Amazon launches “Subscribe with Amazon,” a marketplace for digital subscriptions – TechCrunch
Amazon has made headway in the subscription business with its Subscribe & Save feature for consumers, which offers discounted pricing onÂ products if you agree to buy on a recurring basis. Now, the retailer is looking to expand its subscription footprint with a new program called Subscribe with Amazon, which aims toÂ make Amazon the place to discover, subscribe to and manage a range ofÂ digital subscriptions â from streaming services toÂ subscription-based apps,Â from meal planning servicesÂ to onlineÂ fitness classes, and much more.
The service has been in development since last year, and has been quietly live on Amazonâs site for some time. However, it has not been broadly promoted to consumers â something that changes today, with the announcement that itâsÂ open forÂ sign-ups.
Many of the digital subscriptionsÂ available on the marketplaceÂ were things Amazon was already selling â like news and magazine subscriptions,Â or access to itsÂ kids reading appÂ Amazon RapidsÂ orÂ its toy-of-the-month club, STEM Club, for example. But the new portal for Subscribe with AmazonÂ aggregates and organizes all the different types of subscriptions under one roof.
It also offers consumers a single destination where those subscriptionsÂ can be managed via an online dashboard.
A few of the moreÂ notable namesÂ available on the site include Disney Story Central,Â a subscription-based service for kids stories featuring popular Disney characters; Fitbitâs Fitstar personal training platform; Creativebugâs online art and craft classes; cloud storage service Dropbox Plus; streaming TV service Sling TV; meal planning and recipe subscription eMeals; concert membership service Jukely; and meditation service Headspace.
Amazon isÂ also selling subscriptions to publications, likeÂ The Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, The New Yorker, Consumer Reports. Others live at launch include Texture, LegalZoom, MileIQ, and Tawkify.
Thought not yet available, we understand the subscription cocktail startup Hooch, which offers a free drink a day in bars and clubs in major U.S. metros, will soon beÂ available on the site. Hooch is an interesting partnership, given that Amazon will have to age-verify subscribers as part of sign-up process.
Hooch confirmed its involvement, and the company offered more insight as to why it would want to participate â beyond the obvious customer acquisition play, that is.
âAmazon customers will directly manage their subscriptions on the Amazon.com portal,â says Hooch CEO Lin Dai.
âWe think it will be a positive for us because a lot of time our customers donât mean to cancel, but their credit card expires or they move to a new apartment or different address, and they forget to update their address on Hooch,â he explains. âBut people are more likely to have updated payment methods on Amazon, so we think there will be fewer interruptions.â
Anyone who has ever had to update their credit card information across the web can understand this struggle. Itâs often difficult to remember the many services youâve signed up for, and updating each one individually is a hassle.
Amazon wonât universally solve this problem, as itâs unlikely to offer subscriptions to its competitors like Netflix or Spotify, but it does have the potential to bring a number of other digital subscriptions together in a single interface for easier management.
For consumers, the Subscribe with Amazon portal functions something like an app store for subscriptions. The different types are organized into categories like news and magazines, lifestyle, education, movies & TV (which oddly features select video rentals, too), productivity and software; and more.
However, the portal wonât be the only way these subscriptions are discovered on Amazon.com. We also understand cross-promotion willÂ take place by tying subscriptions to physical products. For example, if you were shopping for cocktail recipe books, you might see the subscription to Hooch offered as an item you could bundle with your purchase. This will increase the discoverability of the subscriptions on the site by more narrowing targeting customers who have already shown an interest in a similar product.
For businesses looking to sell subscriptions on the site, Amazon offers self-service tools where they can manage their pricing and take advantage ofÂ Amazonâs APIs to receive orders and updates from the Subscribe with Amazon service.
Theyâre also able to offer potential customers a variety of pricing plans â introductory, monthly, yearly, or even Prime member exclusive discounts. (Texture is the first to offer Prime discounts, with 50% off 6 months of itsÂ digital magazine service.)
The commission structureÂ is detailed on a page on Amazonâs siteÂ (see above), andÂ mirrors the one used today by the Apple App Store. In the first year, Amazon takes a 30% cut of the subscription sales, which drops down to 15% after the one-year mark.
âOver the years, Amazon has gained extensive experience in the memberships and subscriptions space, innovating across programs like Prime and Kindle Unlimited,â said Lovina McMurchy, general manager of Subscribe with Amazon, in a statement. âToday, weâre excited to extend our selection by offering subscription businesses a self-service way to make their subscriptions available to millions of Amazon customers.â