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The Automatic Customer

Creating a Subscription Business in Any Industry

By John Warrillow
16-minute read
Audio available
The Automatic Customer: Creating a Subscription Business in Any Industry by John Warrillow

From groceries to ski-slope access to MP3s – today all kinds of businesses operate by subscription, and everyone from giants like Amazon to small local firms are benefitting. The Automatic Customer breaks down the multiple models you can use to tap into the power of subscriptions, explains how to measure your new success, and gives you tips on keeping up the good work.

  • Entrepreneurs and anyone interested in business
  • Anyone interested in implementing a subscription service
  • Anyone who wants to understand the subscription economy

John Warrillow is the bestselling author of Built to Sell: Creating a Business That Can Thrive Without You. He’s also the founder of The Value Builder System, a company aimed at helping businesses improve their value.

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The Automatic Customer

Creating a Subscription Business in Any Industry

By John Warrillow
  • Read in 16 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 10 key ideas
Upgrade to Premium Read or listen now
The Automatic Customer: Creating a Subscription Business in Any Industry by John Warrillow
Synopsis

From groceries to ski-slope access to MP3s – today all kinds of businesses operate by subscription, and everyone from giants like Amazon to small local firms are benefitting. The Automatic Customer breaks down the multiple models you can use to tap into the power of subscriptions, explains how to measure your new success, and gives you tips on keeping up the good work.

Key idea 1 of 10

Subscription-based services are a major part of today’s business world.

You may have noticed that a lot of the companies you’re familiar with are suddenly offering subscription services. Subscription services are certainly very hot at the moment. Why?

There are three main reasons the subscription model is going through a renaissance.

First, there’s the rise of the access generation. The access generation favors access to material rather than ownership of it.

Second, people aren’t afraid to make financial transactions online anymore. In the dawn of the internet most people only trusted big companies with their credit card information. Those days are long gone.

Finally, data has become a key asset in today’s economy – and subscription-based companies rely on data collection even more than most other businesses do.

These changes have convinced a number of the world’s most successful companies to shift their business strategies and make more use of subscriptions. Apple, for example, launched Joint Venture in 2011. Through Joint Venture, Apple helps companies transition to using Mac products in exchange for a yearly subscription.

Microsoft did something similar by offering their Office software through subscription rather than distributing it in stores.

The new subscription economy also allows businesses to offer specialized services, which adds new competition to the marketplace.

Amazon, for instance, has had a lot of success with subscription through Amazon Prime. Amazon Prime allows subscribers to pay $99 a year to stream movies and get free two-day shipping on most purchases. Prime subscribers often prefer to buy a pair of running shoes on Amazon instead of at the local sports store.

They’ve also just opened a grocery service called AmazonFresh, where customers can have grocery purchases over $35 delivered to their home with no shipping charge.

Amazon’s subscription services allow it to compete with small businesses and big businesses alike. They can now compete with major companies like Walmart and Target.

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