3 Creative eCommerce Models that Yield Substantial Subscription-Based Revenue

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It pays to consider (and reconsider) all options. We live in a day and age, where today’s “King of the Hill” can become tomorrow’s old news.

Markets are disrupted at a pace never seen before. Disruptions used to be slow, because getting capital for unproven concepts required capital that was hard to find outside of banks or venture capital firms.

Today crowdfunding platforms like have changed how and at what pace new concepts can be taken to market. The new rule is: “innovate or die.”

There’s no doubt that if you sell a consumable product like razors or diapers that there’s a lot of money to be made by offering those products as an ongoing subscription. Customers agree to pay or on a schedule and have their credit cards charged, and their products delivered, on a schedule. These make sense right away.

But there are other ways to leverage the power of a recurring billing model. Here are 3 options worth investigating:

1. Customer Loyalty Programs

Many customers in your current free customer loyalty program would happily pay a small monthly fee for access to increased levels of service, early access to products in high demand, and more. GameStop, which sells new and used video games, has both free and paid versions of their customer loyalty program.

But if you want first change at the newest copy of the Call of Duty series, guess who gets them? That’s right, the paid members. This is such a great perk that GameStop’s competitors are rushing to replicate it.

2. Product Exposure

In this model, subscribers will receive a regular shipment containing a variety of sample-sized products related to a theme. Boxes of beauty products or nutritional supplements are just two examples, but the options are endless.Guess what happens when a subscriber tries and loves a sample of a hand lotion? They can use a coupon code included in their shipment to buy a full-sized bottle of the same lotion.

If they really like it a lot, they can sign up for a regular shipment of the same lotion, so that they never run out.

Did you see what just happened?

A customer purchased a subscription, and then bought another subscription on top of the one they already have! That’s what I call leverage.

3. Test Drives

Just like sample-sized dog treats will likely lead to sales of full-sized dog treats, test driving products can lead to big sales.One innovative company sells a subscription to men’s ties. At the beginning of each month, a new tie arrives. The consumer can wear the tie, and if he likes it, he can keep it. The next month instead of buying the tie, the consumer can wear it, send it back, get a new one and wear it too! He’s essentially “leasing a tie.” In this case the company wins whether they keep the tie or recycle them. Neat idea, huh? They’re killing it!

If you’d like to increase your customer lifetime value and bring in a predictable revenue stream like these companies, give me a call at 267.287.1035 or email I’d be happy to have a quick chat to learn more about your company and help you create an ecommerce subscription model that works for you.


Rick Ellis is a Business Development Executive with over 20 years of experience operating a membership-based company. Rick has experienced firsthand the types of unique challenges present when using a recurring billing business model. Rick enjoys working through complex business models to find and leverage every opportunity to optimize profit and reduce risk.


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