‘‘To get a con­sumer ex­cited, you have to of­fer some­thing they’re not ex­pect­ing and subscriptions are an ideal in­stru­ment for a sur­prise.’’

Cromwell-based Rosie Gray­stone of MyTreat.co.nz of­fers monthly sub­scrip­tion boxes which in­clude un­der­wear, eco­con­scious beauty prod­ucts and tools for ‘‘busy women’’.

Luke Owen Smith, the owner of Welling­ton-based busi­ness The Choco­late Bar, planned all along to grow his busi­ness into the sub­scrip­tion model when he started it three years ago.

Each month Owen Smith cu­rates a col­lec­tion of artisanal choco­late bars from across the globe – prod­ucts typ­i­cally not avail­able in New Zealand – and sends them out to sub­scribers. He has done this for 15 months, and it con­tin­ues to grow in pop­u­lar­ity.

‘‘We knew that we wanted to launch a sub­scrip­tion ser­vice, but we knew it would be dif­fi­cult to launch it on a small scale,’’ he said.

‘‘So we waited un­til the busi­ness had a solid base of cus­tomers be­fore adding the sub­scrip­tion ser­vice to our of­fer­ings.’’

Luke Owen Smith pro­vides artisanal choco­late his sub­scribers wouldn’t be able to find else­where.

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