Businesses Leveraging the Subscription Model

Neely Shachal, Marketing, Synthesis Systems

Businesses Leveraging the Subscription Model

We keep hearing this question of – “What are some of the businesses operating on the subscription model?” While most of us use these services, we don’t realize that the services are in fact subscription-based, because the subscription model has started flowing very naturally into our consumption process.

It is termed ‘disruptive’ today—even though the subscription-based business model is actually decades old. It was originally largely restricted to very few industries—such as utilities and telecommunications—before it began to permeate one industry after another. It started taking a new shape with software companies such as Salesforce, but has now become relevant to every industry including retail, finance, healthcare, education, and media. Even the manufacturing, construction, and automobile industries are now turning to the ‘as-a-service’ model to gain an even stronger foothold in business.

From consumers to businesses, the subscription benefits are out there for all to see and has now advanced in to a full-fledged subscription economy. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest players in the market across various domains:


  1. Adobe (Software)

Known for its creative software products such as Photoshop, Illustrator, and Premiere Pro (just to name a few), Adobe introduced the Creative Cloud in 2011. The company eventually scrapped the sale of perpetual licenses, offering its products only as a subscription service.


  1. CISCO (Hardware)

The multi-national corporation that manufactures and sells data equipment such as networking hardware, telecommunications equipment, and other high-technology services and products also transitioned to the subscription model with its Catalyst hardware.


  1. Netflix (Content)

Netflix is an American OTT content services provider that delivers subscription-based streaming services. It allows the users access to a vast library of on-demand films and television programs for different pricing plans.


  1. Access by BMW (Automobile)

German MNC BMW produces luxury automobiles and has a car subscription service operating in some parts of the USA. It offers a selection of automobiles in two different pricing tiers, and the cars can easily be changed for a different model.


  1. Amazon (Retail)

The largest e-commerce marketplace lets consumers create their own subscription through its Subscribe and Save Store. Buyers can select items from a variety of categories, have them shipped directly to their homes on a schedule that works for them, and receive huge discounts on products as well.


  1. WeWork (Real Estate)

It’s an American company that provides shared workspaces and services for businesses, entrepreneurs, freelancers, and start-ups. It allows people to ‘subscribe’ to spaces for a monthly rent with the flexibility to switch environments as desired.


  1. LinkedIn Learning/Lynda (Education)

Lynda is a massive open online course platform providing unlimited access to video courses taught by industry-leading experts. It was acquired by LinkedIn in 2015 and came to be known as LinkedIn Learning. For a monthly subscription, users gain on-demand access to every course on their platform in management, software, design and so on.


  1. Starbucks (Beverage)

American coffee giant Starbucks ventured in to the subscription economy in 2015 with the Starbucks Reserve Roastery Subscription program. Exclusive varieties of fresh, roasted coffees—otherwise not available in the regular Starbucks shops—are delivered to the customers’ homes once a month under different subscription plans.


  1. QuickBooks (Finance)

QuickBooks is an accounting software package that offers on-premises and cloud-based accounting applications for small and medium businesses. Its cloud service is called QuickBooks Online (QBO) and offers many features not available in the desktop versions. For a monthly fee, users have access to the software, automatic regular upgrades and patches.


  1. Surf Air (Aviation)

Also called the ‘Netflix of Aviation’ and the ‘Uber of the Skies’, Surf Air is disrupting the airlines industry by giving members access to unlimited flights for a flat monthly payment across the Western US and Europe.


The subscription model is already shaking up industries. As the modern consumer seeks solutions tailored to meeting their concerns, businesses will need to strategically focus on creating services that add value to their customers just like the corporations mentioned above.    

Do you think your business is ready for the subscription economy? Talk to our experts and find out.