Two years ago, the population approached retail the usual way. Visiting local stores for weekly shopping has been our tradition for decades, and only global events could change that paradigm. But change, it has. The recent pandemic has sent everyone home and has families cautious of social exposure planet wide. Right now, the best way to stay safe and fight back against the virulent spread is to stay out of public places and avoid close gatherings. Which means a lot less grocery shopping—among other everyday retail activities.
Today, going to the grocery store has been superseded by shopping delivery. Even those who live outside of the gig-economy delivery range are seeing their own local stores hiring delivery staff and offering in-house delivery services. We are seeing thousands of brick-and-mortar businesses developing their websites and offering delivery to better reach their at-home customers.
But perhaps most notably, we are seeing a rise in use for subscription services in retail.
The Rise of Subscriptions
Subscriptions have been on the rise for the last decade as online services have become a normal part of everyday life. It is most common in the software industry, where products are maintained and updated as part of an ongoing service. The subscription model allows customers to maintain steady access to things they need or want while the business establishes a truly reliable source of income and repeat purchases.
Subscriptions are also a common business practice for services, especially field services and in-home services. Any service that is provided regularly and on a continuous schedule can—and should—be managed through customer subscriptions. While one-off services are a great conversion tactic, most home cleaning customers, for example, would prefer a subscription they can count on.
In Product Delivery
Subscription services have also seen a rise in physical product industries. While B2B partners have always arranged for regular deliveries, now consumer level customers are also embracing the idea of having supplies and services delivered to them regularly, without having to call each time. In the wake of the COVID pandemic, regular deliveries are more appealing than ever.
How Subscriptions Have Been Transformed by COVID
In the wake of the pandemic, millions of families and professionals were sent home. Many businesses became all or completely staffed by at-home workers. Children were sent home from school for remote learning. Those who are home have been advised to stay home—not to leave the house for shopping or meetings or any social gatherings.
This means that bringing things to the home has become not only a rising trend of convenience, but absolutely necessity.
Delivering Household Supplies
Household supply deliveries have become a lifeline for quarantined families. The delivery of groceries is only the beginning. Many people are having other supplies like furniture, dishes, tools, and other household-type items to their homes through online shopping instead of a trip to the local store. Those things that are needed regularly, many families would eagerly take on a subscription if it meant less hassle and more savings.
Delivering Work Resources to At-Home Professionals
With millions of professionals building new home offices, the delivery of office supplies is profoundly important. The delivery of desks, chairs, electronic devices, office supplies, and other things we usually use only at work has become necessary for everyone to work from home. This creates a need for office supplies and other small essentials that many professionals would be glad to subscribe to. Whether they fly through pens and highlighters or need a steady supply of granola bars, subscriptions and home offices go hand-in-hand.
Delivering School Supplies for At-Home Students
Let’s not forget the kids who are also learning from home alongside their parents. Children also need devices, school and art supplies, and schoolbooks to continue their learning at home. Many families are also signing up for subscription services to help keep their children both educated and entertained at home, from construction paper to streaming media.