In a digital world where time flies and place is changing, it is becoming more difficult to convince the modern customer that a product or service is worth their time. In order to do so, retailers are experimenting with new ways of interaction with the objective of surprising and offering a good value, putting the focus on providing best-in-class services and offerings.
In this context, I have primarily looked at the future of subscription models wondering what kind of model will endure and appeal to the modern customer. The answer to this question has definitely something to do with flexibility and personalisation, as this is the way marked by some successful start-ups such as Hellofresh.
Those times of long-term subscriptions to a certain product or service are slowly coming to an end because the own dynamics of digital life are forcing retailers and brands to redefine their subscription models, if they want to continue using them, and to turn to their customers as never before, focusing their efforts on an increasingly curated customer service.
Precisely, the lifestyle, nutrition, fitness, and wellness segment is the one which is placing more bets on this new subscription concept (more flexible, adaptable, and personal), perhaps because the products and services they offer should be consumed regularly and, moreover, consumers are increasingly more aware of the importance of a balanced diet for good health.
Flexibility, variety, and shorter time -windows
A new Berliner start-up, UpGreatLife, seems to have found a very exciting formula at very competitive prices. The start-up, apart from promoting and delivering a healthier lifestyle and selling Superfood products separately, has recently launched new “Superfood boxes” that include a free digital coach service to get optimal results.
Once the customers know what their objective is, the second step is to decide how long. At this point, the customer has to choose between four options: a testbox, a two-week treatment, a three-week treatment and the subscription option, which is offers the most value for money among the possibilities and can be terminated after 4 weeks.
Apart from offering short periods of time, the start-up bases its uniqueness on two important aspects that companies should take into account if they want to succeed in this matter:
- Offering an all-in-one service in which products and services that are completely connected, such as fitness, wellness and nutrition, are seamlessly combined. Moreover, it is using the “in vogue” objective of making people healthier as leverage for winning new customers. The start-up not only sends a box full of 28 Super food products, but also provides customers with tips, video exercises, and recipes every day in a sort of gamification strategy that ends up with the customer completely engaged.
- Choosing to deliver this 360° customer service through a chat bot, instead of a native app. The tips, video exercises, and recipes are sent straight away to the customer’s mobile via SMS or email, therefore the reception of the information is almost ensured. Moreover, it is a service envisaged to be used also “on the move”, what fulfils the current cross-channel demands.
Effective interaction: Messaging apps and chat bots
Also worth to mention is the fact that the main communication channels used by companies to interact and communicate with their customers are evolving and changing.
Following the proved tendency that 63% of US smartphone app users use only one to five smartphone apps daily and most apps are not even retained for a full day, the best alternatives are, with no doubt, messaging apps (such as Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp or WeChat), which are increasing their popularity among users month by month and can be used as a direct communication channel or as a means to integrate a chat bot, and smart chat bots, which can be delivered, like UpGreatLife does, via SMS or email.
Service into the spotlight
One good example in this sense is the online retailer “Just Spices” who is advising costumers through a messenger service called “WhatsCook”. Basically, what customers should do is to send a photo of its fridge contents and then they receive a detailed recipe suggestion that can be also accompanied by a video tutorial, if it is necessary.
The main advantage of this service is a higher customer satisfaction, a stronger customer loyalty, and cross-selling potential; what means that an excellent service is the number one customers’ loyalty instrument to success.