Amazon announced STEM Club, a new subscription service that ships out curated STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) toys at a cost of $19.99 per month.
The STEM toys will be chosen specifically from a list of toys that have recently launched or are exclusive to Amazon, and that fit the age range selected by the subscriber at signup. Age ranges for available toys include 3-4 years old, 5-7 years old or 8-13 years old.
Subscribers who sign up on Amazon’s STEM Club home page will receive their first toy within a week. After that, new toys will arrive once a month, free shipping included. The service is available only to U.S. customers.
On an almost weekly basis, it seems like we hear about something that Amazon is up to that sounds like a wild and crazy idea that just might work. This isn't one of those ideas. In fact, STEM Club makes complete sense in a number of ways, and it's easy to see how the writing has been on the wall for an offering like this.
First of all, Amazon latched on to the STEM education and product movement back in 2015, launching a STEM toy storefront that year. It also has assigned STEM products to their own category through programs like its Amazon Launchpad Kickstarter collection. So, this is just its latest concept in its ongoing effort to promote and sell STEM products under their own banner.
Also, Amazon has started to play more with the concept of subscription buying programs, such as its successful Subscribe & Save program centered on products bought with high frequency, or that require frequent refills. As a father of four-year-old twins, I can tell you that toys fit this description — they are cycled through a process of new toy/favorite toy/boring toy so quickly that there always seems to be a need to introduce something new to keep them occupied (oh, and learning, too, of course.) Introducing a new STEM toy every month is better than some of the alternatives.
In addition, Amazon also has recently started to experiment with the concept of choosing products for customers, something demonstrated in recent days with its invitation-only automatic candy ordering service. Choosing products to send to customers may be a natural move for Amazon — if you trust Amazon's recommendations capability, why not have them just pick a product for you? When it comes to toys, most parents are just guessing anyway, so Amazon can't do much worse by sticking to a collection of age-appropriate toys.
If parents already feel like they are spending $20 or more per month on toys, and sometimes purchasing toys of questionable educational value, STEM Club could prove to be another solid hit in Amazon's ongoing search for reliable recurring revenue.