The Subscription “Supply Chain” – A Modern Metaphor
By Community | November 8, 2021
Vindicia’s Chief Revenue Officer Jack Bullock provides a look into how subscriptions can be compared to a supply chain.
A supply chain is only as strong as its weakest link. When there are multiple weak links, the consequences are dire. Just take a look at the global supply chain today.
A supply chain is hugely complex, involving numerous players, with many parts moving finely in sync. When the supply chain is well oiled and smooth, the consumer doesn’t have to think about everything that went on behind the scenes to ensure the product is right there on the shelf, when they want it. But when the supply chain is under stress, empty shelves are an undeniable, uncomfortable fact of life.
“Much like a supply chain that flows from point A to point Z, the new subscription is horizontal, made up of the many organic moments the user experiences with the brand.”
Similarly, a subscription service is its own kind of “supply chain.” From brand to consumer, a satisfying subscription experience relies on smooth, uninterrupted, and reliable processes that ensure the product or service is there, always ready on the “shelf” so to speak, when the user wants and expects it. Any disruptions? The subscription is much less than it could be, the consumer is disappointed and may even churn. And revenue? We all know the answer to that.
Subscriptions: a horizontal journey
Much like a supply chain that flows from point A to point Z, the new subscription is horizontal, made up of the many organic moments the user experiences with the brand.
The subscription tech that supports the horizontal flow is comprised of many parts too, from bundling that promotes user engagement, to personalized user journeys based on individual interests and preferences, and churn prevention tools that ensure efficient, frictionless payments on a recurring basis – and all this underscored by subscription intelligence, Vindicia’s 18+ years of subscription data, prepped to support smarter horizontal subscription “supply chains.”
Consumers: creatures of habit
Humans are creatures of habit, and no less when it comes to our consumer habits. These habits change over time, adapting to different circumstances. Sometimes the changes are fast and radical, like the stark shift to digital during the COVID pandemic. Other times, habits change slowly and surely, such as media subscription services, now growing at a rate 5-8 times faster than traditional businesses.
“The most important thing is to identify the gaps and the weak links and develop the stop gaps and reinforcements you need to restore the smooth flow of horizontal experiences.”
Feeding habits is one of the reasons why subscriptions are so popular. Consumers get what they want, when they want it, filling their need with minimal effort or forethought. But there’s a downside to that – when there is a disruption, the user’s habitual behavior is broken, and that can be inconvenient, uncomfortable, and even painful. Not a good look for a brand serious about satisfying its subscribers.
Subscription disrupted: learning in a crisis
Every crisis is also a learning experience, though, and should be viewed as such. Whether caught in the maelstrom of the 2021 supply chain crisis, or facing a delay or disruption in subscription operations, the most important thing is to identify the gaps and the weak links and develop the stop gaps and reinforcements you need to restore the smooth flow of horizontal experiences.
This is what we do at Vindicia. We know that it’s the small offerings that link together to create a full subscription experience. When each part of the subscription is data driven and optimized, the sum of the parts will ensure a much more satisfying whole, and that is what drives recurring customers and the revenue stream every CRO dreams about.
About The Author
Jack brings 25 years of sales and sales management experience to Vindicia. Prior to joining Vindicia, he was senior vice president of digital commerce sales for Pitney Bowes, where his responsibilities included overall management of the global sales organization. Jack has extensive experience in enterprise software, including senior management positions with Infor and Vitria. Jack began his career at Oracle and has also held sales and sales management positions at Forte Software. Jack holds a Master of Business Administration degree from University of Colorado and a B.S. in Computer Information Systems from Missouri State University.