At the end of last year I wrote an article focused on looking at how subscription services (Direct to Consumer or D2C) might evolve in 2021. I mentioned several brands including Levi’s and the Pepsi PantryShop - many of these new services were already being considered as ideas but were rapidly implemented because of the pandemic.
As we are now in the second half of 2021 it is clear that many of my predictions were right. Brands have taken the opportunity to explore new D2C ideas, but now that many companies and consumers are entering a post-pandemic environment there appears to be no path back to 2019. These innovations are here to stay.
Cinema is one business that was dramatically impacted by the pandemic, but Cinemark is now encouraging people back into movie theaters with a movie club service. Movie Club members pay a recurring subscription that lets them watch one movie per month and credits roll over if not used. Movie Club members can also reserve their seats and get 20% off at the popcorn stand.
For regular movie-goers, the idea of a club is a great idea. Cinemark even offers a calculator on their website that asks how many times you visit the movies - it calculates what you could save by paying the club subscription instead of paying for each visit to a theater.
Techstyle is using a D2C approach to drive innovation in their business. Their Fabletics app is offering in-home workouts and has an audience of over 2 million users. They have even worked with Kevin and Eniko Hart to create workout clothes that couples can wear. Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty range uses an interactive quiz to guide brides that are about getting married to the most suitable items in their range. Each time they hit the news it’s about some kind of new innovation in the way that customers learn about and purchase their products.
Likewise with Beachbody. Forbes magazine suggested that their live workout service is directly aimed at taking on Peloton and should be known as the “Netflix for fitness.” Beachbody has moved beyond just focusing on physical wellbeing as well - their app offers guidance on stress and supporting mental health with meditation plans. Personally, I love Shaun T on Beachbody. He focuses workouts on confidence and authenticity, not just focusing on how people look and that’s a really welcome and inclusive approach.
It’s now common to see fitness and lifestyle magazines sharing the ‘top ten subscriptions’ to sign up for. This wasn’t common even recently - people visited a local gym or bought their favorite leisure clothes from a store. Now we can train at home or in a club with guidance from well-known instructors and follow the health advice shared only to subscribers.
D2C is evolving to offer lifestyle choices, not just recurring services such as access to Netflix. If I can sign up for a service that helps to support me in so many different ways - and introduces me to others using the same service - then that’s an attractive subscription offer.
I predict that I’m going to have to write another article at the end of this year offering predictions for 2022, but this integration into our lifestyle - especially the focus on fitness and wellness - will certainly be one of the leading areas that I expect to only become more important.