Amazon has announced a self-service subscriptions marketplace, Subscribe with Amazon, which enables digital subscription providers to appeal to the broad audience of Amazon customers, while leveraging Amazon product search, recommendations and other tools, according to a company press release.
The program gives subscription providers a detail page where they can manage offers for flexible pricing, including introductory, monthly and annual pricing options; consider exclusive discounts to Amazon Prime members; and use APIs to receive orders and updates from Amazon.
Digital subscriptions currently available span a variety of areas, including streaming content, news/magazines, learning and lifestyle. Current third-party subscription partners include SlingTV, Disney Story Central, Dropbox, Texture, eMeals, Fitstar by Fitbit, Creativebug, Headspace, LegalZoom, MileIQ, The Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, The New Yorker, Consumer Reports and Tawkify.
The subscription economy is officially a thing, with studies suggesting a booming market that is growing faster than retail sales in the U.S., and well-known subscription-based retailers like Birchbox and Rent the Runway are putting together pretty good runs of late. Creativebug, which uses the new Amazon marketplace, was also just acquired by Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores to boost its crafting content game.
Amazon has become an old hand at setting up new third-party marketplaces, and it's been dabbling with the subscription model for a while. Over the years, its launched the Kindle Unlimited book buying club, a grocery subscription service with Prime Pantry, and more recently, a STEM toy subscription club.
So, Amazon is pretty well-positioned to develop a third-party subscription marketplace and make it work. One of the keys to doing that is enabling providers to have some flexibility in how they price their subscriptions, and another is allowing subscribers to easily manage their subscriptions so that they're more likely to subscribe to more services.
Amazon isn't the only company with this kind of idea: Cratejoy seems to be doing something similar with monthly box subscriptions that offer a curated selection of products in categories like beauty, gaming, fitness, pets and more. Amazon already appears to have many services signed up for its marketplace, but another key to its success will be continuing to grow the list of participating services. With this launch, Amazon seems intent on applying its experience to create a better marketplace for subscription providers, but time will tell.