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Subscribed to roast chicken

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October 2017, article published originally in El Periódico de Catalunya

 

Subscribed to roast chicken

I was little (an anecdote now belonging to the last century) and it was a dream come true. I look back on it longingly: You could eat all you wanted for a set price. The star dish: Roast chicken with potatoes, sauce, and all the trimmings. You could take a bite of a drum stick, go back for another and give it a nibble, and later get back in line for more – and a lot more potatoes! Go crazy, till you couldn’t take any more (literally). But you weren’t supposed to take too much, because too much wasn’t very elegant, so I was told. At 5 you’re not very aware of what is elegant and, to be honest, at 44 I question even more what is good taste or not. On the other hand, when the wonderful day finally came to go to the restaurant in question (special occasions and holidays), my mother’s advice was, no matter how much I liked something, not to eat too much, or I would wind up hating the dish in question.

A quarter part of the net surfers already shop consumer goods online, and of these, 14% is subscribed to a supermarket: they don’t go shopping, the shopping is done by itself

Let’s fast forward to the 21st Century and apply a digital layer to roast chicken. They’re not just a few; they make up a relevant percentage of those who shop for consumer goods online (bottled water, milk, grains, drinks, pasta, …), a quarter part of those who surf the Net. Of these, 14% of consumers have claimed to subscribe to a supermarket. That is, they are people who instead of burning calories going to shop at an establishment, prefer that the calories be brought to them, without even doing the shopping. They are people who know that every week they will consume X rolls of toilet paper, Y eggs, or Z liters of shower gel, and who want to restock these products with a specified frequency. In China, this phenomenon is especially well-developed, representing 18% of the total population. They are live beings, bipeds, who subscribe to companies that provide them with what they consume, be it a physical product or a service.

These are subscription models. Companies like Netflix or Spotify are prime examples of this way of doing business. Basically, the idea is to generate income from lasting relationships and not from occasional transactions; that is, instead of making a sale in order to commercialize a product or service, you access it with a set periodicity. Can we transform any product or service into the subscription models? Technically yes, we can subscribe to an infinite number of companies that provide us with feminine hygiene products, pills for alleviating the prostate, or services for cleaning car tires. The question is, do we want to subscribe to all those companies, paying a monthly rate for each of them (that is, hundreds of subscriptions)? My prediction, probably mistaken, is that these models are going to grow a lot, but we are going to see at the same time how promotion consolidators develop for customers, grouping categories of products/services under a single subscription (as, for example, supermarkets are already doing).

 

Article published in Spanish in El Periódico de Catalunya.

Formado en la Escuela Suiza (habla 4 idiomas), Pablo Foncillas es licenciado en derecho y MBA del IESE Business School. Compagina su vida en el entorno académico y como conferenciante junto con roles directivos y de consultoría en varias industrias desde los años 90. ¿Hablamos? Clica aquí para contactarme por correo electrónico