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October 5, 2020 | Authored by: Sharath Dorbala

Get ready to grow: Next-generation models to fuel subscription success

If you’re like me, among other things during this pandemic, you are getting tired of tracking and managing your growing number of subscriptions. As the subscription economy took hold, people enjoyed complete control of unpackaged access to their digital favorites. Over time, that’s proving to be a hassle. Now, consumers are open to the value and convenience of subscription bundle offers.

Tech giants are responding by creating high-value offerings in the form of subscription bundles (think of these recurring revenue bundles as "rundles," copyright Scott Galloway). Are you ready to rundle? If not, you may not be able to keep pace with tech giants or consumer expectations. Many D2C companies are focused on going at it alone on customer acquisition and retention. These companies risk being left behind. But—luckily—it’s simpler to bundle than you might think.

New subscription models take center stage

Tech and media giants are making strong moves into subscription bundling. They are busy launching organic bundles. An organic bundle combines multiple services from within one provider. Take Amazon and Disney as examples. Amazon Prime bundles an array of entertainment services together with their incredible shopping and delivery advantages. Disney offers Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ at a compelling bundled price point. Those are just two examples. Microsoft, Apple, Google—all the big names are bundling these days. Even Netflix can be considered a content bundle. And the value is clear as day (unless you’re in California at this time of writing, unfortunately).

Aggregator bundles and partnership bundles are growing too. These next-generation models have the potential to let any subscription service provider keep pace with—and out nimble—the tech giants. Let’s look more closely at each:

  • Aggregator bundles: A single company—like a communication service provider, bank, or a smart-TV maker—brings together a number of subscription services to offer customizable bundles to their already captive audience, often in the millions of customers. Consumers can choose the options they want and manage them more seamlessly. It’s more convenient than purchasing a bunch of services separately. When done well, aggregator bundles deliver the value and consistent user experience that consumers want. Joining with aggregators gets you access to a captive audience of potential subscribers across the globe in regions you may only dream of reaching.
  • Partnership bundles: Think of these as one-to-one bundles, where two (or more) subscription service providers join forces to offer complementary services. Initial examples are in verticals like entertainment, publishing, audio, and gaming. Here’s a real-world example: Students can get a bundle that includes Spotify, Hulu, and Showtime, for only $4.99. And in today’s stay-at-home economy due to the global pandemic, there’s tremendous potential over the next year for health and wellness, e-learning, connected home/security, and retail subscriptions to emerge strongly in the new-look bundle environment. With physical stores and restaurants challenged to attract visitors, many will be looking at paid subscriptions and memberships to build their "Forever Transaction" (shout out to Robbie Kellman Baxter).

What’s holding you back?

As I’ve learned from experience, partnerships can be unmatched growth catalysts—or plenty of work for meh results. Even launching your own organic bundles may seem unappealing when you lack go-to-market flexibility and time-to-market speed.

Don’t let the risk/reward calculations associated with subscription bundling hold you back. Next-generation models like bundles are what consumers expect. Embracing what’s next will help you reach new customers and retain more customers longer.

The all-in-one subscription platform

There’s a simple way to get started with next-generation models that accelerate growth. It’s our newly launched Vindicia MarketONE platform. Turn to Vindicia to explore next-generation models—including organic, partner, and aggregator bundles. The platform features include:

  • Subscribe: Scale faster with go-to-market flexibility, global implementation support, and industry-leading retention tools.
  • Bundle: Create and join bundles with partners that build audiences, engagement, and loyalty.
  • Connect: Boost conversion and engagement with frictionless user journeys.

The platform brings together what you need to realize subscription success—innovation and customer relationships that last lifetimes. You can say “yes” to bundles and partnerships knowing it takes less risk and more speed for you to find what works.

When you work with Vindicia, you tailor your own path. Our team of industry experts helps by sharing insights and best practices. We have more than 15 years of experience supporting D2C companies that offer subscriptions. Along the way, we’ve processed billions in transactions. Talk to us to learn more about how we can help you conquer new markets and retain customers longer.

About Author

Sharath Dorbala

Sharath Dorbala

Sharath Dorbala was a Chief Executive Officer of Vindicia from Jan 2019 to July 2021. He is a Silicon Valley-based veteran in the technology industry with over 20 years of experience. Prior to joining Vindicia, Sharath was responsible for product strategy and management at Apttus, leading their market-leading B2B CPQ and eCommerce solutions. Before Apttus, he was the Head of Mobile Financial Services Division at Amdocs, enabling affordable financial inclusion for the bottom of the pyramid in emerging markets. He partnered with ITU, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and regulators worldwide to help promote and increase awareness of mobile wallet solutions in emerging markets. Sharath is strongly influenced by Daniel Pink's "A Whole New Mind" and believes that the next generation of technology products must follow the right-brained principles. Prior to this role, Sharath was Head-Products for Amdocs CRM product line. He oversaw the launching of several new customer-centric initiatives like multi-channel self-service, retail, device management and personalization solutions. He holds an MS in Information Systems from Northeastern University, Boston and an MS in Economics and Management from BITS, Pilani, India.