Subscription Business Model: How Does It Work? - Peter Boolkah

A subscription business model is a revenue model where a customer pays a recurring fee, typically monthly or annual, to receive access to a product or service. The customer effectively rents the product or service for as long as they continue to pay the subscription fee. This business model has become increasingly popular recently, especially in the software, entertainment, and media industries.

In this model, the revenue is generated from the recurring payments made by the customers rather than from one-off sales. By establishing a recurring revenue stream, businesses can better predict their future earnings, which can help them plan for growth and scale their operations.

What Is a Subscription Business Model

What Is a Subscription Business Model?

This is a recurring revenue model where customers pay for access or usage of a company’s products, services, or content on an ongoing basis. This type of business model is expected in the software-as-a-service (SaaS) industry, where customers pay for access to applications and other software solutions.

Several subscription models include metered usage, tiered pricing, freemium offerings, and bundled subscriptions. Metered usage requires customers to pay based on their level of use, while tiered pricing offers different levels of service with increasingly more expensive options as they go up in tiers. Freemium offerings allow customers to try out basic features for free before transitioning them into paid plans if they continue using the service. On the other hand, bundled subscriptions offer customers access to various products or services for one set price.

Overall, this model is an attractive option for many companies as it can provide them with a steady and predictable source of revenue. By leveraging these models, businesses can anticipate their cash flow and plan better accordingly. Additionally, this model allows customers to benefit from more affordable pricing and flexible payment options. As such, it is no surprise that more and more companies are turning to subscription-based models for their products or services.

How Does the Subscription Business Model Work?

This business model has become increasingly popular with customers and businesses recently. It works by allowing customers to pay for access to a product or service regularly, such as monthly or annually. As customers continue to pay their subscription fee, they maintain continual access to the product or service. This structure is often preferred because it can save time and money compared to buying something outright or using a traditional one-time payment method.

One of the main challenges of this kind of business model is churn – when customers fail to renew their subscriptions and cancel them instead. Many companies focus on customer retention strategies to combat churn, such as offering discounts and incentives for loyal subscribers. Additionally, some businesses look into providing additional services or features that may further incentivize customers to stay.

Some examples of subscription models include software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies, media streaming platforms, membership websites, and print/digital magazines. As more businesses move towards a subscription model, it’s essential to understand the customer churn risks associated with this structure and focus on customer retention strategies accordingly. With the right approach in place, these business models can be incredibly beneficial for both the customer and the company.

Benefits of a Subscription Business Model

There are many benefits for companies to adopt this business model; let’s look at some in more detail:

1. Subscription models are convenient for customers

Subscription models are becoming increasingly popular, especially subscription boxes. Unlike traditional retail purchases, subscription services allow customers to receive products regularly for a monthly fee. This model gives customers the convenience of having their favorite items delivered right to their door without going through the hassle of shopping in stores or online.

Plus, subscription boxes provide an exciting customer experience as they come with surprises that can make customers feel like they’re getting more value out of their purchases. Lastly, subscription models often offer loyalty discounts and other bonus benefits that aren’t always available at brick-and-mortar retailers.

2. Predictable revenue stream

Subscription models are increasingly popular among businesses as they create a predictable revenue stream. This business model is based on recurring payments, typically charged monthly or annually, that customers make in exchange for access to products and services. Subscriptions allow businesses to plan their operations and forecast their income more accurately. By having a steady revenue stream each month or year, businesses can better manage cash flow and budget for investments in new technologies or future initiatives.

Additionally, subscription-based companies often benefit from increased customer loyalty since customers are likelier to stick around when they’ve already invested money upfront. From the customer’s perspective, subscriptions offer convenience by allowing them to pay once and then receive regular shipments of whatever product or service they are subscribed to. Subscription models have become increasingly popular for businesses of all sizes, from small startups to larger companies, as they offer a more predictable and sustainable way to generate revenue in today’s ever-changing business environment.

3. Customers can discover new products

A successful subscription allows customers to access new products or services easily. It provides a convenient way for customers to discover the latest offerings in a specific category or field. For example, suppose you are interested in learning about the newest health and wellness trends. In that case, a subscription can provide access to such information and other related products or services.

This makes it easy for customers to keep up-to-date on the ever-changing landscape of consumer goods and services. Additionally, subscriptions provide customers with an efficient way to stay informed of new developments without researching each item. In this way, a successful subscription can be beneficial and convenient for Customers looking to discover new products.

4. Subscriptions can attract more customers

Subscriptions are an effective way to attract more customers and increase customer loyalty. Businesses can create a pricing model that customers find attractive by offering monthly subscription packages. Subscription services allow customers to save money and receive monthly discounts or free items, making the service even more appealing. Popular subscriptions such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime have become increasingly popular for consumers looking for a one-stop shop for entertainment and other services.

These monthly subscriptions offer convenience and value in a single package, which is why many customers choose them over traditional purchasing methods. Additionally, by creating exclusive offers within these subscription plans, businesses can further incentivize customers to make repeat purchases. Offering monthly membership deals with lower prices than single purchase items can also be an effective way to attract more customers. With a monthly subscription model, customers can benefit from discounted prices and receive exclusive offers only available to monthly subscribers.

The ability to access such savings options makes monthly membership plans especially attractive for consumers looking to get the most bang for their buck. By leveraging monthly subscriptions, businesses can create loyalty programs that reward current customers and create opportunities to attract new ones. Subscriptions can be a great way to build long-term customer relationships and increase customer satisfaction over the long run.

5. Build stronger & long-term customer relationships

When customers subscribe, they receive ongoing customer support and have access to exclusive offers. This allows companies to strengthen their relationship with new and existing customers. Plus, subscriptions can provide value beyond just discounts – such as personalized recommendations or exclusive content – that help keep loyal customers engaged. These things make it easier for businesses to create long-term customer relationships and retain their patronage over time. Ultimately, subscriptions are an effective tool for building long-lasting relationships with customers.

6. Subscriptions decrease customer acquisition costs

One of the most significant advantages of subscription-based models is that they can significantly reduce customer acquisition costs. Traditional business strategies often focus on gaining new customers, but it’s much more cost-effective to retain existing customers and turn them into loyal subscribers. When a customer signs up for a new subscription, they tell your business, “I trust you and value your product enough to pay regularly for it”. This creates an ongoing relationship with the customer, resulting in more extensive sales, increased loyalty, and decreased acquisition costs over time.

Subscriptions provide businesses with valuable customer data, allowing them to understand better what drives their behaviour and tailor strategies accordingly. This helps build long-term relationships with each customer and encourages higher levels of loyalty. Furthermore, customers subscribed to a service often receive exclusive offers or discounts, which can help keep them engaged for even longer.

Subscription Business Model- Peter Boolkah

How to Build a Subscription Model?

To build a subscription model, you can follow these steps:

1. Find out if the business will benefit from offering subscriptions

Before building a subscription service, it’s important to determine if the business will benefit from offering subscriptions. Consider customer needs, revenue goals, and the cost of running a successful subscription service. Doing this research ahead of time can help you better understand what kind of subscription model you should use and whether or not it’s worth investing in.

Knowing the answers to these questions can save your business both time and money in the long run. Ultimately, deciding whether or not a subscription service is right for your business comes down to weighing the pros and cons and making an informed decision. Carefully consider all options before committing to any subscription service.

2. Set a goal for your subscription-based business

You know what you want to achieve with your subscription-based business. What are your goals? Are you looking to make a profit or increase customer loyalty? Do you want to provide an ongoing service that benefits customers or build a long-term relationship with them? Setting these goals will help you create the right plan for success. Consider pricing, marketing, product selection, and customer service when setting your objectives. Taking the time to think through these details upfront can save you time in the long run and help ensure your subscription-based business is successful.

3. Choose the subscription pricing strategy

Before launching a subscription service, choosing the most appropriate pricing strategy is important. This will help you ensure that customers are getting value for money and committing to recurring payments on an ongoing basis. Different strategies may work best depending on the product or service offered, so it is essential to research and ensure that the right approach is taken.

Consider factors such as how frequently customers need to pay, what kind of discounts could be offered and any additional services which could be included with the subscription package. Ultimately, finding the right balance between revenue generation and customer satisfaction should be your primary goal in choosing a pricing strategy for your subscription service.

By taking the time to evaluate different options upfront properly, you can create an effective and profitable subscription service. Keep customers in mind when making any decisions, as this will help ensure that your subscriptions are successful and sustainable over the long term.

4. Get more sign-ups

Starting a subscription-based business is no easy feat. It requires long-term commitment, organization and resilience. You need to keep your subscribers engaged and coming back for more constantly. Getting more sign-ups is. Therefore, an absolute must when starting a subscription-based business. This provides you with the initial revenue and helps you build trust with your current customers and attract new ones. Having more sign-ups could also mean having more data to work with which can help you further optimize your services or products.

Moreover, it will make it easier for you to create targeted marketing campaigns tailored to the needs of different customer segments to maximize conversions. All in all, getting more sign-ups is a key strategy when starting a subscription-based business. Don’t miss out on this opportunity, and invest time and resources into getting more sign-ups!

5. Create a seamless onboarding experience

Lumen is a powerful tool that can help businesses create an incredible onboarding experience. With a lumen-powered onboarding solution, businesses can quickly and easily customize their customer’s first experience. This includes setting up automated emails, providing personalized content to each customer, providing interactive tutorials and more. Lumen also offers advanced analytics tools to help businesses track their onboarding program’s success and make real-time improvements. By leveraging lumen’s capabilities, businesses have everything they need to deliver a smooth, engaging onboarding process for new customers.

In addition to creating a practical onboarding experience with lumen, measuring results over time is important to ensure success. For example, lumen’s analytics tools allow businesses to track customer retention and engagement data to identify trends, adjust their onboarding strategy accordingly and optimize their results over time. With lumen’s powerful features, businesses can build a practical onboarding experience that drives customer loyalty and increases conversion rates.

6. Streamline the billing process

If you’re running a subscription-based business, one of the most important things you need to figure out is how to streamline your billing process. The last thing you want is for customers to be frustrated with long and complicated payment processes that leave them feeling like they are not getting their money’s worth. A streamlined billing system will help ensure customer satisfaction and keep them returning for more.

By making the overall process as seamless as possible, you can ensure everyone promptly gets what they paid for. Plus, it can save time on your end by automating some of the more tedious tasks associated with billing and payments. With some effort, you can ensure your billing process runs smoothly and efficiently so that your customers can focus on enjoying the products and services you offer.

Examples of Subscription Business Models

Subscription business models are popping up everywhere, from the newsroom to the beauty aisle. You might be familiar with streaming services like Netflix, but there’s much more in the subscription world than just entertainment. For instance, in Europe, some companies allow customers to rent designer clothes and accessories for a flat monthly fee. At the same time, some entrepreneurs have found success in Africa by offering access to online education courses. In Asia, subscription boxes containing snacks and drinks have also gained popularity.

And, of course, subscription services can also extend into physical goods—like razors or pet food—with monthly deliveries based on customer preferences. As you can see, it’s an incredibly diverse and fast-growing industry that shows no signs of slowing down. With the right approach and creativity, subscriptions can be incredibly powerful in building customer loyalty and generating revenue. So if you’re looking for a new business model, why not try subscription models? You may find yourself with an entirely new customer base!

And that’s just scratching the surface of how subscriptions can help you stand out. From innovative online marketplaces to custom-curated subscription boxes, there are so many ways to create unique experiences for your customers—and make money while doing it

5 Key Subscription Business Model Metrics to Track

1. Monthly recurring revenue (MRR)

Monthly recurring revenue (MRR) measures the predictable income a business can expect from its customers each month. It’s an essential metric in subscription-based businesses, as it provides visibility into long-term cash flow and indicates overall business health. MRR includes all regular payments from customers, such as monthly fees for software subscriptions and service plans. It excludes one-time payments or irregular income sources like ad revenue.

Companies measure their MRR to track customer churn rate—the percentage of customers who cancel their subscriptions over time—and calculate average customer lifetime value (LTV). Measuring these metrics helps companies determine how much they need to invest in marketing and sales initiatives to keep new customer acquisition

2. Average revenue per user (ARPU)

The average revenue per user (ARPU) is a metric often used in the tech world to measure how much revenue an average customer generates on a given platform. It is typically calculated by dividing total revenue by the number of users. It can assess a business’s economic health and track customer engagement and loyalty. ARPU can help companies understand which customers are most valuable so that they can target them with special offers or discounts.

In addition, it can be used to compare different pricing strategies and identify growth opportunities. Understanding your company’s ARPU ultimately helps you maximize profits and optimize resources for maximum return on investment.

3. Annual recurring revenue (ARR)

Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR) is an essential metric for any business that relies on subscription models for its services. It provides a snapshot of the company’s long-term financial health and indicates the regular, recurring income it will receive over time. ARR is calculated by taking the total revenue generated from customers during a given period, typically one year, and dividing it by the number of customers in that period. This figure then serves as a benchmark to analyze growth and can be used to calculate future projections.

Companies should ensure an effective strategy to attract new customers while retaining existing ones to maximise returns. Additionally, tracking customer churn—the rate at which customers cancel their subscriptions—is vital to predicting ARR and overall success. Keeping an eye on ARR gives businesses a comprehensive view of their performance, allowing them to make well-informed decisions that lead to sustainable growth

4. Customer acquisition cost (CAC)

Customer acquisition cost (CAC) is an essential metric for businesses that need to understand how much they spend on acquiring new customers. It helps them to monitor the efficiency of their customer acquisition strategies, track the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns, and determine the long-term viability of their business model. CAC can be calculated by dividing all the costs spent on acquiring new customers (marketing expenses, sales salaries, etc.) by the number of customers acquired in a given period. Companies can identify opportunities to reduce costs and improve profitability by understanding this metric. Ultimately, CAC is essential for any company that wants to maximize its return on investment and ensure long-term success.

5. Customer lifetime value (CLV)

Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) is a metric used to assess a customer’s value over their entire engagement period with a business. It considers factors like how much the customer spends, how often they buy, and how long they stay with the company. CLV helps businesses understand their most valuable customers to target marketing efforts better and allocate resources to maximize revenue from each customer.

Knowing your customers’ lifetime value also allows you to adjust pricing strategies and improve service offerings based on what will deliver optimal returns for each customer. By optimizing for CLV, companies can build strong relationships with loyal customers who are more likely to become repeat buyers or refer new customers. Ultimately, understanding and increasing CLV results in higher profits for businesses.


As we have seen, the subscription business model offers many benefits for companies looking to build sustainable growth and establish long-term customer relationships. By prioritizing customer satisfaction and continually optimizing their offerings, companies can leverage the power of recurring revenue to achieve long-term success.


Is a subscription business profitable?

When it comes to assessing whether a subscription business is profitable, several factors need to be taken into consideration. Subscription revenue is generally more reliable than one-off purchases, as customers pay for goods and services regularly. The subscription economy has grown substantially in recent years, indicating that this model can succeed. However, businesses should consider how long customers will stay subscribed and how much revenue they can acquire from each customer to determine if their subscription model is profitable.

Additionally, the cost of acquiring new subscribers and the resources required to maintain them should also be examined to ensure profitability within a subscription business. This type of business can be a successful and profitable due to its reliability and growth potential.

How do subscriptions make money?

Subscriptions make money by having customers pay for recurring services or access products regularly. There are various types of subscriptions available, such as monthly recurring subscriptions, annual recurring subscriptions, and pay-as-you-go plans. By signing up for a subscription plan, customers essentially pay in advance to obtain its benefits over an extended period. Depending on the type of subscription chosen, these payments may be made weekly, monthly or yearly.

Subscriptions can include access to streaming services (such as Netflix), digital content (such as online courses), product delivery services (such as meal kits) or even physical products (such as clothing boxes). Customers benefit from recurring access to services or products at a discounted rate by choosing to subscribe rather than purchase products individually.

This recurring payment structure is what allows businesses to make money from subscriptions. With recurring revenue, businesses can plan and manage their finances more effectively. As customers continue to subscribe to services or products, businesses can rely on recurring income to keep their business running. This allows them to scale up operations over time and better serve their customers by providing quality services and products at a fair price. Ultimately, subscriptions are an effective way for businesses to make money while offering customers the convenience of recurring access to services and products.

Do subscriptions increase revenue?

Subscriptions are becoming a popular way to monetize digital products and for good reason. By allowing customers to pay for a product regularly, businesses can generate more predictable and reliable revenue than one-time purchases. Subscription services also allow businesses to build customer relationships by providing exclusive content or other benefits over time. So it is no surprise that many companies are turning to subscription models to increase their revenues. But how effective are these models when it comes to actually driving sales?

The answer depends largely on the company’s ability to get customers interested in the subscription service, keep them engaged and satisfied over time, and continually add value through new features or updates. Companies that take the time to create personalized and user-friendly subscription services will often see an increase in revenue. On the other hand, businesses that fail to meet customer expectations or don’t offer enough incentive to keep subscribers returning may find their subscription service is not as successful as they hoped.

Overall, subscriptions can be an excellent way for companies to earn regular revenue – but only if they are willing to invest in creating a high-quality product and continually improving it over time. If done right, customers will appreciate having access to exclusive content and features on an ongoing basis, and businesses will benefit from increased sales and profits. Ultimately, it’s up to each company to decide which model works best for them – a one-time purchase or a subscription-based service. In either case, the goal is to provide customers with value that exceeds their expectations.

What companies use a subscription business model?

Many companies have adopted the subscription business model, including popular brands like Netflix, Peloton, and Apple One. Netflix is known for its streaming service that provides a wide selection of films and TV shows to subscribers. Peloton offers virtual fitness classes that members can access through their equipment or mobile app. Meanwhile, Apple One bundle’s multiple services together into one monthly plan. Each of these companies has successfully used the subscription model to provide customers with easy access to content or services at an affordable price.

Some other companies that have embraced this monetization technique are Adobe Creative Cloud, Spotify, HelloFresh meal delivery kits, Dollar Shave Club shaving supplies, Blue Apron meal delivery kits, and Amazon Prime membership program. These companies have created a steady revenue stream and established customer loyalty by utilising a subscription model.

Overall, the subscription model can benefit businesses and consumers. Not only does it provide a more convenient way of accessing content or services, but it also helps companies generate predictable revenue each month. With the wide variety of companies offering subscriptions today, there will surely be something for everyone.

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